Mama + Mimba Maternity is an online maternity boutique that uplifts and empowers mamas-to-be with beautiful, elegant, and chic clothing. Founded in June 2020, Mama + Mimba was birthed from an idea to combine a deep love for culture, fashion + style, and working with pregnant women to create a chic maternity clothing brand for all mamas-to-be. As a new, Black-owned, woman-led small business, Mama + Mimba inspires all mamas-to-be to feel beautiful and powerful during their pregnancies with a bold fashion statement. The brand also hopes to use its presence and platform to bring more representation of Black women into the motherhood & maternity wear spaces.
Mimba (pronounced meem-bah) means pregnancy in Swahili, which is the mother language of Melissa Mulengwa, Mama + Mimba’s Owner & Founder. As a first-generation immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Melissa was deeply inspired by her Congolese roots to create a maternity clothing brand that encompasses her culture and passion for fashion + style. “Congolese people are best known for their fashion and personal style: bold prints, vibrant colors, and elegant touches”, explains Melissa. “Fashion and style are, and always will be, a part of me. I knew that I wanted to pay homage to my beautiful Congolese heritage by capturing these elements in the pieces I curate for Mama + Mimba.” The brand’s signature looks include bold prints, vibrant colors, clean lines, and modern cuts that are exceptionally classy and feminine. Using Swahili names to title their pieces, and lovingly calling their community the #mimbachic family brings together mamas from all over the world into a part of Melissa’s heart and culture.
Melissa discovered her passion for working with pregnant women while working at a women’s health center in San Francisco, which was centered on providing integrative and holistic health services to women and couples who were trying to conceive, pregnant women, and women who were postpartum. Melissa recalls, “Growing up, I always knew I wanted to work in the field of maternal health, and this job came at the perfect time in my life. I remember feeling so humbled and in awe by all of the amazing women I worked with, and how our team was actively helping women begin their journeys into motherhood. All of the stories shared, emotions felt, and love that was poured into supporting women and couples who faced infertility, pregnancy loss, and new life were indescribable. It was so powerful, special, and truly a blessing to be in such a sacred space!” During this time, Melissa was also pursuing an MBA at San Francisco State University. “Going to business school while simultaneously working at a small, women-owned business provided me with both a technical and practical education in business. Combined with living in San Francisco – the entrepreneurial capital of California -, I was deeply inspired to begin my own journey into entrepreneurship,” describes Melissa.
Celebrating Black Motherhood
As a Black woman, Melissa understands the lack of representation of Black women in motherhood & maternity wear spaces. “Representation is so important to me, and I wanted to create a brand where Black women felt seen, heard, and celebrated in pregnancy and motherhood,” Melissa explains. “Black women have so many stories to share about their journeys into motherhood, and these stories need to be told and cherished.” To celebrate Black pregnancy and motherhood, Melissa introduced a new series to Mama + Mimba’s community called Words of a Mama. Words of a Mama is a series that allows Black mothers to share their own tips and advice on all things surrounding pregnancy and motherhood and pass on their knowledge and personal experiences to mamas-to-be, as a way to give their love, support, and encouragement to those who are about to become mothers for the very first time. Mama + Mimba opens the conversation of pregnancy, motherhood, and everything in between to their #mimbachic family, and to all mamas who wish to learn, laugh, cry, heal, and rejoice in all that it means to be a mama.
Building a Legacy
Mama + Mimba Maternity gracefully brings together Melissa’s biggest passions to effortlessly create a unique maternity clothing brand that strives to inspire all mamas-to-be to feel beautiful and powerful during the most transformative stage of their lives. Melissa explains, “My mother has always taught me that women are the most beautiful and powerful beings on the entire Earth and that women are the most powerful when pregnant because they are carrying life inside of them.” Through Mama + Mimba, Melissa intends to capture her beautiful Congolese culture, introduce a new and refreshing take on maternity clothing, and celebrate Black pregnancy and motherhood in a beautiful light.
Follow Mama + Mimba Maternity’s Instagram and shop their website to indulge in beautiful maternity fashion! To learn more about Melissa and Mama + Mimba’s story, please watch the brand’s introductory video.