Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bridal Stuff

I don’t think my mom and I ever envisioned the bridal industry to be so exhausting when the idea was first thrown around to open up a shop here in Burlington. As nieve entrepreneurs I really think we were expecting a relaxed, yet excitable, atmosphere where everyone is happy and absolutely positively in love. Who wouldn’t be while planning a wedding?!

We couldn’t have been more wrong.

For the past year we have delt with screaming brides, over controlling mothers, cancelled weddings, restraining orders, pagent moms, and most recently: bankruptcy. It has all contributed to fabulous stories, which my mom and I like to re-tell sometimes when we’re really bored (and secretly wishing for a bit of drama in our store), but it also makes weeks like this past one…a bit hard to handle.

My mom took a much needed vacation away from the store this week, which meant I was in charge. Things were going really well until the Blushing Bride suddenly declared bankruptcy and our store found itself in the midst of interviews, panicked brides, and concerned citizens. We dealt with what we could, and helped who we were able to, all the while trying not to ignore our own brides and appointments that were coming into the store all week. Between the daily 100 + phone calls and the influx of brides into our store (both ours and the Blushing Brides) I was crazy busy that’s for sure…and I quickly began to stress out.

By Friday morning I was in work overload. I had a list of people to contact waiting for me on my desk, a voice mail box full of brides awaiting help, and on top of it, 5 weddings to ensure got off timely and properly. Lets not also forget the number of vendors trying to get a hold of me to come visit their booth at Chicago Market week (we’ll get to that later in the post). The tip of the ice burg came when one of our brides called complaining that her dress re-wrinkled on her way to the church, and she wanted me to come there and re-steam it for her.

I lost it.

I called up my mom and cried to her about how I’m all by myself and there’s nobody to help me with all of this and that I’m just not cut out for this! (I work well under pressure to a point…then I crack). I’m expected to be here helping out these brides, and I’m expected to be there helping out another bride. Where am I supposed to be?! I got angry with her for a minute for leaving me there but I quickly calmed down and realized this wasn’t all that bad. I could definitely handle it all. And I did. Friday came and went, Saturday came and went, and then Sunday finally came and I was able to leave the salon for a few days and head to Chicago for the National Bridal Market which takes place twice a year at the Merchandise Mart downtown.

Melinda and I took the early train down Sunday morning and spent all day Sunday at various fashion shows checking out the new Spring 2007 collections. It was a blast and we saw a lot of really great stuff!! I found myself a bit star struck as we went to each of the shows and were able to talk to the designers of the lines. They’re just such amazingly talented people and I was meeting them face to face! I loved it. Compare it to meeting your favorite movie star or musician…only I have no interest in musicians or actors…I love designers.

Melinda and grabbed the 5:00 train home but it was back to Market on Monday when my mom came back. I introduced her to a few new lines that I was hoping to introduce into our store, and we made our purchases for the season. We’re really excited about the lines this year!

After market, my mom and I made our way to our hotel room that we got for the night to get ready for the Debi Awards, being held at the Field Museum. We were invited to attend the black-tie affair by Essense of Australia, one of our bridal designers, and we happily obliged an evening to get dressed up and eat and drink with a group of designers =) My mom and I had never attended a Debi awards ceremony, so we weren’t entirely sure what to wear. I kept it low key with an a-line ball gown skirt and a tank top with a capelet, while my mom wore her St. John black suit. We didn’t want to over-do it. I should have known however, that a black-tie event in the fashion industry is never low-key.

We arrived to the Field Museum, walked up the grand staircase, and entered to what I believe is my version of heaven. Elegantly decorated tables, candlight everywhere and the most beautifully dressed people I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I found myself stopping and staring as so many gorgeous women walked past me in their thousand dollar beaded gowns. I compared it to what the Oscars might feel like and I got a little jealous at the movie stars for a slight second.

My mom and I walked around with our glasses of wine and took in everything until an announcement was made that dinner was about to begin. We walked back down the grand staircase into the main lobby and found our table already occupied by the Essense design team.

The girls were amazing and the food was to die for as well. As desert was brought out, the fashion show began (hosted by John O’Hurly) and the excitement inside of me just couldn’t be contained. Watching a Vera Wang gown strut down the runway literally brought a tear to my eye and just knowing that the designer for Monique Lhullier was sitting a few tables down from me made me feel as star struck as a little girl meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time. I was sad to have to say goodbye but mom and I needed to get home. I loved every second of my time at the Debi awards, and I absolutely can’t WAIT to do it again next year.

Tuesday came, and life resumed as usual. I filled my mom in on everything that had been happening in the week and we prepared our store for our incoming new stock as well as our 50% off sale this coming weekend. I’m glad to have her back to help buffer some of the stress of the salon. But I must say, the more I do this…the more I absolutely love my job.


Erin said...

That event sounds AMAZING!!! I'm so jealous!!!

It's nice to hear that you love your job sometimes. :)

Anonymous said...

This might be one of the greatest posts I've read. Your job sounds incredible (though stressful). Congratulations on taking the reigns yourself while your mom was out. Not an easy task, you should be proud.

Mentle said...

You get to have all the fun! It's sooo not fair! Next time there's a bankrupcy fiasco and you find yourself alone - call me! I love chaos, I used to work in retail, and I'm a nerdy bride-to-be who loves all things wedding. Seriously though, I'm glad you made it through and had fun at the Market.