|Mandi Jackson, owner of Atlanta|
Since franchising in 2006, Bella Bridesmaid has grown to have over 40 stores nationwide! One owner in particular, Mandi Jackson, has been with Bella since the very beginning. Mandi began her relationship with Bella as a customer trying to find the perfect bridesmaid dresses for her girls, but not long after became the owner of Bella Bridesmaid Atlanta. We wanted to catch up with our long time friend Mandi and have her share her story about becoming one of the original Bella girls…
BB: What did you do before owning Bella Bridesmaid Atlanta?
M: I was an elementary school teacher. I taught for 8 years, first as a kindergarten teacher then as a second grade teacher. I am often asked if I miss teaching, but now that I have a 5-year-old daughter, I think I have the best of both worlds…enjoying time with my daughter and having my own business.
|Mandi with her daughter Ren at|
Charleston Fashion week
M: Well, first and foremost I love weddings and being part of such a special day. Before the Atlanta Bella opened in September of 2002, I had gotten my wedding dress at Anne Barge in Atlanta. Bridget Brown, now franchise owner, was coming to Atlanta to host a Bella Bridesmaid trunk show. I was going to be out of town during that time but fortunately Bridget left some samples for me to look through to select my bridesmaid dresses. After several conversations with Bridget, I ended up becoming the manager of Bella Bridesmaid Atlanta. When Bridget decided to franchise in 2006, I knew I wanted to continue to be part of this amazing Bella family, so I bought the Atlanta location and have been the proud owner ever since! I loved my job and this was an opportunity to keep my same position, while also owning my own business. I could not be happier with the way things have turned out.
BB: We heard that you work with Enchanted Closet. Could you tell us more about Enchanted Closet, and your relationship with the organization?
M: One aspect in particular I love about my job is working with Enchanted Closet here in Atlanta. Enchanted Closet is a volunteer-run, private non-profit service organization whose mission is to physically, mentally, and emotionally outfit Metro Atlanta high school girls from low-income families. The organization has created programs that prepare these young girls to reach their social and professional goals. Bella Bridesmaid works directly with the Enchanted Closet to outfit these teens for their prom. This has been so much fun being the retail sponsor for this organization and to know that I send at least 20 girls to prom each year with a fabulous Bella Bridesmaid dress!
|Mandi in her shop with some bridesmaids!|
BB: What is the most memorable moment so far in your boutique?
M: It's too hard to decide on one memorable moment in particular... I think the most memorable part of this whole experience is the amazing relationships I have created since owning Bella. It’s always such a rewarding experience to see friends and family members of brides come back when it is time for their own weddings. I love nothing more than getting a phone call from someone who wants to work with me because of the great relationships I have built with previous brides over the past 9 years.
BB: Tell us about a favorite recent bride that has an interesting story/wedding.
M: I recently had a bride named Lyndsay Cummings, who actually lived down the road from me when I was younger, and I used to babysit! It is has been so much fun watching her grow up and I was so honored to be such a big part of her wedding.
BB: What is your fave celebrity wedding dress?
|Image via Wedding Dress|
M: That's easy, Kate Middleton! The dress was not only beautiful but also classy…she looked like a true princess on her wedding day.
BB: What is your favorite bridesmaid dress hanging in your personal closet?
M: I’m a big fan of Two Birds! It is so easy to wear… I can either dress it up with some strappy, Nina heels or make it more casual with a cute pair of sandals. And of course, I can change the style of the dress for whatever my mood may be… halter, one shoulder, capped sleeve, etc…
|Mandi wearing LulaKate|
BB: What is the best wedding trend you’ve seen recently?
M: I believe the best trend is simply expressing your personal style. I love having girls that come into the shop pick and choose from all the preppy options from LulaKate. Alfred Sung also has some adorable styles under $200. If someone wants chiffon, Amsale is a great choice. All three of these designers give lots of options in the same fabric, so girls can pick their individual styles they want to wear to the wedding. I love when brides send in pictures after their wedding day so I can see how it all came together!
Thank you Mandi!