Have you ever had trouble finding that perfect dress for a special occasion? That dress that fits perfectly and suits all of your needs? There is a solution! Let me introduce you to DressByDesign, an online-based business whose storefront is located at 43 Allen Street. The company allows a woman to completely design her own dress to her own liking on their Web site
- from the fabric and style of the dress to the hem length and type of neck line. The store even offers custom sizing to expertly fit your needs.
Marilyn Kilroy started DressByDesign in 2005 with her daughters, Kathleen and Christine. Since then, The whole family has since come together as both Kathleen's daughter Marikate and Christine's son Conor have joined the team. Kathleen Vacanti currently serves as the Chief Operations Officer, while her sister Christine serves as Chief Executive Officer.
The idea for DressByDesign came from a desire for the family to work together. "It's a family affair and it's been very wonderful thus far," Vacanti said. Through the wonders of the Internet, Kathleen runs the business from Buffalo, while Christine lives in Washington DC, with Marilyn close by in Maryland.
Furthermore, Vacanti explained the store serves a need that wasn't already filled in the marketplace. "As a middle-aged woman in this country, it's very difficult to find a dress that's really age-appropriate," she said, noting that many designers cater exclusively to the younger generation. Since DressByDesign began it has set out to serve the needs of all women and has also expanded its style offerings from its original designs.
While the company exists online for women to create their designs, local women can come in to the shop on Allen Street for fittings or help with their design choices. By trying on dresses in the store, women can figure out which style and size fit their body best. Summer hours are 9AM to 3PM on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 9AM to 8PM on Thursdays; and by appointment on Saturdays.
DressByDesign has also received much national press throughout the last four years, including pieces in both the Washington Post and People's Style Watch magazine. "It's very much a word-of-mouth kind of business," Vacanti said, noting that about 30 percent of business comes from local customers, though the store also serves customers worldwide.
Vacanti said the best part of DressByDesign is the ability to design your own unique garment. "I think what is so wonderful about us is that it's a creative endeavor to imagine one's own dress," she said, "It ends up being a one-of-a-kind product."
To see all of the dress styles available, visit DressByDesign's Web site
. You can also call 716.206.8973 or send an e-mail
to set up an appointment or get more information.
(All photos taken by Matthew Biddle.)