Store-ies 03: Luna Boutique

 

A visual archive of Pittsburgh retailers & their stories. 

 
 
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Erin Szymanski

Owner of Luna Boutique

Photography by Rose Colored Creative

 

What’s the story behind Luna? (We would love to hear more about the journey that brought you to Luna) 

I opened Glitter & Grit in 2013 to be a destination for Pittsburgh's non-traditional brides. It was perfect timing, as there were more and more designers emerging to attend to that woman. But I received requests for evening and prom gowns, Mother of the Bride/Groom dresses, and everything in between - for the similar women who were unhappy with the existing options (or lack thereof). I knew this would be a great opportunity to help all women feel beautiful while embracing their individuality. At the same time, I was starting to feel that I had outgrown Glitter & Grit; the physical location, the aesthetic, and the brand itself. Luna was created to be an elevated and expanded sister to the Glitter & Grit concept.

 

What has been inspiring you lately?

I find the juxtaposition of hard and soft that occurs in nature (branches and leaves, stems and petals, rocks and water) to be mesmerizing. It inspires me to mix materials and style concepts in new ways.

 
 
 

Pittsburgh has a deep rooted history of divergent thinkers, inventors, and entrepreneurs and I think that culture carries over into the success of small businesses city-wide.

 
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What is your most-prized clothing item?

I tend to be quite nostalgic, so I have a few items that I may no longer wear, but are quite precious to me. For example, I have the dress that my sister made for my junior year prom: a plethora of floral prints, satin, and velvet, patchworked into one-of-a-kind, formal perfection. When I began dreaming of owning a bridal store and wondering WHY that was the idea that stuck, my prom dress reminded me that I was never satisfied with the status quo - especially when it came to fancy dresses!

What do you see for the future of your company?

I believe Luna can grow to become the destination for fashion-forward and unique dresses for all women, for all occasions. I'm currently on the hunt for designers with more broad size ranges so that we can offer more options to everyone who walks in our store. I don't want to just have a "plus-size" collection; I want our dresses to be available in a full range of sizes from 0-20+. It's proving a little tricky, as I also feel strongly about standards of design and quality, but I'm finally seeing designers breaking the pre-existing mold of offering dresses in either straight OR plus. My goal is to help women feel excited about dressing up, rather than dreading an upcoming event because they don't have anything to wear that makes them feel fabulous.

 

I’m sure that I’ve made every mistake possible in owning a business. I do a lot of flying by the seat of my pants, which is both an invigorating force as well as a way to drive myself insane.

 
 

Which fashion designer or muse (dead or alive) would you love to collaborate with? 

I'd love to experience the creative process of Ellie Saab or Zuhair Murad... they both have such an intricate eye for detail and skill for layering and mixing textures that I feel I could really get lost in.

What have you learned from having a business? What mistakes have you made?

I'm sure that I've made every mistake possible in owning a business. I do a lot of flying by the seat of my pants, which is both an invigorating force as well as a way to drive myself insane.

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Do you have any style regrets from your past?

I really don't! I see style as an ever-evolving thing, and see no reason to regret former decisions. Every look is reflective of the person I was at that time, which I love.

Benefits and challenges are to having a store in Pgh?

Pittsburgh has a deep rooted history of divergent thinkers, inventors, and entrepreneurs - and I think that culture carries over into the success of small businesses city-wide. I feel that the community loves to support small restaurants and shops with a passion that not every city possesses. We're so lucky for that!

I feel that the challenge in having a store in Pittsburgh is that, style-wise, we have a tendency to be a little behind the trends, so when I want to push the envelope with really fresh designs, it's not always immediately understood or considered wearable. But I feel that the more I keep putting these adventurous looks out there, the more receptive our clients will become.

 
 
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Elysia Newman