INTERVIEW | CHRISTY BAIRD OF LOHO BRIDE
Name: Christy Baird
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Current Title / Company: Founder/Creative Director of LOHO Bride
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB OUT OF UNIVERSITY?
My first job was working for a PR agency in San Francisco. I landed it after being a college intern, which was very lucky of me because I graduated in 2009 when the economy was tanking.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE YOUR BUSINESS?
One year I had 9 weddings to attend and all along, I couldn't help but wonder where someone like me would go to find her wedding dress. After a lot of intensive research, I found there was a very clear gap in the market.
Fast forward to a few years ago, I still didn't see multi-label stores committing to the aesthetic I was going for, yet there were a lot more designers out there who were breaking the mould. I finally took the plunge. Out of all life's bad timing, the timing of LOHO felt pretty perfect. We had brides booked out for two months before opening our San Francisco location after throwing a successful pop-up six months earlier. I was so worried that we were too niche, but I've found comfort in meeting all of our brides who have reconfirmed that we've been their only answer.
TAKE US THROUGH A DAY IN THE LIFE OF YOUR BUSINESS
Oh lord, every day is different, which is why I love this job so much! We have our Instagram queued up, so we start the day with posting in the morning. We then review all of our brides for the day, reading their questionnaires and preparing for how we’re going to tailor each experience to them. From 11:00-6:00pm we’re in appointments, emailing, running pick-ups, plotting marketing schemes, and the list goes on! There’s never a dull moment. Some days flow magically, but most days we’re running around with our heads chopped off; I wouldn’t have it any other way!
HAS ANYTHING SURPRISED YOU ABOUT THE JOURNEY TO CREATE YOUR BUSINESS?
I think I could write a book about the surprises that I’ve had during this journey, but I think I was most surprised by how easy it was for me to drop self-care in exchange for growing the business. I convinced myself that it was necessary, when that was absolutely not the case. I also wasn’t the greatest partner, friend, family member because I revolved my world around LOHO.
People are being serious when they say a business feels like a child; it’s very hard to separate yourself without feeling guilt. I’m still struggling with that, but I’ve had to really set boundaries for myself or else you can spiral out of control and never see the light of day. It’s a very dangerous path, almost a sickness! Although hard to leave San Francisco, moving to LA has been a really positive change for me. There are a lot of incredible wellness and fitness resources and I’ve begun scheduling workouts as if they’re meetings. It’s completely changed my mood and productivity.
OBVIOUSLY, YOUR BUSINESS HAS GROWN! SO, LET'S TALK MONEY. TELL US ABOUT THE INTIMIDATING PROCESS OF FINDING FUNDING FOR YOUR BUSINESS.
ANY ADVICE FOR WOMEN WHO NEED TO FIND FUNDING FOR THEIR OWN STARTUP?
We funded LOHO via SBA loans. SBA stands for Small Business Administration and is government subsidized. I highly recommend looking into any alternative funding resources possible before taking on investors. It’s better to be in control of what you’re doing and not have to share the profits once your business starts booming. You might have to start slower, but it will pay off in the end.
YOUR BUSINESS HAS DEVELOPED QUITE A FOLLOWING. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS? HOW DID YOU SPREAD THE WORD?
I started with an Instagram account and really just started posting images that got me excited, even if it didn’t include bridal elements. I found that our girl cared about so much more than just weddings — they had an appreciation of design, fashion, music, the arts, creative ideas, etc. In order to connect with her, I wanted to paint an overall lifestyle.
Something about that caught on & our following grew quite rapidly. It gave me the confidence that we were striking a cord! Many of our brides hear about us via Instagram, Yelp & Facebook, so we place serious efforts on that versus paying for advertising. We’ve been fortunate to have started with organic press that created a domino effect.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE KEY TO THE SUCCESS OF YOUR BUSINESS?
I always say it’s human connection. We really care, we relate to our brides, we treat them as friends. The second a store creates a bridal store vs bride dynamic, something genuine is lost. Our focus is to break those barriers and make women who generally feel uncomfortable in the wedding industry feel right at home.
Your favourite bridal trend at the moment?
I love me a good dramatic sleeve. Bell, winged, caped — they’re all so much fun and photograph beautifully.
Your favourite piece from your current range of gowns?
This is so tough! We just picked up Christos Costerellos though and he makes this adorable tea-length dress with polka dot stripes. I can’t wait to try it on when it comes in! I’ve also been gushing over a Cortana butter-colored gown called the “Deco.” It’s what dreams are made of.
Best advice you ever received?
The designer behind Cortana, Rosa Esteva, told me to “not get too ahead of myself and enjoy the process” after I expressed how envious I was of her branding. She explained to me that it took her 10 years to grow the brand that exists today, so to want what she has just isn’t a realistic expectation to hold. I’ve since kept that advice really close to me.
I wish I knew how to …speak French
What is your coffee order? Iced Americano with cinnamon sprinkled on top!
TV show do you wish was still on the air? Breaking Bad.
Next travel destination? Michigan for the holidays with my fiancee!
What advice would you give your 23 year old self? To trust in curiosity; it will never fail you.