Businesswoman finds a new way to bring elegance to all brides
by Clay Neely
One of the most challenging aspects of almost any wedding is the balancing act of creating a lifetime experience while keeping an eye on the bottom line.
For many future brides, some will spare no expense, while others may count every penny.
For Abriel Rose, she ultimately found her niche by accommodating the best of both worlds.
As the founder and owner of Fabulous Frocks, Rose set out an idea to give brides from all walks of life the chance and opportunity that is often afforded to the most high-end bridal shops.
While attending Winona State University in Minnesota, she found herself working part time at a bridal shop. It didn’t take long before she fell in love with the industry and claims to have been “bitten by the bridal bug.”
Along her journey, she found herself working in bridal shops across the country – constantly learning and listening to the wants and needs of the clientele.
During her tenure at various high-end bridal boutiques, she noticed that brides were becoming more and more interested in purchasing the “samples” off the floor for a discount.
“We would host sample sales and brides would line up around the block,” Rose recalled. “But to purchase at a sample sale, brides had to compromise their shopping experience, share dressing rooms, and make rushed decisions they often came to regret.”
When Rose opened Fabulous Frocks in Senoia, her goal was to provide sample gowns as well as consigned gowns from only the best designers, in an effort to help more brides wear their dream dress without going over-budget.
“What sets us apart is that brides are able to purchase the samples without compromising the service experience,” she said. “They receive all the one-on-one attention that they would at a pricey boutique.”
The walls of Fabulous Frocks are lined with top name designers from the fashion industry – Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta and Jenny Yoo are all on display.
The sample designs of last season make up the majority of her inventory. By using these designs, brides can expect on average to save $2,000-3,000 dollars on their purchase.
“We’re very selective about the brands and dresses we choose to sell,” Rose explained. “Not only the brands we seek but the condition and quality of the dress itself. It has to be impeccable and ready to wear.”
While Fabulous Frocks may offer discount designs, Rose spares no expense when it comes to the high level of customer service she provides her clients.
“Just like any other high-end bridal boutique, we limit the number of brides we see in a day so that we are able to provide one-on-one service with them,” Rose said. “We never want to pressure or rush them. We want their time to be an enjoyable experience.”
Just like many small-business owners, Rose finds herself wearing multiple hats.
“I prefer being in the front of the store, working with the brides,” she said. “However, I still have to pay attention to accounting, marketing, inventory and balancing everything. It’s a very comprehensive role.”
However, even with the mounting responsibilities, Rose remains focused on the satisfaction of her clients and the level of service she continuously provides. The proof of her tireless work ethic rests on a small table, as awards for “Best of Weddings” 2014 & 2013 by The Knot/Wedding Channel are displayed proudly.
For Rose, letting brides know that they can have a dream wedding within any price point is paramount. “Just because someone doesn’t have $5,000 doesn’t mean they cannot enjoy the same kind of quality experience,” she said. “You just have to think outside of the box a little bit. Anything is possible.”
Rose recently hired an assistant manager, Jennifer Ricard, to help relieve some of the daily pressures of running her business. As the store currently finds itself in the midst of wedding season, there is no shortage of demand for her services.
Earlier this year, Rose moved Fabulous Frocks from Senoia to Tyrone.
“Senoia is a wonderful place – a great community and business friendly,” she said. “However, we needed to grow and be a little more accessible to brides coming in from around Atlanta. The new shop is a very convenient trip from everywhere – Coweta, Fayette and the metro area.”
When asked about hobbies or favorite pastimes, Rose chuckled.
“With a five-year-old and a new daughter on the way, my plate is pretty full at home,” she said. “My husband and I will be watching TV and I’ll need to go fire off a few emails but he knows it’s just part of my business. It can be hard to strike that balance of work life and being home but it’s a process.”
Ultimately, Rose would like to open another shop, but when and where remains undecided. What matters to Rose is that she is able to continue making a living doing what she loves the most.
“The greatest thing about my occupation is that it never feels like work,” she said. “To me, it’s like playing ‘dress up’ every day. I love what I do and I believe that enthusiasm benefits everyone.”