One of the many perks of running a bridal and prom biz is that we get to take numerous buying trips all over the country to source the most beautiful gowns and accessories for our stores. Earlier this month we headed down to Atlanta to visit America’s Mart and hit up a Pop Up Shop for Justin Alexander so we could do a mid-season restock. Over the years we’ve honed our buying trips into well-oiled routines and we wanted to give ya’ll a peek behind the scenes.
Step One: Get The Crew Together
First, we have to decide who gets to go. Everybody loves to go to the markets and we try to get all of our stylists to at least one show per year so they can soak up all the new designs, textures and trends. For this trip, owner Jacqui Wadsworth invited our awesome GG Management Team: Grace, Heather, and Elizabeth. Since Atlanta is just a short drive, Grace volunteered to bring us in her beautiful and sporty Honda Fit. Road Trips, as we know, have rules. To start the trip out right you just gotta make up a group name. After several miles of debate, we named ourselves the “Hu$tlin’ Hunnie$.” (Grace made sure we used dollar signs for the s’s!). Another rule, lots of selfies. If we don’t document and post it on social media it never happened, right? Also, our outfits totally coordinated with all of us in black and cream without even planning it!
Step Two: Hit the Road
Grace got her car all shined up, gassed up and brought her Spotify playlists. We hit the road, all talking on top of each other, making guesses at how long our drive would be. Heather guessed two hours, Grace predicted five. (Because Grace knows how many stops we have to make!)
Step Three: So Many Stops
Let’s face it, we need snacks, and drinks, and bathroom breaks, and more snacks, and more drinks, and therefore even more bathroom breaks. It’s a cycle. We embrace it! There is no telling how many stops we actually made, but for sure we hit up: One Rest Area, Arby’s, McAllister’s for lunch, plus a couple gas stations. Oh, and, there was a side trip to try to find Pecan Pralines at a mysterious “nut stand” we never could find.
Step Four: Oh Wait, Do We Have to Work?
So after our drive, we arrived in Atlanta and headed straight downtown to the Market. We got our badges and headed up to the Justin Alexander showroom to get our first look at the new bridal styles. So fun!
Our rep Jody was on hand to show us around. Market showrooms are a place where we can really touch, see and learn about the latest bridal styles. (Also, they bring us drinks and trays of sweets.) It is sensory overload at first because there are just so many GORGEOUS gowns. But we know we have to carefully study, consider and select the styles and sizes that will work best for our Gilded Gown brides. So it is serious business.
Step Five: R & R
Grace sources us the best Airbnbs ever. This trip we stayed in a lovely four bedroom house with a fairyland backyard complete with twinkle lights in all the trees, a fire pit, and a hammock. We got take out and chilled. Or warmed, actually, cuz we could not get enough of the fire pit! We never even turned on a tv. Real conversations for the win!
Step Six: Brunchin’
We always eat at really nice restaurants. Jacqui is so generous! We found this great spot Sun in My Belly where we had an AH-MAZING brunch. And Grace tried her first Bloody Mary.
We love soaking up local places that are full of inspiration. This place was rocking the white paper lanterns, and we are totally planning our next window redo based around them. So even while we are eating, drinking and enjoying ourselves we are actually still working. (Wink)
Step Seven: Back to Work
Next, it was back to America’s Mart for some more bridal gown study. We really do carefully consider all options. But, we always want them ALL.
We reveled in all of the textures from ostrich feathers to appliques to elaborate waterfall beading.
We love seeing new trends. And we were all wild for the off the shoulder flutter sleeve dress.
We carry so many bridal lines from Justin Alexander like our Lillian West, Sincerity and Sweetheart gowns. All the designs were there for us to shop.
After processing all the beauty, it was time to decide on which beautiful new gowns we wanted for our brides.
Step Eight: Head Home
After an exciting 24 hours, it was time to head home. Road trip on repeat. Snacks, and drinks, and stops. Oh, and singing Prince and Journey in the car. And snapchat pics.
The best part, when the beautiful dresses we pick show up in the store as new arrivals and our happy brides find the ones that speak to their hearts. It’s why we do what we do. And we are so lucky to be in the bridal business. Next up, The National Bridal Market in Chicago in March!