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Twinsburg -- While Tatyana de Fluiter has been a fixture in the Twinsburg business community as a tailor for 17 years, she recently added wedding gowns to her list of offerings.
de Fluiter, who owns Valentino's Bridal and Tailoring at 9630 Ravenna Road, recently celebrated a grand opening Dec. 14 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Many clients have requested that she start offering wedding gowns for sale, she said.
de Fluiter's eventual career as a tailor has taken an unusual road. The Ukrainian native moved to the United States with her parents 20 years ago. She currently lives in Streetsboro.
"I was a music teacher," she said of her profession in Ukraine. "We are proud to go from a big city in Ukraine to a small community. We love it here. The clients become more than clients. I meet them for lunch, and sometimes go to their weddings and [family] funerals."
de Fluiter earned a degree in marketing and public relations, which she had planned to use toward a career. However, her mother, who has macular degeneration, asked for her assistance in the tailoring business.
"My mother is the founder of the business, in 1999," she said. "When she started to lose her vision, she asked me to pick up these skills. It's a miracle by God that I picked up the skills and I love it. I love my job."
The path to her eventual store opening has been rocky, but worthwhile, she said.
"I came here with zero English skills," she said. "We went from no clients 17 years ago to a loyal client base."
de Fluiter lamented that tailoring is a dying art.
"There isn't the prestige as if you are a doctor, for example," she said. "I consider myself a doctor for clothing. There aren't a lot of people who know the old-school skills are as important as the design in helping people look good, look their best. I've had people come to me who had been using tape on their slacks to make repairs. They come in because the tape has damaged the fabric."
De Fluiter said she has already set up many appointments and has been taking orders since opening.
"This is such an important day in our lives," de Fluiter said, who was married six years ago. "The person should trust the people in the store."
She and her husband have a 4-year-old daughter, Simone. De Fluiter added that her clients often bring in little gifts for her daughter.
"She is quite spoiled," De Fluiter said.
de Fluiter said she still will take clients who need tailoring work done.
For more information on Valentino's Bridal and Tailoring, call 330-405-7929 or visit valentinosohio.com online.