Dress Buying & Business Advice form The Wedding DeTailor

The girls of A Savvy Event are experts in creating the dream team. They know the best photographers, the best bakers, the best venues, and of course the best kept secrets of wedding planning. One of those being The Wedding DeTailor

It was twenty years ago that Heidi discovered the need to have an expert seamstress on-site on a bride's wedding day. So, full of ambition and willingness to take a risk, Heidi founded The Wedding DeTailor, and since then, she and her daughter Violet have filled that gap in the bridal fashion market.  

It's no secret that day-of emergencies happen. At my own wedding, one of my bridesmaid's dresses ripped right up the seam. Thank goodness my aunt is an expert seamstress or else we would have had a real problem on our hands.

I always like to read about successful business owners; their struggles, triumphs, and advice help me in my own business. Today I am so excited to share with you Heidi's story, and not only business advice, but also advice for brides who are in the dress shopping process!

Heidi, thank you so very much for sharing your story with us, what made you start the business? 

20 years ago on October 19, 1996 the producer of Forest Gump, Steve Tesh, came to the Napa Valley to get married. He called the men’s clothing store where I was working to see if there was a seamstress that could bustle the wedding dress. When I went in to interview with them, I told them I had excellent sewing experience and nice irons, if they wanted to hire me I could come and press the dress, bring my sewing supplies in case anything went wrong and stay to bustle. I threw out a ridiculous price and to my surprise, they said great! The next thing I knew, I worked an 8 hour day, not only ironed the clothes but fixed a multitude of issues that came up, and basically earned a spot at one of the guest tables for dinner! 

I went home that night thinking WOW! This could be a business! I made some cards on Print Shop and put it out there to the universe. About 5 years later I started getting more inquiries just from word of mouth and realized I was filling a niche that no one else was tapping into. I came up with the word DeTailor to describe our service, tailor experience with attention to the details.  Little did I know that 20 years later I would a have a Wedding DeTailor service, where we do over a 100 wedding a year! 

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips from asavvylifestyle.com | Jessica Burke Photography

Filling a niche market is one of the most common pieces of business advice I receive. I'm sure it wasn't always easy though, what hurdles have you had to overcome? 

SO Many!

Learning to manage my time as a self employed person and balancing personal and professional life has been a great hurdle I am still overcoming. 

We have a lot of equipment, so learning to be more stream-line. The irons we use are rare and specific and that limits our ability to serve only a certain number of clients.

Finding and training employees to project what I want, and what I want for my business. It is important to me that any person who represents me, represents my business in the same light as my vision. It has been hard to find the right personality and willingness to go the extra mile, and a person with sewing and problem solving skills.

Lastly, saying no to clients that aren’t a good fit for our service and learning to respect my own value.

Over time I'm sure you've had your fair share of wins and losses, but what do you think has helped you become so successful?

I am a creative problem solver.  As a seamstress doing alterations I have a hard time turning off my creative solutions. At a wedding I don’t have the time to second guess myself, I come up with a  solution, simplify it, do it, and move on. I can't get caught up in trying to perfect it more and more. 

My attention to detail, willingness to try things and think outside the box. Being flexible and open minded, accommodating, and being creative in using what’s available. That’s how I have made my entire tool kit! Every wedding I have done, I learn one more thing to add to the kit, and that’s how we serve people, we put to use what we have learned from the past. Anything we can fix is a plus, so the more we can fix, the better. That is all a part of my creative problem solving! 

What incredible advice that can be applied to all businesses! Now the question every bride is dying to ask you: what are some tips for dress buying? 

I encourage brides to think about the energy they want to put out on their day, and really consider that when they are selecting the style of their dress. I have designed a fitting consultation service where I use the bride’s measurements to identify her silhouette based on the periods in history when those silhouettes were the most celebrated.  Once we find her silhouette, we talk about her vision and how to best accentuate her body so that she can look and feel the way she envisions on her special day! My technical sewing skills allow me to consult brides on how to avoid issues and look at what alterations to consider when selecting certain styles. 

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips from asavvylifestyle.com | Jessica Burke Photography

Brides have a lot on their plates during the wedding planning process, even with the help of an amazing planner (HelloA Savvy Event!); what mistakes do you see brides making? 

First, not ordering the right size because they don’t understand their body type. Second, not taking the time to consider how the style of the garment will go along with the personal energy for the day and for the limitations of the venue.

From my experience, the happiest brides have let go of the need to do everything themselves. They hire vendors they relate to and trust them to orchestrate their vision. I like to say that we take care of the superficial details so that they can relax and enjoy the spiritual connection of the day. I think that is really important.

What keeps you motivated in your business?

Serving people. I feel like I contribute to their day in a positive way and that gives me personal fulfillment.

I am definitely a creative problem solver. I love to find any way to make people feel good about themselves and their bodies. Many of my brides say I am like their fairy god mother, or the best vendor they hired! What more motivation do I need?! 

I feel like this service is the perfect mix for my creative energy.

Jessica Burke Photography


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