Sometimes when an idea comes along, you find throughout your journey the idea doesn’t just meet needs, it also changes lives – sometimes even on a global scale.
Cadenshae was created by Adam and Nikki Clarke, parents to 4 young kids, after Nikki realized there was a massive gap in the market for functional, stylish clothes for breastfeeding mothers. After the birth of their first daughter Caden in 2013, both parents were working as personal trainers when Nikki couldn’t find any clothes that she could wear to work, work out in and also breastfeed her baby in. Keeping active, being healthy and feeling good was really important to both Adam and Nikki, so when Nikki felt she was being limited by her clothing, they set out to create a range that would not only help Nikki on her own breastfeeding journey but would also solve a problem for mothers worldwide. They first launched Cadenshae in 2015, just days after the birth of their second born girl Ryan. Since then Cadenshae has grown to be a global brand helping moms all around the world.
In an interview with Unconditionally Her Founder, Karen Shayne, Nikki shares not just about her incredible creation, but also her incredible entrepreneurial spirit which helped her to create a global brand. They also talk about their new project, “Sister Support” which launched just this month.
Nikki, Cadenshae was created because you found a market that was desperately needed and untapped. You saw a chance, and you went for it. Tell us about that process, your inspiration and what made you unstoppable.
When I first had my baby girl and tried to go and work-out I just couldn’t believe there was nothing suitable for me to wear, in this day and age! I was almost angry about it! “Why has no one thought about this?! I can not be the only woman to have this problem! Why are women STILL having to battle their way through breastfeeding…it shouldn’t be this difficult!”
I searched high and low for QUALITY nursing sports bras and maternity activewear, and I just couldn’t find anything. My inspiration and motivation to build this business was to help other women, that’s always been at the core of everything I do, it’s an innate part of my personality, I love to help and give back. So, when I saw this opportunity to not only create a successful business (well, I was hoping!) but to also help women (during a very special time in their lives) feel good in clothing that is comfortable, supportive, practical and stylish, I just had to give it a crack! Plus, of course, from a business perspective, I really did stumble upon an untapped niche, so I thought it would be a bit silly to let this slip through my fingers and not try and make something out of it.
I am quite a creative person too, and I’m good with my hands, so even though I had no design or fashion experience, I just backed myself to be able to do it. I just believed I could, and found a way to make it happen. I guess my solid up-bringing has created a sense of self-confidence in this way, I just knew I had this, I had a fire in my belly, and I knew I could do it.
So…I wanted to help, and I backed myself to do it, but what made me truly unstoppable, and what continues to make me successful, is my gorgeous husband. We have the most amazing and unique relationship where we not only 50/50 parent, but we are 50/50 in business as well. We work, live, parent, play, workout and do everything together, so this team mentality got me, and us, where we are today. I couldn’t have done what I’ve done without Adam, in fact ‘I’ haven’t done it at all, ‘we’ did it…but because I am the ‘mother’ and the one who has physically breastfed and came up with the idea, I unfairly get more of the credit, but Adam is the rock of this family, this business and of me, and he is what has made me unstoppable. Find a good partner in life, that is key!
For women in business and trying to find the balance, what is your advice?
I think there is a lot of focus on finding ‘balance’ probably so much so that people are worrying unnecessarily about it. If you’re killing it in business, it doesn’t mean your family life is lacking. If your family and relationships are strong, does that mean your business has been neglected? No!
If life is good, don’t go changing anything! I think the key is to notice when things are imbalanced and address the situation then. For example, if I get really run down, it usually means I am pushing too hard and need to get some more balance. But I worry about that, when it happens. I am not always striving for balance, I just correct things when it’s noticeably imbalanced and work from there. That way I am not constantly putting pressure on myself to be all things to everyone, all the time. I just go with the flow, and correct things as needed.
That being said, as above, I couldn’t have any form of balance anywhere in my life if I didn’t have a super partner like my husband. Find a true partner in life, not a husband, or wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever…find a true PARTNER who is always there to be the rock when you can’t be, and vice versa. That is key. Adam is my balance.
Why is it important for women to find their niche in life?
I think it’s important for everyone to find their niche in life, as we all strive in different ways to be successful. Everyone’s definition of success is different, so I think it’s really important to find what makes you tick and be happy with that. For example, some people get a real kick out of cleaning the windows! But if something as simple as that gives you internal satisfaction, then what’s wrong with that?! Clean those windows as best you can girl! Go you! For other women, it’s cooking dinner every night for the family, or striving to be in the Forbes Top 10 businesswomen list, or winning gold at the Olympics, we’re all different! Whatever brings you joy, follow that, and if it’s something really simple, then so be it! Just find what brings you satisfaction and strive to be the best at it.