Female Founder Series: Claire Mercieca

Brand strategy insights

Female Founder Series. Claire Mercieca. Embrace Bra. Flywheel Strategy.


Bootstrapping obsession into a brand moms deserve, with Claire Mercieca

According to data from PitchBook, women-led startups has plateaued since 2023, received approximately 2.1% of the total VC funding in the U.S. for 2023 so far. Falling from its peak of 2.8% of VC funding over 10 years ago in 2009.


Last month, I attended an elevated holiday marketplace featuring women-owned brands called Marché, and it was PHENOMENAL. The problem isn’t a lack of brilliant women-led businesses. And while I don’t have a ready-made solution to offer up, Flywheel Strategy is committed to offering our platform as a mechanism to share incredible founders and their products with you.

Let me introduce you to Claire Mercieca. She is the founder of the BEST (in my opinion) nursing essentials brand called Embrace. I came across her product while late-night searching after spending hundreds of dollars on disappointing postpartum purchases. I bought a couple of things on a sleepless, delirious whim. When they arrived, I was hooked. I loved the bras so much that I purchased multiple, then emailed the customer service team to just say how much I love their product and can’t stop telling everyone about them. Yes, I am now that person.

Claire responded, and we got on a call to chat as fellow parents and entrepreneurs. I’m 
thrilled to share more about her and her brand below.


Q: Can you share a little bit about your background? 
A: I was a corporate lawyer in my past life – surprise, surprise! I switched lanes years ago when I started my breastfeeding journey. Like many others out there, I couldn’t find quality nursing bras or tops that were comfortable, looked good and made sustainably.

And I became obsessed – I mean, a 24/7 all-I-can-think-about-type obsession – with creating the perfect nursing bra and top. I was so obsessed, I knew this was something I had to pursue so I quit my job and worked on this full time. 

I am what some would call a scrappy entrepreneur, bootstrapped the business. Starting out, I knew nothing about the fashion industry and learnt to do everything from scratch: design, fabrics, fashion production, marketing, etc. 

However, the one thing I knew and fought hard for, was quality. And I am proud to say we’ve achieved it in every item in our collection. 

Q: What made you want to launch Embrace

A:  I am the customer. I know what the market lacks and what we deserve, and I want to fill that gap for mothers everywhere. Because they have grown/are growing a human, and they deserve the very best.

B: What do you feel makes Embrace unique?

A: Our fabrics. 

I understood that a garment is only as good as the fabric it is made out of. I was determined to source fabrics that were natural with an incredibly soft handfeel but also long-lasting. Fabrics that pill easily is one of my pet peeves!

I couldn’t find fabrics that met my high standards, so I developed my own, made of the finest natural yarns in the world: US Supima Cotton and Austrian Micromodal.  Our fabrics are one of a kind. You won’t find the same fabrics anywhere else in the world.

Q: What is something you wish other entrepreneurs in your field knew or understood about the industry?

A: Haha I wouldn’t assume that I know something other entrepreneurs don’t already know! 

Q: What is something you wish your consumers knew or understood about the industry?

A: That there’s more to the story of that $20 nursing bra – there is an impact that you can’t immediately feel but is nevertheless real and lasting. 

Cheap nursing bras are typically made of cheap synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon that are essentially plastic and toxic for our environment and human health; and probably involve paying factory workers non-living wages. 

It is important to us to make the right choice in every stage of production. We use only natural, low-impact fabrics and require all our factories to be independently audited to ensure workers are paid living wages and there are effective environmental and safety management system in place, amongst other things; 

And our prices reflect the cost of responsible production.

Q: Can you share a little about any exciting launches coming up for Embrace?

A: Absolutely. We have two new styles launching in December: The Luxe Nursing Bra (our elevated take on the classic nursing bra) and High-Leg Briefs, as well as a new color Cocoa Brown for our bestselling Soft-Cup Nursing Bra.

I am particularly excited about the upcoming launches because they were designed pursuant to customer feedback, and I am thrilled to be able to give them what they want.

We are working on a Nursing Dress – which again, is something many customers have requested for – estimated to be launched February 2024.

Q: Where can consumers learn more about you/Embrace? 

A: You can follow us on our socials @ourembrace (IG/Tiktok) or learn more about our story on our website.

I enjoy taking the time to personally respond to customers. We often end up sharing stories about pregnancy, our babies and just life in general. It’s one of the best parts of my job – so feel free to reach out if you want to learn more about us or simply have a chat. I am always here! X

Which founders are inspiring you in 2024? Message us to nominate your favorite founder to be part of our series.

December 14, 2023

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