When Anna Meadows found herself pregnant with her first child, daughter Amina, she was faced with a revelation she didn’t anticipate.
“The world is not designed for moms,” Anna said. “And it’s not something you really understand until you’re in that situation. I didn’t feel like I had many resources, a place I could go for more information on what I was experiencing — I was very angry during my pregnancy and suffered from postpartum depression afterward — or a place I could go to find the things I needed. I’d even talked to friends who had babies, and what many people would tell me is that I’d figure it out.
“Once I had the baby, if I was traveling for work and needed to pump, the stations were on a different floor, all the way on the other side of the building. I was annoyed.”
Additionally, she also found limited options in apparel.
“When you’re pregnant, you need clothes that fit you and shoes that are comfortable and provide support,” Anna said. “But you still want it to be flattering and to look hot.”
The 29-year-old hopes to alleviate some of the hurdle for tri-state moms through her boutique, Momerella, located at 241 Main St. in downtown Dubuque.
Opened on June 1, 2022 — when Amina was
4 months old — the shop falls under the umbrella of the Galena, Ill.-based Honest John stores and previously housed HJ’s Fashion Emporium, operated by her mother, Terri Meadows.
Anna is the third generation of her family to help carry on the Honest John stores. They were named after her grandfather, who helped launch the retail businesses, which include three additional locations in Galena.
Although Anna initially had no interest in the family venture — even including not working at the stores on a list of life goals when she was younger — she reconsidered once she became a mom and realized the local niche she could help fill.
“(Terri) was looking to close the Dubuque location,” she said. “Dubuque has always been home. When the space became available, and with limited maternity options available locally, this seemed like the perfect fit.”
Bringing her vision to life, Anna revamped the store, giving it an airy and modern feel, and introduced maternity fashion, gifts and accessories, nursing essentials, clothing and shoes for kids through adults, and natural and eco-friendly care and beauty products.
While moms at all stages of their parenting journeys are a clear focus of Momerella, Anna emphasized that her goal for the shop is to cater to all women.
“There’s a transition time in a woman’s life where she no longer wants to present herself as a teenager and she’s also not ready to appear as her mom did,” she said. “We cater to that segment of life. As soon as you have a baby, society says, ‘OK, your title is mother.’ And all of a sudden, it’s rare to be seen as anything else. My goal is to create a space, social media awareness and brand that tells society that moms are women, too. As much as my goal is to provide women with the products they may need, it is equally important that we exude the attitude of validating ‘mom’ as the beautiful woman she is and is becoming. It’s not like you’re a mom, and your life is all about giant flowers now. You’re still you.
“I am Anna, and then I am a mom, and then I am a business owner. I believe every woman is herself before she is anything else, so I tried to create the store so she could find things as a woman that happen to fit as a mom.”
Among Momerella’s other offerings is the Wisdom Wall, where women can leave fliers and business cards for everything from pre- and post-natal specialist care to OBGYNs, therapists and even divorce attorneys.
Additionally, the shop has hosted prenatal yoga, with mocktails, and other informational events that cater toward new and expectant moms.
Momerella also offers a natural signature perfume scent titled appropriately, “My Way.”
“I want women to come in to feel good, to be able to pamper themselves,” said Anna, who noted that response to the store from area shoppers has been strong in its debut year. “It has been very rewarding. I feel lucky that I am able to be a resource for women because it’s not always easy becoming a mom. And its not always easy being a woman in today’s world. The bottom line is that we’re a safe space for women.”
Megan Gloss writes for the Telegraph Herald.