We are over the moon to present this week's SOLOpreneur interview with LOHO (League Of Her Own) Bride owner, Christy Baird.
Graduating from college with a degree in communications and a minor in art history , Christy, Founder of LOHO Bride, imagined herself following her 'dream career' - to become a part of a PR team at an art institute. Little did she know that life had something much bigger in store.
At the age of 24, Christy began attending wedding after wedding for friends, family and co-workers, yet she was a bit disconnected from the experience. Each time she attended a wedding, she found it hard to envision herself getting married in these same environments. Nothing suited her free-spirited personality or style (dresses, shoes, jewelry etc), or that of any of her closest friends.That's when she realized that there was something missing in the wedding industry.
Soon after, Christy and her friend came up with the idea to reinvent vintage bridal dresses, which they called "Daughters of Simone."
After helping vintage brides find their one-of-a-kind gems, Christy realized that her heart was and is in the experience - from the moment a bride touches a dress she admires, to the fitting of a gown, to the finishing touches - every part of the process was important to Christy, and thus, LOHO Bride was born.
What sets this bridal boutique from the rest? Christy truly believes that every bride is in a league of her own and LOHO Bride is here to help make that happen. Read further as you take a snapshot into Christy's life, her inspiration, her up's & down's and her passion for creating a genuine experience for each bride-to-be.
Thank you Christy for your authentic interview! You have left us beyond inspired! :)
What was the first person/place/thing that inspired you to pursue LOHO Brides?
It was the fact that I was generally uninspired to ever want a wedding, or the type of wedding that was mass marketed and pictured as a “wedding.” After speaking with my girlfriends, I started hearing that they felt similarly, which made me feel that I wasn’t alone! I think a lot of businesses begin because of a personal problem that they’ve not found a solution to. It’s been an unexpected career path, but LOHO ended up being that for me.
Some girls realize their passions, but don’t know where or how to “follow their dreams”. What are some first steps would you recommend for them?
I would recommend interning while you’re young. Expose yourself to interesting fields and let those guide your natural curiosities. I’m not saying it has to be your “passion,” just something that you somewhat give a damn about. Something that gets your adrenaline pumping. Many times just going out on a limb & taking a risk will end up leading you to something meaningful.
If you could offer a tip to help boost self-confidence not only to all those bride-to-be's, but for all those young women out there - what would it be?
Stop wishing you were someone else with another life or a better [fill in the blank]. You are likely just as capable as the person you’re admiring, you just have to seek that moment when you realize that you are. I think my confidence has boosted the most when I’ve made myself uncomfortable and learned from that particular experience.
What is the biggest struggle being a female entrepreneur?
From a personal standpoint, I think balance is the biggest struggle for me -- I want to be a girlfriend, sister, daughter, friend, and extended support to my brides. I want to be healthy, get inspired by experiences, people, art...feel the beat of live music in my chest, travel, explore cuisine, spend quality time with loved ones, do all the things that I crave as a city girl in her late 20’s.
I’ve had to come to terms that I can’t do everything, be everywhere and feel accomplished all at the same time though. In fact, many times it just turns into feeling broken and run down. It’s a constant battle, but I’m working on how to better balance my life in the most positive way I know how. Wish me luck!
What are some sacrifices you've had to make in order to make LOHO Brides a reality?
Not being able to spend time with friends and family as much as I used to and personal care. It’s easy to feel disconnected, especially because I’m working by myself a lot, but it’s what I needed to do in order to make the business happen. You’ve heard it all before, but there truly are no shortcuts if you want your business to thrive and more often than not, it means saying no to something social, or that workout that you’ve been meaning to squeeze in.
What have you learned about yourself since starting LOHO Brides?
I’ve learned that I can make an impact on someone’s experience and that’s an extremely empowering feeling. After working numerous desk jobs, I always felt like an ant, executing tasks that anyone who paid enough attention could do. Now, getting to create a world for brides who don’t feel comfortable in today’s bridal world makes me feel as if I have purpose. I’ve learned that I have it in me, I just needed the right outlet.
What makes you feel strong & beautiful?
Human connection. Conversations, body language, feeling alive through interactions. Whether they’re someone you’ve just met, or a long-time love, I am fueled by human connection and that’s why my job suits me so well. I essentially get to bounce energy off of incredible women every day; it’s a magical feeling.
What has been your most memorable experience thus far since starting your business?
She’ll laugh about this -- but selling a wedding dress to the editor of San Francisco Refinery29. Not only was that just downright cool, but more importantly, I had requested two styles fresh off the runway that I had envisioned for her appointment, and she happened to pick one of them! It was telling and re-confirmed that I was in the right business; It gave me the starting confidence that I needed.
