A Perfect Fit
Published in Living Single Magazine, April 2011
When Dawn Kaleta had the chance to move from the Gift Department to the Lingerie Department of a large department store, she jumped at the chance. What she didn’t know was that she would have to learn how to measure women for bras, understand the sizing for each of the brands carried by the store, and understand the differences in bra styles and materials. However, the more she learned, and the more she was able to help women find their perfect fit, the happier she was. She knew that she had found her passion. In fact, while at that store, she was ranked #6 out of 1,500+ employees. Several years later, when the opportunity presented itself, she decided to take a leap and open her own store.
Elegance Underneath Named 2009 Small Business of the Year by Plainfield Chamber of Commerce
(Published in TribLocal, July 13, 2009)
Elegance Underneath opened on March 1, 2008 in the Naperville Crossings Retail Center at the Northwest corner of 95th Street and Route 59. When Dawn and David Kaleta decided to open an up-scale lingerie boutique at the height of a recession, many thought it was a mistake, but Elegance Underneath has proved that when done right, a new business can, not only survive, but thrive. With over 8 years of experience with a major department store, Dawn Kaleta ranked #6 nationwide out of over 1,500 employees. Her ability to predict products that excite her patrons, as well as her expertise in finding the right style and fit for each of her clients is a tremendous asset to the store. But it is her commitment to outstanding customer service that keeps them coming back.
One of the unique features of Elegance Underneath is Dawn’s ongoing commitment to fitting people who may not fit the norm. She carries inventory to meet the needs of a wide variety of sizes and shapes, and is always happy to special order items for her clients. She is a certified mastectomy fitter and has been recognized by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC). Dawn is also in the final stage of achieving status as a Medicare Provider for post mastectomy patients, which will give a greater number of cancer survivors access to Dawn’s services.
Dawn’s partner and husband, David, is also a priceless asset to the store. While he keeps his full-time job as airplane mechanic, David spends countless hours in the back office, maintaining customer accounts and overseeing the advertising, public relations and marketing efforts of the store.
Dawn and David are active in the community, often sponsoring charitable activities, including heavy participation in Y-Me events. They are active members of the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce, participating in and often sponsoring Chamber events.
Dawn and David Kaleta remain committed to the standard of excellence that allowed them to accept the 2009 Small Business of the Year Award from the Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce. And while they are grateful for the recognition, they also know that they will be judged on how well they perform going forward. They are prepared to continue to deliver the highest standard of service, and to find innovative ways to meet and exceed the needs of their clients.
Naperville Sun, The (IL)
May 12, 2008 A true fit
Author: David Sharos; Special to The Sun Section: BUSINESS COVER
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