I visited Gladys Portalatin today, who runs The Bridal Cottage in the Kings Mall in Kingston, but is closing it down at the end of January.
When arriving to the mall, I could barely even find a parking spot, but the section of the mall that she is in was super quiet, and almost noone was walking by.
I opened the door and walked in, and she asked me what I wanted to do for the photos, so I told her that I didn't want her to do anything out of the ordinary. I just wanted to learn about her business and see what she does. So, she worked on this sewing beaded appliques onto a sheer net jacket, which she said she'd be doing whether I was there or not.
Her daughter Imani and I went to the same high school, so Gladys and I were discussing that, discussing a mutual friend Imani and I have, discussing the Kings Mall, and talking about some of the businesses that have come and gone through there. We talked about her business, and why she was closing down. She said she'd been doing it for a long time, and that it was time to "have some fun".
At one point, I realized I wasn't sure if she was working on a piece that was pre-made and that was she customizing, or whether she had made the whole thing, so I asked. She proudly said "I made this" and I spouted out "That's beautiful". I got a bit self conscious, because I don't say that about objects much, but it was true that it was beautiful, so I'm glad that I said it. At that point I knew I had to get a good up close photo of her working on the stitching.
Thank you Gladys for showing me a bit of your life, and best of luck on whatever you do in life next!