By Katie Healey
A few years back, a pediatric nurse raising one young child and pregnant with her second baby had a dilemma. Her favorite winter coat would not zip up over her growing belly. She went to the coat closet to put on her husband’s jacket and was not pleased how it fit or looked.
Maria Messier, a Saratoga County entrepreneur, said she always had a knack for finding solutions. After finding herself in need of way to expand her coat to fit, she decided to invent a jacket extender for herself and for other expectant mothers to widen their favorite coats during pregnancy. With it, they could stay warm in their current coat and avoid paying for a high-priced, short-lived, maternity jacket.
But like most busy, working mothers, Messier put the idea to the back of her mind.
In the fall of 2013, Messier found out she was expecting twins. She was talking with her aunt, Joanne Frank, a fashion designer by trade with over 40 years of experience. Frank thought she could partner with her niece to see if the idea could become an actual product.
Together, they designed a jacket extender system.
Along the way, they hit some stumbling blocks. Inserting a universal zipper to allow for extra fabric to cover the expanded belly was not as easy as it seemed. It wasn’t feasible until Frank came up with a clip-on idea. They developed a clip process that is patent pending.