Up next in our Small Business Spotlight Series is a beautiful bridal shop in Colorado, Little White Dress. Obviously, weddings and special events are being severely impacted by the current situation, but when we emerge from this, the celebrations are going to feel sweeter and more momentous than ever. We can't wait!
Who are you?
Cate Carpenter, owner of the Little White Dress Bridal
What is your business?
Why and when did you start this business?
I was born in Colorado and have lived here most all of my life. I have always been a true romantic at heart, and love everything about weddings and wedding dresses. I learned about wedding details and planning, and all the wedding gown designers, styles, and fabrics by reading bridal magazines late into the night for many years, in the midst of raising my amazing children and working in environmental conservation and commercial real estate.
Between jobs about 25 years ago, back when “help wanted” ads were in the newspaper, I saw a job posting in the Boulder Daily Camera for an in-house wedding coordinator at the Hotel Boulderado. That was the first moment that I realized I would LOVE to work in the bridal industry. As a single parent, I needed to stay in my legal/real estate profession to make as much income as possible, but oh, how wonderful I thought it would be to help brides during such a special time in their lives. It didn’t happen for many years, but ultimately, Dreams Come True, Inc., dba Little White Dress Bridal Shop was finally incorporated with the Colorado Secretary of State in April 2007, we signed the lease for our first location in Castle Rock in October 2007, and we opened our doors to our first brides on January 5, 2008. A bride from Ft. Collins found her perfect wedding gown with me that very first day we were open!
After three years in Castle Rock, we moved the shop to the Highlands neighborhood in Denver, where Little White Dress grew immensely and became a nationally recognized bridal shop. After five wonderful years in the Highlands, helping thousands of women all over Colorado, the United States, and the world find their wedding dress, in early 2016 we moved to a larger space in the restored, historic Epworth Church in RiNo. It's the one-of-a-kind place we feel is our true home for many years to come.
What is your FAVORITE part of your job as a founder/small business?
I love helping women feel confident and special. I love giving them a beautiful and welcoming place to find the most special article of clothing they will ever purchase and wear. I love providing my staff with rewarding and meaningful work. I love being a locally owned and operated business, and I love the opportunity to be the best that we can be each and every day. I love being involved with the Colorado bridal industry. I love that I have worked very, very hard and have created something that I am proud of. I love meeting some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my entire life. I love all these gorgeous wedding dresses around me every day, and I love getting goose bumps when a bride is in my shop, in the most amazing/perfect dress for her, and she looks and feels SO beautiful and happy!
What is the most DIFFICULT part of your job as a founder/small business owner?
The most difficult part has to be that the job truly never ends. I dream about my business, it’s the first thing I think about when I wake up, and the last thing I think about at night. There’s always more to do, something unexpected that comes up, a new situation to manage, or a new challenge on the horizon. There’s no rest for small business owners, but I also wouldn’t have it any other way!
What SHOES are you wearing right now (no judgement!)?
A pair of Sam Edelmen studded booties that I love!
What's the best piece of advice you've received as an entrepreneur/business owner?
The best piece of advice that I’ve received and have lived by as a business owner is that mediocrity is not an option, and that failure is not an option. I started this business to become the best of the best at what we do, and that guiding principle has informed so many decisions as we have grown.
Most of your clients are brides, bridal oriented. How are you and your clients handling this current COVID19 situation?
We’ve been taking every day one step at a time with an attitude of grace. Some of our brides are facing the very difficult decision to postpone or cancel their weddings. We’re doing everything we can to make the transition as easy as possible by offering special digital measurement appointments, curbside gown pickup and Facetime meetings with their stylists.
What’s one thing you’re doing during this COVID19 that’s helping to keep your sanity?
We’re staying closely connected with our community through social media and text. We’re also hosting regular happy hours with our staff to gain a sense of normalcy and community.
Social Handle: @lwdbridalEmail Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org