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April of 2020 will mark 20 years in this business for me. I can hardly wrap my mind around it. When it came up recently in conversation, I thought, "oh yeah..... it has been nearly 20 years." How do you even describe that journey?
Well, I will do it briefly and with a heart filled with gratitude and humility. You don't do it alone, I can tell you that.
When I first started Bridal Traditions I hoped to help brides-to-be and prom-goers find gowns that made them feel beautiful, but without a financial set-back. As it turns out, that was possible. There was a market for affordable, but gorgeous dresses and before long, we were on our way. We sold gowns and accessories, rented tuxes and outfitted teenagers for prom year after year and we became part of the community. We were trusted to provide quality and we still do. I cannot begin to tell you how satisfying that is.
In the spring of 2015, I remember thinking "This marks 15 years I'm going to give it 5 more years and then I'm out." 20 is a nice round number and I figured that I would be ready for the next thing. And yet here we are.
Honestly, something shifted during these last 5 years. Owning and running Bridal Traditions was never about making big profits - affordable gowns with small margins don't allow for huge profits and that's fine. But providing gowns for everyone, no matter their budget, does provide something: an unbelievable amount of joy. That joy extends beyond customers and covers me too. Every day, I have the opportunity to make someone really happy. Girls leave our shop and the happiness, the excitement, the pure joy is palpable. How many people can say: "I'm in the business of making women feel beautiful and happy on one of the biggest days of their lives"? What a privilege that is!
Owning this business has allowed us to participate in, support and engage in our community and I'm extremely grateful for that. We've supported St. Jude's and we've hosted hundreds of wedding professionals, and brides-to-be at our annual Wilkes Wedding Expo.
In the last 5 years, I've realized how satisfying it is to be where God wants me, how learning patience has altered me and how good it feels to be truly contented exactly where I am. Right now, this still feels like God's will for me and when that changes, I will make a change. But for now, dear friends and clients - I am ready to celebrate 20 years with an eye to keep going. Bridal Traditions makes me and so many others happy and for now, that is more than enough.
Here's to the new year, a new decade and to many more girls leaving my little boutique filled with joy and feeling beautiful.
All my best,