Latoya Grindley, Staff Reporter
Sara Stanfor is on a mission to revolutionise the bridal industry in Jamaica. With an idea that was born out of her personal experience while preparing for her wedding, Stanfor decided to fuel her business concept with unconditional passion.
Her passion to make brides feel and look good on their big day, started with her fascination with bridal gowns and her fixation on wedding reality shows and bridal magazines. But it was only when it was her time to walk down the aisle that she realised how under serviced the bridal gown and accessories niche market was in Jamaica.
"After I got married last year and going through the experience, I realised how much was lacking in service, quality and variety when it came to the options for brides-to-be in terms of gowns and accessories. My mom and husband knew that I was fascinated with that part of the industry and encouraged me to start a business," she told Flair.
In 2012, Bliss Bridal was born.
"Bliss Bridal is a boutique bridal salon offering wedding gowns for rental and sale as well as accessories to complement the gowns."
An entrepreneur at heart, having owned another business which she subsequently sold to focus full time on Bliss Bridal, Stanford's transition was not necessarily a difficult one.
However, she faced one major challenge which is not unique to many businesses. "Finding a space and a location that was suitable for the store was a big challenge. I wanted somewhere that my clients could easily find at a price I could afford."
Finally settling into her space, she was ready to wow her clients. Her first problem was that no one came to her store for the first month. It was very demotivating, but her passion never waned.
"I absolutely love what I do, and so while it affected me a bit, it was easy to continue and be inspired. And through by persistence, the months to follow saw clients coming in and it has been growing consistently."
Gaining momentum and recognition in the local sphere, Bliss Bridal is now one of the top go-to stores for brides-to-be - an achievement Stanford is very proud of. "I can't get too comfortable in the business. However, I am extremely pleased and grateful for where my business is now. My goal was to change the wedding-gown industry in Jamaica and to give brides a first-world shopping experience. Every bride deserves a good experience to make her journey a lot more special," Stanfor notes.
She credits the growth of her business to great service and quality. "The quality of the dresses has definitely helped to propel the business. They are beautiful and we often hear from our clients that they didn't know that these beautiful dresses existed in Jamaica. When they enter Bliss Bridal, they are welcomed and treated warmly as we know how important it is for them to feel comfortable."
I DID IT SO CAN YOU
Enjoying the success of her business, Stanfor shares the following tips for budding entrepreneurs: