Cadenshae, the global leaders in activewear for pregnant and nursing mothers, say they’re ‘pleased’ multi-billion dollar brand Nike has ‘finally’ stepped up to the plate with its launch of a dedicated maternity line.

Cadenshae boast they’re the ‘original’ brand for maternity activewear and have been serving the vastly untapped market since its inception in 2015. The New Zealand based business has grown exponentially over the past five years, and is now a $7 million dollar company – despite all of the uncertainty and chaos surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

Founder and owner Nikki Clarke (pictured above) says she’s been waiting for this news for a long time.

“For years we’ve secretly called ourselves, ‘the Nike for mums,’ because none of the big brands ever bothered to cater to mothers, so we did. It’s taken Nike 56 years to launch clothing for mums…that’s just too long.”

“We know what we’re doing here at Cadenshae, and we truly care for our mothers on a deeper level. Nike will do well out of this I’m sure, but I’m not concerned. I’ve never been afraid of competition, even if it is from one of the world’s best known brands.”

This is not the first time Cadenshae has ‘gone up against’ Nike.

In 2019 Cadenshae signed a four-year contract with 6 x US 800m champion Alysia Montaño (34) who left Nike after she discovered her pay would cease if she fell pregnant. Months later, the Olympian was picked up by Asics and promised maternity coverage for the future. But, following the birth of her daughter (Linnéa) in 2014 – and after a change of management – Montaño’s contract was cut by Asics due to her performances whilst pregnant.

Montaño’s treatment became the catalyst for a movement to find companies who support female professional athletes in pregnancy, and beyond. Fellow moms and star runners, Allyson Felix (the most decorated female Olympian of all time), and long-distance champion, Kara Goucher joined Montaño’s plight, with all three women speaking out, and standing up for maternal protection in their contracts.

“So many of these major brand sponsorships are highly unfair and downright discriminatory…this discrimination is hidden within fancy verbiage and legal jargon,” says Montaño.

“Why, just because I am a woman and an athlete should I be penalised for acting on a basic human right? Men don’t lose out on money when they become fathers.”

Since the initial outcry, Montaño, a.k.a. ‘that pregnant runner,’ signed with Cadenshae in October last year, a few weeks after she announced her third pregnancy. The partnership focuses more on allowing Montaño to pursue her newfound role as a women’s maternity rights activist and her most important role – a mom, rather than demanding podium placings.

Clarke says she’s excited to see what comes from the ‘Nike M’ collection, which made its official launch on September 17.

I’m in no way threatened by this announcement, I’m actually pleased as it shows the big players are finally taking mothers seriously.”

“Nike are finally recognising the worth of mothers…and I don’t mean just their monetary value.”

According to ‘Edited’ a retail market intelligence company that tracks fashion e-commerce sales, the number of maternity activewear styles available online in the US alone have increased by 58% since 2015.

Maternity leggings are the most popular item sold – up 171%, and nursing sports bras are also proving profitable, with sales increasing by 45%.

However, despite the growth, maternity activewear still only makes up half a percent of the total activewear market in the US.

Clarke says Cadenshae has something that the likes of Nike will never have, which is why she is not overly concerned about the launch of ‘Nike M.’

“Now more than ever consumers what to ‘connect’ with brands on a deeper level. Mothers especially want know they’re supporting companies that support them in more ways than one.”

“Cadenshae is a brand made up of a community of mothers, and we’re a brand that really does put the mother’s best interests first.”

During the last five years, I’ve learnt that women love to support women founded or led businesses, especially those who cater to mothers…as we’re the only ones who truly get it!”

Nike just doesn’t have what we have. We all know mums rally together for the better, so we’re positive our community will get behind us and support us over brands that are doing it just for profit, or as a marketing stunt.”

“Nike may have the resources to create quality clothing, but they’re too big to create the genuine connection with their customers that we have, that’s what brings people back…and it’s for that reason alone I’m not worried.”

“Bring it on Nike,” says Clarke.