RICHMOND, Va. -- With 14 years of working in the wedding industry under her belt, Noelle Parent proposed something bold -- strike out on her own.
“This just felt like home when we got in here,” said Parent. “It just took off from there and it felt like it happened so fast too.”
Her dream came true in the form of Blue Sage Bridal on Richmond’s Main Street.
“This felt like the business that I would have forever and that I would pass down to my family,” said Parent.
Parent opened her consignment bridal shop on January 15, 2020 -- her birthday.
“So there was a buzz. We opened with a full calendar,” said Parent.
Business was brisk with brides to be snapping up dresses off the rack.
“January, February and March are busy times for bridal stores. It is wedding season,” Parent said.
But her honeymoon as a business owner didn’t last long.
“So it was a good time to open supposedly,” said Parent. “We thought it was a good time to open.”
Just eight weeks after ringing up her first sale, the pandemic ruined everything.
“My initial thought was ‘Wow. I opened a bridal shop and two months and now its over,’” said Parent.
Parent closed her doors with no plan to reopen.
“I remember in the beginning we would be shutting down for two weeks,” said Parent.
The 36-year-old mother of two said Blue Sage wasn’t eligible for loans because the store was too new.
“I looked at every possibility to get through it and ways to stay safe,” said Parent.
Parent considered shutting for good.
“There were a lot of sleepless nights and crying conversations with my family,” said Parent.
But one year later, the bridal shop owner is not divorcing herself from her dream.
“I just have to be determined that it is not going to fail,” said Parent.
She reopened in June with limited capacity.
“If spring weddings don’t happen then we’re hoping fall weddings will happen,” said Parent.
Parent’s co-worker Melanie Freedman postponed her wedding last summer.
“Its definitely a challenge and hard,” said Freedman. “I am at the point that it will happen no matter what.”
Freedman is considering a second postponement, but like Parent, she remains hopeful.
“Its going to be great and beautiful no matter how many people are there,” said Freedman. “I’m going to be married to my fiancé so I’m excited.”
“I hope for everyone we’re past the worst of it,” said Parent. “We’re here. We’re surviving.”
Parent’s business is showing signs of life. Inside Blue Sage, with restrictions in place, customers ready to tie the knot are returning.
“People will not stop getting married. People haven’t stopped getting married,” said Parent.
After the year that wasn’t, Parent is ready to say “I Do” to a business of bliss.
“That is the only way that I can get through is that I keep telling myself that it is going to work,” said Parent. “And if I believe it is going to work and I keep telling myself that it is going to work then it has to work.”
Parent remains bullish on her bridal shop. She has plans to expand her business at 20 East Main Street this summer.
Blue Sage Bridal is open by appointment only Wednesday through Saturday. Call (804) 562-7008
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