From the basement of her home to an internationally-known brand named after her, a local entrepreneur is changing the faux fur and bridal game. Her Covington showroom is changing now, too, to new demands, behaviors, and even some rockstars. Read on for all the details.
The story of Donna Salyers, her faux fur and bridal stores goes back to when she first opened their doors in 2003 and 2005, respectively.
“With the city teetering on bankruptcy, surrounding storefronts were either boarded up or dramatically under-utilized,” says Salyers. “Opening a ‘luxury bridal boutique’ was somewhere between idiocy and a leap of faith. But thanks to amazing local and regional support, Fabulous-Bridal developed a stellar reputation for beautiful gowns and outstanding customer service.”
Then, following up on her passion for ludicrous ideas, Salyers and her family decided to open Hotel Covington in 2016.
“It was a great complement to The Madison Event Center, which my husband Jim opened in the early 90s under similar circumstances, and our son-in-law Guy van Rooyen persevered,” she says.
From there, the Salyers brand and their businesses were thriving and growing right alongside the Covington community by 2019.
Now, following years of growth among their brands, Cincinnati-based First Financial Bank tapped Salyers and her team to purchase their Fabulous-Bridal building.
“With Fabulous-Furs a few blocks away on 11th Street, it made sense to combine two specialty luxury stores into one glorious space, and so the planning began,” she says.
There was a slight hiccup in the plans, however, when the manager from KISS called to schedule a shopping visit. The band was going to be delivered to the (now empty) showroom from Lunken.
“Quickly the Showroom was re-merchandised and we anxiously awaited their arrival,” says Salyers. “KISS guitarist and songwriter Paul Stanley, wearing our Spotted Wolf jacket, led the group of nine! They shopped until nearly 4 pm, just hours before their evening concert. As they paid for their purchases, Paul turned and invited everyone to tonight’s performance, promising front row seats, parking next to their equipment trucks and backstage access.”
The team gave a final goodbye to their showroom before its remodel as they headed to Lexington for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Fast-forward to living in a global pandemic and Salyers’ newly remodeled showroom is located at 20 West Eleventh Street, showcasing sections from both Fabulous-Bridal and Fabulous Furs.
Salyers is excited about the future of her Fabulous brands. “I began Fabulous-Furs three decades ago in the basement of our Cincinnati home with a single product: a faux fur coat sewing kit,” says Salyers. “Today, with customers in 46 countries, our products have evolved and are successfully sold in boutiques, hotels, and design stories throughout the United States and Canada.”
High-end accounts with the Fabulous brands include Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. “We’re ShopHQ’s largest apparel brand and, in 2016, we added TVSN, Australia’s leading TV shopping network, where I continue to do seasonal appearances,” adds Salyers.
Fabulous has also been featured editorially in everything from O Magazine and UK Vogue to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and the WSJ. Fabulous-Furs have appeared in hundreds of Broadway productions and TV shows including Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Frozen, Empire, Today Show, Miss USA/Universe, The View, CSI Las Vegas, Sopranos and Gossip Girl.
“With that said, every day brings an exciting, unexpected new client account or amazing customer,” says Salyers. “And with our humble beginnings, no one is more surprised, grateful and thrilled than me!”
Are you newly engaged? Ready to buy a bridal gown? Fabulous Bridal is offering Cincy Chic followers an exclusive deal through the end of the year: Buy a wedding gown and get a free Donna Salyers Fabulous-Furs Throw. Click here to book your appointment.