Lacey Campbell opens the new boutique Bella Bridesmaid in Bethesda, Md. offering stylish dresses for the modern bridesmaid.
By Lauren Black
Approaching Bella Bridesmaid, a boutique in Bethesda, Md., I expected the walls to be lined with tacky, unflattering monstrosities à la 27 Dresses. However, immediately after entering the store, one of 25 Bella Bridesmaid boutiques nationwide, I realized I could not have been more wrong. Adorned with powder blue walls and a crystal chandelier hanging above several plush, white couches, Bella Bridesmaid creates a serene and comfortable environment for shoppers. Antique silver full-length mirrors coupled with warm lighting help to showcase the array of dress styles lining the walls, and billowy drapes frame the doors to the spacious and inviting dressing rooms. With a vast variety of cuts and colors, Bella Bridesmaid offers a stylish and affordable selection of dresses that are appropriate for a wedding, but versatile enough to be worn to any cocktail or dinner party. After coveting the collection of dresses, not to mention trying on a few, we sat down with owner Lacey Campbell, a business owner at the age of only 25, and asked her a few questions about what makes Bella Bridesmaid so appealing to the modern bridesmaid.
WL: Do you think Bella Bridesmaid’s concentration on offering appropriate, yet versatile, dresses is the reason for its popularity?
LC: That’s definitely the reason the niche market developed…because until now, the entire bridal market has focused on wedding dresses…The whole idea is to make the bridesmaids’ experience more enjoyable. It’s a good time for the bride to relax and her bridesmaids can come out and model, and she can just sit and relax.
WL: Do you find that Bella Bridesmaid’s choice to carry only designer dresses more appealing to the modern bridesmaid?
LC: Yes. I think, speaking as a bridesmaid, I’d rather pay more for something I’d wear again, than pay less for something that I’m going to throw out.
WL: Is Bella Bridesmaid’s cozy environment appealing to shoppers?
LC: I think it’s absolutely important, you have to create a warm environment for buying a dress. Weddings are stressful, and you want to make it as relaxing as possible so it can be as enjoyable as possible.
WL: Is there a specific accessory or finishing touch that you find crucial to polishing off the bridesmaid look?
LC: I think the broaches are really popular, the brides can buy them as gifts and the bridesmaids can also wear them on their dresses.
WL: Which dresses are your best sellers?
LC: The Lula Kate is very popular, because she is exclusive to the Bella Bridesmaid franchise, which means her dresses cannot be found anywhere else…the look is very preppy. The Two Birds brand is also really popular because of all of the different styles.
WL: Bella Bridesmaid had its grand opening in June, how has the reception to the store been so far?
LC: The first opening was June 1st…I haven’t done much marketing yet, but I’ve been so excited because people have started to find us on blogs.
WL: At the age of 25, you have already established yourself as a young business owner. What do you consider to be integral to your success?
LC: I’ve always wanted to own my own business, that’s a lot of it…I’ve learned more than I ever thought opening a bridesmaid’s store…I guess just having the drive…it’s a very interesting franchise, I did my research, and I talked to the other owners, and they were really excited and loved what they were doing. I guess just having the courage to jump in head first.
WL: Have you ever been a bridesmaid yourself? What was the best and worst part?
LC: I was in my best friend’s wedding, it was great. It was good to be a part of something that I sell, I was put in their [the customer’s] shoes. The most difficult part was I had to respect the bride’s opinions, she did not listen to everything I said…Every girl has a very strong opinion about what a wedding should be, it’s something women are very vocal about.
WL: With over 25 Bella Bridesmaid stores nationwide, what makes your store stand out?
LC: Well, we’re very new, and I love ours because it has a lot of light…I expect it’ll have lots of company because DC is such a big market.
WL: What were your hesitations in becoming a store owner and what helped you make your decision?
LC: I definitely wanted to do my research, financially and day to day work…was this something I would want to do day to day? And we are open on the weekends and at night so I was going to be giving up my weekends. But it’s worth it because you can make your own schedule…I mean this is my baby.