10 Minutes With: Mara Urshel

Co-Owner, Kleinfeld

It takes a very special person to do what Mara Urshel does every single day of the week. Her uber-successful bridal salon, Kleinfeld in Manhattan, is every bride’s holy grail for the best gowns, veils, jewels, shoes and now, even menswear. Not to mention being the real-world setting of the show, Say Yes to the Dress.

A vast, carefully curated selection of the latest and greatest in wedding fashion insures there is something for every bride-to-be. But for the thousands of brides (and their families) that pass through the doors each year, there is such a level of expectation, incredible excitement and emotion that Mara and her top notch team are not only prepared for, but it seems, were absolutely made for.

We recently caught up with Mara in the midst of fittings, TV tapings and all-out dress madness so she could share a few thoughts with us and some sage advice for all those engaged folk out there. Listen up ladies!

How did you end up in your profession?
I ended up as Kleinfeld co-owner when I decided to buy the company in 1999 with my two partners, Ronnie Rothstein and Wayne Rogers. After leaving my 20+ year tenure at Saks Fifth Avenue, I was hired as a consultant by the investment group that owned Kleinfeld from ’97-99.

I worked with them to help clean up the company finances, merchandising and marketing plans. I saw extreme potential and was anxious to start a new career in bridal so we bought the company.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of the job is that every day is more exciting than the last. New people. A lot of emotion. Exciting brides. Interesting venues. A dress for every bride!

What is your favorite trend, look or dress right now?
Any trend that makes the bride look beautiful, but right now I love bare backs with embroidered illusion.

Who, what and where inspires you?
I am inspired by everything from street fashion to museums, art exhibits and nature.

What do you love about brides?
I love their individuality, uniqueness and that there really is a dress for every bride.

What is the one thing every bride needs?
Every bride needs confidence and patience.

Can you give us a BRIDAL DO?
Set a budget, be honest and stick to it.

What about a BRIDAL DON’T?
Don’t stress the small stuff. Enjoy the planning process! This is a great time to bond with both families.

What’s next?
Next for Kleinfeld is developing e-commerce. And we are constantly looking for exclusive designers and developing new partnerships in the bridal industry.

Finally, tell us a style secret that can make a wedding look magic. (We promise we won’t tell).
Don’t forget about the groom! Your dress is the main event but you should also make sure he is involved or feels involved in the wedding planning experience. What is he wearing? (Kleinfeld Men, ha!)

Thank you Mara!

--Juli Alvarez

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