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AN HONOR FOR OUR OWNER

AWGS Logo

Members of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists (AWGS) met February 28-March 3 in Nashville, Tennessee, to discuss marketing strategies with wedding industry experts, tour the plant of Oakwood the Greener Cleaners owned by AWGS members Alan and Rhonda Wernick, and elect officers.

A highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the ninth annual Jack Barth Memorial Award of Excellence.  Initiated by Linda Stokes-Barth in remembrance of her late husband and his achievements in the dry cleaning industry, the award recognizes a member of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists for advancement, promotion, and development of industry standards for wedding gown care and for outstanding contributions and service to the Association and its members.

Accepting the Barth Award
Accepting the Barth Award

This year’s honoree, Rhonda Wernick, is co-owner of Oakwood the Greener Cleaners in Nashville, Tennessee.  As AWGS president Kermit Engh noted when he presented the award, “I first met our winner a number of years ago and have developed a friendship and deep respect for her business and her contribution to our association.”

Oakwood, already a member of AWGS, Leading Cleaners International, and Methods for Management when Rhonda Wernick and her husband Alan took over in 2011, benefits from both Alan’s expertise in business finance and software development and Rhonda’s creative art profession.  Rhonda’s special talent as a professional artist is evident everywhere at Oakwood and walking into either of the two Oakwood locations is like walking into a living room complete with comfy chairs, her own beautiful artwork and a friendly, family-like atmosphere.  Overall the Wernick’s have not only maintained Oakwood’s reputation for excellence but also taken it to an even higher level of couture cleaning and customer service.

Immediately drawn to the bridal side of the business, Rhonda has attended every AWGS meeting since 2011, served on the Board of Directors 2014-2017, and is quick to welcome new members via the AWGS discussion forum.  On the forum she often shares inspiring photos of special projects such as turning a vintage wedding gown into a unique christening gown.  She also shares ways to enhance the bride’s experience at the counter.  “We like to make a bride feel like she is the only one in the store,” says Rhonda, and each bride also receives a special keepsake when she takes her gown home–Rhonda’s hand-painted sketch of the gown.

In addition to managing Oakwood’s bridal business, Rhonda operates both DancingArt.com and BuyArtByRhonda.com.  She also gives back to her community with 9 years of service on the board of trustees of the Nashville Gordon Jewish Community Center and in many other ways including chairing and originating art events such as Nashville Temple Arts Festival and Art on the West Side.  In 2017 she was the featured artist at Art on the West Side.

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A VINTAGE GOWN STORY

Do you have your grandmother’s wedding gown and wondering what in the world to do with it? I was preserved well but had a few brown spots, probably old sugar stains. Here is what one Mother-in-law/Daughter-in-law duo decided to do.

This beautiful vintage gown came to us for spot cleaning so it could be transformed to a Christening Gown. Our first reaction was –

“But it is such a beautiful gown and should be worn!”

Back & Front of Vintage Gown

Our production manager was able to get rid of the spot right in the middle of the area that they wanted to use for the front of the Christening Gown. Now for the transformation.

When Mother-in-law and Daughter came back to see the results they were thrilled. They met with our owner and our seamstress and discussed what they envisioned the Christening Gown should look like and even had a sketch to go by. Our seamstress got to work with some sketches of her own based on what they discussed.

Christening Gown Design Sketches

After more conversation our owner created a digital layout and also supplied them with an original watercolor of the design.

Digital Design Layout

Watercolor of Christening Gown Design

Now for the fitting. The baby was brought in for measurements. Adjustments were made to the design, patterns were created and the creation was made! A custom cross was embroidered and brought to our seamstress for insertion at just the right place.

 

Beautiful Back-lit Christening Gown

Christening Gown on Disply

Baby Portrait by Ashely FarmerWe could not be more thrilled to have been given the opportunity to partner with this family in creating an heirloom to pass down from generation to generation. It is so special to share in the joyous occasions of our customers. We offer our thanks to this Mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law, the father and the rest of the family for allowing us to share this special story with you.

Photo Credit for portrait: Ashely Farmer Photography

At the Christening Ceremony

Ready Your Closet For Fall

Get started:  

Grab three bags and label them: Donate, Sell and Recycle.

Remove one item at a time, and follow our decision tree to help you decide what to keep, sell, donate or recycle.

