From listening to him talk about his early life to how he got where he is today, one thing that is crystal clear is that this is a man who is passionate about dresses - and most importantly, how a dress can empower a woman and make her feel special and beautiful. Not only does he sell dresses, but he's made loads of them (he made his very first one at age 9 for his mother!) and is an award-winning designer too. He's a man who knows his stuff!!! In relation to helping a bride in her quest for the dress, I found a lot of the things he talked about were things that we focus on in our shop, and have for a long time. Randy, like us, is a strong believer that a bride buys her dress with her heart and not with her head. If I don't see a huge smile, if I don't hear the 'love' word, and if a bride doesn't want to stand in a dress for ages, I'll get her to take that dress off and keep looking. She has to feel beautiful in it and hopefully she should even get butterflies in her tummy. It doesn't matter how long the train is, or what type of fabric it is or the design of the beading, whether she knows someone who wore something similar or whether it is the opposite of the dress that she imagined she'd wear. It's all about how the a dress can make her feel beautiful. And if a bride feels beautiful, her confidence and posture will make her look beautiful, and she will have found the dress she will walk up the aisle in. Randy believes that the dress should sell itself - when the bride finds the one, she'll know. I often get very positive feedback from brides about our approach to selling, and I'm often told by brides that they felt pressurised elsewhere. But I am in the Randy Fenoli school of thought - it's all about how the bride feels, and if she's not feeling it 100%, we'd rather she walk away and make the decision when she is positive that she's saying yes to the right dress for her, so you won't get the hard sale from us!!
Randy's enthusiasm was infectious, and I hope I've brought some of that back to the shop with me. My customers often tell me that I have the patience of a saint, but this man even leaves me trailing behind in that department!! The time he spent talking to all the retailers who attended the seminar - taking selfies, recording video messages for them, signing books and photos, posing for photos and chatting with us about our shops (God love him though, he really struggled with my Northern Irish accent!!) - this man has a way of making people feel special. I can see why so many people love him. I told him I'd traveled the furthest in the room to see him - almost 500 miles from Ireland to Sutton Coldfield (on planes trains and automobiles!!!) and I have to say, it was well worth the journey. He's a warm and genuine man with a passion for wanting women to feel beautiful, and I hope I will get the chance to meet him again someday.
|Randy and Ciara selfie!|
We may not have a big store like Kleinfeld's in New York, but our humble Bridal Cottage in Greysteel has been a place where we've made a lot of magic happen, and we hope to have many, many magical, special and beautiful moments for a long time to come.
My customers have been all asking me about him since I got back and telling me how they'd loved to have come along too ..... and I've brought back a little treat with me to share - I'm going to be giving away a signed copy of Randy's book, 'It's all about the dress' (an excellent guide written for brides who are planning their wedding) and a framed signed photo too.
Make sure you follow our Facebook page or follow our Twitter account over the next few days to find out how you can get your hands on one of these. Good luck to all who enter!!!! Ciara xx
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