Elsa (Rodriguez) Dorais has a Spanish heritage rich in the traditions of the Puerto Rican culture. Her dad, Libertad “Bill” Rodriguez was born in Jauana Diaz Puerto Rico. As Patriarch of an ever growing family, he settled in Waterbury in 1955 His wife Hilda, the daughter of Spanish immigrants was also born in Jauana Diaz. Elsa’s dad worked two full time jobs, as he and Hilda nurtured and raised eleven children.
In the late sixties, Elsa was an active advocate for the Spanish community in Waterbury. She was secretary of the Rose Hill Association, and later a board member for the lower Baldwin St. Improvement Association. These organizations encouraged political leaders to improve and partition funding for the Baldwin St. community. Elsa also became a volunteer language instructor, teaching English to Spanish speaking people in Project Promesa. As a local girl, Elsa was cheered on by the Waterbury/Hartford Puerto Rican community when she was crowned queen of the Spanish-American Sports Club of Waterbury.
Elsa married and joined her husband to relocate in Texas. Her love of esthetics led her to complete successful accreditation, in Dallas, in the studies of hair sculpture & cosmetology. While in Dallas, Elsa worked for several years earning prominence in the beauty and hair industry. In time, Elsa and her husband returned to Connecticut where she worked locally in both the beauty and medical fields.
Ultimately, an opportunity was presentd that lead to the purchase of the Cara Bella Spa in Watertown, Ct. Elsa so enjoyed this endeavor and built upon the Cara Bella foundation of beauty, solace & serenity. Unfortunately, a devastating car accident kept Elsa away from her business for months, eventually forcing her to close Cara Bella.
Once Elsa was (literally) back on her feet, she worked out an alliance with a salon in Middlebury that provided her the means to honor the outstanding gift certificates belonging to her former clients. This is where her dad’s work ethic & honorable nature came shining through. While she was recuperating physically, as well as from the effects of her business loss, she still clung to her desire to bring beauty to the feminine mystique & to preserve the traditions of her culture.
Elsa never forgot the pride her family felt when she became queen of the Spanish-American Sports Club. She began thinking that every young girl should have a cherished memory of a day that belonging only to her. Elsa wondered what ever happened to the time honored tradition of Quinceanera? Quinceanera is the traditional ceremony depicting a young girls journey from childhood to adulthood. What better service that to resurrect one of the most beautiful & meaningful traditions of the Hispanic culture. With so many traditions lost or convoluted, this might truly be an idea whose time had finally come again.
PERFECTLY POSH CONNECTION
The challenge would be to present a Quinceanera package that people could afford. Elsa was positive that, with the support of the Spanish community, she could rise to the occasion. And so she went about the business of collaborating with people that could partner with her in this new found endeavor. One of the first she considered was her sister-in-law, Michelle (Amore) Rodriguez, co-owner of Perfectly Posh, a wonderful up-start company specializing in all-occasion party planning and including hands-on specialty cakes & all things party related. The best part, Michelle’s belief in the project and the dedication of Perfectly Posh to “stick to the budget” large or small.
THE GREAT WHITE WAY CONNECTION
In Watertown, Elsa had a chance encounter with Maria Romero, a 27 year bridal veteran & head consultant for the Great White Way Bridals for almost l6 of those years. Best of all, Maria was born in Spain & fluent in Spanish. Maria was immediately impressed with Elsa’s enthusiasm & idea to breathe new life into Quinceanera. In turn, Maria spoke to Carmella “Mell” Buonauto, owner of The Great White Way and an ardent traditionalist. Mell was more than happy to listen to their proposal to bring Quinceanera Formal attire shop. Mell not only agreed to bring it in, but also to partner with Perfectly Posh so that the entire Quinceanera package could be offered on demand.
Mell anticipates that if Quinceanera is to be successful, it has to be accepted by the matriarch’s who must be impressed with the authenticity that only those of the Hispanic heritage can bring to this meaningful rite of passage. And so, Elsa’s dream is once again evolving. We’re counting on the support of those in the Spanish community who desire to announce the coming o9f age of their daughters through the celebration of Quinceaners. Elas’s friends at Perfectly Posh and the great White Way are also standing firmly behind her.
Quinceanera: Grand Opening
Sunday, October l6
2:00 to 5:00 PM
The Great White Way
731 Main St.
PLEASE JOIN US FOR PRIZES & SURPRISES
FREE QUINCEANERA DRESS
THE GREAT WHITE WAY BRIDALS, WATERTOWN, CT 06795
860-945-6058 OR 203-910-7865