Richland bridal shop finds new ways to dress wedding parties
One new Richland business knew brides would “say yes to the dress” if they could. RoseLily Bridal is doing whatever it takes to allow them their moment, even in a pandemic.
RoseLily, formerly Amy’s Bridal, is under new ownership after longtime employee Elaina Morrow bought the store from her mentor, Amy Morris, in 2020.
Buying the business at the corner of Keene Road and Queensgate Drive fulfilled a goal Morrow set in 2013.
She came to the bridal business almost by accident.
Morrow graduated from college with a degree in human development and family studies and expected to become a midwife or maybe a social worker.
When a job in marketing popped up, the west Texas native moved to Tri-Cities, accepting that the future may not go as she envisioned.
When the marketing position didn’t work out, she answered a job ad in a newspaper for Amy’s Bridal.
“A 20-minute interview turned into an hour of us chatting and I just never left,” Morrow said.
Helping brides became her creative outlet, and Morris became like a big sister.
“I had whole different career thoughts but I literally fell in love with that store, and it just kind of clicked for me,” she said. “I spread my wings and thrived.”
She began discussing buying the store from Morris that first year. Three years later she made an earnest effort but it didn’t work out. Ironically, it was during the worst pandemic since the flu of 1918 that her dream came to fruition.
“Chaos hit the fan … and we all just kind of found our spot of where we needed to be during the pandemic and mine was keeping the shop open,” Morrow said. “I came into some money that was enough for a deposit on a loan.”
Morris had three children who couldn’t attend school regularly that fall due to the shutdown.
Morris said over several years she had watched Morrow grow from a rookie bridal consultant into a leader and “Boss babe.” It was time to pass the torch.
“Amy saw a light in me and saw I was super passionate about this,” she said.
“I was like, ‘It’s your turn now.’ … It’s empowering to empower her,” Morris said. “Elaina has such a passion and love for the business and the brides.”
In addition to homeschooling, Morris said she wanted to spend her Saturdays with the family instead of at the shop. She had never attended a soccer game for her kids, or a family member’s baby shower or a friend’s wedding on a Saturday.
Surviving the first wave of the pandemic was “crazy,” Morrow said, but they had several months of warning before other businesses.
“Our seasons are different from wedding season. My busy season is Christmas through May, so our gowns are received prior to that. We were relating to the pandemic since November (2019) because China was shutting down and all our gowns come from there. So, we were trying to look ahead and prepare for the worst,” Morrow said.
Her team began by tracking every incoming gown to be sure when it would arrive and how much time they would have for unboxing, steaming and prepping for bride pickup. When shutdowns began in the Tri-Cities, Morrow said she kept working with the lights off and doors locked in accordance with regulations.
“We had to think on our feet: ‘What will work? What won’t? Now what’s next?’ We got by. In fact, it worked out super well,” she said.
In addition to putting gowns into vehicle trunks while brides stayed in the car for safe social distancing, Morris engaged with customers online.
“RoseLily Bridal has been excellent at engaging with their audience through social media, especially Instagram,” said employee Amy Rene. “They showed people how they were being safe and solution-focused though the pandemic, as well as showed new and innovative services that they offer as they continue to evolve during these times. Being present and utilizing social media to continue to make people feel seen and heard has been a wonderful, powerful tool.”
Some of that work was done by Danielle Albrecht.
A former employee who found herself looking for something while caring for a brand-new baby during the pandemic, Albrecht called Morrow to discuss opportunities to work from home and ended up helping with social media.
“Without private appointments, brides couldn’t thumb through the racks, so (RoseLily Bridal) did unboxing of gowns live on social media or made recorded videos so brides could see the dress come out of the box and then go on a mannequin or one of the gals who then walked around the shop. It gave as much as they could without you being there,” Albrecht said.
That focus on the customer has led to loyalty and referrals.
“We have the best community here in Tri-Cities. Brides love RoseLily and they tell their friends who come to us. We have the best brides,” Albrecht said.
Once brides were again allowed into the shop, Morrow began hanging drapery to partition areas for additional security and privacy. It has been so popular Morrow said she’s considering keeping them up for good.
“We’re proud we could accommodate them safely,” Morrow said. “A lot of the brides and their families were super appreciative. The big cities were shut down and not helping at all. We said, ‘We want you to come here; we want you to get married.’ It was an awesome season for us.”
Morrow said paying attention to the city and community they are serving and looking at every resource available was key to surviving the shutdown.
For example, Morrow said she turned to the years of experience held by bridal designers.
“We did many Zoom calls with them giving advice and guidance. We did a lot of one-on-ones with designer staff. We talked to their heads of marketing and social media – people there who had built businesses from the ground up. These are professionals I knew and trusted,” Morrow said.
“Mostly we paid attention to our audience. What would feel good to you? If we did an appointment, what would feel good and what wouldn’t? You can’t stop a pandemic, but you can’t let it stop your business either. You just have to make it work; you just have to find a way.”
RoseLily Bridal: 2158 Keene Road, Richland; 509-942-9106; RoseLilyBridalLove.com.
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