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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Meet Mike Chandler

I knew of Mike Chandler, manager of our Shores Greensboro location, before he came to work for us ten years ago.  He had an excellent reputation in the dry cleaning world as a stickler for providing top-notch service and quality.  With 28 years in the business, he knows his stuff.  More importantly, he continues to have a desire to provide top-notch service and quality each time a customer chooses Shores.  That translates into happy customers.  So happy, in fact, that he had a long-time customer recently write him a note stating that they had relocated to Las Vegas and that our service was better than any they could find there for dry cleaning.

Given his years of experience and reputation of producing quality work, Mike has pretty well seen it all – oxidized stains on white clothes, beverage stains on silk wedding gowns, garments that have been mistreated -- and fixed it all as well.  As a result, he has an incredibly busy store – which he loves.  He also has dedicated long-term employees that he appreciates, and they appreciate him back.  When I asked him what it was that he liked most about his job, he answered, “the challenge to finish on time each day by the promised date.”  So we should add working well under pressure to his list of attributes.

But I have to be completely open; I had a hard time writing this post.  Mike is not one to share a lot of information about himself.  So I called on a couple of folks that know his professional timeline really well.  Both told me that they weren’t surprised that I was having a hard time getting Mike to open up – because he’s not one to take credit for things.  I asked for a moment when he wowed a customer.  That was a hard one for both of them too.  That’s because, according to his manager Brian Harrell, “he rescues weddings gowns every week.”  He removes stains that most professionals write off.  “Besides being incredibly quality conscious, he’s also the hardest working manager I’ve met,” Brian told me.  “There’s not one story; he just does it so often.”  His former manager, Alan Peatross, put it to me this way, “He’s your everyday super hero.”  And that’s exactly the kind of professional you’d like to have care for your most prized garment.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Basics: DIY Wedding Gown Care—Before, During and After the Wedding

Tip 1:  Silk or not?  Every bride should know the answer to that question.  The fabric of your gown is everything.  Silk is a hollow fiber so when you spill something on silk or other natural fibers such as cotton and linen, the spill bonds with the fiber and acts like a dye.  Even water is absorbed by natural fibers and leaves marks.  Silk also crushes more easily for the same reason.  On the other hand, spills can roll right off artificial fibers, and a damp cloth is sometimes all you need to remove a stain.  Plus most wrinkles shake out easily.

Tip 2:  Garment Bags. Garment bags are almost never full enough to protect your gown without flattening the skirt.  When you take your gown home from the bridal shop, remove at least the skirt portion from the bag so that it can open fully.  If you remove the gown completely, be sure to hang it somewhere it will be safe from children and pets.  You can also wrap your wedding gown in a clean sheet or freshly-washed muslin to protect it from light and dust.  If the skirt of your gown is very full, two fitted sheets pinned together are even easier to manage.

Tip 3:  Travel Tips. If you are traveling by car with your gown, it may be best to leave it in the garment bag provided by the bridal shop until you reach your destination and can touch it up.  If you are traveling by air, the airline will almost certainly insist you stuff the garment bag into the overhead space.  You can do that and hope no one puts another bag on top of it or you can pack it so that is protected.  If you carry your gown in a suitcase, you may have to check it and risk losing it when you change planes.  Better yet, try our recyclable green DestinationWedding Kit.  You can carry your gown with you through security, and it never leaves your sight.  The kit comes with instructions for packing and easily fits in the overhead above your seat.  Bonus:  also comes with a stain stick (safe for silk) for wedding-day emergencies.

Tip 4:  DYI Pressing. If you decide to lightly press your gown, make sure the iron is set to the temperature that is right for the fabric.  Most steamers spit drops of water so if you use a steamer (hand steamers are great if you are a destination bride), be sure to cover the head of the steamer with a towel or washcloth to absorb the water.

Tip 5:  Wedding Day Emergency. Most emergencies the day of the wedding can be managed with a needle, thread, and safety pins.  Scissors are also useful.  If nothing else, put some safety pins in the lining at the bottom of your gown so they will be handy if your bustle breaks. 

Tip 6:  Stains. Learn the basics about stains.  There are three kinds of stains.  Wet stains such as coffee, tea, and wine will dissolve in water.  Dry stains such as lipstick and grease require a “dry” solvent to dissolve the oily content.  The third kind of stain is “complex” because it is composed of both wet and dry elements--think gravy or salad dressing.  But remember, silk or not?  Almost anything you use to try and remove stains from silk will leave a ring.  If you try a Tide stain stick, be sure to test its effect on an inside seam before using it on your gown.  For silk gowns, it may be best, especially with greasy stains, to mask the stain with chalk, baby powder or cornstarch, which absorbs grease and does not damage the finish.  If you gown is not silk, you can use a wet washcloth on coffee, tea, or wine spills.  For lipstick and grease, cigarette lighter fluid or other dry solvent will work.  You can find suggestions for treating spills here

Tip 7:  After the Wedding. The longer you leave your gown unclean, the less likely all of the stains can be removed when you do take it to be cleaned.  Don’t wait for your husband or your mother to complain the gown takes up too much room.  Contact a Wedding Gown Specialist and ask lots of questions about where and how your gown will be cleaned.  And be sure to ask, today or twenty-five years from today, who will honor the guarantee that your gown will not yellow!

As always, we at Shores are here for you if the job is too big or the stain is too large or if you need your gown preserved.