As I sit here and write this blog it is hard to believe I just typed the number SEVEN! When I started out on this little dream journey seven years ago it all seemed quite daunting and scary. I was 29 years old, not married (yet), and ready for a new challenge in life. This blog may be a bit long, but I want to truly share my journey with you and hope it inspires others to take the leap of faith and follow your dreams.
The year 2007 was one of the worst of my life...I had gone through a broken engagement and ended my career in politics with a heartbreaking loss for my former boss. Truth talk here... it felt like I was hitting rock bottom and I did not know what my next step would be. I was truly a lost soul. At the beginning of 2008, I started a job in the corporate world and bought a new townhouse by myself. I was bound and determined to get on a better path. Little did I know, God had BIG plans for me in 2008. At that new corporate job I was seated about 10 feet away from a much younger guy that caught my eye. His name was Brandon McBrayer. We did not start dating for a few months, but once we did my life changed. We started going to church together and were pretty much inseparable after just a few months. We had so much fun together and began to feel comfortable enough to share our dreams after a while. ALL of my friends were getting married that year (I was in four weddings that year alone). We were ordering dresses from all over the place and none of them seemed to be from local places. During that time I became a bit inspired by an old college dream I'd had about owning a business in the wedding industry. A few months later I literally woke up one morning in early 2009 and decided I wanted to open a small bridal shop in Lexington. No big deal, right?!
Everyone seriously thought I had lost my mind and thought it was just going to be a little phase. I was becoming more and more displeased with my corporate job and that fueled my fire to make this dream come true. I had a bit of money in savings, but no where near what I needed to open a business. My sweet boyfriend was more than supportive and kept believing in me the whole time. I started writing my business plan, researching online and plugging away at Small Business classes to figure it all out.
One day I happened upon a cute website for a store in Scottsdale, Arizona called Twirl. They were strictly a bridesmaid boutique and had the cutest vibe. I reached out to them on a whim and they were looking to expand and open more stores as licensees. Since I had no business-owning experience I thought this would be the best route for me! We chatted on the phone and I knew I had to make it happen. A lot of sleepless nights and a ton of leaps of faith later...we opened Twirl Lexington on November 27, 2009. I will forever be indebted to those ladies for helping me start my dream. A couple of years after I opened, they decided to close the Arizona stores, leaving me on my own. While I was completely freaked out at the time it turned out to be a huge blessing, as I could grow Twirl as I wanted to do and add in bridal gowns to the mix.
When I sit back today and think about the transformations that have taken place in this store over the past seven years it literally blows my mind. I have personally gone from a single 29 year old to a married woman with two little Twirl Girls of my own. My little yellow store has gone from opening with maybe 20 bridesmaid dresses on the racks to having over 150 wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. I have gone from working by myself every day to having a staff with 2 fabulous full time employees and 6 part-time employees. The growth and comfort these pink walls have provided to the young women we have employed and had the opportunity to get to know is something that makes my heart swell with joy. Each one of my former Twirl Girls have brought their own sense of style and way of loving my store that has forever changed the way I think and operate. Once a Twirl Girl...always a Twirl Girl...and I am so grateful for each you!
I realize I am getting a bit sappy and rambling, so I will wrap it up. These seven years have been a journey with lots of hard days, but even more amazing days. Shopping for your wedding dress is so much more than just shopping. We pour our hearts and souls into selecting dresses and creating a loving environment to have those special moments remembered forever. I pray that comes across to everyone that has ever set foot in our door and thank each of our customers from the very bottom of my heart. Without you none of this would be possible. THANK YOU!
Ok, now I seriously feel like I'm at the Oscars and being told to wrap it up. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for everything! Cheers to SEVEN years and many more to come!