My husband and I are finally going to have our church wedding. But almost 5 months to our wedding date, we are having a major couturier problem.
The problem is Elren Carisma.
First week of July 2008, I went to Bordados Gowns and Barongs in San Fernando, Pampanga, to inquire on gowns. It’s a new dress shop with beautiful displays of embroidered gowns, saris and rich cloth. They specialize in handpainting and beadworks, and I was really impressed. May mga naging client na daw sila na mga wives of politicians and socialites na mahilig mag-Rigodon and attend State of the Nation Address, so people like me, who know almost nothing about gowns, would be really interested.
Their head designer is Elren Carisma, a former employee of Patis Tesoro. I even called Patis Tesoro’s shop in Wilson St, San Juan, and the person I talked to on the phone said Elren was an employee and she did something very bad to them. Elren did say that along with other employees, she quit at Patis’ because of low pay even after 14 years as seamstress. Even forewarned, I still went to Bordados. To a gullible person like me, Elren’s a very likeable person, who seemed willing to help you out and work on your budget. She said that her business partner, Rowelyn Regala, would overprice clients, so she’d just refer me to another seamstress, who’s also a former employee of Patis Tesoro. But later I found out the hard way, mahirap pala ang ganung arrangement. Nilalamangan ni Elren yun kasosyo nya na si Rowelyn, who's their financier.
I already paid a downpayment of P31,750 for bridal gown and entourage gowns last month and had some of the members of my entourage fitted.
My first deposit of P10,000 was made last July 10, my 2nd deposit of P19,500 was made last July 16, and my 3rd deposit of P2,250 was made last July 19. That's a total of P31,750, which is 50% downpayment for the price of bridal and entourage gowns Elren quoted me. Until now, Di pa rin alam ng kasosyo ni Elren about my DP. I insisted several times. Trouble was naaksidente si Elren last July 24, hit and run in North Luzon Expressway, and di nya maasikaso gowns ko.
A few days before her vehicular accident, July 19 to be exact, I brought my mother to her because my mother wanted to have a gown made for her in one week. Mommy was going to attend a wedding in Iloilo city on August 2 as principal sponsor. She brought her own cloth (taffeta) and had a really very simple design in mind. Elren accepted the rush job order and my mother’s downpayment of P1,500.
But because, she was involved in an accident last July 24, hindi natapos ang gown ni mommy and pahirapan pa na macontact at hanapin si Elren at kunin sa kanya yun cloth at yun pinaggayahan. Nagpanic na kami lahat and my mother was very frantic and angry.
Sure, the fact that we weren’t able to contact Elren a few days before my mother’s gown’s delivery date (July 26) is understandable in light of her accident. It took us a long time to get information about her, until finally, we contacted Rowelyn, who knew nothing about my mother’s gown. Rowelyn told us where Elren’s confined, and we traveled all the way from Pampanga to Fatima Medical Center. Di din alam nun kasosyo niya about my P31,750, so wala magawa si Rowelyn kasi she never knew about our arrangement and had my DP. As of August 6, Elren is still in the hospital and inaabangan ko lumabas para bawiin my DP.
She really looks pitiful after her accident and she's been insisting that she has swatches to show me. She’s even insisting that I return my mother’s unfinished gown so that she can finish it and make bawi, kaso I've had enough. I don't want to be bothered with these problems concerning our gowns. Baka nagastos na niya pera namin and wala na kami mabawi. We’re really not looking forward to the drastic measures we’ll do if that’s the case.
So now, almost 5 months to go before our wedding, wala pa ako gown at wala pa gagawa for sure.
August 13, Elren scheduled a meeting with me and the designer she was referring me to. It was supposed to be in SM Pampanga, but she did not show up.
If only I had seen this article of Mrs. Siguion-Reyna (click here) before I did my first transaction with Elren, I would have thought a long time before giving her my money. When I Googled Elren's name for the first time, nothing turned up. But when everything has happened, and I Googled her name again, that link to Mrs. Siguion-Reyna's commentary came up.
(Below is a picture of me and Elren when I had my first "katya" fitting)