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Opening a Bridal Boutique – Part One

custom wedding gowns

Earlier this year a light bulb went off in my head. After some years of sewing a line of fun women’s clothing using almost exclusively reclaimed materials, I had a realization. 

custom pixie coat
Custom Pixie Coat

I LOVE working with pretty, sparkly materials. I LOVE making stylish, romantic gowns using lace, pearls, satin, chiffon, silks are more. 

I needed to focus on making eco-friendly wedding wear! The idea immediately took off, and with very little marketing I soon had a sweet little custom bridal business.

UpLove Bridal and More - Created Just For You!

But after working out of my tiny sewing space at home for several months it because clear to me that I needed a shop/studio location. 

I tucked that idea in the back of my head and kept an eye out in my home town of Waynesville, NC for an affordable place in a good location. I looked at a few places but none of them spoke to me. Well – their rents did, and not in a good way.

Did I mention that I didn’t actually have the money to open an eco bridal boutique? But that hasn’t stopped me before, so I asked the Universe – nicely – for what I wanted and kept looking. 

I was sitting having a meal with my family at a local restaurant in a tiny quaint area of Haywood County called Hazelwood. I looked out of the window and my eyes fell on a FOR RENT sign in a shop window across from the (very busy) restaurant. 

You know when you just know? I knew. I just knew

I convinced my family to take a look in the window. It was a total mess inside. I fell madly in love and immediately called the faded phone number on the sign. 

UpLove Bridal and More, creations and alterations.
UpLove Bridal & More (before)

Two days later I met with my new landlord, a check for $725 in my hand for the first month’s rent. He didn’t make me pay a deposit and he gave me a month’s rent for free. Why?

Because, unlike me, HE was aware of exactly how much work needed to be done in order to transform this dark, dirty space into a sparkly custom wedding dress shop.  

I jumped right in with both feet. No matter that I had scraped up that $725 from various hiding places, and that I didn’t actually have any other “spare” money to renovate the shop. 

Then – amazingly –  a couple of days later I was on Instagram and I saw an ad for a website called I Fund Women. I rushed over to the site, inhaled it, and spent the next few days creating a crowdfunding project to raise the money I needed to renovate the shop. 

Fundraiser to open a custom bridal boutique

Here’s the fundraising project I created to raise the money to open my custom bridal shop. See how I’m surviving the journey from disaster zone to grand opening.

Have you ever just jumped right into something not knowing how it will turn out? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below.


Mandy Wildman
Owner/Designer UpLove Bridal & More, Waynesville NC.
P.S. Please don’t hesitate to ask about ordering a custom wedding gown