2017 Year in Review from Becca

The 2017 year in review

What a year it’s been! We’ve once again been blessed with another wonderful year of weddings and proms, with hundreds of clients from near and far choosing to #experiencebb. As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to take the time to reflect upon the blessings that have come about the past 365 days:

Our top bridal designers, Morilee, Casablanca, Essense of Australia, and Stella York continue to draw brides from near and far, {we even had a bride from Hawaii this year} with the $1000 - $2000 budget while also delivering the most beautiful and sought-after bridal designs on Instagram and Pinterest. We have also added two additional bridal lines this year, Pronovias, and Chic Nostalgia, who are the perfect fit + addition to our collections. Our 300+ gown collection includes styles for every bride. We always hear “you have the best dresses” from our brides, and our consultants agree that “we literally have a dress for everyone.”

With our newly expanded plus size gowns from Essense of Australia and Stella York “Every Body, Every Bride” collections, we are super excited to be able to help the size 18+ bride find her dream dress. She will be able to try on and fit into our new samples that are beautifully designed for girls with curves!  As the buyer for every dress that Brides & Beyond offers on the showroom floor, it’s always a challenge to stock the boutique with the dresses that our brides are looking for, and ones that will “fit” or be clipped to look like they do. If you’ve ever done buying for a small town boutique you can relate.

Every year we have to deal with discontinuations throughout all of our lines, bridal, bridesmaids, and mothers, We were running out of space, and many days it felt like we were hoarding discontinued dresses! The racks were so full, and every once in a while we are able to sell a “sample” off the floor to a bride, but that wasn’t making a dent in the inventory. We also had a nice big space, abandoned by prom between the months of March-December, that needed some love. I had been tossing around the idea of a separate discount store for a while, but wanted to have it in another location. Trying to keep the Brides & Beyond experience separate from a discount experience was the biggest obstacle. I feared that brides wouldn't be able to understand our concept, and wanting to browse both stores in the same day was not my goal. I am happy to say that the first few months of The Sample Studio has been amazing! We are now able to serve brides with lower budgets and shorter engagements, and our typical “Brides & Beyond”  brides are making their appointments to try on the latest styles at our flagship store. Currently, we have transformed the Sample Studio space into prom until March, when it will then turn back into bridal through December.

The Brides & Beyond Design Studio, that I launched earlier this year, is near and dear to my heart! 7 years ago, when I embarked on the Brides & Beyond journey, I had a vision of connecting my graphic design background with the bridal business. It's truly a dream come true!.

If you follow us on social media you will also see some new employees gracing our pages! Liz, my sister and long-time consultant, moved on to a new career back in March. She now has “mom” hours to spend more time with her daughter Clara and husband Matt, but is still an integral part of Brides & Beyond behind the scenes. She’s my go-to person for many of the important decisions that I have to make as a sole owner.  Amanda also made a career switch to work with the CA Group, but she is still connected to the brides that she has helped along the way and will often tag or message me to give me tips on the amazing photos she sees on social media!  Kelley, my manager of 3 years, followed her heart to California and found love and sunshine! I thank her every day (in my mind, that is) for her business-minded wisdom that was passed on to me when she came into my life, for she is a huge part of the success of Brides & Beyond.

Two huge blessings, who were actually Brides & Beyond brides, named Lauren and LeAnn are currently my “right-hand” women. Lauren is as sweet as she is smart, and LeAnn is brilliantly organized and efficient, and I think they each found a really good friend and co-worker in each other. There’s nothing more reassuring for a business owner to see a respectful and caring working relationship among your employees. Lauren and LeAnn are amazing! Their creativity and passion for Brides & Beyond makes my heart explode every day and we are collectively excited about what we are going to bring in 2018!

I have also found some incredible part-time consultants this year! Kirsten, Allison, and Kara, all have demanding full-time careers and come to Brides & Beyond as bridal consultants to “have fun” and connect with brides on evenings and weekends! While Liz, Brianna, and Holly are all full-time students also making the commitment to the business as bridal, prom, and Sample Studio girls. Our brides and prom + tux customers love them all, and so do I!

Alterations….a dying art. Most know that we have completely transitioned to a separation of bridal + alterations. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship for us and the talented seamstresses that contract space through us. They schedule their appointments and we schedule ours. It’s a win-win for everyone! Lois, Sandy, and Tara are the best of the best! 

I also have to give a shout out to the “silent heroes” of the business. Cindy is our quality inspector and has been here longer than I have! If you’ve ever seen her beautiful home, you’ll know why she's the perfect person for the job. My mother and father in law, Jack and Lou, are the workhorses behind the nitty gritty of the building. My husband, Ben, who keeps my creative + dreamer brain in check, while simultaneously supporting my ideas and completing my honey-do list, is the backbone of Brides & Beyond. He also doubles as a dad, husband, dentist, chef, and part-time farmer in his free time.

Heading into 2018 ….what’s life without goals though, right? 

Lauren, LeAnn and I are excited about the direction of Brides & Beyond and what the future brings! Stay tuned for a brand new e-commerce based website coming very soon, additional designs and offerings from the Design Studio, “He’s Crafty” on-site craft brewery tux measures, and personalized + stylized wedding sessions!

Here’s to 2017, and to all of our amazing brides, grooms, moms, and tux customers! We are so grateful that you chose to #shopsmall and #experiencebb. Bring on 2018!!

Becca

Becca Wenning