February 11, 2011 in
Now that the shop is up and running, I MUST thank all of those who helped make this fabulous dream of mine come true! My vision for the shop was not one that everyone quite understood right away, but fortunately I have these wonderful people to thank for believing in me and jumping on board!
It all started with knowing Ann Arbor was going to be the hotspot! Angela Arcori of Signature Associates was my go-to-gal for searching out and finding the gorgeous window & loft space that The Gown Shop calls home! The Goodyear building belongs to the Shaffran Companies and Sally Gillo has been nothing but amazing to work with.
Once The Gown Shop found it’s home, I got right down to it and started by getting the space painted by Mark Woodruff – he did such an amazing job, that he was hired on as the full-time contractor and my all around go-to-guy! He constructed and installed everything from racks, wall construction, fitting room set-up to lighting. Mark had an amazing assistant, Erin Sonntag. Along with assisting Mark in the painting and contracting work, Erin also custom made and painted the beautiful logo sign that is inside the shop.
Speaking of the logo, I always knew that I wanted to incorporate this very specific quatrefoil shape into the shop’s identity and design. Stripes were also always going to have a very strong presence in the shop’s décor and online design. 3.7 Designs CEO, Ross Johnson and I just ‘clicked’ when I was explaining everything I wanted in the logo, website and business card design. He took what I wanted and just ran with it and I couldn’t be happier how everything turned out. The Gown Shop’s website is every bit elegant and chic as the interior of the store. The ease of navigating the site was also always very important to me, Ross listened to everything I wanted and needed and 100% delivered.
Returning to the inside of the shop, the décor was also something that has always been a very specific vision for me. I always knew I wanted the fitting room to be very much apart of the space and have the dramatic effect of ‘the big reveal’. I always knew it would be a staple piece of the puzzle on how I wanted each appointment to be intimate and would allow for the ‘ta-da’ moment of a bride finding “the one”! With this concept – I was able to work with Kathy & Norma of C’est la Vie! and Karen of Couture by Karen to design and construct the beautiful fitting room drapery and floral arrangement on the accessories island.
Along with having the pleasure of gawking at gorgeous designer gowns every day, there’s also another custom piece in the shop that I have the true pleasure of viewing from my desk each day. An unbelievably talented and dear friend, Jason Taylor , constructed and installed the accessories island that is the centerpiece of The Gown Shop. What started as a friendly chat of me expressing my desires for this custom piece turned into him confidently informing me that he could design and build exactly what I wanted. Now, this was no surprise to me – I had seen Jason’s work over the years and knew it would be a very special project for both of us. If anyone knew how much the shop meant to me, it was Jason. I knew that I could give him every last customization and he would complete it flawlessly. The island concept went along with the idea that I wanted brides to feel like they were in a luxurious closet of beautiful gowns and had every last sparkly and luscious frill to adorn them on their big day presented to them on this beautiful display area. Jason also custom made the carpeted pedestal for the brides to twirl around on and my fun office concept of the blackboard.
The shop has a mix of mind-blowing custom pieces and bargain finds. A lot of the additional décor were from fabulous online stores and my new favorite, Ikea. Dibling Floor Covering completed my remaining custom work by carpeting the brides pedestal and recovering my adorable pillows on each chair in the shop with fabric I had chosen on another one of my bargain shopping sprees.
I wouldn’t have such show-stopping windows if it weren’t for Steel Skinz Graphics. Nick & Allison were so amazing to work with, especially considering the time crunch I put them in. With me being so consumed with getting the shop ready, I only assumed everyone else was working through the holidays! OPPS! Needless to say, the Steel Skinz Graphics team never hesitated with my date request and delivered remarkable window graphics on New Years Eve day…err night! Nick paid close attention to the intricate details of the logo design and specifications of what I needed for each part of the Main street windows and interior windows of the shop. I received unbelievable response from January 1st till the day I opened…and it only continues!
Everything about the shop from the digital presence to the static décor in the space is extremely cohesive, and everything I dreamed of! I can only hope it is everything a bride would wish her gown shopping experience would be: glamorous, comfortable, exciting and memorable!
TO EVERYONE WHO MADE THIS POSSIBLE: THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.” ~William D. Tammeus
I wouldn’t be sitting at my desk in this beautiful space if it weren’t for the constant support and love given to me over the years from the most amazing parents a girl could wish for. While this journey has been a bumpy one, the encouragement and knowledge my parents have provided me with is always appreciated and is more valuable to me than any material item in the shop. To them I am forever grateful and privileged to have them as my parents and mentors. Thank you Mom and Dad, for always giving me that ‘wave’ of encouragement. I love you both more than words could tell you!
Along with having the best parents EVER! The “Thank You!!!” post would not be complete without thanking my other family members and dear friends for always lending a listening ear and supportive feedback during my journey of becoming an entrepreneur and living my dream! I love you all dearly and Thank You!!!
Love & Blessings, Stacy