We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Lungu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Lay & V was developed when I noticed a gap in the maternity clothing market. The story really begins with my third pregnancy; throughout my first two pregnancies I had an extremely hard time finding pants that stayed on my tush, I literally spent half my day pulling my pants up. I also found everything to be super uncomfortable, not flattering and inevitably felt frumpy. All the tops were ruched down the side, all the pants fell off my behind and on top of all that, everything was so expensive to wear for only 9 months. I began researching and trying to find a solution, only to came up empty handed. In an “ah-ha” moment I decided I’ll make something that solves this problem. I needed something with the functionality of suspenders, but it had to be a completely different look and concept. After brainstorming, sketching and sewing, I finally created the first prototype of the bodysuit. And, the best part was that it worked – my pants stayed in place and I felt great!! I knew I had to keep pursuing this idea.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more? What sets you apart from the others?
What sets Lay & V apart from other maternity brands is the actual need for it – it is solving a real problem that pregnant women face daily. It may seem like a nicety to have a bodysuit that holds up your pants and looks updated from traditional maternity wear, but its real purpose is making mama’s feel confident through their pregnancy at an affordable price. I, personally, went through this three times, I know what it feels like to be lugging around an extra 30 pounds wearing outdated, non-flattering maternity clothes while pulling up your pants all day. No woman should have to feel self-conscious when they are pregnant! I really wanted to help instill confidence during the most wonderful time in life, creating life. Another goal of Lay & V was the ability to create an affordable piece. I don’t know anyone who likes to spend a ton of money on clothes for only 9 months of wear. I focused on staying at a reasonable price point and treating this as a foundation piece that can be worn before, during and after pregnancy. By stacking on different accessories, shoes, scarfs, blazers, sweaters, etc. you can literally create a different look daily.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There is so much to do and see in New England and the beauty of it is that everything is all relatively close. You can go from state to state in like an hour : ) And Fall, the best time of the year with all the leaves changing, brisk, chilly air, football, all things pumpkin!! The fun would start on Sunday with a trip to Foxborough to go watch the Patriots play – the stadium feel, the crowd and watching football live is such a different vibe than watching it on TV. We would def take a drive to Salem, Massachusetts. This is always a great, fun thing to do in October – all the cute little shops everywhere and the witch museums are very interesting, plus I don’t think you can find a bad place to eat there! Another MUST is the Big E. If you have never heard of the Big E it’s an amazing fair in Springfield, Massachusetts and it has all things New England. There are state buildings which go through every state’s history, there is food, food and more food! There is a game and ride area, there are animals, the Budweiser Clydesdales, the big yellow slide (which you ride down on a burlap sack and I think is arguably the fastest slide in the world), there is the world’s largest butter sculpture – this fair will NOT disappoint, it never does! Last year, 1.6 million people attended – its legit!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Yes! I can think of so many inspirational women and leaders who have molded some of my decisions along the way, Sara Blakely, Katrina Lake, but one in particular comes to mind…. Anna of V. Mora, played a huge role in my story. My background is so far from the fashion industry it’s not even funny – I was a Blackhawk pilot and spent almost 15 years in the military, so when it came time to actually move forward with this idea, I had no clue where to start, like none! I researched and researched and called so many manufacturers and fabric stores and I could seriously go on! There is no doubt that the first half of creating this was pure research. With the help of Anna, I was able to streamline the process. Anna just has such a deep level of knowledge in this industry and exemplifies it in a such a calm, on track manner. It was amazing to work with her and her team.