Hello my freshly squeezed fashionistas!
I am very excited to launch a weekly style spotlight on local movers and shakers in the South Florida area that are making fashion forward headlines and bringing their dreams to the masses. With time, I hope to expand not only within beauty and fashion, but also into the food and nightlife scene that continues to make waves in the growing metropolis of Miami.
I couldn’t have done my first spotlight without a little help from my friends. Literally. It gives me great pleasure to get to talk to two very dear friends, who left their day jobs, took their vision of luxury bridal consignment, and made it into a booming reality of over 300 dresses. And what bride doesn’t love a good deal on a name brand wedding dress?
I sat down with Viviana and Jenise, Co-founders of La Vie En Blanc, to dish on all things budget, brides, and their big day!
FSF: First off, I love the fact that I’m interviewing two of my dearest friends, so this is going to be fun right off the bat! How are you guys doing? I always picture you guys drowning in a sea of wedding dresses. Am I right?
LVEB: Thanks so much for taking the time to get to know us a little better – well, at least the La Vie En Blanc side of us. We’re actually doing great! Your imagination is fairly accurate. We feel fortunate to be doing something we love and are so passionate about. We joke that we bleed white.
FSF: Walk me through a typical work day at LVEB. What does it look like?
LVEB: Well it’s hectic and we love it. Between meeting with brides shopping our collection and visiting bridal shops and individual consignors to pick up gowns, we keep pretty busy. We respond daily to brides looking for specific designer gowns and hoping we have it for less. There are the visits to luxury properties throughout South Florida to plan our upcoming trunk shows. We also manage to squeeze in some champagne and mani/pedi meetings which are definitely our favorite!
FSF: How many dresses are currently in your inventory?
LVEB: At any given point, we have about 300 bridal gowns on hand. And on top of that, we have a collection of veils, accessories and special occasion gowns too.
FSF: Alright, so before we go any further, lets talk about how LVEB was born. How did bridal consignment come about? And why bridal consignment?
LVEB: We had both been in half a dozen weddings and planned our own weddings knowing the pain of that “wedding budget”. We realized there was a void in the South Florida bridal market. There were brides compromising on some aspect of their dream wedding to have an out-of-budget designer gown they just had to have. We knew if we could get these gowns for less, brides would line up for them! And we’d also be helping past brides who had invested so much to get some money back or help bridal shops who were stuck with samples make room for their new collections. It was always important to us that a bride wouldn’t miss out on the luxurious experience of buying her wedding dress. And that’s really what we love most about La Vie En Blanc – we provide a luxury experience for all brides, regardless of the their budget.
FSF: What do you say to potential brides who might be hesitant about purchasing a consigned dress?
LVEB: It’s so important to us that brides are 100% sure when they say yes to the dress! Some brides may be hesitant to buy a dress that’s not being ordered directly from the designer for them, but once they see the condition of our gowns and the savings they are getting by shopping La Vie En Blanc, they are quickly believers! Who wouldn’t be when you are getting a Vera Wang or Pronovias in new or like-new condition for a fraction of the price!
FSF: I feel like for me, consigning a wedding dress is a no brainer. Most wedding dresses don’t get reused or passed down like many brides like to think. Do you often come across brides that have a hard time letting go of dresses?
LVEB: When brides contact us, they are usually looking to clear up some space in their closet or maybe pay off a credit card! We encourage brides to keep at least one thing they wore on their wedding day – maybe a veil or a headpiece – something that can be passed down in the family. But most girls realize that every bride wants her own dress shopping experience, so it’s not too hard to let the bridal gown go.
FSF: What bridal trends are we seeing for 2014? In your opinion, what is one thing that every bride should have on her big day?
LVEB: That’s two questions! We are seeing delicate laces, daring necklines, illusion backs, vintage inspirations, romantic looks … But we also see brides who hold true to classic traditional styles. That’s the beauty of what we do – when a bride walks into La Vie En Blanc, it is our goal to get to know her style so that we can help her find the most important dress she will ever wear without breaking her entire budget.
There’s one thing that every bride should have on her big day and that never ever goes out of style – that’s a radiant smile – It’s the one day in a woman’s life where she truly sets the tone for the entire day. The look on a bride’s face when she walks down the aisle or has her first dance is really the most memorable thing she can wear. Every bride should feel her most beautiful on her big day.
FSF: Do you have a favorite dress? It’s like asking you to pick a favorite kid, but you have to have one!
A: Yea, it is a lot like asking a mom if she has a favorite child! Honestly, we love so many of our gowns. We love to play the game of “which gown would we wear if we were getting married now” … and the answer changes every week! There are so many beautiful and breathtaking gowns plus trends and styles are constantly evolving. That’s the beauty of fashion and bridal couture. Right now, we are really loving Jenny Packham and Monique Lhuillier is always on our list.
FSF: Did you anticipate the success of LVEB when you first started? What are you most proud of?
LVEB: We always believed in the concept. We also really believe in each other! Most of all, we are fairly certain we have someone up there watching over us every day. We’re proud of a few things, but the most humbling is the overwhelming response from brides and their referrals. We help one bride find her dream dress at a fraction of the price, then she sends her friends and they send their friends. It’s a reflection of how satisfied our brides feel when they leave La Vie En Blanc. We can’t think of a better measure of customer satisfaction than a bride who is willing to endorse us and send her loved ones to have the same amazing experience she had. It’s actually quite flattering!
FSF: You’re friends and business partners. Do you almost feel like you’re married after spending so much time together? Finish each other’s sentences?
LVEB: Something like that, yes! It’s such a blessing to find a business partner who you trust and respect. Because it is like we are married in a way! We were friends before partners – but never had we imagined we’d be this close. We rely on each other very much. And we definitely have a newfound respect for each other. For us, communication is so important. We really don’t hold back; we constantly use each other as a source of inspiration and motivation. What we are able to create and achieve when we are working together increases exponentially!
FSF: Looking back on both your wedding days, anything you would do different now that you have even more of an inside scoop of the booming bridal industry?
LVEB: Yes! Buy a reloved gown!!! I always say, “I could have bought new appliances for my new house or taken another vacation as newlyweds.”
** FOR MORE INFORMATION ON LVEB, VISIT THEIR WEBSITE AT WWW.VIEENBLANC.COM. FOLLOW THEM ON INSTAGRAM AT @VIEENBLANC. #LAVIEENBLANC **