Doreen Leaf Designs gives brides a choice between something old and something new.
The Hartville bridal salon has 300 dresses in its inventory and also offers restoration of vintage wedding dresses.
Doreen, who started her business out of her home in the 1980s, completes about three or four restorations a year and requires a “nice-size deposit” for the work, though the cost and the amount of time the restoration takes varies based on the dress.
“I’ve never had an unhappy bride who had a gown restored,” she said.
The shop’s modern dresses are purchased at bridal markets held across the country and are selected based on what the store needs, what’s new and what’s timely.
The dresses available at Doreen Leaf Designs are a range of sizes, so all brides have something to try on.
“They never seem to be what size you wear, and it’s frustrating for everyone, including us,” said Kathie Leaf Bordner, Doreen’s daughter.
Prices cap out around $2,000.
What’s your advice for brides?
Kathie: “Come in with an open mind. So often, I’ll have a bride that will come in and say, ‘I want this dress that I saw online,’ and she’ll end up having the complete opposite dress that she walked in the door for.”
What is popular with brides now?
Kathie: “It’s a really kind of fun time in bridal right now because we’ve got a lot of fun things, a lot of styles happening right now. Lace is still very popular. We’re starting to get into some of the simple gowns, too, but that’s just starting again.”
What styles catch your eye when you’re shopping for dresses for the store?
Kathie: “We do an extensive questionnaire with our staff—what have you been asked for that we don’t have, what do we have here that we need more of? Then they fill out twice a year a questionnaire of what we’re in need of. … We don’t hear what everybody’s asking for, so we always go to the staff, and then we take that seriously when we’re looking at the lines we carry, and then we make decisions from there.”