Dressed in White



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Janice Heilner, a former interior decorator, educator and teacher of art, and Hilma Stratford, an educator with an interest in fashion design, first met each other 15 years ago while traveling to China with mutual friends. Following their trip, they kept in touch at Christmas but never expected they would someday be partners in a unique business called Dressed In White.

About six years ago, the two women discovered that they were in the same ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As they got reacquainted, Hilma felt prompted to share her idea of meeting a perceived need for tasteful, comfortable temple dresses. She knew there were other women looking for a choice of designs—designs different from those offered through the church’s clothing manufacturer.

Janice took interest. In addition to her work in education and interior design, she had worked as an assistant for a Beverly Hills pattern maker. Janice’s husband Alan was also an executive at I. Magnins in San Francisco, and from his work, she had learned the aspects of retailing.

Hilma and Janice pursued the idea and took a fact-finding trip to the garment district in LA to see what the possibilities would be of finding appropriate pre-made items and found that none existed. Then they spent time looking for manufacturers who would be able to provide them with the type of product they sought. Over a period of time, they contacted several companies that were willing to work with them on their designs and ideas.

With a relatively small investment, the two women began realizing their dream. They set up shop during BYU’s Education Week back in 1995 to introduce the women attending to their line of dresses. Then, they began selling the dresses by mail order and e-commerce. Now, just six years later, Hilma and Janice’s idea has become the clothing line they wanted. Called Dressed In White, the company sells its unique dresses online and in retail stores located at The Shops at Riverwoods in Provo, Cottonwood Mall and Crossroads Plaza in Salt Lake. Dressed In White is the story of two friends with similar backgrounds and interests, sharing one idea and pursuing their dream for special clothing.

For Zions Bank, I’m Fred Ball. I’m speaking on business.

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