For those items you are going to ‘keep’, return them to the closet the ‘wrong’ way, with the open hook of the hanger facing you.  When spring and summer come around again next year, any hangers still facing the wrong way are garments you never wore during the season, and are prime candidates for – donation, sale or recycling, depending on their condition.

One final note, any items that you will be keeping for sentimental reasons, should be cleaned, then placed in boxes designed for long-term storage, and put away in a cool, dry, dark place – not your closet.

Click here to Print the Chart

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A Framed Memory

The minute she put it on, Stacy knew that this gown was going to be treasured forever. Her exquisite Justin Alexander beaded gown was just what she had dreamed of and now what she will use as a piece of art. 

Framed gown in Stacy’s home

“I must say that the cleaning & framing of my dress turned out just as I had hoped, so the long wait was well worth it!”

We asked Stacy a few questions that led to the framing of her gown. 

How did you choose Oakwood Cleaners to clean your gown?

I used the knot and just google results. I then read a lot of reviews because I was a bit weary with handing my dress over to just anyone. I chose you all based on your reputation, cleaning process, and great customer service when I called with questions. I don’t recall whom I spoke to but I felt assured that my dress would be safe and not be around harmful chemicals.

Why did you choose to frame your wedding gown?

I chose to frame my gown because I have been dreaming of it since I was a little girl. My mother is Korean and was married in a traditional Korean dress (hanbok) rather than a “beautiful white American dress”, as she would say. Though she looked stunning I think she always wanted an American wedding dress, so growing up she would always tell me how important the dress is, what it symbolizes, and since it is worn on the most important day of our lives we should always keep it and take care of it. Originally I was just going to preserve it in a small box, but one day at my parents home I walked past hanbok from my first birthday, which is a big deal in Korea, and thought to myself…. how awesome would it be if I had my dress framed?? Though the size of the framing and investment would be quite a bit more than it was for my tiny baby dress, my former fiancée / now husband thought it would not only be a great way to preserve the memory of our special day, but show my mother that I don’t take for granted the fact I got a beautiful American wedding dress & that I would take care of it forever… The fact it is a beautiful piece of art in my home is an added bonus 🙂

When I look at it I think of my wedding day and how magical it was, but I also think about all of those times my mom would wander into the wedding section of a dress shop to fantasize which she would choose. It as always a lot of fun and one of those mother daughter memories I will always remember.  The touching part of this story is when I went to get my wedding dress I had them pick out a dress for her to try on. She was nearly in tears … kind of funny that a dress can mean so much/ hold such symbolic meaning. 

A Kiss

This is Stacy’s gown as she brought it to us for cleaning.

Stacy’s gown before cleaning

We always suggest using our neighbors The Beveled Edge for projects such as this. They also frame needle point, printed fabric, you name it! Here is the process direct from The Beveled Edge in Nashville, TN.

Laying the dress in place
Ready for delivery

 

A precious moment for Stacy

“Thank you again for the excellent quality in service and helping me preserve a little piece of my special day.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether you need pressing before your wedding, cleaning and or preservation after your wedding or something special like framing, Oakwood Cleaners is here for you!

Your Memories Preserved

I so enjoyed my interview with Geny’s Flower & Bridal about our Wedding Gown Preservation process. Here it is:

http://blog.genysflowersandbridal.com/wedding-dress-preservation-right-here-in-nashville?utm_campaign=Wedding+Dresses&utm_content=58870406&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

FURRY FRIENDS IN NEED

When my husband Alan and I took ownership of Oakwood Cleaners 6 years ago, I immediately wanted to show support for un-placed animals. I implemented a program called “Cuddles for Critters” which re-purposes used blankets and such for animals at rescue shelters. It seemed like a perfect partnership to help AGAPE with their endeavors to help lost dogs in need of forever homes. When given the opportunity to sponsor a dog in need we were thrilled to accept the challenge. Please help us help “Blaze” get the medical attention he needs so he can be placed in a forever home. We will be donating a portion of June income from your dry cleaning and laundry to AGAPE so that the vet bills for blaze can be taken care of.

BONUS! Blaze will be autographing his picture with paw prints so bring your dry cleaning, bring the family, meet Blaze and get a personalized autographed picture!

COOL SPRINGS LOCATION | 2000 MALLORY LANE | JUNE 10, 2017 – 12PM TO 2PM
NASHVILLE LOCATION | 73 WHITE BRIDGE ROAD | JUNE  21, 2017 – 3PM – 5PM