“Mom, I really think I could do this better!” I’ll never forget the day Lynn said this to me. It was the real beginning of The Bridal Collection. My oldest daughter, Lynn, was working part-time at a local bridal shop while attending graduate school. She married the year before. After completing her Master’s in Biblical Counseling, she announced she wanted to open her own bridal store instead of starting her clinicals in counseling. With my second daughter in college and the youngest of my three kids a sophomore in high school, I realized I was going to have a lot of free time. So, the family meetings began, and we made our first investment—a copy of Small Businesses for Dummies.
COMING TO FRUITION
When we shopped for Lynn’s wedding dress, we liked some parts of the process, but definitely did not like other experiences at the shops in the metro area. We wished our experience had been more personal and special. Lynn had so many ideas about using a computer to upload product inventory, balance accounting, and maintain a website—“modern” ideas that other shops hadn’t implemented. My main motivation was a bit different. As a mother of two daughters and an aunt of 10 nieces, I was more concerned about what their work lives would be like. Would they enjoy the job they decided on, or would they feel trapped? Would they be safe? What type of growth opportunities were available? How would they balance their home life and work life, especially after babies came along? My husband and I felt the time was right to invest in a business that would exist for our daughters and the women in the family, if needed. Plus, it sounded like a fun and exciting adventure!
THE BRIDAL COLLECTION IS BORN
It didn’t take long before we found out that we had absolutely no idea what we were doing! So, we made lists, talked with advisors we trusted, and developed a plan. The location was important to us, so that became the first priority as we searched for a property. If we didn’t find the right spot, we wouldn’t move forward. Driving down Belleview Avenue in southeast Denver one day, I noticed the tiny, 2,000-square-foot Mail Box Etc. had just became available. It was perfect! We incorporated on June 23, 2000, which was my husband and my 27th wedding anniversary. The Bridal Collection was official!
The next four and a half months were jammed packed with new experiences. Fortunately, we knew a general contractor, Alma, who was as excited about our new venture as we were. She knew what she was doing, who and what we needed, and how to manage building regulations. We wouldn’t have made it without her. Alma’s daughter, Kelly, was often with us after school playing dress up with the new samples. Years later, she worked for us during the summers while in college and became one of our brides. I love it when things come full circle. We traveled to Chicago for our first market and met with designer reps. My son built our first website. We learned QuickBooks. We assembled a lot of furniture and pressed a lot of bridal gowns.
Finally, in November 2000, we opened our doors. My college-aged daughter, Mary, drove six hours with her boyfriend to be our first appointment, under a pseudonym. We sure were surprised to see her walk in that morning!
FAST FORWARD TO 2020
As we approach our 20th Birthday, we are amazed at how our little shop has evolved. There have been frustrations, tears, aching feet, and some scary moments, but, overall, this journey has gone far beyond our wildest imaginations. Lynn has taken the business to national and even international acclaim. Both Mary and our daughter-in-law, Amber, have been on staff, as well as Lynn’s daughter. Most of the 10 nieces have helped out at times or been employees of The Bridal Collection, and eight have been our brides! We’ve become a tradition in Colorado for girls and women who need the perfect dress for all of life’s most special moments. It’s been a blessing to give back to our local community, our country, and globally. We’ve delighted in watching our team members as they’ve grown into confident, accomplished, and strong women. But, most importantly, we’ve loved watching our dreams come true.