I could start as Once Upon A Time, but then it wouldn’t be real. Sometimes it really doesn’t seem real that we are five years into a business that we dreamed up and executed, but anyone who has ever started or owned a business knows the feelings. Franco and I have lived and breathed Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo every minute of every day since signing that lease in 2012.
We opened in January 2013 in that adorable little old house on Easton Road. “Next to the Candy Shop,” we used to tell customers who weren’t familiar with the address. How do I convey just how much I loved that store – and how much I cherish the feelings I have when I think of those original days? It just makes me so happy. And proud.
I clearly remember one evening just a few months after we opened, standing behind the desk with our little Deanna hanging on my leg like a koala bear, a store full of people, and thinking, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” It was simultaneously thrilling and petrifying. Just the way entrepreneurship is: thrilling and petrifying.
So while we went and got ourselves a bigger boat, we decided to keep the original location and made it all about Prom! For two years, we opened seasonally for our prom customers and it was so much fun to have a “junior” version of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo.
With every new year comes changes and decisions to be made and this one is no different. Our biggest decision for 2018 was hard: Do we keep the original store as prom or do we combine them?
As owners, our main goal is customer service and how we can make the shopping experience fun, offer great style options, assist with alterations, and make new friends while doing it. A list of pros and cons came down to one thing – having the owners present in the store. We couldn’t be at both places at once and that is too important for us to ignore.
We made the decision to combine them and we are thrilled to be all under one roof again – in a bigger boat!
Our little store turned into something pretty big. Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo is in the middle of major stores like Red Robin, Buffalo Wild Wings, Pet Valu, VisionWorks, Hair Cuttery, and GNC. Our sign is in the same sign cabinet as Walmart. Talk about not seeming real! This store offers so much more space with the same great service, same great selection of dresses and tuxedos (this year some amazing prom prices, too!), same convenient 7 day/week store hours, owners and managers on site, and the same fun-filled environment.
While I am a little crushed to say goodbye to our original Darianna baby, it needs to happen. One of my favorite photos ever taken is the Love sign over the original Darianna Bridal sign (thank you Sophia Yanik!) – a sweet and lovely little picture, just like that store, just like all our girls who worked there. Our very first prom staff (Class of 2013) is now a year out of college – Gabi, Dani, Jenn, Sophia, Brit, Nicole, and of course Daria! I taught them how to steam dresses and they taught me things like NEVER text back “K”. All those laughs I will keep.
Most decisions aren’t as difficult as this, but the right decision is rarely easy. Like with all babies, at some point, you have to let them go…
We can’t wait to see all of you for bridal and prom seasons in 2018!