Princess Bride 3

Phoenix Boutique Cleo and Clementine Makes Wedding Dress Dreams Come True


Every bride-to-be hopes to find the perfect dress for her special day. Monique Sandoval, owner of Phoenix’s Cleo and Clementine custom special occasion apparel boutique, hopes to help you turn those dreams into a reality.

Located off of 7th Avenue in the Melrose District of central Phoenix, Cleo and Clementine hosts a variety of unique, handmade dresses, separates and accessories that she describes as “girly with an edge.” A majority of the designs are made by Sandoval, though she does also feature some accessories and jewelry from other local artists. The boutique is both immaculately styled with a feminine chic that stands out against a rustic contrast. But more importantly, it provides an instant feeling of home that makes it impossible not to fall in love with both Sandoval and the designs she has surrounded you with.

The success of her line OUMA on Etsy inspired the opening of a physical storefront for Cleo and Clementine in 2012 to support her increasing success and give her a workspace that made room for her expanding dreams and clientele that were growing far beyond the size of her previous studio space (also known as the Sandoval home garage). The boutique is filled with natural light that casts over racks of handmade prototypes, each boasting a unique personality but staying within the family of fun, flirty and exquisitely crafted. While the sample pieces can certainly be plucked from the rack and worn to your next event, Sandoval prides herself on the custom creations that her and her staff conceptualizes and creates as a manifestation of each bride’s individual style and vision for their day.

When soon-to-be-brides come into Cleo and Clementine for an initial meeting, Sandoval works with them to determine what silhouettes they normally wear and are comfortable in. She asks questions and goes through “inspiration images.” The key, she explains, is to stay true to what works and not get caught up in momentary trends and find a common vision and understanding of what it will be.

When she is working to lock down a look (either for a bride or for one of her prototype samples), Sandoval finds her fun in creating the bride’s story and exploring different designs.

“I like to think ‘Who am I designing for?’” she explains. “I think of how I’m going to style the overall look, and what the emotion of the dress is. It’s important that it’s part of a bigger picture.”

Brides who come to Cleo and Clementine will meet with Sandoval multiple times to ensure the design and fit is perfect. It’s the relationships that Sandoval builds with her clients that are her motivation for not going a wholesale or mass-production route.

“No no, I can’t feel right about that,” she says with a slight shake of her head. “I want to personally make sure they are happy and the dress is perfect. The quality of the relationships is as important to me as the quality of the work we produce here.”

Which makes her personal involvement in the more than 500 dresses created within the walls of Cleo and Clementine so impressive. While someone else handles the technical execution of some of the designs and an apprentice assists them both as needed, Sandoval touches each of the dresses that bear the OUMA and Cleo and Clementine name and reputation.

“Brides trust me to give them a great design,” she suggests, “and that means something to me. I want them to look and feel amazing. It doesn’t just have to be right, it has to be perfect. I have to make sure of that.”

And with one look at any of the resulting dresses shows that perfection has truly been achieved, time and time again.