Many years, a change of location, and a pandemic made Melanie Cunningham, owner of Melodi’s Belles & Beaus, add locally made masks to her store’s list of products. Cunningham’s daughter, social media manager and part-time shop employee, Erica Thibodeaux, said her multi-talented mother is a seamstress by trade.

“When we didn’t live here, we lived in Patterson and did bridal alterations,” said Thibodeaux. “Now, we’re just a children’s clothing and accessories store.”

Thibodeaux said the store, which specializes in infant and children’s boutique apparel and toys, was established in 2007. Cunningham’s sewing skills are utilized on monogramming and embroidery for items purchased in store. Since the quarantine, she’s honed one skill that is particularly useful.

“We buy most of our products,” Thibodeaux said. “But my mom does make some stuff on her own.”

Does she ever. Like most who sew, Cunningham has a collection of fabric. Enough, Thibodeaux said, to have a fabric closet. Pulling from material she already had, Cunningham began creating rainbow striped masks, navy floral masks, masks with little fish and birds on them and masks donning colors.

“She did a few, and so many people were asking,” Thibodeaux said. “It’s so easy to have it through the store. She just made a good bit to be in stock at the store. On Saturday, we had quite a few in stock, about 15. We almost sold out on Saturday, not to mention custom overnight orders. Yesterday, she did five more custom orders.”

As of Monday, Melodi’s Belles and Beaus has sold 200 double-layered masks with quilting cotton, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. The masks are also reversible: Should your mask have a print on one side, your mask will have a solid color on the opposite side, Thibodeaux said.

Cunningham is currently testing out patterns of masks, such as an accordion style, and ways to make the masks contour to children’s, tweens’ and adults’ faces.

“She’s testing out patterns,” Thibodeaux said. “She was initially adding wire but was able to get a rubber-coated stainless steel flex band on nose piece. You can actually fit it around nose.”

To order your own locally made, comfortable, and CDC-standards approved mask, visit the store’s Facebook page, reach out via Instagram @melodiskids, or peruse their website at Each mask is $10 at curbside pickup, or $14 to have it delivered. Deliveries over $35 get free shipping! Curbside pickup option is available at checkout.

You can pick up your mask (or masks) Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., or on Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Melodi’s Belles & Beaus is located in the South College Center at 2811 Johnston St.

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