This week we have a treat for our readers who want to know the ins and outs of running a bridal salon! We interviewed one of the savviest boss ladies who has been running a boutique in Peoria, Illinois for over seven years now - and we should add very successfully. Janice is one of our favorite people, not just because she has an amazing disposition and is easy to work with, but because she's such a thoughtful, smart business owner. Read our interview to see just what a smart cookie she really is, and how she manages to be so fabulous to her brides as well as her Adore Bridal team!
How long have you been in bridal and how did you get into it?
I have now been in the bridal industry for about 11 years. Honestly, I got into it completely by accident! I was looking for a part time job and I found out that David’s Bridal was hiring. I thought, hmmm....commission based part time job, I could give that a shot. It was not ever something that I dreamed of doing, I just saw it as a potentially lucrative financial opportunity!
I instantly fell in love with the bridal industry. I loved how quickly the styles evolved and changed. I loved that each bride was different, and it was like a puzzle. Finding the perfect gown that correctly portrayed her unique personality. I have now owned my bridal store for about 7 and a half years. And I love all the things that owning my own store provides for my brides!
What does a day at Adore Bridal look like?
I don’t think any two days in my store are ever the same. And that is one of the reasons that I love this industry. We are very bride focused, so the one thing that I always know is happening is talking with our brides. Whether it’s Andrea, my bridal department coordinator, having a phone call with a bride to prep her (and us) for her appointment, us texting our brides about order updates or that their dresses are in or Snapchatting brides some ideas of dresses we have for them....there is a lot of communication going on!
Other things that are pretty common are my girls getting super excited and trying on any of the new gowns that arrive, we also constantly rearrange the store, so that happens a lot too. Oh and let’s not forget the pizza, usually that gets ordered at least once a week!
Now, those were all the behind the scenes stuff, when a bride comes in it’s basically a party. We love getting to know our brides and their crew. We have so much fun in our appointments and lead up to that big “SAY YES” moment! Usually there is lots of clapping and cheering...we may be the loudest sometimes! We also have all our brides sign a wall in the store. This is incredibly important to me. Every single bride that becomes an Adore Bride is part of the foundation of who we are and why we are able to be here. So having them sign the wall is a permanent way to show that they are a piece of this journey we are on.
Who is the bride that shops at Adore?
We get really geeked out excited about dressing our brides. The bride that shops at Adore is one who is excited about letting us do what we do best. Remember how I talked about working things like a puzzle. Well, we are REALLY good at putting the puzzle together! So if you are open to chatting with us about your hopes for a wedding dress we are going to start there by sending you our picks for you even before you come in. Then we are going to ask you LOTS of questions during your appointment, so we can really nail the style. And be ok with us throwing in a few curve balls, because you just never know!
We love to style our brides from start to finish to create that entire look that is beyond Pinterest worthy but unique for every bride. Our goal is to turn you from a girl trying on pretty dresses into a bride and we love it when a bride sits back and allows us to work our magic!
What are some of the trends in bridal you’re loving right now?
I love this idea that we are going back to the basics. I am seeing so many influences of previous decades but with these modern twists that make it fresh and new. I love love love the simplicity that is coming back in style (thank you Meghan Markle!).
What is your process in selecting what you’re adding to your collection of gowns?
We have a very analytical process actually for our gown selection! Andrea and I love numbers and data!!! So we are constantly researching and collecting data on what our brides are asking for, what they are choosing, what they wished we had, what their budgets are and more. We compile all the data, analyze it and go into market with our wish list!
Now, of course, we always leave room for those dresses that surprise us as well! We tell brides that sometimes their perfect gown is the dress that they never would have known how to ask for. So we go into buying the same way. We have our plan but we have to always leave room for those surprises! Now, of course, we are always looking for exceptional style, unique details, incredible quality and great prices!
What is the most important tip you can offer your brides when looking for their dress?
Hmmm, this is so tough! There is so much information that I want to share with brides! Number one I always want brides to not overthink the process. Choosing your dress is about a feeling, and when you have it it’s ok to live into it! Whether it’s the first dress or not, when it’s the one, it’s the one. Don’t convince yourself out of it just because you think dress shopping should look a certain way.
Also, I always want my brides to talk budget with their important people before they come into the store. Nothing breaks my heart more than putting a bride in a dress, having her fall in love with it but then realizing she wasn’t realistic about her budget and she can’t have the dress. It is heartbreaking and that dress will always be on that bride's mind and she will be settling for her second favorite.
But I also have to say one more thing. YOUR opinion is the only one that matters. Too many brides allow the people that they bring with them to influence their decision. That’s why I really don’t recommend shopping with that many people. Really think about whose opinion matters the most to you when selecting your gown. Shop with them and only them. You can always create fun reveal moments with your other important people after the gown has been chosen and purchased!