Growing up in Tilden Township, Janine Kline was happiest making her own creations on her sewing machine. After graduating from Hamburg High School, she took her creative energies to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and then worked as a fashion stylist for a decade.
She eventually came home to Pennsylvania to be closer to her parents and began working part-time in a bridal shop. Those events set in motion a process that led Kline to start her own business.
On Thursday, a grand opening is scheduled for Kline's shop, Unveiled Bridal and Formal.
"This is my first time as a business owner," Kline said in a phone interview. "I worked in the bridal industry for eight years, running a bridal shop close by. I wanted to do it differently. I wanted to change things, add things, do things other stores won't do, but customers asked for."
Located near Harrisburg at 5913 Linglestown Road, Unveiled Bridal and Formal offers dresses and accessories. The 6,000 square foot store is big enough to allow separate suites for each member for the wedding party. Alterations are also available and customers are allowed to bring in accessories, and even dresses, that were purchased elsewhere.
"Everything about planning a wedding is complicated; there are so many moving parts," Kline said. "We also bring fashion accessories into one place. We have incentives to keep the customers in one place, such as discounts.
"If you make it easier for them, that's great."
After graduating from FIT, where she received a degree in advertising and marketing communications, Kline worked as a fashion stylist in New York for 10 years where she did personal styling, editorial, fashion shows, advertising, TV, movies, commercials and store/window displays.
For someone who loves fashion, New York City is the center of the universe. So why come back to Pennsylvania?
"Logic," Kline said. "My parents are older and I wanted to be closer to them."
She continued to work in New York, while living in Pennsylvania part time. It was during that time Kline took a part-time job at a bridal shop in Hershey.
Working there for eight years, she eventually became manager and that sparked her desire to open her own store. With help from the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center, she was able to put a business plan together.
"I never would have what I have now if I stayed in New York," Kline said. "I couldn't afford it."
Space for everyone
However, as plans were being drawn up for the business, the coronavirus pandemic hit.
The spacious shop is a sign of the times as the pandemic continues into the new year. Even though it's a risky time to start a new business, Kline said, "weddings have not died."
"Fortunately, I was able to plan through COVID," she said. "I planned the store so it could operate during COVID. There are private suites so one bride doesn't have to see another bride. We have one party at a time and limit the amount of people at a time."
It could also be a timely entry into the wedding market, as many who postponed nuptials in 2020 are planning to tie the knot in 2021.
According to The Wedding Report Inc., there were 1.1 million weddings in 2020, down from 2.13 million the year before. The number is predicted to be 2.77 million this year.
Furthermore, a Wedding Report survey of couples found that 41.5% who planned to get married last year are looking to do it this year.
The report stated that while the average cost bottomed out to $19,900 in 2020, it is expected rise to $21,600 this year.