HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) — For brides, finding the perfect dress is all part of the wedding process. As wedding season gets underway, one local woman is launching her own dress company, with the goal of helping other women, 8,000 miles away.
Lace, silk, elaborate beading, but it’s what you don’t see on these dresses that makes them unique.
After her own experience as a bride, Amherst native Marci Muehkle came up with a proposal of her own.
“What if I could have a wedding dress company where the dresses could help, and empower, and improve the lives of every woman who touched that dress,” says Muehkle.
After a trip to southeast Asia and two years of hard work, her company, Celia Grace, was born.
The dresses are hand-sewn by village women in places like Cambodia.
“We pay them a living wage, so that they can help themselves and their communities break the cycle of poverty,” Muehkle adds.
Each dress, like this one made with handwoven silk, has a story, and each bride gets that story written on a card when she buys the dress.
Ryan Mainville, owner of Pearl Bridal in Holyoke, couldn’t resist having Muehkle’s first seven dress collection in her shop.
“The majority of the wedding dresses right now are being manufactured in China, where we know for a fact they’re not practicing these businesses practices over there,” says Mainville.
Muehkle notes, “Weddings are really about your values and what you like and what you think about and these dresses are one more way to add to that meaning and that emotion and the power of your wedding day.”
What better way to celebrate the biggest day of your life than with a dress you know was made with love.
Muehkle also uses a portion of each sale to donate a water filtration system to a village family.
The dresses go on sale this weekend at Pearl. You do have to make an appointment.
In the next couple of months, the dresses will also be sold at trunk shows in Massachusetts, New York, and Hawaii.
For more information, visit the Celia Grace website, here.