Chiappetta Shoes | Dawn Bella
Kenosha native Dawn Bella owns Dawn’s Style at 633 58th Street in downtown Kenosha. She has been working in the hair industry since 1977, starting as a shampoo girl at the Flair. In her intimate salon, she is on her feet all day, busy taking care of her customers.
“I don’t have time to think about my achy feet,” she said. “I’ve got clients to take care of and a store to run.”
Tell me about Dawn’s Style?
It’s a beautiful quaint space. It feels like my apartment, my home away from home. I love it. I love coming here every day. I feel like all the clients that come in are coming into my home. It feels really good to me.
How did decide to start your own salon?
“When my father died, he left each one of us a car. Mine was a 1965 Rambler convertible. Whenever I drove it I got very emotional. Two and a half years ago I was working at Javi’s Barbering & Styling and the business was moving to 22nd Avenue. But I didn’t want to leave downtown. My dad always wanted me to open my own business, always! I fought it kicking and screaming. Out of nowhere, this space became available and out of nowhere, some guy called me and wanted to buy my car, the car that made me cry every time I drove it. It was the most bizarre thing in my whole life. I made the decision to sell the car and do what my dad always wanted me to do: open a business.
Do you like being in the hair business?
I love it. I make people happy. I sit down and talk with people. I find out what their needs are. They become friends. We work through their hair problems. We work through their family problems. I love it. I was never going to be a desk person. There’s no way I can sit down, I have to stand no matter what I do.
Does that take a toll on your feet?
When I was younger, I could wear any shoes. I turned 40 and all of a sudden, I was bringing two to three pairs of shoes and I’d be swapping them out because my feet would be aching.
What about the quality of the shoes at Chiappetta Shoes?
The worst thing about Chiappetta shoes is they don’t wear down. I have a pair of Pikolinos – I love those boots. They are five years old, but they still look great and feel great. Every time I shop for new shoes, they slyly take them to the back room, polish them and make them beautiful, and I walk out with two “new” pairs of shoes.
What did you do and what brings you back to Chiappetta?
“I went to Chiappetta. They explained why my feet were feeling like that, why it happens. They (recommended) different shoes. I put those on in the morning and didn’t have to think about it the whole day. Customer service. I can go in there and pick a pair of shoes of theirs and they will redirect me to something that may be better for me. And I’ll go: “Darn it Tony, you are right! You’re right!” They’re fantastic. They’re honest. They have a beautiful selection.”
Has Chiappetta Shoes ever surprised you?
I never really liked tennis shoes, but I went in one day and they had these amazing walking shoes. They were beautiful. I find myself wearing those where I would never be wearing tennis shoes. But those, I will because they look really nice. They’re a step up from the old canvas tennis shoes.
Have you shopped at other shoe stores?
I have, yes, but there’s no comparison. You walk in Chiappetta Shoes, they greet you. They have all the answers. If they don’t, they get back to you with the answers. I feel like Chiappetta has a vested interest in how your feet are going to feel every day.
What is the most important thing for you in a shoe?
I spend a lot of time running around to different meetings. I often have to be on my feet for meetings as well. So they have to be comfortable, cute and comfortable.
What shoes are you wearing today?
“Fly Londons. I have them in Sandals, I have them in boots. They give me the comfort that I need, like walking on pillows. I get a good three inches of heel. I’m only 5’1″ so I need height to reach the top of some of these tall men’s hair. I have a pair that probably four years old. They’re bright yellow with an open toe and a little strap on the ankle. Every time I wear them I get compliments. I love Fly London Shoes.”
Are they your favorites?
For right now. But every seasons is going to have a new favorite, because every season Chiappetta Shoes comes up with the best and newest so of course I have to go in there and of course I have to purchase at least one pair.
How do they make you feel?
Comfortable, really comfortable. I don’t have to think about my feet, the whole day.
What is the most important thing in a shoe to you?
Comfort and style. Of course style, women want to look good no matter what. One time I asked Fred Chiappetta: “What is it about Fly Londons that I love so much? Why do they feel so good?” And he whispered in my ear: “Because they’re technically an orthopedic shoe.” I went: “No, I’m not wearing orthopedic shoes.” But orthopedic shoes don’t have to be ugly, they can be stylish.
Tell me more about you.
“I love to make jewelry. I ride my bike a lot to and from work. Two years ago I started making little videos. I live down by the lake. So I just ride down Third Avenue and talk about different things that are happening. It’s kind of goofy.”
Where can people find them?
Facebook under “Dawn’s Style” and on Instagram at “dstylesalon.”
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