It's the classic situation that newly engaged brides know all too well. They recently said 'yes' to the man of their dreams and now have some big decision ahead on their wedding planning journey. One of those big decisions just became easier as of today!
La Belle Vie Bridal, a new premier bridal boutique located in Bettendorf, Iowa, offers brides and their bridal parties the opportunity to experience new bridal designers and a new bridal shopping experience. Better yet, I had the opportunity to get to know the boutique owner (and #bosslady), Betsy Francis, and get all the scoop prior to opening.
After graduating with a degree in marketing, Betsy worked in marketing and financial services, as well as a bridal consultant at Celebration Bridal. During the 12 months that Betsy worked at Celebration Bridal she rediscovered her passion for the bridal industry.
Betsy took this newly rediscovered passion and researched what she could offer to the well-established bridal industry in the Quad Cities area. With Storybook Ending servicing brides for 25 years and Hope's Bridal servicing brides for 40 years, she wanted to compliment but also provide a new wedding dress shopping experience to the Quad Cities. Bridal designers at La Belle Vie Bridal speak to a moderate budget and beyond, including Pronovias, Wtoo by Watters, Madison James by Allure, Paloma Blanco, Olvi's Lace, and more. I will be sharing all the behind the scene details of the bridal designers in another post!
As I reflect on my own wedding dress shopping experiences, Betsy described that La Belle Vie Bridal will be providing a similar concierge shopping experience to upscale bridal salons or boutiques like Le Salon in Royal Oaks, MI or The Bride Room in Nashville, TN. At both bridal boutiques, the consultants built a relationship with me to learn what my wedding style and wedding budget were. When I arrived for my appointment, they had pre-selected gowns based on my style that we had previously discussed. Perusing the showroom floor, like at Storybook Ending, Hope's Bridal, and David's Bridal, can be very dangerous for a bride. There is nothing worse than finding a beautiful dress that it is out of your budget. That is why I truly love the concierge-style experience which caters to the bride and makes sure she has the best experience possible. La Belle Vie Bridal does allow brides to search the showroom floor if that is what the bride wants.
I am so lucky that Betsy was willing to share her industry insight and beautifully decorated boutique prior to opening. Her story is an inspiration to me (and hopefully to you) who need a reminder that no matter where you start, the possibilities are endless!
Photo Credit: Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal & Alterations
Q&A with Betsy Francis
Tell me what contributed to your passion in the bridal industry and how you got your start?
I graduated from University of Northern Iowa with a marketing degree with emphasis in sales and advertising. I can remember, my passion for the bridal industry started when I was very young. My knowledge of the bridal industry expanded immensely during my time at Celebration Bridal. My passion was continually fueled while working with Kathy Bentler, previous owner of Celebration Bridal and current mentor. If you love what you do, it will not feel like work. Every morning I wake up and feel so energized to get the day started.
What has your greatest challenge been in this entrepreneurial process?
I would say the balance between work life and home life. I find myself here early in the morning and not leaving until late evening sometimes. Although I may spend more time than I should at La Belle Vie, I know the importance of family. My employees have families and I want to make sure my consultants know how much I appreciate them. You will not find them here every weekend. It is important that they have time to spend with their families and I am happy I can cater to their personal schedules.
La Belle Vie means "Beautiful Life". Tell us about the "La Belle Vie" style.
The style is reflective of the name with inspirations of rustic french decor. I really tried to focus on the small details in the boutique. I love going to auctions and estate sales to find that unique piece that tells a story. I have a vintage sofa in one of the main bridal fitting areas that was reupholstered and I absolutely love it.
What advice do you have for brides who visit your boutique?
I would ask every bride to be open-minded. Sometimes a dress may not appeal to your style or look as glamorous on the hanger. However, there are many time when the dress transforms once the bride puts it on. It really is the bride makes the dress.
What is the best way to make an appointment at La Belle Vie Bridal?
Calling the boutique directly at (563) 888-1869 is the best way to make an appointment. We also would love to know if you found out about us from Caitlin Elizabeth Bridal & Alterations. We look forward to working with you!
What's Next on the Blog?
I will be sharing an exclusive behind the scene breakdown of La Belle Vie Bridals' designers and sharing the top 2016 trends seen from October's New York bridal market.