Helping new moms
Cedarburg boutique aims to fill a niche

By Sheryl Popp - Special to Conley Media

Feb. 26, 2019

 Jessica Featherstone, owner of Close to the Heart, said she is focused on providing locally sourced products to her customers at her Cedarburg store that opened in November.
Photo by Mark Justesen

CEDARBURG — Jessica Featherstone owns and operates Close to the Heart, a recent addition to Cedarburg’s list of retail shops. It caters to new mothers, whether they are having their first child or adding another child to their family.

Featherstone and her husband relocated to Cedarburg about six years ago, and they welcomed their daughter, Skyler, to their family four and a half years ago.

“The ‘one-half’ can be pretty important when you’re 4,” said Featherstone.

Before opening the store, she was a visiting doula, assisting new mothers in their homes. Doula comes from a Greek word, meaning to serve.

“Doulas help new mothers get through postpartum issues or they just help them transition to the change in their lives,” Featherstone said. “I did not have the best time myself, so I could empathize. And I saw a real need for this service in the community. I describe it as mothering the mother.”

Featherstone said we don’t have the same type of support system that many other cultures have when welcoming babies into a community or village. Many new mothers, she said, are struggling to learn and care for an infant or an infant and siblings, on their own, when they could have assistance.

“I met Ann Grauer at Columbia St. Mary’s when I had my daughter,” she said. “She was a lactation counselor at the birth center. I learned a great deal from her.”

Featherstone became a certified Babywearing (baby carrier) consultant, and helped mothers learn how to use baby carriers that were the best fit for them. As she visited and advised more new mothers, she soon thought there was a definite need in the city and surrounding area for a place where nursing mothers could get more support and visit a shop where they could find not only good products, but a vast amount of information.

Her little shop in downtown Cedarburg opened last November. Featherstone said she has been busily adding products and services since.

Close to the Heart is located on Washington Avenue in downtown Cedarburg.
Photo by Mark Justesen

She has different lines of baby carriers at a number of price points, nursing bras and clothing, baby products for teething, baby headbands (hats for boys), diaper bags, pajamas with matching “mommy and me” newborn gowns, skin-care products, bags that stylishly carry pumps and much more.

“I try to carry local products whenever I can find something that fits in,” Featherstone said. “A woman from the West Bend area makes these really kind of hip and trendy tops that are nursing friendly. My partner in making the mother’s skin care products, Elise Malik, lives here in Cedarburg. I carry made-in-Wisconsin products, one from Chicago. That’s not too far out of the state.”

Another large portion of Featherstone’s business is classes and events. All are listed on her website – everything from choosing “need versus want” from baby registries to basic carrier classes and clothing fittings. She will also conduct private consultations.

When she has an event in the store, the shelves come down and chairs go up. A little play area is available for children, and there is a changing table in the bathroom.

“Anyone who needs it can come into my store any time to use it,” she said. “Or to rest. I’m happy to share my space. Feedback from the community has been wonderful so far, and I am really lucky to be located next to Lillies.”