museum quality boxes for preservation

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

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

Life at Oakwood Post 8

Do you have a vintage wedding gown?

One of the best things about life at Oakwood is definitely our family of customers and hearing their special stories. We see all kinds of vintage clothing including wedding gowns. Rita came in months ago and told me about her gown which was over 40 years old. I had been waiting for her to bring it in which she did just recently.

A vintage preservation
What’s in the metal chest?

Rita walked in on a chilly November day with the metal chest pictured above in hand. Of course I was curious as to what this was. Well, this was the chest that her mother had her wedding gown preserved in. It was wrapped in a sheet and placed in the chest. Have you ever seen anything like this before? I had not.

Vintage Metal Preservation Chest
Vintage Metal Preservation Chest

This was a special gown hand-made by her mother down to hand sewing every bead and pearl and piece of lace!

40 year old gown detail
Handmade Wedding Gown Detail
40 year old wedding gown
Handmade Wedding Gown Front
40 year old wedding gown
Handmade Wedding Gown Back View

Rita was so proud of her wedding gown and could not say enough about the time and effort her mother spent creating this spectacular gown. She described how she took several different patterns and then added her own ideas while doing fittings with Rita for a perfect fit. Every pearl and piece of lace were sewn on by hand with love and care.

Due to the age, the delicacy of the tulle and the strength of the lace and pearls, the tulle layer has begun to deteriorate. We cannot restore the gown as is, but we talked about cleaning the lining, which was in great shape and the lace applique’s so they would be available for future use.

We at Oakwood Cleaners are so privileged to hear your stories and be able to see your vintage items. Thank you Rita for sharing this with us.

LEADING CLEANERS INTERNATIONALE COMES TO NASHVILLE!

As a member of LCI (Leading Cleaners Internationale), Oakwood Cleaners was chosen to host the semi-annual couture dry cleaning conference April 2nd – 4th at the historic Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville, TN. Representatives from many of the member cleaners embarked on Nashville ready to discuss the nuances of couture dry cleaning.

We had representatives all the way from Canada, New York, Nebraska, New Orleans and California!

group

A trip to Oakwood’s plant in Hermitage, Tennessee led to a great discussion and shared ideas by all during the next 2 days of activities.

One of the highlights of the conference was our guest speaker Nashville resident and businessman Tom Negri.
His discussion of team work and immigration were inspiring and educational; 2 topics that were of great interest to all of us.

A great time was had by all, including evenings on Broadway visiting music venues, great food and ending at the Grand Ole Opry with some that stayed over.
For more information on Oakwood Cleaners and Leading Cleaners Internationale please visit: www.OakwoodCleaners.com and www.leadingcleaners.com

Vintage wedding gown from 1800’s!

The Association of Wedding Gown Specialists Convention a few weeks ago

Vintage Gown from 1800's
Quite old but still in great shape!

 proved to be so helpful. Not only did we learn how we can help you, the bride, take care of your precious memories but we were presented with a piece of history that had been preserved since the 1800’s! Can you imagine finding a wedding gown from your ancestors in almost perfect condition? Well, think of your family and how they will feel when they get to experience your special day when you show them your dress? Bring your dress in for a consultation and let us help you restore your memories.