By Grace Austin
Barefoot & Pregnant made a name for itself by capitalizing on the prenatal market. The company is celebrating their tenth anniversary this fall.
Founded in 2003, Barefoot & Pregnant prenatal spas were the first of its kind. Since then, the spa has expanded to a hotel spa partner, and now with Belly Friendly, an online guide for pregnancy-friendly spas for expectant mothers.
Barefoot & Pregnant initially grew out of founder Stacy Denny’s experiences with pregnant friends and family. Denny’s background was originally in marketing, but she had always been interested in pregnancy. Denny felt women should embrace their pregnancies rather than hiding them.
“I was giving advice to one based on a conversation with another. I realized there was no community built around pregnancy. Through that, I realized there were all these services that expectant moms needed but they were all kind of afterthoughts in the marketplace,” says Denny.
She wanted to create a spa that would not only be safe to moms’ unborn babies, but would be aware of what they were going through and the specific modifications they needed. Incorporating fitness that was healthy and safe for expectant mothers was also important.
Belly Friendly, Denny’s newest venture, was launched in early 2012. Since then, twenty-two spas have become “Belly Friendly,” meaning they received a pregnancy-friendly approval through the Belly Friendly team. The Belly Friendly designation means spas are educated on prenatal health and have experience with certain equipment and services like safe manicures and pedicures, prenatal massage, and facials for expectant moms. Safe products also need to be utilized.
Hair services and fitness facilities are also available at some Belly Friendly salons.
Belly Friendly locations are now open in California, Colorado, Maryland, New York, and Texas.
Denny hopes to take the company beyond the spa industry. She would like to expand Belly Friendly to every service that is offered to expectant moms, including hospitals and OB/GYNs.
“We want to make sure that as a company, if you want to cater to this growing market—there are 16,000 pregnant women that enter the market every day—you are doing the right things,” says Denny. “We also want to educate consumers that there are differences and they should seek out those companies and service providers that are really catering to their needs.”