Personality Test: Roberta Weissburg
By JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Roberta Weissburg knows about fashion and helps customers find their unique style.
The South Side resident and Pittsburgh native is celebrating her 34th anniversary in the clothing and accessories business this year. Weissburg owns Roberta Weissburg Leathers in Shadyside and SouthSide Works, not far from where she lives. She sells everything from the finest in leathers, furs and shearlings to amazing jewelry and gorgeous handbags, as well as top-of-the-line boots.
Weissburg has been custom-designing leather for her entire career. She has created thousands of garments for clients and the film industry, including costumes for “Silence of the Lambs.”
Weissburg started her business from her then-Shadyside apartment shortly after she left graduate school in 1979. She decided that she would not become a professor of English literature as originally planned — and her career path took a 360-degree turn.
Weissburg joined a group of three women artists and formed a working studio and gallery on the South Side and then, in 1984 purchased her own shop around the corner, expanding her business. In 1991, she opened a second shop on Walnut Street, back again to Shadyside, which continues to thrive today. The SouthSide Works development, beginning in 2004, tempted her to open there as well. The two stores showcase some, but not all of the same merchandise, and have a similar “feel,” but attract different clients.
Weissburg can be found in one of her stores almost every day and hopes you will visit soon.
The star who would play me in the movie version of my life and why:
I guess, Cher, because of her long, dark hair and outspoken nature.
Childhood hero and why:
My dad, who was really a tower of strength and love. Not sure I realized it as much then, however, as I do now.
The piece of memorabilia from my childhood I wish I still had:
My teddy bear with the secret zipper compartment.
The superpower I wish I had in real life and why:
The ability to create peace and understanding in the world .... perhaps, not a “superpower,” but I do wish it.
I can't live without my: iPod, cell phone, DVR, or laptop?
My favorite reality show:
If I have to have one, it would be “Project Runway,” because true creativity is fascinating to watch, even with commercials.
App I wish I could invent:
I can't tell you — I'm working on one right now!
Favorite brunch food:
Lox and sesame bagels
Favorite guilty pleasure:
Best mistake I've ever made:
Leaving graduate school
Something I would do over if I could and why:
Would love to have met my husband years earlier so we could have more time together.
E. I hate sports
My favorite Pittsburgh athlete:
Roberto Clemente, hands down, forever
Favorite lunchtime spot:
Lunch with Suzy at our SouthSide Works store, or lunch with Jenny and Emma at our Shadyside store, especially when Emma is cooking!
Top thing on my ‘Bucket List' to do before I'm gone:
Refuse to have a bucket list, am living as much as I can, right now!
In five years, I'd like to:
Be healthy, and think about taking more time off.
My favorite thing about Pittsburgh is:
That it has reinvented itself during trying times, but maintains the warmth of a smaller place.
Star I'd like to dance with on “Dancing with the Stars”:
Mikhail Baryshnikov or Fred Astaire
Three people I'd love to have dinner with:
Shakespeare, Barack Obama, Susan B. Anthony
My quirkiest inherited trait:
I don't think I have any quirks; maybe that's what makes me quirky?
My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:
Tuna on buttered toast with lettuce.
One word my mother would use to describe me:
Adopted, but she made it up for some reason, I look exactly like both of my parents.
The oldest thing in my refrigerator is:
My husband, JUST kidding, probably a parsnip.
When I was 10, I wanted to be:
Exercise I hate most:
Any that isn't a natural function of regular movement.
I'm deathly afraid of:
That we won't find a way to stop guns from being in the hands of people who want to harm others.
If I was auditioning for “American Idol,” my song would be:
“Somewhere over the Rainbow”
The first band I saw in concert (when and where):
I am too old to remember and had too much fun to be sure, but it may have been the Doors or Traffic, at the Civic Arena, of course!
The best concert I've ever seen:
Maybe Santana, maybe Dylan, or maybe The Who
TV marathon I could watch all day:
The Weather Channel
Favorite Pittsburgh-area landmark:
Saturday mornings you'll find me:
At Roberta Weissburg Leathers, happily at work
Best new gadget I've tried recently:
My new mixer
The person I'm most often mistaken for:
Some random woman who must look like me named Patty who lives in my neighborhood
The worst advice I ever receive:
From my father, who told me to be a dental hygienist. Clearly, I ignored it.
In high school, I was:
The movie that always makes me cry:
“The Color Purple,” and I resent that it can do that to me every time!
My most treasured fashion accessory is:
My grandmother's necklace
What you'll always find in my glove compartment:
No idea, but if you do find it, please let me know.
My most embarrassing junk food:
Double Stuff Oreos, but only once in a while
If I weren't owner of Roberta Weissburg Leathers, I'd be:
Relaxing in Bora Bora
The last book I read:
Currently reading “Hallucination” by Oliver Sacks, just finished “The Fifth Woman” by Henning Mankell
My favorite Pittsburgh pizza:
The only Pittsburgh pizza is Mineo's
Movie I could watch every time it appears on cable:
“L.A. Confidential” or “Gladiator”
My favorite website:
RobertaWeissburgLeathers.com, of course!
My most memorable fashion mistake:
Wearing a mothball-scented sweater to an art opening, ooops!
My childhood nickname was:
Private, can't tell you that! Only a few people know!
My favorite “bad” movie is:
“Get Him to the Greek”
My first job:
Babysitting. Don't ask.
My worst job:
Babysitting; still don't ask
My favorite cable channel:
The song that always gets me out on the dance floor and why:
“The Way You Look Tonight,” it's “our song”
Life would be better without:
If I could tour with any two bands, they would be:
People would be surprised to know that I:
Planned to be a professor of English literature.
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