Wedding dress designer moves showroom back to Cumberland County; business expands alteration offerings

A fashion designer that specializes in wedding dresses is moving her business back to Mechanicsburg.

Sheila Kauffman is bringing her business, Sheila Frank back to her original brick-and-mortar location at 50. W Main St. The showroom and studio is expected to open on Jan. 16 with a grand opening celebration likely in the spring.

The move back to Mechanicsburg follows a two year move to Union Street in Millersburg.

More than a decade ago, Kauffman launched her own line of clothing, Sheila Frank, with a focus on swimwear and ready-to-wear clothing. Frank is Kauffman’s maiden name. After sever years in business, she opened the showroom in Mechanicsburg in 2016 and introduced a bridal collection at the time.

Kauffman’s wedding dress collections are sold in her boutique, boutiques across the country and online. Kauffman also designs custom wedding dresses including bespoke wedding dresses.

Kauffman previously did bridal alterations but she is now doing general alterations as well for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing.

The property is currently being renovated. The boutique will be in the front of the store while the studio will be in the back of the property.

“I’m especially excited for 2021,” Kauffman said. “We are offering services and solutions that are limited in central PA. If 2020 has taught me anything, it certainly is that local small businesses are what keep this economy going. I am excited to work with the local clientele.”

Kauffman is currently accepting appointments now for the coming 2021 wedding season.

Due to COVID-19, the store will be open by appointment only during the following hours: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Customers are also asked schedule in advance so that business can follow CDC guidelines and ensure a safe and clean space for each customer. To schedule you an appointment call or send a text to 717-516-0901 or send an e-mail [email protected]

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Wardrobe Expands With New Acquisition

After launching one of the more innovative business models in the digital-first space, fashion rental platform Wardrobe is expanding. With its recent purchase of Dallas-based Rent My Wardrobe, it is gaining a geographic footprint in the southern U.S. and expanding its presence in what its founder calls the “peer-to-peer” fashion space.

“The acquisition came together very quickly, and made a lot of sense,” Wardrobe CEO and Founder Adarsh Alphons told PYMNTS. “Rent My Wardrobe has tens of thousands of users signed onto that platform, and they were early in the peer-to-peer fashion rental space. It’s going to be a very natural fit, as we are leaning into the future of fashion and now we can actually do it at scale. So our customers will have access to more wardrobes and more inventory.”

Like Wardrobe, Rent My Wardrobe encourages members to put their closets online for users to rent and return –but Wardrobe’s model is a bit more complex. The platform allows owners of high-end and distinctive clothing to rent out their items via local dry cleaners. Renters pick up and return clothing at a local participating dry cleaner, which also cleans and stores the items, thereby eliminating Wardrobe’s need for warehouses and shipping fleets. The service is aimed at customers who want to rent items for special occasions or temporarily indulge in high-end fashion and trends.

Alphons said Wardrobe has seen a sharp increase in its business during COVID-19, part of which he attributes to the dry cleaner factor. When members pick up their outfits, they know they have been professionally cleaned, which is a unique part of the company’s business model. He expects that the digital-first economy will continue to support businesses like his as boutiques will need to re-establish themselves after the pandemic subsides and larger stores struggle with foot traffic and online scale and operations issues. Reinvention, he said, is key.

“We believe our model is going to be a new way for fashion to be presented and a new way for people to experience and access fashion,” Alphons predicted. “There’s going to be innovation happening in this space, and we want to be a part of that. We want to do a lot more to bring customers in the door.”

That’s one of the reasons Alphons was excited about RTW. He said Wardrobe intends to fully integrate Rent My Wardrobe, which is valued at $4 million, in time for the holiday season. Rent My Wardrobe’s Founder Rachel Sipperley will join Wardrobe as its vice president of brand and partnerships, and will focus on “getting customers in the door” as she brings a feminist’s outlook and an expertise in customer acquisition and growth. Sipperley created RTW as a business that would empower women to be self-reliant. ​

“The story of Rent My Wardrobe started when I couldn’t afford a dress for prom,” said Sipperley. “I believe financial independence is the highest form of feminism, and I conceived Rent My Wardrobe

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