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Meet Jillian Howison and Laura Seitz of Bella Bridesmaids in Old Town Scottsdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jillian Howison and Laura Seitz.

Jillian and Laura, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We are Jillian and Laura – bestie cousins who have always dreamed of owning a boutique. After college Laura took a job managing the Bella Bridesmaids location in Raleigh, while Jillian was working in advertising in Denver. In the summer of 2015 (the day after Jillian’s birthday, to be exact) Laura decided she was ready to make a change and leave North Carolina. She texted Jillian and asked if she’d ever want to leave Denver. Jillian, sick and tired of dealing with snow, was also itching to make a change. Laura had fallen in love with Bella Bridesmaids during her years in Raleigh and proposed opening our own location. We brainstormed areas of the country that we’d want to move to and determined that the Valley of the Sun would be PERFECT. A few months later, we packed our bags and moved west to open the location we have now in Old Town Scottsdale!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
​From our first​*very*​unhappy customer​to our A/C breaking down in the middle of the summer,​we’ve dealt with our fair share of struggles. What’s probably been the biggest struggle though has been adapting to our role as a business owner. This is both of our first time owning a business and I​t hasn’t always gone smoothly.​
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When you own a business it becomes your life. Vacation? Sure,​we​take it, but we’re​ never really “off”. We’ve both had to deal with work on a day off and we’ve both had to make sacrifices in our personal ​​lives.​ Problem at work? Guess what, we’re the boss (es) and it’s up to us to solve it.​ But all of that being said, it is SO rewarding to finally see all of your hard work pay off — Our opening day was probably one of the proudest days of our lives!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Bella Bridesmaids is a nation-wide franchise offering the largest collection of bridesmaid dresses from the world’s leading designers in our showrooms. Since each location is independently owned, we’re able to tailor our inventory to our respective markets. We have hundreds of gowns in a variety of styles, colors, and fabrics because each couple is unique! We pride ourselves in offering a personalized shopping experience for each party that comes through our doors. We know that a couple’s wedding day is one of the biggest and most important days of their lives and we truly care about doing our part to make sure that it is everything they’ve dreamed of – and more.

Nowadays everything is online and we have recognized the need for us to stand apart from our competitors and take our brick-and-mortar showroom into the digital marketplace. This year Bella Bridesmaids launched a “virtual showroom app” so that everything the bride (or groom) selected while in the store can be seen online, in one place. With images, pricing, and sizing information right on the app the entire party can weigh in on the selections, even if they weren’t in the store for the initial appointment. We’ve streamlined the entire process, allowing voting, comments, and ordering to be done right on the app – no more clunky, back and forth email or text strings! We are SO proud of this feature and have felt like it has contributed to so many more happy bridal parties.

What were you like growing up?
Laura: Growing up, I was painfully shy- I usually didn’t talk to you until I was fully comfortable around you. Now, I talk to everyone… and usually start the conversation! Being the baby of the fam, I’ve always been a bit of a goofball. Combined with another family trait- the “Seitz wit” as we like to call it- you’ll rarely catch me in a serious mood! I was always interested in fashion when I was younger. My sisters and I had a Crayola “Fashion Designer” kit that we would play with- we would pretend we were working at a big design house and would draw outfits for our “boss” to approve of. I still have a lot of the drawings at my parents’ house… who knows, maybe one day you’ll see them in store somewhere 😉

Jillian: While Laura was shy, I’ve always been a chatterbox. In fact, our Grandma used to ask my parents when I would STOP talking (which is funny because I definitely inherited that trait from her) 😉 I’ve also always been a girly girl. I used to play basketball as a kid (when you’re 5 height doesn’t matter) and I would wear a pink bow right on the top of my head. I was obsessed with horses and I competed in various disciples with my pony, Rosie, and my Quarter Horse, Missy. In the western shows I made sure to have the shiniest saddle, the biggest hat, and the most sparkly outfit (usually in pink). And I still operate by those rules today. I recently went to a British wedding and I made sure to buy the biggest, pink-est hat I could find!

Pricing:

  • Dresses range from $150-$350

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Melissa Jill Photography, Peaches & Twine Photography, Ryann Lindsey Photography, Ryan Nicole Photography, Ashley Rae Photography

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