Amanda’s Bridal and Tux opened in Arvada in 1991 as a humble bridal shop. Now a bridal boutique, Amanda’s is one of the most well-known destinations in Colorado for wedding gowns. Along with full bridesmaid selections and tuxes, Amanda’s is one of the only one-stop shops in all of Colorado to facilitate the whole process in one place with your own stylist.
Ahead of Amanda’s 30th Anniversary Celebration on July 11th, we talked to owners Calli and David Finnie about designing a unique bridal experience, fostering a collaborative team culture, and wedding trends in a post-pandemic Arvada.
What is the number one thing that sets Amanda’s apart from other bridal shops?
Calli: I feel like what stands apart more than anything else is how our stylists treat everyone. They legitimately care and they’re excited. You spend a year or two with this person and you get connected. Sometimes you build these relationships that you keep even after the wedding.
We started with 50 maybe 60 Google reviews when we first took over the business in 2017. We now have over 350 five-star reviews. That’s all a reflection of the staff.
How far away will brides come to visit Amanda’s?
David: Texas, Wyoming, California, New York. Not that long ago, someone literally drove here from New Mexico because a friend said you gotta go try the shop. I’d say between just Texas, Wyoming, and California, we get our “Book Now” page hit 10 times a week. They read the reviews and will even come in looking for a specific stylist. We have a good amount of five-star reviews on all of them.
As far as building this awesome culture and great customer service, how do you find the right person? Is that something that you look for when hiring, or train for, or a combination of the two?
David: I think it’s a little bit of both. A lot of the staff’s been here for quite a while, so that’s the culture and the environment that they’ve helped shape. When we brought new people on, it’s not something that is really trained, it’s something that just happens naturally because of the environment we try to create.
What were the ways in which you pivoted or changed your services during the pandemic?
Calli: Towards the beginning when we were shut down, everyone was trying to figure out how long it was going to last. Everyone’s dress or tux is in a different stage at that point. Some people have their dress and it’s in the middle of being altered and they’re asking “Am I going to have it ready in time in four weeks?” Of course, we didn’t know everything would still be closed in four weeks but you have to be ready. At the end of the day, they need their dress if they’re still going to go to the venue or if they’re going to get married in their living room on Zoom.
Zoom weddings in living rooms actually happened?
Calli: Oh yeah. When the courthouse was still open, we had some people that were just going to go ahead and get their marriage license get married at the courthouse. Eventually, those shut down too but we had to have everything ready.
I remember talking to one couple in particular about doing Zoom as an option and then live streaming it to their family. Things kept progressing and they were hearing “It’s going to be another two weeks.” Venues didn’t know what the capacity was and were trying to figure out if you could have 10 people or 10 people plus masks. Finally, the couple said, “Let’s just get married and live stream it to everyone.”
What are some major trends in the wedding industry following COVID?
Cali: We are seeing quicker wedding dates where people have gotten engaged or postponed from last year. First off, things are opening up so they are able to have a little bit more of the ceremony than they had envisioned before. And it’s getting really busy because everything postponed from last year is coming into this year, plus anyone that was engaged last year.
Typically you know nine months to a year before we start looking for their dress and now it’s “Hey, it’s in a month!” Being able to accommodate that and finding something for that time, getting it altered and everything ready for a quick turnaround is one of the biggest things that I’ve seen.
Many new businesses are starting up following the pandemic. What advice do you have for new businesses?
David: Honestly the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is the people that are doing the work, like the stylists, those are the people that you need to listen to. In any industry, they’re going to be the ones that know what’s best for the customers as long as you’re creating an environment where success is tied to the customer’s happiness. They are also going to push that direction and probably have the best ideas.
Weddings are stressful already without throwing a pandemic on it, so listening to the staff’s input about how we need to change or do something new creates creativity in problem-solving. It doesn’t have to land on the business owner. It is a team. You’re going to get better answers with collaborative leadership.
Do you have an example of that collaborative leadership paying off?
David: I’d like to call out our stylist, Tobie, who is obviously giving that great customer experience but is also running our social media. She’s been able to engage and steer the social and digital presence at the store. One of the things that she did that I wanted to call out was what she did for the nurses, doctors and first responders. She had the idea about doing first responder spotlights and discounts. She initiated doing something special for the people that took care of us during the pandemic. That was all her doing and it’s worked out really well. I’m extremely proud that she did that and very grateful.
July 11th is your big 30-year celebration. What’s happening on that day that we can share?
Calli: Yes we’re super excited! It’s going to be the 30 year anniversary and then the unveiling of the Morilee In-Store Boutique. In November 2020, Amanda’s Bridal and Tux became the first bridal shop in the nation to feature this gorgeous display of Madeline Gardner’s designs. We will have a Morilee trunk show that week, bringing in new dresses we don’t necessarily always have in the store. We’ve got drinks from Wandering Wagon Bars and desserts from Snarky Sweet Cake Chick.
RSVP to the event here!
Amanda’s Bridal & Tux
7430 W. 52nd Ave. Arvada, CO 80002
Monday-Thursday: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sundays: 12:00 – 5:00 pm (January through June)