Vail Valley Bizwatch: Elora Custom Couture aims to make weddings unique
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Business name: Elora Custom Couture.
Location: Summit and Eagle counties and the high Rockies.
Date opened: June 12, 2012.
Owner: Colleen Meheen
What goods or services do you provide? I design custom bridal and special event gowns, per the client’s specific requests and using my styling knowledge. My team produces them within six weeks to two months to the client’s exact measurements. I also distribute several luxury European designers that offer luxury bridal gowns exclusively through Elora Custom Couture, and those can also be made to measure.
What’s new or exciting at your place? This is a bespoke service that is not available anywhere in the Rocky Mountain West. Luxury bridal gowns, bridal accessories, hair and makeup styling compose a complete styling suite and are all available through Elora Custom Couture. I source only the finest textiles across Europe and Russia, and my team and I compose stunning silhouettes that honor the design esthetic of the client.
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? Our services are distinct from a traditional bridal boutique. As the designer, the client and I work one-on-one, in person, over Skype or by telephone to generate the initial sketch. Once the exact sketch the client loves is agreed upon, the sketch and contract (terms and conditions) are signed, and production begins.
What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you? My clients become my family, as we work so closely on a magnificent and meaningful dream together. I have a few special surprises that I provide along the creation path, from unique fragrances I know would fit their personality, to accessories for their gown, a custom couture swimsuit made to measure, and at the end, I submit the actual fashion illustration that I created in constructing their gown.
Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: As a lifelong artist, I started making art gifts for my friends throughout high school. With so much support, I took on mastering fine art in portraiture, in which I created custom portraits for clients in pastel for nearly 18 years. Having mastered the 2D facial art renderings, I expanded into makeup artistry and esthetics through the College of International Esthetics, and opened a day spa in Silverthorne. Through this endeavor, I came to discover the magnificent bridal market up in the high country.
I studied fashion design and illustration at the London College of Fashion in 2006, so with the bridal market knowledge I gained from the day spa, I decided to venture into the couture fashion genre of the business.
What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened? It is always humorous working on styling young girls under the age of 6, or furry friends that are intended to appear formal for an event. You can only imagine a dog wearing a floral wreath around its neck without it assuming it’s a chew toys.