Last week, I promised you a feature piece on the gals behind one of Cleveland’s newest and most innovative wedding gown shops, Something White; a Bridal Boutique. They happen to be hosting another very unique event this weekend, as well, a trunk show by Fancy, a line that carries tea-length gowns in vintage-inspired styles. I figured I’d better stop procrastinating and get this feature up so you could visit them this weekend and enjoy 10% off the entire Fancy line!
It’s important to note, like our formerly featured Fall Favorites, a business earns a spot in this series — on a Disc Jockey’s blog — by showing me something of themself that rings true to my own personal values for clients and the ways that they should be served and then consistently impressing the heck out of me with their follow-through.
I know what you may be thinking “DJ AJ9, even you, a former costume designer, can’t possibly think that a dress shop has anything in common with a DJ company???” It sounds like a riddle in a Lewis Carroll novel; “How is a Disc Jockey like a Dressmaker?” But stay with me for a moment;
Besides sharing cutesy name characteristics with Something New Entertainment Something White also shares our commitment to helping brides find special ways to express themselves through their wedding choices — in their case, through bridal attire, bridesmaids’ and mothers’ gowns, jewelry, headpieces, and more in styles and by designers you may not find anywhere else in town — or, for some — anywhere else in this state! In essence, Something White began with an idea so similar to the one that gave birth to Something New Entertainment — seeing a lot of one certain thing being made available, recognizing a client demand for more personalization, variety, and creativity, and making it their mission to fulfill that need.
Read on to learn more about Karin Kurtz, Rebecca Somnitz, and Something White!
Something New Entertainment’s Disc Jockey Anna-Jeannine “DJ AJ9″ Herman: You weren’t always the owner of an adorable and successful bridal salon. What happened to get you where you are today? Where has your path taken you, and how have your past experiences better prepared you for your work, today? Sorry — that was a really long question, huh?
Something White’s Karin Kurtz and Rebecca Somnitz: We have been friends since high school and decided to move to Chicago after college to see what big city life was like. One morning we began discussing an idea we had always thought about: opening our very own shop. We tossed around concepts ranging from bakeries to book stores. After the idea of a bridal shop was put on the table we realized it would be a perfect fit for our interests and previous work experience in marketing and event planning. It was more than just work experience though. Between us we have played a role in dozens of weddings so we knew that it was something we had a knack for. With a few years of planning and help from our families, Something White finally became our reality.
DJ AJ9: When did you first see the need for Something White?
SW: We noticed that many of the gowns that are available in Cleveland were similar in style with beading, a lot of detail and no straps. While this style is very popular, we thought there was a need for a boutique with gowns that have straps, simple styles and little or no beading. Independence became the home of Something White not only because it is our hometown, but because there were not many bridal shops in the area.
DJ AJ9: What’s different or unique about Something White?
SW: We think that or shop is unique in that we want to provide a special experience for the brides that come in. We wanted brides to be able to come in and relax and talk about the whole wedding experience with us. Basically we wanted to invite our clients in to a comfortable environment where they feel like they are just hanging out with friends. We are also unique in the styles of gowns we carry. We offer quite a few options that are not strapless which can be difficult to find. In addition, the detailing on our gowns is a bit atypical, so if a bride is looking for something that is pretty unique there is a good chance she will find it at Something White.
DJ AJ9: What are some of the designers that you carry at Something White?
SW: As far as bridal gowns go, we carry Caroline DeVillo Couture, Fancy New York, Lela Rose Bridal, The Steven Birnbaum Collection, and Vineyard by Priscilla of Boston.
DJ AJ9: When are your main criteria for choosing dresses and designers for the shop?
SW: We try to pick dresses that you would not see in most of the bridal boutiques in this area. We go with smaller designers who create unique gowns that are made with top notch fabrics and elegant styles. We look for dresses with straps because so many shops focus on strapless gowns. We look for more simple gowns that we can still glam up by adding a broach or a belt. We look for dresses that have character that is not defined by beading or excessive of detail – we sort of have a less-is-more philosophy.
DJ AJ9: I know as well as anyone that the “typical” wedding doesn’t exist, but, overall, how would you describe the “average” Something White bride or a Something White wedding?
SW: Our dresses speak for themselves and the brides who wear them. Our brides are sophisticated and elegant, but fun at the same time. They often have a more eclectic style, and thus their weddings frequently in less traditional settings like art galleries, vineyards and barns.
DJ AJ9: What if a bride wanted something really unusual? Do you do custom work?
SW: We have a seamstress, but we do not do custom work per se. However, because we work with smaller boutique designers, some of them will customize dresses for the bride. For example, Caroline DeVillo is usually happy to customize a gown and even has an Individual Design collection where brides get the opportunity to participate in the design process.
DJ AJ9: What do your clients say about you? How would someone outside your business describe your store?
SW: Our clients tend to enjoy their experience here at Something White. We think they would describe us and our shop as welcoming, laid back and very approachable. We listen to what the bride has to say and focus on them, rather than our opinions. We think people would describe our shop as intimate and unique at the same time.
DJ AJ9: Talk me through the Something White experience. I walk in the door… then what?
SW: We have every new client fill out a short questionnaire first. Questions such as what is your favorite color and what is your favorite store help us to get better acquainted with a new client and we enjoy learning about who we are working with. We then ask the future bride what they are looking for and what type of gown they want to eventually purchase. After some chit-chat we go to the second level of our shop where the bridal gowns are and we begin looking at dresses. At this point, the bride to be picks out what she likes and we help her try on dresses in a fitting room. The bride’s family and/or friends then have the opportunity to see the bride in her gown in the viewing room where they can discuss what they do or do not like.
DJ AJ9: Is there a customer experience you are most proud of?
SW: We know that it is not realistic that every bride who walks through our door will end up finding her gown with us. Even if they love Something White and the experience they have at our shop, we totally understand that some brides will still end up finding their perfect dress somewhere else. However it is always so nice when these brides come back to Something White for their jewelry, veils or bridesmaids dresses. It helps reaffirm that they enjoyed their experience enough to come back for other items, even though it would probably be easier for them to get everything in one place.
Karin and Rebecca, thank you for letting me pick your brains! As for the rest of you, if you’d like to learn more about Something White, make sure to check out these articles in Fashionably Cleveland, the Sun News, and the Plain Dealer, or visit their website and blog. You can also become a fan on Facebook or follow them on twitter.