INTERVIEW | LANIE OF LOVELY BRIDE
Name: Lanie List
Current Title / Company: Founder and Creative Director of Lovely Bride
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB OUT OF UNIVERSITY & HOW DID YOU LAND THAT POSITION?
My first job was as a business analyst at the US retail giant, Target. I’ve always been an overachiever, so when I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame, I had lots of good job offers. My gut told me to move to NYC and dive into the world of fashion, but my head thought Target would allow me to learn in a safe environment, and be a ‘big fish in a small pond’. It felt like a far cry from the fashion life I craved, but in hindsight that job gave me all of the tools I would need to be an entrepreneur! Financial planning, inventory allocation, sales analysis. I’ve actually developed such a love for the Type A side of my job! Nothing excites me more than the close of a month so I can pull the reports on best sellers!,
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE YOUR BUSINESS?
I could tell you I always dreamed about bridal but that would be false. I think the real reason is that I have always LOVED a black sheep. And when I saw what a terrible state bridal was in, I knew I wanted to help breathe new life into the bridal world by representing fresh, emerging design talents in a killer store environment that felt as chic and cool as all the RTW stores I shopped in. And truth be told, I worked for someone for a long time, but I am absolutely too bossy to not have my own business.
TAKE US THROUGH A DAY IN THE LIFE OF YOUR BUSINESS
I log a lot of computer time unfortunately. It’s not my preference, but I’m a bit more behind the scenes with our marketing, developing our technology, and connecting with others. I answer so many emails and I think brides are sometimes surprised when I respond directly! They are probably even more surprised when I have to pass the note along to Erica, my right hand woman, because she knows WAY more than I do about what goes on in our shops!
HAS ANYTHING SURPRISED YOU ABOUT THE JOURNEY TO CREATE YOUR BUSINESS?
I was surprised at how personal it would feel. There are still days I feel a pit in my stomach over something. It can sometimes feel the same as a bad breakup. I just thought I would feel like a badass 24/7. Haha. But I always say, I've never been busier and I've never been happier.
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 are fortunate enough to be self-funded, and this business needed to be. I wanted to have the freedom to experiment and grow it slowly and naturally. But funding really depends on the type of business you want. Do you want total control? Are you okay growing it slowly? Do you feel fully experienced in the business you want to start? Then borrow from grandma, a bank, or anyone else who is will to lend to help you start. I even have several friends who used credit cards as a lending source to get started. On the flip side, if your business is a big idea that needs to get out quick and you are willing or would even prefer the advice of other executives, then finding a VC or private equity investment makes sense. However, that is not an easy task as these firms see thousands of proposals every year. The long story is, just make sure you NEED investors before you take them because that really changes the game. In my opinion, it’s always best to start on your own dime if you can, so you have a solid and cemented good business to prove to your investors that you should still call the shots after you are funded.
YOUR BUSINESS HAS DEVELOPED QUITE A FOLLOWING. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS? HOW DID YOU SPREAD THE WORD?
It has been very organic from the start. The best way for us to spread the word is to love our jobs and impress our brides every day. They spread the word for us. I’m a big believer that if you put good out into the world, it will come back to you. It also helps that we were the first indie bridal salon in this space so our brand is rooting in authenticity and it shows. I think it’s obvious that we live and breathe what we do, and didn’t just glam onto a business idea as a ‘me too’ company.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE KEY TO THE SUCCESS OF YOUR BUSINESS?
I heavily credit our collective to giving our business longevity. We have local owners in our markets that give their heart and soul to their businesses. We wrap it in a cool brand and do a ton of innovative marketing to keep it alive, but they are doing the heavy lifting for sure!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BRIDAL TREND AT THE MOMENT?
Boho forever babe. It’s been called ‘the’ trend, a trend that people are ‘over’ but I would argue it’s a lifestyle. It will never die as long as there are free spirits and dreamers in the world, of which we have plenty.
YOUR FAVOURITE WEDDING DRESS CURRENTLY INSTORE?
We have an amazing new dress from Chosen by One Day called the Kingston and it’s fit for a queen. The badass kind of queen who really rules though, not the one in the ivory tower! The fabric is like armour and just sucks in everything you want to. But it still manages to be amazingly sexy, sultry and look light as air. It’s definitely for a powerhouse woman.
BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?
Don’t attach meaning to everything that happens. It’s liberating to just say ‘it is what it is’.
I WISH I KNEW HOW TO...
Golf. I would bring me so much martial bliss.
WHAT IS YOUR COFFEE ORDER?
Since all coffee shops have different naming conventions for their sizes, I just go in an order ‘the largest possible latte you can legally sell me…skim.’
TV SHOW YOU WISHED WAS STILL ON AIR?
GOLDEN GIRLS! The only show that can captivate a 90 year old and a 9 year old in the same sitting.
NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION?
We are heading to Australia this Fall to shoot a secret collection we are launching with a big influencer!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR 23 YEAR OLD SELF?
Travel more. The responsibility of life makes travel feel totally different later in life so experience the world while you are still carefree.