Spot Light: The Woman Behind Dado

A couple weeks ago I was commissioned to write a Fashion Preview on Dado Boutique's Spring 2014 Fashion Show for a local publication. Incidentally, I learned that the woman behind this $209,000 (and growing) fundraiser fashion show is the dynamic force that keeps her clients coming back for more. Meet, Dalida "Dado" Atallah, owner and operator of local, high-end women's boutique, Dado.

A view from the back of Dado's latest location.
Originally opened on Park Ave, Dado moved to Brighton in 2011.

Atallah self proclaims to hate personal feature stories, but I could not help bragging about her a bit. Let me tell it to you simply.

The facts:

  • Attalah opened Dado in 2007, backed by a small $25,000 loan and no former experience in Fashion or Merchandising. 
  • Atallah hosted her first free fashion show fundraiser for clients in 2009.  
  • In total, the Dado Spring and Fall fashion shows have raised over $209,000 in proceeds for the Wilmot Cancer Center. 
  • The Fall 2014 Dado Fashion Show had unprecedented attendance of 700 people and raised $36,000, catapulting Dado into a "legit" fashion show scene status. 
  • The primary marketing strategy for Dado is word of mouth. 
Talk about a grass roots effort. What drives this 40-some-odd-year-old dynamo? She acknowledges her customer when she states, "It has always been the number one objective of the whole show for the customer to have a good time." 

She admits that people come to the show for all kinds of reasons with merely twenty percent or so of those attending being actual customers,  but ultimately it is the customer that drives her business and her ideas. "It's all about building a relationship," says Attalah of customer service. 
Dado model poses at the Spring 2014 Fashion Show, displaying hair byThe Spa at Del Monte . 

Known for providing trendy clothes, targeted to the over thirty, fashionably chic and affluent population, Atallah resists the industry standard of using uber young, shapeless, tall models. Rather, with a grateful nod to her shoppers, Atallah sends actual customers down the runway. Of this decision, she comments, "Since when was fashion only for twenty-year-olds? Twenty-year-olds don't even have the money to afford this fashion."

Atallah directs models backstage, between runway walk and photo-ops  at the Spring 2014 Fashion Show.