By MICHELLE AMOUR | Editor-in-chief
PELHAM – Moms who walk into the Nursing Queen store in Pelham are often shocked by the fashion choices on display. Instead of awkward, unflattering clothing, they find chic and durable modern designs with subtle yet easy access for nursing mothers.
This is something Nursing Queen owner Quinn Reitz said she searched tirelessly as a breastfeeding mother.
âIn 2014, when I had my first son, I started looking for nursing clothes and realized there was a real need for cuter styles,â she said. “Things that weren’t tacky, things that had more cotton patterns, so I decided I was going to make my own clothing line.”
Nursing Queen launched in 2017 with Reitz working in her garage and basement. Once her two home workspaces were full of merchandise, her husband suggested it was time for her to move to a bigger space. It found its current space in Pelham and opened in June 2021.
Although she said the space mainly acts as a warehouse, there is a downstairs floor where moms can browse and shop. Reitz designs each piece herself, taking the patterns she admires in her everyday clothes and tweaking the style to “make it a nursing style with easy access for breastfeeding.” The key word with Nursing Queen is âvariety,â as the Reitz offers everything from dresses, t-shirts and sweatshirts to formal wear for weddings and other high fashion events. She is particularly proud of a particular item.
âThe first thing I couldn’t find while breastfeeding, it just didn’t exist, was a nursing camisole or a tank top with built-in padding,â Reitz said. âI ordered stuff that said there was padding like Australia and France, and it just didn’t exist. It’s so boring. I’m like, why don’t they make nursing tank tops with built-in padding? And I didn’t want it to look like underwear. I wanted it to look like a regular tank top that I could wear with shorts that look normal and have a padding for cover and leaks.
Another major feat that Reitz is proud of is the fact that everything in her store is made from cotton, as opposed to the typical rayon / spandex blends found in other nursing clothes. She makes sure that all of her clothing items are reasonably priced. Even with the high cost of using quality hardware, she doesn’t want to take advantage of the prices.
âPeople aren’t going to pay $ 100 for a hoodie,â she said. âI know I wouldn’t. But that’s why I go directly to the consumer, so I don’t have to increase the price three or four times for other retailers. We try to keep everything under $ 50 or $ 60.
Reitz said there are several factors that explain why other retailers are not focusing on providing the services it provides, with issues ranging from the short amount of time women breastfeed their children to providing outdated styles.
âI think it’s because it’s a niche market. Other retailers don’t see the need to focus on this area because most women don’t breastfeed beyond six weeks, and then there’s an even bigger drop after three months. So I think the big retailers don’t see the benefits in such a short term customer.
âI also think some small businesses try to be successful and fail because they don’t give new moms what they’re looking for, cute and stylish clothes that make them feel like themselves. If you don’t offer affordable modern styles, you won’t make it, âshe said.
Her other goal was to make clothes that women would want to keep even after they finished breastfeeding. âThe zippers are so inconspicuous that no one will see them,â she said. âIf this sounds too obvious, I won’t go with the design. I am no longer breastfeeding and still wear all of my nursing clothes because I think they are cute. So you can get a lot of use out of it for sure.
Overall, Reitz wants all of his clients to feel like they’re dealing with a friend, someone who’s been through what they’re going through right now. She proves this by mainly hiring mothers to work in the store. She prides herself on being a “small business run by a mother.”
âI try to have the best number one customer service in the market. We will bend over backwards for people. If they need something for a special event, I’ll cover airfare the next day. If they miss the 30 day return policy, I understand the new mom is busy. We’re a small business and we try to be there for the customer and make it a personal experience, âshe said.
âYou know you’re ordering from someone who will be behind the product and we’re very honest,â Reitz said. âPeople will say, ‘It’s so much cheaper if you switch to this fabric or if you do that,’ and I don’t mean to make it cheaper. I will not increase the price either. I want people to get quality items without paying an arm and a leg.
You can browse Nursing Queen’s merchandise on their website at nursequeen.com or visit their storefront at 206 Oak Mountain Circle Pelham, AL 35124.