Longform

You Go, Girls!

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After getting her degree in applied chemistry, Josie worked in medical research for a few years, then married Bob Fetters in 1963. They came home to the family farm, where they raised two children, now in their twenties. Both of Josie's kids have since returned with their families to live on the Dransfeldt place.

Glitzy Glitz is not Gunhild and Josie's first joint business venture. Their partnership actually began with a mother/daughter weight-loss plan. "We'd been in and out of Weight Watchers for years," Gunhild recalls. "Food was such a huge part of our lives."

"The Christian religion is based on bread and wine," Josie points out.
"My mother had always set out food," Gunhild continues. "Even if it was cheese sandwiches, she made her own bread."

Weight Watchers was no match for that kind of family tradition. After investigating the wilderness of diet-oriented businesses, Gunhild and Josie decided to buy into the Thin Living Academy, an emotion- and behavior-based plan that said "no to diets and yes to life."

"I learned to leave food on my plate," Gunhild recalls. "And lightning didn't strike."

"I learned all the different kinds of hunger there are," Josie adds. "I have thyroid problems, so I have throat hunger--I gravitate toward foods like ice cream."

"I started giving myself what I wanted," Gunhild says. "And you know, you can get so sick of candy..."

Eventually, Josie says, their Thin Living Academy became more of a diet-recovery movement than a weight-loss plan, and after nine months, both mother and daughter were ready to move on. (The Thin Living Academy, now known as The Academy, may have fallen on hard times since the Dransfeldts pulled out. It is listed in the phone book, but no one--not even a machine--answers calls.)

Neither mother nor daughter had gotten skinny, a situation that inspired their next mission.

"Food--it's just fuel. Why obsess?" Josie remembers thinking. "I decided if I have to cover myself up, I'll cover myself up with something scrumptious. Being thin will not make your life perfect. And we went on to spread the gospel of glitz."

"We tried to make our boutique an extension of our home," Gunhild says.
"We're never high-pressure," Josie adds. "But no holds are barred. Our philosophy is: Go for it. We can do lame from head to toe--but we don't have to. Those fashion models are an anomaly, and you, no matter who you are, can look terrific."

What this means is that you will look terrific--you will not look like you're wearing a terrific dress. If you want a beaded gown, you can get one at Glitzy Glitz, but the gown will not be allowed to intimidate you.

"Beaded gowns run two sizes too small in the first place," Josie says. "And we'll always ask you: 'Can you sit down in it? Are you afraid to eat in it?' People don't think of that, believe me.

"What we are here," she explains, "is a true boutique. As Coco Chanel always said, 'When fashion is gone, style remains.' And what we do is assist people in adopting a personal style."

Glitzy Glitz clients are outfitted in everything from cruise collections--"that you can cram into a bag and accessorize like crazy," says Josie--to prom dresses. "With the whole prom thing, I was shocked," she confesses. "One woman told me that only three girls showed up in the same dress as her daughter. She thought she had done well! This tore me to the soul."

To make amends for less thoughtful stores, Glitzy Glitz tries not to sell more than one incarnation of an outfit. And if you're a celebrity client--a certain high-profile mortician and the wife of a well-known broadcaster are rumored to go nowhere else for their evening wear--the Dransfeldts will shut down their five-room store while you shop.

As might be expected, larger customers are treated with particular deference. Sometimes they stop feeling large altogether. "Because look, this particular outfit can stretch from a size ten to an eighteen," Josie offers, giving the skirt in question a vigorous yank at the waistband. "A lot of occasions, like weddings--well, you'll gain or lose five pounds after you buy the outfit, just from stress. We can handle it. This outfit can handle it. As a matter of fact, smalls and petites are hard to get in glitzy. We have to keep a list and call our tiny customers when the tiny stuff comes in."

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Robin Chotzinoff
Contact: Robin Chotzinoff