Another memorable personal moment was coming back to my store after being gone for our week-long LA pop-up. I’m known to pick apart things and obsess over what I want fixed, changed, or updated with our store. It’s exhausting. Sometimes you just need to take a break in order to appreciate it, and that’s exactly what happened! I returned with fresh eyes and fell back in love with the store, just the way that it was in that very moment. It was an emotional high for me.
What is the largest misconception about wedding planning? Dress shopping?
I’ve never been married, so I can’t really speak to the wedding planning part, but for dress shopping, it’s that you do not need to have a “say yes to the dress” moment! Most of our brides don’t cry. It’s not because they aren’t elated, it’s because not everyone cries when they find their wedding dress. Or, they choose to smile and laugh instead. Basically, there is no right or wrong way to react and sadly, I think these shows have made brides think that their fitting should be like what they see on TV, which is so not realistic. Let yourself have your own authentic experience and don’t base it off of anyone else!
How do you keep motivated during hard times?
This sounds uber cheesy, but I remind myself that I’m in a small percentile of people who get to live out their dream job. I normally go for the “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” mentality and get over it. What really helps me though is finding solutions to things that I’m frustrated about. Sitting there and pouting about it will do absolutely nothing. I repeat, absolutely NOTHING.
How do you maintain a healthy, balanced life while growing your booming business?
That’s a great question, I’m still in the process of figuring that out! Lately, it’s been at home workout videos and trying to batch cook lunches and dinner so that I’m putting healthy nutrients into my body. But, it doesn’t always pan out the way I imagine it to and then suddenly the takeout guy arrives at my store and I have a glass of leftover champagne from the last appointment in hand.
What are you looking forward to the most this year?
I’m looking forward to completing year one and going into year two with all of the findings that I’ve taken along with me. I’ve learned an incredible amount about shaping women’s bodies, what brides are looking for, what they aren’t looking for, what can make a bride’s experience next level. It’s exhilarating to feel that “onward and upward” energy, leave behind the hard lessons learned, and improve as a business owner.
When you hear the phrase, She Only Lives Once - what comes to mind?
I guess all of the thoughts before opening LOHO Bride come to mind when I hear “she only lives once.” It’s so hard to put your work out there, to allow criticism of others and more importantly, yourself. But, no matter how cliche it sounds, we are only on this earth for so long; why not make it count for something? This way of being applies to me starting my own business, but also to the approach that I take in my relationships and the way I go about life. Big or small, we can continue to shape the world we want to live in. It’s never too late.
Most courageous thing you have ever done?
Aside from starting LOHO, taking the time out to love myself as an individual. When I was 25 and single for the first in my adult years, I realized that until I was courageous enough to be alone with myself, that I was never going to be happy in a relationship. I lived in a tiny studio, no roommates, no cable. I built up confidence, went to the movies alone, read a lot of soulful books, filled myself with beautiful music. I dated myself and it will always be a pivotal time in my life that I look back on.
Favorite resource(s) for inspiration?
People watching at cafes/parks...and I still love the smell and feel of fashion + design magazines (old and new). Since I’m in bridal, I can’t not say Pinterest and Instagram, but those resources stress me out at times and don’t feel as natural.
LASTLY (I have to ask) What is your favorite love story?
My parents and grandparents probably both tie for me, but my grandparent’s story is a little quicker to tell. In short, they were essentially the couple from “The Notebook” and I grew up watching that story unravel right before my eyes! It’s insane how many parallels there are. When my pop pop had serious Alzheimer’s disease, he only remembered her, no one else (he would introduce himself to the rest of us!). He could feel when she wasn’t in the room. It was this way until the time of his passing. You know when you’re in a room and you can just feel an overwhelming energy burst from the connection of two people? Well, that was them. They always filled my heart with compassion and to this day, have kept me believing in romance.
"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse.If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Favorite female entrepreneur(s)?
-Mary Kate + Ashley Olsen - They are brilliant in the way they brand themselves and fashion lines. They have been working hard since they were young and I admire that they are always hustling, even though they likely don’t need to.
-Serena Mitnik-Miller (part-owner of The General Store) - I love the warm and inviting environment that she’s created with her store. It’s something I kept in mind while styling our space.
-Sophia Amoruso - Can’t help but love this Bay Area-local story of the Nasty Gal girlboss. She makes all of us believe that you can start with a small, niche idea and create something relatable through good ol’ fashioned hard work, eagerness...and very little capital (Amen to that!)
I have to say that I admire and look up to all female entrepreneurs, whether they’re in the public eye or not. The fact that we all took the plunge makes us feel connected in one way or another, no matter what our business is. I’m fortunate to belong to a few female entrepreneurial communities and it’s been such a positive and fulfilling support in so many ways.
Favorite book? The Velveteen Rabbit
Describe yourself in one word? Hugger?
A self empowerment blog by Ryan & Erica. Made for women discovering their strongest, most authentic selves.