The Caden Sisters
Shortly after Lori Caden had her first baby and was struggling to regain her pre-baby body and confidence, she was brought to tears in a store by an offer from a fellow shopper to help her reach a product on the top shelf because he assumed she was still pregnant.
After confiding in her two sisters, Jodi and Kari Caden, they joined forces to help their middle sister (and first of them to give birth) create a solution to her post-baby body woes. After much research and development, which included investigating postpartum practices of other cultures, grassroots sample and marketing efforts and medical guidance from Lori’s OB-GYN, the Michigan-born sisters developed a postpartum compression belly wrap system which launched Belly Bandit in 2008 and later Proof, now both headquartered in California.
“Heart and soul went into this first product for me. I was able to try it for my second pregnancy and it made me feel better,” said Lori. “We are mission-driven by need and develop solution-based products for women. We want women to feel better and more confident.”
Founding successful companies is nothing new to the entrepreneurial Caden sisters, who grew up in Farmington Hills and attended Michigan State University. In the late 1990s, Kari and Lori moved to Los Angeles and cofounded Caden Concepts, a promotional products company that is still in operation. Meanwhile, Jodi was living in Bloomfield Hills and running her own custom cabinetry business, Caden Design Group, in Birmingham. As the Belly Bandit business grew, she commuted regularly between Michigan and Los Angeles before joining her sisters in California in 2016.
“It was always our dream as sisters to work together. We’re best friends. We support each other and share the same failures, successes and feels together,” explained Lori. “Entrepreneurship is tough. During tough times, one of us is always there to pick the others up.”
“We each have different expertise and knew the synergy would be amazing. Each one of us wants the other to do better – you only find that in families,” said Jodi, CEO and eldest sister.
Belly Bandit specializes in maternity, postpartum and nursing support products while the Proof brand focuses on leakproof underwear for bladder and menstrual concerns. Both growing global brands offer a wide selection of products made of specialized materials specific to the functionality of each item, and, according to Jodi, “innovation and quality” set their products apart.
In addition to listening to their customers and delivering useful products they believe in, both brands have benefited from positive media and celebrity buzz. Glowing testimonials from numerous celebrities have helped elevate the status of both brands, but, as youngest sister, Kari, remarked, “Women are excited to talk about products they love. We deliver top of the line products. We listen to every customer and support women in every product. Ultimately, you can’t fool women into liking a product.”
All three sisters have very fond memories of growing up in the Detroit area and credit their parents for helping them understand the importance of goals, money, work and family.
Kari said, “We understand the power of helping women. We pick and choose what’s important as sisters, not just business partners. When we have different opinions, we are respectful of each other’s views. We’re family and that’s sacred.”
Story: Tracy Donohue
Photo: Provided by the Caden sisters