Photos courtesy Mae Lah Maternity Boutique.

10 questions with Mae Lah Maternity Boutique

As the owner of First Glimpse 3D/4D Ultrasounds, Micah Dugas sees pregnant women daily. What she didn’t see, however, was a maternity boutique in the Baton Rouge market. Since moms-to-be would regularly ask her to stock clothing at First Glimpse, she knew a store filled with transitional maternity items was her next big venture. However, while some entrepreneurs spend months sorting out the details, Dugas was off and running almost immediately. Within weeks of finding the perfect space, she was preparing for Mae Lah Maternity Boutique’s grand opening.

We sat down with Dugas to learn more about the store, the clothes and her passion for catering to the pregnant women of Baton Rouge.

Micah Dugas.

1. What is a typical day like for you and your team?

We usually open a little before 10 a.m. to get everything organized and ready to go for the day. Being a new store, we enjoy everyone’s reactions when they come in. Everyone is a new customer, and they are so excited we opened.

2. Why did you decide to open a maternity boutique?

I have owned First Glimpse 3D/4D Ultrasounds for almost five years now. We’ve seen quite a few pregnant ladies, and a lot of them would always suggest things we should carry in the store that they were looking for. Over the years though, maternity clothing has been the number one thing we didn’t pursue. I know retail is a hard market, and maternity is even harder–if that’s possible. It’s a very specific thing. But as time moved on, we tried carrying a small amount of maternity clothing in First Glimpse and we really just ran out of room. The Lord opened a door for me to find the perfect space close by. I heard him tell me that it was my new maternity store, so three days later we signed a lease.

3. What is the first thing customers see when they walk through the doors of your new store?

Pink. I love the color pink! I tried to go with a modern, simplistic and clean look in the store. We painted everything white–from the walls to the counters to the displays–and made all the details a flat black. Therefore, I needed that perfect pop of color, and pink is my jam. The dressing rooms have giant pink velvet curtains, and behind the register is a pink accent wall with our logo in black. I love it!

4. What sets Mae Lah apart?

For starters, it’s the only maternity boutique in Baton Rouge. But Mae Lah is a transitional maternity boutique. By this I mean that I try to stock the store in a specific way. About half of the store is maternity-specific clothing, like jeans, certain dresses and tops, but the other half is regular clothing. When I go to market in LA, I take a fake maternity belly with me. If I can wear the article of clothing both really pregnant and not pregnant, then I purchase it for the store. We want moms to feel like they can shop here before, during and after pregnancy, while enjoying their clothing the entire time.

5. How did Mae Lah get its name?

So I got the idea coming back from lunch that I wanted to open this separate maternity store. When I called and told my husband, he was not super thrilled. I said we could discuss it later that night when I got home.

Later that evening when I finally brought it up again and explained what it would entail, my Lafayette Cajun husband–who had already voiced his grievances that I was working so much as it was–said, “Oh, mais la!” We went through multiple name options but ultimately I came back to my husband’s exasperations. So Mae Lah Maternity Boutique was born. The name was slightly tweaked because Mae is my grandmother’s middle name, and Lah ends in “ah,” just like my two sisters’ names, as well as mine. My mother gave us all nicknames that end in “ah” as the Lord’s blessing, and I want the Lord to bless this store as well.

6. What is one thing you think customers should know about your store that they might not be aware of?

That anyone can shop here! It’s not just for during a woman’s pregnancy. We have transitional pieces like stretchy waistband pull-on flares and flowy tops, as well as a line of nursing bras and tops.

7. Have there been any unexpected moments in the months leading up to your grand opening?
I wish I could say there were months leading up to the opening, but it was just weeks. I had lunch with a good new friend who was helping me understand the retail side a little more, and it just hit me to go look at this retail space again. I called my husband within five minutes of hearing God tell me to go do it. I swore we would take weeks to decide, but within five days I had signed a lease and a week after that we were on a plane to L.A. to stock the store. Mae Lah opened within six weeks of my first thought of opening it. I did have and still do have quite a few unexpected moments because I’m learning as I go, but it really has been such a fun rollercoaster.

8. How do you keep the store’s inventory fresh and up to date?

Honestly, this is also a learning curve. I’m used to stocking baby clothing in First Glimpse, but women’s clothing is a whole different beast. I am learning as I go, but I think the main thing is going to market and L.A. regularly. I’ve already been twice in the first few weeks since we opened.

9. What is your advice to women for dressing during pregnancy?

Dress in something you feel good in. I can tell when these moms walk out in a dress for their baby shower that they love. They just light up and get so excited that they finally found the one. I am trying to keep the store as stocked as possible so they have lots of options. We want you to find something you love.

10. Can you share a hint about what customers will see in the store this season?

Wine colors. I love these darker colors for fall, especially in a good maxi. We will have so many options!

See the latest at Mae Lah by following the store on Instagram and Facebook.