Kaitlin Call gets paid to help women find the wedding gown of their dreams. Not only does she help with the future bride, but the whole wedding party including the groomsmen. “I have a passion for fashion merchandising and event planning, and I love wedding fashion. I like working closely with my customers. Picking out their colors, coordinating the whole experience, it’s fun,” she said. Call is the owner of Celebrity Bridal and Formals, formerly Ellis Bridal and Formals located in the Village Green.
Fresh out of college with a Bachelors degree in fashion merchandising, experience in event planning and the bridal and formal industry, purchasing the business was perfect timing and a great opportunity for Call. The bridal boutique allows her to be surrounded by gorgeous gowns and joyful clients and she and her staff get to play dress-up every day by helping their excited clients find and accessorize their dream wedding gown.
The boutique is located in one of the first buildings constructed in the Village Green and one of the largest spaces with roughly 2,240 sq.ft. Over 100 gowns from designers such as Mary’s Bridal, Eden Bridal, Alfred Angelo, Bill Levkoff, Jasmine, Eden Bridesmaids, Alyce Paris, Mac Duggal and Kiss Kiss ranging from $400 to $1,500 are available to try on and select the perfect one for that special day. Dresses may be bought off the rack, but most are ordered and take 10 to 12 weeks for delivery. “We have girls who want to spend more and ones who want to spend less,” she said. “We do have them, who buy off the rack, and they will run around $400.”
Celebrity Bridal and Formals, compared to other bridal boutiques, is in the mid-range. Call’s goal in the near future is to bring in the Maggie Sottero line of wedding gowns which fall in the upper price range. “We have brides who want to spend $1,500 and up on their wedding gowns and I want to be able to serve those clients,” said Call.
Celebrity Bridal and Formals will work with brides and their party up to six months before the wedding. Along with gown selection and accessories, the bridal party arrives for their selections and fittings and then there are the alterations that happen once the gowns arrive. “At Celebrity Bridal and Formals, we live up to our name, by treating each bride as our celebrity, by providing one-on-one bridal appointments, on site alterations, and steaming for the final touch.
Frances Daniels visiting from Texas with her daughter Joanne Easter, visited the boutique last week with Joanne’s sister, Sharon Daniels, in search for a dress in the salon’s “Mother of the Bride” selections. Sharon Daniels son, Chad, is getting married in June to Haley Wright.
The selections in formal and tea length also may be purchased off the rack and the ordering process will also take 10 to 12 weeks. “We have known Kaitlin since she was born. We want to support her business,” said Sharon Daniels. “I will be back in March or April.” Call said that even as mother of the bride, the dress should coordinate with the bride’s colors.
Prom season gears up in April and teens are starting to arrive to try on dresses. Celebrity Bridal and Formals has a great selection of prom dresses and may be purchased off the rack. “Even with prom dresses, to order one in will take 10 to 12 weeks,” she said.
Call started thinking about owning her own bridal boutique during her junior year at Liberty University. Her dad, Dave Call, also a small business owner of J. B. Mulch, encouraged her to volunteer to work at any bridal salon in the area just to see if that is what she wanted to do. The only one to take her up on the offer was Bruce Ellis, owner of Ellis Bridal and Formals in Chester. “He took me up on the offer, but wouldn’t let me work for free,” said Call. Ellis saw her interest, and after her senior year began sharing more information about the business with her. After graduation, Call’s dad wanted her to ask Ellis if he wanted to sell the business. Not wanting to hurt their employer/employee relationship, Call said she struggle with asking the question, then one day soon after, it was Ellis who asked. Ellis was wanting to do his pastoral work full-time.
Call said the process to purchase the business was not easy and took several months, but happily she became the owner on October 23, 2013. Brittany Burdette, with six years experience in the bridal industry, also served as a bridal consultant with Ellis Bridal and Formals, stayed on with Call at Celebrity Bridal and Formals. “Brittney is such a big part of this shop. I really couldn’t have done it without her,” said Call. “She keeps me on check, she is more detailed and organized, and she has helped me learn so much in such a little time.”
The young entrepreneur has found that it must be common to start young in the bridal industry. “I have several reps representing bridal lines that come in and own their own bridal shop and tell me they were young when they started their business,” she said. “Our goal is to be able to fulfill all our customers special occasion needs. From selecting the dress, coordinating shoes, and adding their own style with accessories to have the look they’ve always dreamed of. “
Celebrity Bridal and Formals will have the boutique’s first Trunk Showing for Eden Bridal Dresses on Saturday, Feb. 22. The all-day event from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. will have models throughout the boutique and will showcase hair pieces and veils and offer $100 off on Eden Bridal Dresses.
Celebrity Bridal and Formals is located at 11876 Chester Village Dr. Chester. Store Hours are Mon, Tues, Thurs, Friday10 a.m.- 7 p.m., Wed. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. For more information call 318-1342, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.celebritybridalandformals.com.