Support Locally Owned Store, While Investing in Yourself and ‘The Girls’

I loved being pregnant – most days. I enjoyed dreaming about the alien growing inside me. I loved the changes only I could feel.  It always felt like I was sharing a secret with my unborn baby. It always felt like I was doing something amazing. I loved nursing all four of my babies – most days. It was a connection I would not have traded for any ready-made convenience. A bond so beautiful (once you got past the messy parts) it felt like I was doing something amazing. So, what isn’t amazing about these things? The battle wounds. If you are a mother you know what I’m talking about.

The rewards of bringing a new life into the world always come with some form of payment (unless you are a genetic freak). Whether it’s a new tummy pouch, wider hips, looser skin, stretch marks, extra weight or breasts that forgot how to be perky. We pay. At least most of us do in some way.

I long ago came to terms with this fact. To me it seemed a small price to pay. So, I never thought about the fact that post-nursing “the girls” were less than supported. There are debates about whether or not it’s the pregnancy itself or the nursing that I have to thank for the changes. Either way, I certainly noticed the changes once I finished nursing each baby, got rid of my nursing bras and struggled to determine my new size.

I would buy a bra (usually a cheap one), take it home, wear it once and then hate the way it felt. This may seem like TMI, but I know many mothers struggle with these dumb little talked about post-pregnancy issues. I kept reverting back to wearing sports bras because I couldn’t stand anything else.

Last Sunday, I decided to support a local blogger, Andrea with Real Housewives of Northern Virginia, who was promoting a “Bra Drop” charity recycling event at the Belle Mode Intimates store in Fairfax, VA. Participants donated an old bra (and I had plenty to get rid of) to raise awareness for the Tiger Lily Breast Cancer Foundation. At the door, I received a 20% off coupon for participating, so I decided to browse not expecting to purchase anything.

What I found was a locally owned store with amazing customer service. The owners Pam and Nicole Martin are a mother and daughter team. Nicole runs the Fairfax store and Pam runs the flagship store Bertha Church in Burlington, VT.

While I was there they did a bra fitting and determined the style, cut, and size that worked best for my body. I couldn’t believe it. “The girls” were back where they were supposed to be after all these years. Who knew.

More importantly, I left the store feeling great about myself – unlike some other post-child shopping experiences. I love supporting locally owned stores, especially ones that help women feel good about themselves.

If you live in the area, I highly recommend going for a bra fitting at Belle Mode Intimates located at the Fairfax Corner Shopping Center. You won’t be disappointed. They have sizes for every shape and really take the time to help you. They also carry an assortment of nursing bras and can fit you for your new nursing shape as well. If you are looking for something special, they carry really pretty lingerie.

I have always heard how important investing in a great bra is, but until I did it myself I didn’t actually believe it. I always went the cheaper route. Or bought something I simply thought was cute.

I challenge you to get fitted and see for yourself what I’m talking about. In fact, if you go for a bra fitting and mention Tiny Steps Mommy, Belle Mode Intimates will give you 20 % off your purchase.

Then please tell me all about your experience by leaving a comment below or joining the Tiny Steps Mommy Facebook page.

Don’t forget to tell Belle Mode Intimates that Tiny Steps Mommy sent you to get 20% off your purchase!


Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.




  1. I enjoyed reading your essay. I recently had a similar experience at Bertha Church, the original store on Church Street in Burlington Vermont. I’ve always bought bras off the rack at department stores and been more or less satisfied. But recently I realized that my bras didn’t seem to be doing the job. I went to Burlington’s most upscale department store and spent an hour trying on bras without ever having an employee check in with me or offer help. I finally left empty-handed. The next day I went to Bertha Church, was greeted immediately, and with just a quick measure and a few questions Pam brought me several bras to try on. Bingo! I spent more than I’m used to spending on department store bras, but not that much more. And I felt like a million bucks, with a comfortable supportive bra and a noticeably nicer profile under my sweater. Long live local lingerie shops!