Teresa Delfín founded Mountain Mama, the first technical outdoor apparel for maternity, to empower and inspire women to stay active during pregnancy. A preview of her debut line, all 100% made in the U.S., set the outdoor industry abuzz in January, and she has now received a prestigious 2010 Polartec® APEX Award for design innovation and excellence.
An 18-year veteran of the outdoor industry who has trekked the Inca Trail twice, climbed Peru’s 19,000+ El Misti, and won the Panamanian National Bouldering Competition, Teresa found the inspiration for her company in pregnancy. Or rather, in the frustration she felt when she discovered she couldn’t find so much as long underwear for maternity—much less the high-tech wicking baselayers, fleece jackets and other outdoor apparel she relied on for years as an avid climber, kayaker, cyclist and skier.
When the collapsing economy derailed her career as a professor of anthropology in Tennessee, Teresa knew it was time to act on her inspiration. She applied her research skills to the market and started sketching designs, analyzing fabric, and assembling a team. A year later, she’s at the helm of a company that’s poised to make a difference in the lives of the millions of women who know that staying active during pregnancy is good for both them and their babies.
As a native Californian who was skiing Tahoe at 4, climbing Yosemite at 7, backpacking the High Sierra as a teen, and kayaking the San Francisco Bay between Grad school classes, Teresa knew she had to come home to launch Mountain Mama. She’s now taken full advantage of L.A.’s position as the center of the U.S. apparel industry, partnering with one of the area’s leading fabric mills to develop her own proprietary fabric with the stretch and wicking performance for maternity applications.
Teresa credits her successes to the strong women who have mentored her, especially her abuelita, who anchored the family in Mexico, and her mother, who immigrated to the U.S. for an education and better opportunities.
Teresa received a B.A. from Evergreen College, an M.A. from UC Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from Stanford. She has taught at Rhodes College, Whittier College, and Stanford. She is a member of the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition.
Most of her outdoor playtime is now spent with her toddler, Fausto, but she still makes time for frequent paddling, climbing, and mountain bike outings.