Let's meet some of the stars of "Say Yes To The Dress"! First, Elise and Joan- two wonderful ladies who manage the store and keep the staff on track. Elise, the director of sales, is a real presence among the staff and on the show. She knows what is going on at all times. From morning meeting when she gives everyone their appointments until the last bride leaves the store- Elise has it handled. I found her to be very warm and open. She welcomed me into the store and didn't get upset when I kept the sales staff beyond the time I was given! We chatted as if we had known each other a long time and swapped stories of past brides. She is truly a lovely lady.
Then there is Joan, the bridal manager! I have known Joan for several years, as we used to work together- both as managers for another bridal retailer. Joan always keeps her cool and takes everything in stride. She is unflappable! She works hard and never puts a bride on the back burner. Joan and I laughed about the old days and caught up on how much fun it is to work for Kleinfeld's and be on "Say Yes To The Dress". I can only imagine how much the sales staff enjoys having Joan on the floor. She could always make me laugh, even when things were really stressful! Thanks Elise and Joan for sharing and giving your time and that of your staff!
Debbie is very refined and respectful. She was open to the questions I asked and really gave me a feeling like she raised her hand for the interview. She has been with Kleinfeld's for 14 years. With a real estate and a cosmetology license, Debbie loves her job and wouldn't do anything else. She loves coming to work every day! We talked about the business and our jobs. Debbie and I share that passion that makes it easy to deal with whatever happens. This is a monumental time in a girl's life and there is lots of emotion, stress and confusion. If you love what you do, it is very rewarding! Debbie LOVES what she does! I had to ask about bridezilla- or momzilla or other disasters that happen in bridal salons. Debbie was very calm and told me she never takes sides and she never loses her composure. If she is faced with a difficult situation, she talks it down. She has the personality and the maturity to deal with a bad situation and turn it around. If she has a girl she isn't clicking with, she "shows the attitude girl an attitde dress". Debbie "catches more flies with honey"- and sometimes she does the stinging without anyone knowing she did it!! As for being on TV, " unexpected and exciting". The only thing she doesn't like about the show is that it makes it awkward for a girl to be honest about her budget. Debbie tries to ask when she has the bride alone, so that she can avoid upsetting someone. Being on the show only makes Debbie's task that much more interesting and exciting- especially when the bride finds "the dress". I asked Debbie what she loved and hated about her job. She loves "the good feeling I get when I help a bride find her dream dress" But, she doesn't like " getting overwhelmed with appointments and not being able to finish a sale or take a breath between brides". Debbie gets so excited talking about her job! If I was a bride, I would feel like I was buying my dress from an old friend! I felt like Debbie and were old friends after the interview. Thanks, Debbie- it was a real pleasure!!
Keasha is spunky, funny and very honest! She has a different approach than Debbie. Keasha had me laughing and really relating to her stories. She has been at Kleinfeld's for 6 years- and got hired after shopping for a gown for her cousin. Keasha has a fabulous sense of style and boundless energy! She relates to a bride on the bride's level and really tries to get into her head. When asked the question about what she loves and hates about her job she said, " I have 3 boys and these girls are like my daughters getting married". She hates it "when I don't find the dress". This team really feels their work! Keasha said "I take it home with me". Keasha's take on the show is this: " it's like a fairy tale" and " I love making the camera people crazy". But, she hates "being recognized". She has felt uncomfortable at times with the notoriety of being on TV every Friday night. How does Keasha deal with a difficult situation? She gives it right back and usually wins over the girl with her wit and her charm. However, she knows when she can't win and has, on occasion, given a bride to another consultant rather than make an unhappy customer. Keasha- I'd bring you my brides anytime! Thanks for making my hour with you so funny!
The store is always busy and everyone lends a hand where they can. There is no competitive undercurrent, only a family atmosphere with plenty of camaraderie and cooperation. These women are here because they want to be here. Keasha and Debbie are both part of the "million dollar club". They work hard and they work for the brides. They both told me that they love their bosses Ronnie and Mara and would leave if they left. They are loyal, lovely and left a lasting impression on me- FOR SURE!!
Tomorrow- The Brides!