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- Pnina Tornai started her bridal business 30 years ago in a small shop with a single mirror in Tel Aviv, Israel. Today she sees 90 to 120 brides per day on weekends at Kleinfeld, a renowned bridal store in New York City.
- Before brides were saying “yes” to Tornai’s wedding dresses at Kleinfeld, her designs were rejected from the bridal store because her designs were “too sexy.”
- Instead of giving up, Tornai went home and created a collection of dresses that could adapt to American bridal fashion. Two weeks later, Kleinfeld’s owner called her and said the dresses were selling like crazy.
Before brides were saying “yes” to Pnina Tornai’s wedding dresses at Kleinfeld, her designs were rejected from the bridal store because her designs were deemed “too sexy.”
Pnina Tornai started her bridal business 30 years ago in a small shop with a single mirror in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Tornai connected with Kleinfeld – a renowned bridal store in New York City now featured on the TLC show “Say Yes to the Dress” – when a bride’s father wanted to strike a deal with her for a more affordable price on a gown, she told Business Insider on an episode of our podcast “This Is Success.”
Two days later, Tornai had a set meeting at Kleinfeld in New York City – a 12-hour flight from Tel Aviv.
“The next thing I knew was that I was on a plane with my dresses on my way to Kleinfeld,” Tornai said.
“That was really not an easy beginning because I remember the day where I came to Kleinfeld and showed my dresses, and the buyer was looking at my dresses with a very weird face, saying, ‘We are never going to sell these dresses in America. These dresses will never sell in America. They’re too sexy; they’re too daring.'”
On the 12-hour flight back to Tel Aviv, Tornai said she cried until the plane touched down. Instead of giving up, she went home and created a collection of dresses that could adapt to American bridal fashion. She sent the collection back to Kleinfeld with an email saying, “Please expose these dresses in your store. If they don’t sell, send them back to me.”
Two weeks later, Tornai got a phone call from the owner of Kleinfeld, who said the store had a problem with her dresses – they sold too many and weren’t sure if Tornai could keep up with the amount of orders.
“And the rest is history,” Tornai said.
For 13 years, Tornai traveled back and forth from Tel Aviv to New York City on 12-hour flights to ensure her gowns flourished at Kleinfeld.
Once Kleinfeld’s show “Say Yes to the Dress” took off nine years ago, Tornai became one of the most requested designers at the store. Today, the show airs in 120 countries and Tornai sees 90 to 120 brides a day on weekends.
“It’s about my bride; it’s about my customer,” Tornai said. “It’s being thankful to every opportunity I have in life. I don’t take anything for granted.”