The Dress That Started It All
Quite often, I have clients ask me, “How did you get started in this business?”
So I tell them. It’s a wonderful story, and I love to share it. It’s a story of love and faith, a story about what can happen when you truly seek God’s will in your life.
For all of my adult life, I had worked with children. Either in a daycare or school system, or best of all – with my own children. I had learned to sew back when they still taught sewing in school. I had made my own wedding gown back in 1977. For many years I had been making my own clothes, and my childrens’. Then I started sewing for friends at work. Mostly little things, but eventually, I started making dresses for a few wedding parties – for bridesmaids, flower girls or just guests.
It was at this point when I made the bridesmaid dresses for a lovely bride. The dresses turned out lovely, but I really didn’t think they were ‘spectacular’. But – the mother of one of the bridesmaids disagreed. She went on and on about how beautiful the dresses were! She started talking to me about how, with my talent, I should be doing this for a living! Of course, I thanked her, but, really, I wasn’t that good!
For 2 years – yes, 2 years! – she hounded me about starting a business in bridal wear. At some point, I guess I started listening to her, and I began to wonder.
I also started to pray about it; asking God for direction. I knew I was beginning to feel burned out in working at the school, but was this really what I should be doing? But the more I prayed about it, the more I was feeling lead to check it out.
With my husbands blessing, I made up some cheap business cards on the computer, and set out to hand some out to local bridal shops. Nobody seemed all that interested. My last shop was Etain’s, which was located in Tyrone, GA at the time. The manager there, Pennie, told me she currently had a tailor that was doing alterations for her, but she would keep me in mind. I left her a card, and went home, thinking, okay, I guess that’s the end of that quest. Part of me was disappointed, but part of me was relieved. I’ve never been one to embrace change, and as changes go – this would be a big one!
3 months later, I got a call from Pennie. She had a dress that needed a zipper replaced – was I still interested? YES! I rushed right over and picked up the dress, in it’s big white bag. I knew this was going to be kind of a test – to see what kind of work I did, so I was determined to do everything perfectly.
Then I opened that bag and saw the dress for the first time. And I cried. This dress was covered in beading. There was not a 1/2″ on this dress that didn’t have beads on it. Now, I had made my own wedding dress many years ago – but it was not even in the same league as this dress! I was terrified! I had never worked on anything this intricate before, and didn’t know where to start. As my tears continued to fall, my perfect, amazing husband asked me what was wrong. I showed him – and through my tears tried to explain to him why I was in way over my head. And do you know what he did? He put his arms around me, and said, with every confidence in me (that I didn’t have in myself), “Don’t worry – you got this. You can do it”.
And I did. And here I am. 11 years later, still doing what I love, still learning, still trusting in God, every. single. day.
Because, you see, He gave me this gift – and it IS a gift. I can take no credit for my talents, or my patience.
The first few years were a huge learning experience, spending 24 hours a day trying to get my business started. Everything else in my life suffered for my business – my house, my husband, my kids, my friends. But God was faithful, and He blessed not only my new career, but he blessed everything in my life as well. It has not all been roses; there have been struggles and pitfalls along the way. But when I see how God has directed every step, I know that I am right where he wants me to be.
I also have one other person to thank; so, Pennie Stacey, if you are reading this – this one is for you! I don’t know if I ever really thanked Pennie for the chance she took on me. It was a huge risk – I had no formal training. The only bridal gown I had ever worked on was my own. But she must have seen something in me that I didn’t see myself. If not for Pennie giving me that chance, I don’t think I would be where I am today. So, Pennie Stacey – Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You taught me so much about the bridal business. And not just about the business itself, but about the people (brides, MOB’s, BM’s, and all the other’s included in the bridal party).
So, now you, too, know my story! I hope that my story will encourage you to faithfully seek Gods guidance in your own life.
Hebrews 10:35 – 36 NIV
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.