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Featured Vendor-Swoon...a Bridal Salon

As a fun new feature on our blog, Fawn and I will be interviewing and featuring local wedding vendors. These vendors are what we consider the best of the best that our area has to offer! Recently Fawn and I sat down with Michelle, owner of the bridal salon, Swoon. She is beyond fabulous as is her boutique and we had a grand time chatting about fashion, wedding dresses and most importantly her boutique!
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What made you decide to open a bridal boutique?
I’ve always loved wedding dresses. I really love vintage fashion. When I was a kid, I started collecting antique clothing when I was 4 or 5 years old. I was just really fascinated by it. When I went to college, I got my Masters in writing. I started a writing project, sort of a memoir of clothing, and it developed into my thesis on wedding dresses and about how important they are in a woman’s life and how they are more then just one piece of clothing…they represent so much more then that.

I finished school and my husband and I moved to San Francisco, so he could attend law school. I applied to work at boutique in San Francisco where I had bought my wedding dress, and I think they hired me because of my thesis on wedding dresses! I just fell into this job selling dresses as a consultant in San Francisco…and I loved it. Eventually I moved up to be the manager of that boutique and then started doing the buying for that store. There were a lot of different reasons that eventually lead me back to Reno and there was just nothing here that was similar to what I was doing in San Francisco. Also, I had gotten so many brides in San Francisco that said there were just no bridal shops in Reno. (I was one of those brides as well, who went to San Francisco because there was nowhere to shop here.) It was a natural progression for me after having run one of the biggest stores in the country to come back and start my own.
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How did you come up with the name Swoon?
Well, I was an English major, so I had a billion different names that I was trying to think of…and it was important to me to not have a name that has been done before in bridal. I just wanted to do something fresh and different. Swoon was one of the first things that occurred to me but, of course, it took me like six months to come back to it. It’s an old-fashioned word. I also like the idea of inspiring so much joy that you fall over! Just the whole image of it--it’s a pretty word and a feminine word and that’s how it came about.
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How do you decide which designers to carry?
A lot of it comes from my experience in bridal, knowing the different designers. I try to make the Swoon collection the best that’s out there in bridal. I like to focus on stuff that’s couture, made in the United States and that is silk. I aim to have a really wide and varying collection of dresses that will suite different brides and full of dresses that are beautiful and fabulous. I have people who say, “This may not be my dress, but everything in here is beautiful!” That’s what I want. Well, hopefully they find their dress, but also I want people to appreciate every dress for what it is…beautifully made…beautifully constructed…and also I wanted to put an emphasis on a more fashion-forward collection as well...again, bringing a big city bridal salon to Reno, which hasn’t had before.
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What is popular right now for brides?
A lot of brides are loving the birdcage kind of 1950’s inspired veils, which are really sweet and there are a lot of fun ways to use those. Also, a bride wearing her hair down for that really soft and romantic look is popular. With bridal there are definitely trends, but there is also a timelessness to it and fabulous style is timeless! With the dresses at Swoon, I feel like you can look back on them in 30 years and still say, “Gosh, that’s a beautiful dress!” Great fashion carries through the years and even if something is bold and seems really edgy it can absolutely still be beautiful in 30 years.
Should brides make an appointment before visiting Swoon?
Yes, it’s usually an hour and a half long process. I really want to take that time to get a sense of who they are what the wedding is and understand what they are looking for and then we go through and try on the dresses and explore each one. It’s not something you can do quickly.
What do you recommend a bride do to prepare for her appointment?
The main thing is they should have the location picked out and have a sense of when the date is going to be because those will help give some direction. Also, it’s great if they have an idea of how they will be doing their hair so we can start to play with veils and put the look together. It’s something that I think makes Swoon really special. We are starting with the dress, but it’s also about creating a whole look. We have all these really fabulous accessories and the dress is the starting place.
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What is the number one piece of advice you can give to all the future brides out there about finding that perfect dress?
I think it’s important to be open minded and the best thing a bride can do is just try stuff on and get a sense of what they like on their body. I would also encourage them to figure out what they are comfortable spending and know that once they start trying on dresses that may change. Also, I think a lot of brides expect to have a bridal epiphany where there say, “Ah hah! This is it!” For some people that happens but for most brides it’s more work than that. It’s editing and really figuring out and working through what the bride wants. Often times I feel like a coach with brides because I’m really trying to figure out what is the right thing for them. I always compare it to men…for some brides they know from that first minute that this is the guy I’m going to marry. But often times it’s a process and it can be the same thing with the dress. So I would say not to put a lot of pressure on yourself to have that bridal epiphany. And my other piece of advice is that you can make the decision as hard or as easy as you want--when you find a dress and you love it you buy it! Just be confident about that decision and don’t look back.
Fawn and I really loved sitting down with Michelle and both of us were wishing Swoon had been around when we were hunting for our wedding dresses! Not only does Michelle offer amazing dresses but also a fabulous experience and one on one consultation! Michelle’s knowledge and passion for what she does really makes her and her bridal salon standout from the others in our area!

1 comment

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