For Kathy Bado, planning her daughter’s October wedding has come with a few unexpected twists. The biggest? Stumbling into owning an exclusive bridal boutique.
Bado, who, along with her sister and partner, Stacey Veeraraj, is the seasoned wedding planner behind Philly’s The Wedding Factor, never expected to expand into the retail world of wedding gowns. While the duo began showcasing and selling bridal veils and headpieces in Alexey Kats’ Architeqt Salon and Gallery earlier this year, wedding dresses were never part of their plan. That is, until Bado’s soon-to-be-married daughter showed her a Berta wedding gown on Pinterest.
The Israeli-based designer had only one retailer in the United States when her representative (and son-in-law) came to New York’s Bridal Week this past April. And while a few other Philadelphia-based bridal salons had previously approached him about carrying the line, when Bado introduced herself, “everything just clicked on the spot.”
“I said to him, ‘You know, my daughter told me about your dresses, and I just wanted to see them,’” said Bado. “And then we just hit it off. I can’t explain it other than this was meant to be.”
Though Bado had never retailed dresses before, the rep was “willing to take a chance” on her. One thing quickly led to another, and suddenly, Bado found herself with a new, one-designer boutique in Logan Square, and the only place in Philadelphia to score a Berta wedding gown.
The space is smaller than a lot of bridal boutiques, meant to give future brides looking for a Berta gown an intimate, one-on-one experience. There is one dressing room and a seating area. While walk-ins are welcome, brides with appointments take priority and are able to have the entire salon to themselves. A seamstress is on-hand for any needed alterations.
In addition to Berta gowns, which generally run between $5,000 to $7,000, the new boutique carries veils, jewelry, and hair pieces for brides, from brands such as Malis-Henderson, Sara Gabriel, Ti Adoro Jewelry, Enchanted Atelier, Leah C. Couture, and Desla Couture—and Bado is still looking to expand the accessory-side of the business. Though The Wedding Factor is no longer selling veils and head pieces out of Architeqt, the two businesses still maintain a close affiliation. In fact, if a bride chooses to get her hair done at Architeqt, Bado will bring over samples of head pieces and work with the hair stylist to help the bride find just the right look.
In addition to selling Berta gowns and various accessories, Bado and Veeraraj will continue the wedding-planning side of their business. And while a future bride could come to their new location wanting both a wedding planner and a gown all-in-one, Bado maintains that there is no pressure to purchase any planning services when hunting for a dramatic Berta gown.
Currently, the boutique is open Tuesday through Saturday, and Sunday afternoons by appointment. You can find these unique Berta dresses at 114 North 21st Street, 267-861-0409. — Amanda Wolkin
Below, find some more shots of the salon, as well as a few of the Berta bridal looks that can be found there. All photos courtesy of Kathy Bado.