96 ;e Costco Connection MARCH 2013 IF YOU’RE LIKE some women, you fantasize about that red-carpet moment when you hit the town looking so glamorous you can almost hear the popping of paparazzi flashbulbs. Luckily for you, Michael Weintraub, a Costco member, either has that dress from your dream or can likely find it in your size and color. The owner of Dressed Up (
www.dressed-up.com), a Tarzana, California–based evening wear superstore, works with top designers and is a regular at industry trade shows, where he bags the latest styles and then sells them for relatively affordable prices ($200 to $1,100 per dress). That’s why, for many women, Dressed Up has become “Gown Central Station.” “We have one of the best selections any- where,” says Weintraub, an ebullient, gregarious 53-year-old. A quick flick through the racks in his 4,000-square-foot shop shows some- thing eye-catching for just about any special occasion: prom, bridal party, cotillion, bat mitzvah, even the Oscars. Weintraub and his staff work hard to make sure every customer feels like a starlet. “When that happens,” he says, “I know we’ve done it, because when you go to that event, it’s showtime.” A few years ago, during the financial crisis, Weintraub rebuilt his business, which now boasts a wholesale division and eBay stores. An increasing num- ber of sales come through online shoppers, many outside America, such as Australia, Russia, the UK and Yemen. “We do big busi- ness in the Middle East,” says Weintraub, whose sales staff speaks multi- ple languages. “There seem to be a lot of women getting dressed up in Qatar.” Weintraub never imagined dressing women for a living. He holds both an MBA and a law degree from the University of Southern California. Prior to opening Dressed Up in 1991, he worked at a prestigious law firm in Beverly Hills, “making more money than any 24-year-old should ever get their hands on,” he says. “But I was miserable.” After esigning, Weintraub took a position at his father’s clothing store, selling casual wom- en’s wear until, he says, his ego told him it was time to “move out” and start his own business. What he loves most is working with people, partic- ularly women. “They’re so demonstrative,” he says. “They tell you what they think, and I like that. It’s a good fit.”—Craigh Barboza
PIERRE COM TOIS
FOR MOST PARENTS, the thought of having their newborn photographed might seem strange. Sure, all parents snap photos with their own cameras or video cameras, but they likely never considered a pro- fessional photo shoot. “Newborn photography is really popular right now,” says photographer Kelley Ryden (
www.kelleyryden.com), who, with her twin sister, Tracy Raver (
www.tracyraver. com), has mastered the art popularized by world- famous Anne Geddes. “Now parents know you get hem photographed between days five and 10. We get ’em really young. Because they do change so much those first few weeks.” The Omaha, Nebraska, Costco members’ photos have garnered worldwide attention through their appearances on NBC’s Today show and other media. Now, in addition to their ongoing studio work, the twins are spreading their knowledge through workshops at their studio, as well as around the world, and have had three books of their work published. Ryden says their style is to be as natural and simple as possible. “I do a little bit of work in Photoshop,” she says, “but if I don’t have to do a lot to it, I’m not going to. My feeling with a newborn is you don’t want to touch their skin up too much so they don’t have that nat- ural softness. Tracy and I, our philosophy of newborn photography, we want them to look like how they look at that time. “I think some people have a natural instinct to work with new- borns, and Tracy and I do both have that,” she adds. “When we have a session with a newborn, there’s never a peep: They’re always calm, safe and asleep.”—Steve Fisher © KELLE YRYDEN. COM
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