Kelly, which most people lovingly refer to as Kelly2, has the distinct pleasure of having a bridal store owner for a bff, and you may find her here when I am in a pinch and need a sitter for the store. Her main job is to be another sounding board for new ideas and to listen to the woes of a bridal store owner (not that I have any ;)). She is also always on the supporting cast for our yearly wedding expo as an official fashion show model dresser helper.
Lexi gets top billing because she is white and fluffy and just darn cute! She is also a hard working pooch and is by my side every day. She is, shall we say, very vocal at times, just remember her bark is definitely worse than her bite, she just wants to make sure that I know you are here. She is the "office" dog and is not allowed to run around the store, but occasionally she will tolerate visitors at her gate. She doesn't like to be ignored and will be sure to get your attention. She just can't figure out that people don't usually love up to a dog that sounds like Cujo.
In this series I want to take the time to introduce you to myself and my supporting cast. It literally took me months to finalize the about us page on the website and I want to share it here as well. I hope you enjoy reading these little snippets about the inside workings of Bridal Traditions Wedding & Prom Attire.
Well it’s not an us really, it’s mostly a me. My name is Kelly Shumate and I am the Bridal Traditions founder, owner, bridal consultant, office manager, product buyer, website developer, social media manager, and yes, bathroom cleaner. It’s who I am and it’s what I do. I love weddings and events, but most of all I love beautiful dresses and accessories so that is what I surround myself with most of the time.
When I have my product buyer hat on I search and seek out quality merchandise that won’t break your bank. Everything in the store is new, we do not have used or consignment merchandise. Most of the dresses I buy are not from mainstream designers and you won’t find racks of the same dress on our sales floor. I love to offer a variety of styles so you can have a unique dress that fits your style, personality, and taste.
My goal as a consultant is to be honest with each and every one of my customers every step of the way. I will always give my honest opinion even if it means losing a sale. I love giving advice and I am a pretty adept problem solver, so if you have one just ask, maybe we can come up with a solution. When you are working with me you are working with the decision maker, I try to be super easy to work with and help make your experience an enjoyable one. I love to laugh with my customers and we just have a lot of fun in this store! As a matter of fact, a lot of my customers become my friends so you better watch out, or I may be recruiting you to work at the next expo in my supporting cast.
Over the last thirteen years (wow has it really been that long?) I have helped hundreds of women and teenage girls find “the” dress for their event, and what I remember most is all the laughter and sometimes tears, and it’s wonderful. It is truly my heart’s desire to make people happy and to see their face light up when they look in the mirror and I can see them thinking; “Wow, I AM BEAUTIFUL!”.
Now, I really can’t do all of this by myself, while I do not have what you would call a full "paid" staff I do have a great supporting cast, so let me introduce you to them...
This is the third and final part to our Boutique vs. Big Box series. If you missed any you can read part one here and part two here.
The second myth I would like to talk about is price. I really believe that brides think that the only way to pay a reasonable price for a wedding dress is to go to one of the big box stores. Again, not true. There are numerous small bridal shops that have very reasonably priced merchandise in their store, ours being one of them. We have the most amazing gowns and not one gown in my store is over $965 at present. I make it a goal to seek out the designers who produce good quality merchandise without the hefty price tag. Most often they are lesser known designers and companies who do not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising each year, but that does not affect the quality of their designs. It allows them to put more focus into manufacturing and designing while passing the savings on to the end consumer.
We all know about the fabled gown sales that draw tons of brides through the doors. If you are one of the lucky ones that finds a gown, great, only keep in mind the selection you have on those gowns are not usually what they're cracked up to be. All small bridal boutiques will also have a clearance rack, so if you are on a tight budget, make sure you check those out as well. There are great deals out there to be found sometimes it just takes a little digging.
Finally, if you do wind up spending a little more money at a smaller boutique, I can just about promise you, that the service received will more that make up for it. For most of us this is not only our lively-hood but also our passion in life. We are not just trying to make a quota, get the first bride back out the door so the next one can take her place. We spend time with our clients, get to know them and their families. We laugh with them and cry with them. You are a name, you are an individual, not just another number.
Store owner, Kelly has been in the bridal industry since 2000, when at the ripe old age of 20 she opened her first little store front on a wing and a prayer. She is a certified wedding planner (no, she does not plan weddings), and everything she knows about bridal and formal wear has come from, gut instinct, trial and error, and watching LOTS of What Not to Wear.