Thursday, October 26, 2006

Shout Out Number 4

I realize that I normally do my “shout outs” on Friday, but in wake of this weekend’s festivities, I won’t be around tomorrow to blog about anything, and this particular shout out is much too important to go un-noticed. In fact, it’s so important, that it merits its own entire entry.

So, for this week, I’d like to send a single, simple, one-and only shout out.

TO ERIN AND DAVE’S WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For a year and a half we have been planning, and emailing, and partying, and shopping, and chatting all things wedding…just waiting for this day to arrive. And now, in just two short days my best friend on the planet will be walking down the isle to say “I Do” to the man of her dreams. It sure makes you all ooey and gooey inside over love doesn’t it?

The wedding festivities kick off tomorrow with a girly day of lunch and manis/pedis then rehearsal, dinner and then Saturday we awake to October 28….the wedding.

I can’t wait. I’m just beaming from the inside out.

I’ll be back on Monday everyone (with tons of pictures I’m sure).

*cheers to love*

Friday, October 13, 2006

Shoutouts Number 3

With nothing else to are my weekly shoutouts:

To Superstition! Without it, days like today (Friday the 13) would be meaningless and I wouldn't have an excuse to sit around all night and watch scary movies or secretly fear the ladder leaning up against my garage door at the moment.

To Erin! HAPPY BACHELORETTE PARTY WEEK!!! The DAYS are counting down until the big day. I absolutley can't wait!

To The Blushing Bride! Thanks for all the extra business ;)

To Winter! I HATE YOU. Ooohh I just cringed saying that. That sounded so evil. Okay I digress. I'm angry at your early arrival.

To Chicago! For always being such a happening, busy, welcoming metropolis. You make me miss you more and more every time I visit.

To Finding Old CD's! I've loved my drives to and from Milwaukee, jamming to the sounds of my past. =)

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.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The up side of things

When I heard about the Blushing Bride fiasco I was stunned that a store owner could do something like that to her customers. In an industry revolving around brides and their special day, it hurt me to see so many at a loss…and in tears…as their wedding dates crept up on them. Hundreds of brides left without a dress, hundreds of dollars poorer…and no hope in sight. Luckily, they were wrong.

Since the story broke on Tuesday evening, I have been hearing nothing but horror stories turned miraculous as bride after bride is being offered a second chance to turn this whole situation around into a positive one. Salon owners have been donating dresses and taking on responsibilities of shipments so that these brides can receive their dresses. Previously competition, these stores are working together and putting profits aside to make sure these women get the day they have always envisioned having.

But it’s not only salon owners that are getting involved.

Previous brides are donating dresses left and right so they have something to wear on their special day and other companies are offering monetary donations to these brides to be used as a down payment on a new dress. Finally, tears of sorrow are turning to tears of joy as these brides receive the help they deserve.

I must admit, these past few weeks have really made me question the world…and humanity. With the abundance of school shootings and pedophilia in the news lately, I’ve found myself questioning literally: “What is happening to the world?!”. At night, I’ll just sit and stare at the TV, amazed that this is really the world I’m living in sometimes. What is happening to us? Do we have no regard for human suffering anymore? Are we that self involved that we only see our own personal motives?

After weeks of thinking we were doomed as a society, another unfortunate circumstance has managed to turn it all around and prove to me that through all the bad, the good will still flourish…and humans will still continue to do good things for others.

Thank you humanity.