Enterprising mum scoops award for clothing brand

A CHOBHAM woman who designs and sells exercise clothing for pregnant women and new mums has won a business award.

Natalie Ward was named as the Start-up Entrepreneur of the Year (South East) at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

Natalie Ward with her award

Natalie started her online company, Latched, in 2018 after being unable to find suitable activewear after the birth of her daughter, Harper, and resorted to designing her own.

“People have much more awareness about how physical activity affects both their mental and physical health,” Natalie said.

“Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean that this has to stop. So being able to have clothing that you can exercise in through your pregnancy and once you’re breastfeeding is so important.”

Natalie said she has always been very active and was assistant head of sport at Royal Holloway University in Egham. She had no previous professional design experience although has always been creative and designed shoes when she was a child.

“When I started the business, I tested everything with Harper as I was breastfeeding her. We were very much focussed on breastfeeding to begin with. Two weeks after launch I discovered I was pregnant with my son Ethan so we expanded into all maternity wear and I also tested everything from the pregnancy side.” Natalie said.

“We want to grow the business but at a rate that’s sustainable for us. I know my customers and I know those women who need support. We offer something really different from generic brands because they are not coming at it from their own lived experience,” she added.

Natalie received the award at a ceremony held at the Grosvenor House hotel in London recently, attended by leading business figures including Phones4U founder John Caudwell, and Steven Bartlett from the BBC TV programme, Dragon’s Den.

“I am just over the moon to have won this award. Starting up a business is no mean feat but add two children under two into the mix and it is utter madness, but it hasn’t stopped me,” she said.

“I am so proud of what I have achieved with Latched in a small space of time and could not be happier that I took the plunge to create my own brand.

“To have the hard work and early success recognised by this national award programme, is truly the icing on the cake.”

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