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R&M Designs, custom dressmaker, going out of business

R&M Designs, a custom dressmaking shop and a St. Louis establishment for more than 35 years, is going out of business.

The shop is closing its doors to the public today, June 16.

The only shop of its kind in St. Louis, R&M Designs was reputed as a premiere dressmaking shop where brides, graduates, debutantes and bridal parties could have their respective gowns made and altered. In addition to gowns and formalwear, the shop was a hub for general alterations for both men and women. The shop is on Manchester Road in Des Peres.

“It has been a tremendous opportunity and gift to share my passion with my clientele everyday for the last 37 years,” said Marylyn Simpson, owner of R&M Designs. “From Veiled Prophet gowns to custom wedding dresses, I loved making each and every dress as if it were my own daughter’s.”

Over the last three decades, R&M Designs grew from two to 10 skilled employees, servicing more than 1,000 customers annually and eventually grew to a 2,500-square-foot location in 2012.

Founded by husband and wife, Robert and Marylyn Simpson in 1980, R&M Designs opened after Mrs. Simpson was unable to meet customer demand in their home. The Simpsons decided to open R&M Designs after noticing there were no other custom dressmakers in the St. Louis area. Her husband died unexpectedly shortly after the opening of the shop and Marylyn Simpson continued to run the business.

“I wish Robert could be here to see what R&M has become. I know he would be so happy to know the shop is an integral part of the community. But now it’s my time to move onto the next phase of my life and focus on my other great passion, quilting,” she said.

In addition to running R&M Designs, Marylyn Simpson is mother to nine grown children, 30 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. She graduated from Webster University in 1984 and is a member of the St. Louis Quilting Guild and former member of the Professional Dressmakers Association. She will turn 85 this year.

— From the Illinois Business Journal

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