HIGHLAND | Charlott Sitarski can create the stuff of which dreams are made.
For 12 years, Sitarski and her staff have been fulfilling the dreams of brides, girls going to their first prom and more from the attractive confines of her Highway Avenue storefront.
"It's a very important day for them, and we play a large part," said Sitarski, owner of Elegance Wedding & Evening Wear.
While some are fortunate to buy off the rack from an elegant array of stylish gowns there, Sitarski said more often bridal gowns are ordered, then fitted for that special day.
A talented seamstress with a degree in fashion design, Sitarski said she and her seamstresses often customize gowns by changing hemlines and necklines, adding embellishments and reshaping gowns. "I do all the fittings," she said.
Sales Manager Janice Strickling said Sitarski is a stickler for perfection, so clients are the happy beneficiaries of her precision.
Sitarski designed her own wedding gown, and the lighthearted question among staff was, "When will she finish?"
"The day of the wedding, I was still putting beads on my gown," Sitarski said, smiling at what is, for her, sewing therapy.
"Our goal is to make people feel beautiful," Strickling said, whether they be brides, bridesmaids, or any women or young ladies with a special occasion. "We have guest of wedding dresses now. It's new in our line," she said.
A former client herself, Strickling said she enjoyed firsthand the benefits of Sitarski's skills when her daughter married two years ago.
"She wanted a sweetheart neckline with crystals. Charlott used 48 ribbons to tie up her bustle. My daughter just loved it," she said.
Sitarski said, "You don't need to start off with the higher priced gown. We customize to the gown of their dreams."
Customer service is paramount, Sitarski said. It begins with trying on dresses and doesn't end until the wedding is over, she said.
Staff members have remained past store hours to accommodate busy, pre-wedding schedules, Strickling said.
"We really work with them. We've gone to the wedding and corseted them in their gowns because they didn't trust anyone else," Strickling said.
Once the gowns are on, "I've seen moms and brides come to tears," she said.