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Melissa Oddo Wins Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Award

Submitted by Sarah Chambers

(June 25, 2024) — The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce recently announced that Melissa Oddo will be the very first recipient of its Women-Owned Business of the Year Award. The deMelis Atelier team will received the 2024 Small Business Award on June 27, 2024 at St. Clements Castle in Portland.

Each year, several Middlesex Chamber businesses are recognized for demonstrating exemplary “Best Practices.” Businesses are nominated by fellow Chamber members for displaying business growth and performance, customer service strategies, unique and innovative approaches, and community involvement and contribution. Melissa has been a member of the Chamber for the past several years and is elated and grateful to be recognized in this way.

Melissa Oddo’s luxury bridal alterations studio, deMelis Atelier, is located in Higganum. She has been sewing for more than twenty-five years— ever since her great-grandmother started showing her how to read patterns as a child. Originally from Middlefield, she attended New York’s renowned Fashion Institute of Technology where she received her Associate’s degree in Tailoring and her Bachelor’s degree in Ready-to-Wear.

Melissa also spent a year studying fashion abroad at the Polimoda School in Florence, Italy. Seeing a need for a new generation of sewing professionals in her home state, Melissa founded deMelis Atelier in 2018. In 2021 she moved the business from her home to the Three Oaks complex in Higganum. In the same year the studio also became the first alterations business to be invited to become a member of The National Bridal Council. Melissa now has a small team of two sewists and an operations manager who assist her in making brides’ visions come to life. From standard wedding dress alterations to vintage remakes, the team works on an average of 200 bridal gowns a year.

deMelis Atelier has also been awarded a Middlesex County Revitalization Commission (MCRC) Business Operating Grant for 2024. The Commission represents the fifteen cities and towns in Middlesex County. As a whole, the County is home to businesses in every industry, however, each municipality is unique in its history, government structure, and business communities.  MCRC offered grants of up to $25,000 to qualifying small businesses and non-profit organizations in Middlesex County. The grants are designed to provide operating assistance for small businesses and non-profit organizations to grow operations and keep residents employed.

On June 24, 2024, Rebecca Mead of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce and Bob McGarry, Haddam First Selectman, presented Melissa with her MCRC check. (photo above)

When Melissa isn’t taking care of brides and “nearlyweds,” she is focused on bringing together seamstresses and other sewing professionals worldwide through her organization, Stitched Collective—a group she founded to foster connection, education and awareness and to further the growth of the sewing trades. Melissa is a champion for all things tailoring, the trades, and slow fashion. She has spoken to high school and college students along the East coast offering inspiration, wisdom, and information about future possibilities in the fashion industry.

Within the past year Melissa has been published in the New York Times in an article titled “The Looming Crisis in the Bridal Industry? Not Enough Seamstresses,” as well as in an article featured in The Knot Magazine named “The Dying Art of Seamstresses: Inside the Fading Discipline of Alterations.” She also was recently listed in The Knot’s “Ones to Watch” list of 2024’s most notable emerging wedding pros for her advocacy work.

To learn more visit www.demelisatelier.com or show Melissa some love on Instagram @demelisatelier

Photo provided by Coppola Photography and Sarah Chambers

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