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  • Writer's pictureJae Lee

Vendor Highlight - Glitter and Grit

It is not common in our area to have many specialized boutiques that cater towards wedding gowns. Enter - Glitter and Grit. I first heard about this boutique from my neighbor (she is friends with the owner), then I heard about it from another makeup artist friend, and then I heard about it from a photographer friend. I apparently have many friends who are friends with Erin, the owner, but I have YET to meet her! Such a small world.. and I am totally excited to share her and her boutique with all of you!!

When and how did you get started in this industry?

I started planning, plotting, and dreaming up the idea for Glitter & Grit a good while before I opened in June 2013. The lack of options for shopping for unique wedding dresses in Pittsburgh became obvious as my friends started getting married, and was driven home when the time came for me to choose a dress. My heart was set on a simple but distinctive dress with color from Wai Ching, a designer based out of Seattle, and I ordered my dress online from her. While I had a great experience, I realized that not every bride is willing to take such a risk!

What was the defining moment when you knew this is what you wanted to do?

I actually had to ease myself into it… I’m not exactly a girly girl, nor did I grow up dreaming about my wedding day; quite the opposite! I went through a process of accepting that I wanted to get involved in the industry, and then identifying that a part of my purpose in this business is to turn the wedding industry on its head, from the inside; to encourage brides to stay true to themselves, versus following “trends.” The defining moment for me occurred during one of my first appointments. The bride and her mother were incredibly frustrated and upset from previous shopping excursions and close to giving up. When I was able to turn that completely around – not only by helping them find a dress, but by making it enjoyable and personal? THAT was when I knew that this is exactly what I should be doing.

What can clients expect from you?

A bride can expect the privacy of having the store to herself, and a warm and welcoming environment. I will listen to her needs, wants, likes, and dislikes, and help her pick out dresses that fit her personality, style, and wedding vision. I won’t push, but I may encourage her to think a little outside of what she expects. To me, the most important thing is helping a bride find the dress that is perfectly her, so I’ll be honest - and gentle! - about what is and isn’t working, options, and prices. This time will be relaxed, free of pressure, and fun!

Most memorable client?

I will always remember the bride from my “defining moment;” not only did she validate my mission, it was my first sale! However, they’re really each memorable in their own ways; the bride that only takes fifteen minutes to make her selection, the bride that brings her fiancée, the bride that brings her friends back when they get engaged… the list goes on! Last month, I had an appointment in which the mom asked the name of the dress. Unbelievably, the bride teared up at the answer and whispered, “that’s what my fiancée calls me.” It was a truly sweet and unforgettable moment.

Tell us about your boutique.

Glitter & Grit is a small and intimate boutique located at 5300 Butler Street in Upper Lawrenceville. All inventory is out for display to browse, touch, and try on. The atmosphere is very relaxed, with hints of juxtaposing nature and industry (because what else IS Pittsburgh!?) in the décor. I offer a range of unique wedding dresses; often handmade, earth-friendly, or indie-designed. These are not the same strapless ballgowns that you can find everywhere else! Look for lush, natural fabrics, lace, straps and sleeves, soft and flowing skirts, and sometimes even pops of color!

Tell us about yourself (small bio).

Pittsburgh native. Beyond-hopeless romantic. Lover of the outdoors, live music, yoga, and baking. Obsessed with the fashion industry since I was a little girl; watching the Saturday morning runway recaps on CNN instead of cartoons, enjoying the rush of opening the back-to-school issue of Seventeen Magazine, designing my own prom dresses in high school. If you can’t find me, I’m probably visiting friends or family in other cities, or exploring the woods with my husband!

Erin Szymanski

Glitter & Grit 5300 Butler Street Pittsburgh, PA 15201 412.781.2375

Thank you so much Erin and we WILL finally meet someday soon!


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