Grandmont Rosedale resident Lori Conerly is the lead stylist and owner of LeeAnne’s Luxury Bridal Boutique at 18724 Grand River. Lori didn’t set out to be the lead stylist and owner of a bridal shop. In fact, she majored in Communications Studies and Advertising with a concentration in Public Relations from Grand Valley State University. Lori was looking for work while she studied at GVSU and asked a sorority sister for some suggestions. Lori got a job at a bridal shop in Grand Rapids, and, well, she “fell in love.”
Lori worked at another bridal shop on the west side of the state and also started going to bridal expos. With what she learned about bridal dresses and all that goes with it, you could say Lori got another degree, this time in bridal. As her experience grew, and as she watched how different managers treated their customers, Lori began to develop her own ideas about how she would run a shop, that is, if she were ever in charge of one.
CREATING AN EXPERIENCE
Lori dreamed of a shop that would be experience-based, not just a place to buy a dress. If you’ve ever been in a bridal dress shop you know they can be like warehouses crammed with dresses and very few people around to help. Ideally, most brides buy one wedding dress in a lifetime, so it stands to reason that no bride has a lot of experience picking out a wedding dress. Weddings can also create as much stress as happiness. Often there are a lot of people to consider, a great deal of input to gather, and a budget to adhere to. As Lori says, she learned “a great deal about what not to do” from her experience working in bridal shops. One thing she didn’t want to do was create more stress for the bride. LeeAnne’s Luxury Bridal Boutique is small, elegantly and thoughtfully decorated, and wonderfully calm. There are dresses, of course, but there aren’t racks stuffed with dresses. Instead, several dresses hang against the walls suggesting elegance and perhaps a trip to the fitting room. When you make an appointment with Lori, you and whomever you wish in attendance will have the store to yourselves, hors d’oeuvres will be served, and you will have Lori’s undivided attention.
“Oftentimes brides are nervous and uncomfortable,” Lori says. “My job is to make them comfortable.” If a dress does not immediately catch a bride’s eye, Lori might suggest a dress – she’s got a pretty good eye. “A dress and a woman can have a transformative effect on each other,” she says. “A dress can transform a woman’s body. Both the woman and the dress are transformed before your eyes.” Once a dress has been selected, customers can add their own details, such as different sleeves or a poof. Lori has a dress maker and seamstress that she regularly works with to ensure brides get exactly what they want in their wedding dress. LeeAnne’s Luxury Bridal Boutique also carries accessories such as head pieces, earrings, crowns, sashes, necklaces, and undergarments. Lori is hoping to expand her offerings to include brides’ maid dresses, Mother of the Bride dresses, special occasion dresses, and custom clutch purses.
CHOOSING GRANDMONT ROSEDALE
A native Detroiter, Lori chose to open her shop in Grandmont Rosedale because, as she says, she “wanted an affordable space in a stable neighborhood. I’ve always seen what’s good about Detroit, I know a lot of the artists and creatives, and I wanted to bring luxury to the communities too.” Grandmont Rosedale is also where she lives with her dad and her dog. In fact, Lori’s dad, mom, aunts, and boyfriend all helped to get her shop ready. Having received much of her training on the west side of the state, Lori knew that the east side of the state, specifically Detroit, was in need of a customer-focused bridal shop. Lori’s proud of her Detroit roots and her, now nearly three month old, shop in the city. Lori makes sure Detroit is the backdrop for many of her photos. In the photo below, you might recognize the landscape behind the beautiful model in that gorgeous dress – it’s on Grand River, just outside of LeeAnne’s Luxury Bridal Boutique.
JOINING THE GRAND RIVER BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Lori says she’s learned a lot in these first few months of owning her own bridal shop. “Small things are exciting to me, like holding an on-line sale or just having someone stop in the shop out of curiosity.” So, even if you’re not planning a wedding, stop in. Introduce yourself. You’ll learn quickly that Lori is quite knowledgeable not just about the bridal dress industry, but about the entire wedding experience. As she says, “It’s my love and passion. I just took the leap!” Sounds a lot like marriage.
You’ll want to “like” LeeAnne’s Luxury Bridal Boutique on Facebook, because Lori has plans for hosting events at her shop. You can also send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 313.580.6907.