By Madina Toure
Charisol Bridal Boutique, a retail wedding gown business that has operated in Queens since the 1980s, has been serving Bayside brides-to-be for the last five years.
The boutique moved to 214-07 42nd Ave. from its original location in Flushing to accommodate its customer base and to focus exclusively on wedding gowns for brides, said Kimberly Kim, the boutique’s owner.
“I was looking for a little bit better, more convenient location,” Kim said. “My customers come from Long Island, Whitestone and Bayside. A lot of people come from that area, so I liked to have it a little bit more further up. I found that this location is a nice-colored building and most of my customers are appointment only.”
In 1981, a now-retired custom-made fashion designer founded the boutique in Flushing. Before the boutique moved it had about 10 to 15 employees and sold modern dresses, bridesmaid dresses, wedding gowns, shoes and jewelry.
Kim, a South Korean native who lives in Rego Park, studied fashion design with a focus on sportswear design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and haute couture at ESMOD, a private fashion school in Paris. She runs her own line, Kimberly Young, which focuses on wedding gown design, and has been running the boutique for the past 15 years.
In addition to reaching customers who live near Bayside, the boutique narrowed its selections to wedding collections and downsized to five employees so it could better serve brides, Kim said.
“I think that nowadays it’s different marketing,” she said. “I like to focus more only on weddings because I can give more concentration to the wedding gown business.”
The boutique sells bridal gowns, bridesmaids, accessories and tuxedos, both custom-made and from designers such as Maggie Sottero, Justin Alexander and Altair.
The most popular wedding dresses include fit n’ flare dresses, trumpet dresses, mermaid dresses and lace gowns. Designer dresses cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 while custom-made dresses cost anywhere from $4,500 to $8,000.
The tuxedo collection includes top designers such as Perry Ellis, After Six, Ralph Lauren formal wear, formal wear from the late Oscar de la Renta and Andrew Fezza. Accessories include headpieces, shoes, clutches and jewelry for various occasions.
The boutique also runs a blog on its official website in which it congratulates newly wed couples.
Kim says the boutique’s appeal is its ability to add a personal touch to the process of finding the ideal wedding gown.
“We offer more personal care to our customers,” she said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.