Melissa Hays and her daughter Keri Hays, have sequins and rhinestones flowing through their veins. Melissa loves sewing and has always wanted to do it for other people outside of her own family; even though it is considered to be a large family. Melissa and Dale have four children, Shannon, Travis, Dustin and Keri. Everyone has been graced by the sewing that comes with Melissa. For years the idea of opening a business was tossed around, but life was always busy. This dream stemmed out from Melissa, to her daughter Keri while she was competing in pageants during her time in college. Now, the dream has been realized and brought to life as the House of Fashions.

Here is how it all started:

Melissa has always been interested in the construction of clothing. She has been sewing for more than 40 years and you can imagine her natural talent has only grown; a talent she gets from her mother, Alice Bolyard. She made her very own prom gown in high school. Dale was her date. Through the years, she made her husband, Dale, his business suits, all of her children clothes; the projects were endless. These projects even included the never ending replacement of silk pillow cases for Dustin when he was a toddler, and every child’s favorite blanky. For Travis, it was usually fixing the clothes he had torn up outside while playing. With four children, she never ran out of something to make, or fix.

When her oldest daughter Shannon was in high school, Melissa made her a hand beaded gown to wear to prom. She beaded the fabric by hand for nearly three months. This was only the beginning. With two daughters, the gowns came and went for school dances and then, the pageants. Both daughters competed in pageants, Shannon winning the local title in 1993 and Keri winning it in 2003, exactly 10 years apart. Pageants opened up a new outlet for Melissa. She started constructing more intricate gowns, interview suits, and wardrobe all together.

When Shannon was married, Melissa took on a year-long task of the wedding party, including the wedding gown itself. Melissa has even made her own Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom dresses for Shannon and Travis’s weddings. What might have intimidated her years ago wouldn’t even get a second thought these days.

Melissa constructed the national competition gowns for Miss Michigan USA 2008 and Miss Michigan Teen USA 2006. The Teen competitor placed Top 15 at nationals! There are no words to describe what it felt like seeing something she had made on national television.

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Keri is not a stranger to having custom made wardrobe. Her mom had been making clothes for her since before she can remember. Keri would decide what she wanted to wear to the different school dances and then her mom would make it. This started in the 8th grade. Her junior year of high school, at the age of 16, she entered a local pageant and was hooked. Yes, her mom made the dress. She started out in a small pageant and eventually moved up to the state level. Throughout college, competing in pageants was a hobby for Keri. It was a learning experience for both her and her mom when it came to the wardrobe. In the beginning, a few thousand dollars for a pageant gown was inconceivable. Eight years later, it was a common thing. When the gowns became more expensive, so did the intricate bead work on them. Finding the right size gown was almost unheard of. Everything had to be altered if it wasn’t already being custom made. Melissa was unfaltering at the alterations needed and people noticed. Requests were always being made for her to make something. Her custom interview suits were always admired and people were always shocked when Keri told them ‘my mom made it’. Melissa became a well known pageant mom for her sewing talent.

Through the prom years and then on to the pageant years, both Melissa and Keri learned a lot about dresses. They also learned a lot about what help is needed when it comes to formal wear all around through their own personal experiences. Both Keri and Melissa have rubbed a little off on each other. Keri has taught her mom to have a wider view of fashion and style and Melissa has taught her daughter about fabrics and the fit of the clothing. Everything comes full circle with this mother/daughter pair. Now they want to share this talent and experience with everyone else through the House of Fashions.

Keri and Melissa agree that whether it is a prom, homecoming, wedding, pageant, or any other event that you need a formal dress for, it should really be about the experience. The experience of finding the right dress, that fits you right, that makes you light up and smile, that makes you feel like you are beautiful. That’s what it is all about with these two ladies. That is what the House of Fashions, is all about.

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