Engaged Couples/Prospective Brides Beware!
Michelle Rene is a local fashion designer I heard of who was recommended to me by a friend. I had 6 sport coats in need of some light tailoring. How difficult could that be for a professional clothier (I use the term loosely) who specializes in custom women’s wear and wedding gowns? It’s February and I am anticipating the summer months when I will need them most in my profession. Plenty of time, right? I am to meet her at the studio (in the basement of her house) and she sizes me up for each coat. She seems quite outgoing, friendly and engaging. For each coat, she positions pins at the location to be taken in. Then she scribbles on a 3x5 card notes reminding her exactly what needs to be done. She then slides each card into the pocket of the coat - all the while cracking jokes and expressing a friendly and bubbly personality. She is good with people – at least good at first impressions. After jacket #6 is pinned up, I thank her and hand her a $20 bill to get things started. (I really do not know what this will cost me). She gladly accepts my good faith deposit. “You may pick your coats up in about two weeks”, she assures me. “Fantastic!”, I respond. I start my car and proceed down the long, narrow driveway snaking away from her house. Thus begins the longest two weeks I’ve ever experienced. After an entire month goes by without hearing from her, I decide to send a text message requesting when I can pick up my suit coats. No response. A week later I send another text. Still no response. Two more weeks transpire, so I call her. No answer. “When can I pick up the coats?” Several weeks go by with still no response whatsoever. It’s now July (6 months later according to my calculator). I send close to 20 text messages during this period. FINALLY, I receive a text response! “I am out of town this week”. Hmmm. At least it’s something. It’s now August and I decide to end this game of hers. I call the police for advice and send her one simple text message. “I am stopping in this Friday to pick up my coats.” True to form, she offers no acknowledgment. When I arrive, I must have disrupted some R & R time she appeared to be enjoying on the back deck. She walks around toward the driveway where I am. She recognizes me, of course, and I simply announce, “I’m here for my jackets.” She opens the garage door leading to her studio and there my six sport coats lie neatly in a stack on a couch. It appears she was expecting me. “Six coats, right?” she asks without ever making eye contact. “That’s right.” As she hands me the coats, I ask, “Is there a balance owed?”. “No”. Again no eye contact. I thank her and leave. When I arrive home and examine the jackets, I discover she never touched them. The 3x5 cards are still in the pockets. The only thing she did do was keep the pins and my $20. Ok. Let’s face it. The time value of one’s labor from altering a few sport coats could never compare to the profits earned from designing and selling custom bridal gowns and high end women’s clothing. I get that. But, it really is not the point here, either. I honestly do not know how one can run a business for very long while engaging in deception, avoidance and a possessing a clear lack of integrity. The simple and clear message I offer anyone considering Michelle Rene Designs is this: know with whom you are dealing. Do your homework. Read other online reviews. What you read on her website and experience in person is not necessarily what you get.
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