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How A Clever Use Of Elastic Turned Into A Global Business


A hand-sewn prototype for Christine Kininmonth’s first ever invention, BellyBelt®, came from her Earth-friendly mantra of Refuse, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. The buttons and buttonholes sewn into elastic allowed the former TV Newsreader to repurpose her normal work clothes into maternity wear for her first pregnancy.

Three more children, and more brands later, and the venture she co-founded with business partner Peter Hooker, Fertile Mind, is an award-winning success story, with products sold in 25 countries including leading maternity chains in the US and United Kingdom.

How did she do it?

In this Game Changers interview with Channel Seven’s Edwina Bartholomew, Christine* explains she asked everyone and anyone for advice and help when she first started out. “In fact, my manufacturer came from me telling my hairdresser I couldn’t find a manufacturer, and he said ‘Oh, I’ve got a cousin who does something like that’, and that’s how I kicked it off.”

Edwina Bartholomew and Christine Kinninmonth talk babies and swaddling as Edwina is fitted for a Hug-a-Bub

Even the quirky way she met Peter and sold him half her business came from a need to finance the company.

Fertile Mind’s range now includes ethical Fair Trade, environmentally-friendly, organic and sustainable products for mindful mothers. Breastfeeding and babywearing are core to this mindfulness, and so the range includes nursing pillows to help with correct breastfeeding attachment, and the iconic Hug-a-Bub baby carrier, described in media as a “must have cult product for mums”.

Fertile Mind Founder Christine Kinninmonth filming Game Changers at Fox Studios with Adam Marks behind the camera

Trying on the Hug-a-bub as well as the latest addition Newbie Love – a patented wrap carrier with padded neck support for newborns – even led to Eddy admitting to feeling clucky. Look out fiancé Neil Varcoe!

Fertile Mind has endorsement partnerships with the Reflux Infant Support Association and Australian Physiotherapy Association, environmental partnerships with Eden Reforestation Projects, and is Australia’s only trained partner company with Germany’s Baby Carrying School in Dresden, one of the world’s leading baby-wearing education organisations. Through Eden Projects, every Hug-a-Bub sold plants a tree in deforested areas in Haiti, Madagascar and Nepal.

Written by Presenter

Edwina Bartholomew is an Australian journalist and television presenter. At Network Seven's breakfast show 'Sunrise', Edwina has covered everything from the Olympics, Royal Weddings to the Oscars. Now, as the host of Game Changers, she interviews inspirational people in business and entrepreneurs.

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