Maria Messier- (Co-Inventor, Chief Operating Office, Managing Member)
Let’s face it. Pregnancy is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sure the end result is wonderful, but the journey can be less than glamorous. In Nov 2012, I was large and in charge, about to give birth to baby #2. At the tail end of pregnancy, I was feeling frustrated because I could not fit into anything, including my winter coat. This of course posed a “huge” problem living in upstate NY. I was freezing, fat, and frustrated! The 3 F’s as I like to call it. I was definitely not going to invest in a ridiculously overpriced maternity coat, used for a few short months, so instead I squeezed into my husbands North Face. Lets just say, that didn’t work out so well. Feeling like a human box, I thought to myself, someone really needs to invent something that enlarges your existing coats to prevent this frustration. A great idea, but hey I was about to give birth, so that idea went right into the “mom’s great idea’s” section of my brain. Fast forward to Sept of 2013, SURPRISE, we are expecting twins.. GULP…. Yep, life was about to get insane… I quickly found that my belly was expanding yet again, and before I knew it I was the 3 F’s ( freezing, fat, and frustrated), yet again. While at a family holiday party, I was sharing this idea that I had thought of back in 2012. It really caught the attention of my aunt Joanne; a NY designer with over 40 years of experience in the industry. She felt like it was a great idea and was very interested in pursuing it along with me. We became fast business partners, and in January 2014, we had our first of 7 prototypes. We called it the Extendher: a clip on jacket extension panel that enhances any of your coats, making them larger. It is one product with 2 modes of function, perfect during pregnancy and later while babywearing! On March 31,2015 Extendher LLC was formed and we have been scaling ever since.. Extendher solves that very problem that every woman faces during pregnancy! We have since brought new products into our line, and plan to expand into the retail market. At Extendher, we make “Unique and Innovative Baby Products for Mom’s and Families on the go!
Joanne Frank – (Co-Inventor, Designer, Managing Member)
My story begins from the time of 9 years old. I had created dozens of dresses that my mother thought were good enough to send to the Long Island Sunday Press. Seeing my designs in print at such a young age was what drove me to want more. After graduating from Art & Design High School, I began working for Butterick & Vogue, a prestigious pattern company. Starting off as an apprentice, I quickly moved on to the role of the sketcher. This was a wonderful experience, but again I wanted more. I found it difficult to advance at this point because I was told that they only hire “experienced designers”. Ultimately this is what drove me to further my education at the Fashion Institute of Technology. At 22 I landed my dream job designing for the Fifth Avenue stores as a private label designer. The recognition in Women’s Wear Daily and in B. Altman’s Christmas catalog was a great joy. Some of my designs were displayed at department stores such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Ave, Lord and Taylor, and Bonwit Teller.
After marrying my husband Bill and moving upstate, I was hired to work for one of the areas top designers, Ursula of Switzerland. This was a wonderful experience on so many levels. It was pure joy to create patterns for the most beautiful dresses and evening gowns. After leaving Ursula, I decided it was time to showcase my talent and venture off on my own. I started Fashion Art & Design Services Inc, and launched my very own tennis wear line. This was a great success, until my manufacturer folded. Fashion Art & Design is still a freelance business, however I have been looking for something new and invigorating to create with my 40 years of knowledge in the industry. When my niece approached me, I knew this was something that was going to be big! Designing the extendher has been an incredible experience. After continuous planning, research, and development, we have a fantastic product that solves a problem.
To offer a cost effective, high quality product that solves a problem that many families face during pregnancy and beyond.