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Meet Brooke Ritzman, Founder & Owner of Elegant Gowns
Thank you very much for taking the time to browse my website. Your gown is one of the most important purchases you can make for your wedding, and considering Elegant Gowns in helping you afford the gown of your dreams is something that I am so pleased to be a part of.
The Birth of Elegant Gowns
Elegant Gowns was started in the May of 2003. I was in the midst of planning my own wedding, graduating from college, and deciding what to "do with my life". While still planning my wedding, I became an independent consultant for a company known as Discount Bridal Service, Inc. (DBS), who had hundreds of representatives across the United States. I was a representative for DBS for 2 years, which allowed me to assist over 1,000 brides in purchasing designer-labeled bridal & bridesmaid gowns for up to 30% off retail. With my highly unique & interactive website, by the end of my first year with DBS I was proudly their top seller. I quickly added Carlson Craft Invitations & Illusions Bridal Veils & headpieces to my on-line store so that I could also help brides save money in other areas of their wedding planning.
The Evolution of Elegant Gowns
In the summer of 2005, DBS closed its doors. This was a very emotional time for my brides and me. At the same time, Internet companies such as Elegant Gowns were under pressure from traditional salons & designers. After much consideration, I decided to close the chapter of Elegant Gowns' history in selling designer labeled gowns at discounted prices. Instead, I used the skills & resources I had acquired to research and find factory-direct sources for my gowns.
I am never surprised when a bride tells me she saw the exact same gown she purchased from Elegant Gowns in a salon for two or three times the price, because many of our gowns are made by the same factories that make designer-labeled gowns found in local salons. The label you see in a dress purchased from a salon can add hundreds to the price - just for that tiny designer label that is sewn into the dress. Thus, Elegant Gowns is now proud to offer "non-labeled" bridal gowns. The gowns I sell are of the highest quality and inspected prior to being shipped to my customers for quality assurance. The average price of a brand new Bridal Gown from Elegant Gowns is only $400.00; with clearance gowns often priced under $200.00. I still sell Carlson Craft Invitations & accessories, and also added Birchcraft Invitations. And I also still offer veils, headpieces, and jewelry from Illusions Bridal.
4 Years Later
Elegant Gowns is going strong! Being in business for myself & working with brides is an amazing experience. I cannot express how empowering it is to be able to offer such beautiful gowns at reasonable prices, without sacrificing the quality of our products. Although I rarely meet brides in person, I feel an intimate connection with each bride, knowing that she has trusted me with her bridal gown. Every time I receive an email after my bride has tried on her gown reminds me why I am in this business. (And I love seeing the wedding-day photos, so keep them coming!) I once heard a motivational speaker talk about the "psychological salary" of the work we choose to do as opposed to the "monetary salary" and how important it is to love and be passionate about your work. I have to say that I am extremely blessed to have such a high "psychological salary" with this very rewarding business. And I am continuously pleased to hear from new brides referred to me from past customers — I thank every customer for referring me to their friends, as there is no greater compliment I can receive.
Elegant Gowns' Business Philosophy
My experience in business & life in general has led me to develop high standards for my business practices. Elegant Gowns operates so that brides never have to worry about us going out of business. For example:
Debt Free: Elegant Gowns is completely debt free! Zero business loans and zero credit card debt means that I'm not scrambling to keep the business running.
Minimal Overhead: Elegant Gowns is a Virtual Store - I am a home-based operation. This means that I do not have monthly lease/rent for retail space, nor the high costs of insurance, electricity, etc. that come with running a retail establishment.
User-friendly Web site: My husband's 'day-job' is in web development and he has created & maintained ElegantGowns.com since day 1. This means that the only cost of updating the website is bribing my husband with homemade chocolate chip cookies. :)
Owner Operated: No employees also reduces overhead and allows for not only high quality assurance, but also exemplary customer service.
Return Policy: I understand that brides do have doubts when purchasing a gown on-line. This is why I offer a liberal return policy on all brand new bridal gowns. Just let us know within 3 days of the gowns delivery and we'll accept your gown less a 10% restocking charge. Click here for our full return policy.
Again, thank you for taking the time to browse my website. I take great pride in my company and hope that you feel secure in making your wedding gown purchase with Elegant Gowns.