Most stories in the South center around family; ours is no different.
Far before we were born, our Great Great Aunt Madie opened a fine dress shop in a tiny Alabama town. Convinced that mixing the fashions of the Big Apple and service drenched in Southern charm would create a shopping experience people wouldn’t be able to say no to, Madie purchased her first few pieces of inventory and stocked her shelves with finery that would make any Southern lady swoon. Though met with a lot of people who told her tiny Alabama couldn’t handle couture, Madie went on to operate one of the most influential dress shops in Alabama – dressing Southern women for over 40 years.
As children, one of our favorite pastimes was playing in Aunt Madie’s closet – we loved slipping on the silk dresses and waltzing around her house in her high heels and big hats. Our playtime with Aunt Madie was never without a lesson – each visit Aunt Madie would share with us about the different types of fabric, laces, and silhouettes her closet offered. As we got older, our playtime would shift completely to learning about her shop and the trials and triumphs of owning her own business. So many of our most valuable pieces of information for our own bridal shop was given to us on the front porch of Aunt Madie’s Southern home while chasing down the summer heat with a Mint Sweet Tea in hand.
In 2012, we decided to take the plunge and open the first White Dresses in Huntsville, Alabama. Equipped with the same love of couture and desire to bring something new and innovative to the bridal market in Huntsville, our Alabama bridal shop was born. When we opened in January of 2013, Aunt Madie was extremely sick; however, she knew about our plans to open our own shop and was determined to seeing our dreams of following in her footsteps come to life. Two weeks after our opening, Aunt Madie passed away. However, she left us with valuable lessons about fashion and owning your own business that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
One of the many lessons Aunt Madie taught us was to never be satisfied with where you are – to always attempt to improve and evolve into something better. As we have watched our Huntsville boutique grow, we have been met with amazing new opportunities to share our love for bridal gowns and our devotion to service with brides from all over the South (and the country for that matter).
In 2015, White Dresses sold its first franchise and opened a new location with hopes of expanding our Southern bridal shop to other states in the future. The Nashville location is owned by White Dresses co-founders Ella Kinsland and Kara Leonard. The Huntsville location is owned by franchisee Morgan Bolen.
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