Published in The Naperville Sun, May 12, 2008
Author: David Sharos
Dawn Kaleta wants women to feel good about themselves, and she’s proven that over and over again – it’s what’s underneath that counts. Kaleta’s expertise is in fitting women for undergarments, with a particular skill in helping those wearing a prosthesis find the clothing they need. “This work is just something I have a passion for – I want to assist women in getting the proper fit,” she said. “When a woman comes in and goes into the dressing room, I’m going to be there with her. Fitting people right is something I’ve built my reputation on.”
Kaleta and her husband, David, are co-owners of Elegance Underneath, a women’s undergarment boutique that opened March 1 in Naperville. Kaleta worked for eight years with a major retailer in the lingerie department and decided last year to start putting together a business plan with her husband, as well as scope out merchandise at trade shows throughout the country. “David and I went to Las Vegas as well as a show here in Chicago at the Merchandise Mart in preparation for this store,” Kaleta said. “We have stocked our shop with merchandise from throughout the country, including New York, California, Paris and the UK.”
Valuable input Kaleta’s specialty is with fitting, but she credits her husband, David, who also works as an airplane mechanic, with helping her choose sleepwear and night gowns that appeal to women. “I’m really out of my element here, but I wanted to support my wife as much as I could,” David Kaleta said. “My parents were self-employed, so I kind of understand some of the business things, but I’ve had to learn a whole new vocabulary as well as things about materials.” David Kaleta said he now understands terms such as an “empire waist,” which fit a wide range of women and sizes, as well as the importance of fabrics for women going through menopause and experiencing night sweats. “David picks out about 75 percent of the sleepwear,” Dawn said. “I handle things like the bras and panties, but David shows me what he likes and what he thinks would also appeal to men. I value his input and appreciate that he likes to see quality.”
Marketing success David said that the couple’s marketing plan for the store was a huge success. “We mailed out 1,700 fliers, and people couldn’t wait until we opened,” he said. “They stopped buying things at other stores because they were waiting for Dawn to open here in Naperville.” One of those eager customers was Oak Forest resident Krista Attreau, a woman who needs no convincing regarding Kaleta’s expertise. She said she has known Kaleta for about 15 years and couldn’t wait for Elegance Underneath to open. “I was so excited when I heard Dawn was going out on her own. Her knowledge and experience is so extensive, and she can make a woman walk out of her store a half hour later looking 10 pounds lighter,” Attreau said. “I have a friend who hasn’t lost any weight, but she looked like she had after she worked with Dawn. “Women can walk in and grab something, and Dawn will tell them, ‘there’s no way you are that size’ and she’s right,” Attreau adds. “I’ve seen women walk in with a T-shirt and whatever they’re wearing, and by the time she fits them, they look taller, thinner and feel better about themselves.” Attreau also acknowledges Kaleta’s expertise about fitting women after surgery and said she has purchased gift certificates for a cousin who recently underwent a mastectomy and a girlfriend’s daughter who had breast reduction. “There’s no question that Dawn’s shop is where I want them to go once they heal,” she said.
Comment at napersun.com Caption:
Naperville resident Penny Holtz tries on bras under her tank top May 2 with the help of friend Dawn Kaleta at the new Naperville lingerie store Elegance Underneath. The Kaleta opened the store that specializes in custom bra and lingerie fittings March 1. For women who have had breast cancer Elegance Underneath also has a special fitting room and carries a full line of prosthetics. Dawn and David Kaleta, owners of Elegance Underneath, worked on a business plan for a year before opening the new lingerie store.
Photos by Danielle Gardner / Staff photographer Copyright, 2008, The Naperville Sun.
All rights reserved. REPRODUCTION PROHIBITED.
Record Number: 120FA87059AF12C0