It is a Spanish word meaning “beautiful lady.”
In Eagle River, it also means the establishment of a destination upscale boutique featuring comfortable, stylish women’s clothing in sizes from extra small to 3x and the opportunity to find a killer outfit without having to head in to Anchorage or forking over a small fortune.
Members of its already loyal fan base call it a breath of fresh air for female shoppers in Chugiak-Eagle River where the options for shopping for clothing have been limited.
“I love how comfortable and affordable the clothing offered at Adonia is,” Beckee Edge, owner of the Behavior Matters clinic in Eagle River said. “Michele, its owner, just loves to make women look beautiful at any size.”
Indeed, Monastra agreed with a telling smile on her face and a gleam in her eyes.
In her scouring of the Internet for women’s clothing, Monastra has found several sources of stylish, well-made outfits that flatter the curviness of plus size women, she said, instead of offering clothing choices that look like a gal is wearing a tent.
“I want to help women feel beautiful in their clothing,” she said. “The right outfit can really bring out confidence in a woman.”
She describes the clothing in her store as a casual contemporary option. Most of it is loose fitting such as longer tops off leggings or dresses that flirt just above the knee with modest fit throughout the bodice and neckline.
She is not a fan of clothing that is too revealing.
“I think women are most beautiful when they are modestly dressed and wearing something they are confident enough in so they do not feel as if they have to flaunt or wear something too tight or too revealing,” Monastra said. “Women are more beautiful in that sense when they show off their curves with flowing material rather than showing off cleavage that is not covered.”
Current selections include colorful and patterned leggings in sizes for smaller and plus size women as well as tops and dresses in solids and today’s trendy stripes and florals. Monastra is researching various jean options and the first results of her search are trickling into the store.
Adonia’s grand opening is this Saturday, May 13, but the store and its offering in what Monastra calls a “spring industrial” environment have already attracted a steady stream of shoppers.
In designing the store’s interior, Monastra used mostly repurposed materials. She found metal piping for hanging clothing on the walls and used doors that she painted white and color splotches reminiscent of the bedroom doors in the Pixar classic, “Monsters, Inc.” to create a wall for her inventory storage area and place for the display of locally made wreaths also for sale.
While comfortable fashion is certainly main thrust of the Adonia store, it is not Monastra’s only goal for the boutique.
Two large tables sitting in the middle of the room where Tri-Digital used to conduct business are intentionally placed as a springboard for women’s events at the boutique. Paint parties, Bible studies, fellowship and support groups, make-up parties, etc are all welcome to book the store outside of its retail hours, she said. Monastra is opening the store up for the at-home buying parties that women often want to host but might not get around to doing simply because their busy schedules mean their own home might not be spotless enough for company.
“They can host their events here,” Monastra said, noting she wants the boutique to be of service to local women.
Adonia will also offer shopping party nights for local women who want to invite their friends in for the unique opportunity to have exclusive access to the store’s inventory.
Monastra began Adonia as an online shopping option via social media. She quickly found a niche with local women wanting stylish leggings that were well constructed and could carry a woman through her dawn to dusk busy schedule in comfort.
She is also bucking current economic trends dictating that now might not be the best time to open a new store with a recession pushing its way across the state’s financial horizon.
“Lots of people told me this might not be the best time to do this,” she said with yet another smile. She does not agree. Instead, she busted out of the space she used in her house on what Monastra calls faith. “I prayed and prayed about this and just felt led to continue doing the clothing and to establish a store that would be more than just a store. When I am open, I am steady.”
And making sales.
And building relationships.
That later is key to Monastra.
“I want the women that come to my store to be friends,” she said, noting that unlike other purveyors of women’s clothing, she will not fib regarding how a particular outfit looks on a woman. She knows the selection in her store is varied enough to find just the right match for any gal without having to encourage purchase of something that might not be “completely fabulous” on that person. “I love helping someone find just the right combination. I will tell them if it doesn’t look right on them. I want them to leave here with the outfit that best suits them.”
Saturday’s grand opening features food sponsored by Sherri Sapp, a local realtor, cupcakes by Lesley’s Cakes and carnations from Oopsie Daisy for the first 100 customers. Monastra has several door prizes from other local vendors.
Donations for her charity of choice for May – Love, Inc., of Eagle River, are also being accepted. Each month, Monastra picks a local non-profit for Adonia to support. In April, she stuffed duffle bags with donations of socks, blankets and toiletries for social workers in the state’s foster care system. She intentionally left plenty of space for children to stow what few personal belongings they do have as they are moved from one home to another.
“So often these kids leave one home with a trash bag to hold their belongings,” Monastra said. “That just is not okay.”
What is totally okay with her is the feedback she is getting from many women in Chug-ER.
“They are telling me things such as, ‘I wore that outfit on a date with my husband and for the first time in years, he told me I look pretty,’ or they tell me, ‘I wore that outfit for a meeting and felt empowered because I knew I looked good,’” Monastra said. “That is my goal. That is what Adonia is all about.”
Editor’s Note: Monastra wishes to thank Justin Phillips of the Eagle River Trustworthy Hardware, LLC, for the help he has given her in setting up the store including hanging her lighted sign while she waited on customers. Adonia is located at 17034 N. Eagle River Loop Rd. above the Eagle River Trustworthy Hardware.