ATLANTA-- Leigh Barnes is living proof that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the bridal industry. With no background or training, Barnes has built a wholesale wedding veil business from scratch, in addition to running a million-dollar retail bridal and formal operation. And she's only 24 years old. "It's called stupidity," said the Memphis native of her career, which began at the age of 16 and has included everything from wedding planning to custom-designed gowns and flower arranging. "I never thought I couldn't do something. I always tried." After dabbling in every area of bridal, she founded Leigh Originals in 1991, with seven veil samples. "I learned that veils were the most profitable, and certainly less draining than directing an entire wedding," she said. "Supplies are a small investment of between $20 and $30, and veils can retail between $120 and $150." During her first year, she picked up accounts in eight states. In July 1993, with 90 accounts nationwide, she bought a 3,000-square-foot Memphis bridal shop and doubled its space to include a factory and to accommodate 12 seamstresses. The shop, Memphis Bridal Gallery, did $1.2 million in retail sales in its first year under her ownership, in lines excluding Leigh Originals. The store carries approximately 30 moderate-to-upper-price bridal lines, including Gallina, Diamond and Bianchi, as well as bridesmaid dresses and a full line of accessories. "The retail operation serves as an outlet for the veils and allows a bigger markup," said Barnes. The Leigh Originals wholesale line sold $100,000 last year, while retail sales of the line in the shop totaled $150,000. Wholesale prices range from $52 up to $175 for an Austrian crystal headpiece. More than 40 styles are offered constantly, and 10 to 20 new veils are added each season. A best-selling look is a Victorian wreath with Austrian crystals and Alencon lace, priced at $62, which sells around 35 units per month, including retail and wholesale sales. Custom looks are key to the line. "The most important thing is that the lace in the veil match the dress," said Barnes. "We use handbeaded Swarovsky crystals, handsewn combs and 3-ml. pearls. Most veils today are made overseas and can have a plastic look with fake crystals." Service, said Barnes, is more important in bridal than any other area. "It's a tough business, and you have to stay on top of it day and night," she said. "One unhappy bride can ruin your reputation."Veil Views Barnes's tips on how to help customers choose the right veil: Short hair looks great with back pieces or Juliet cap styles. A tiara or wreath with hair pulled loosely through the headpiece flatters round faces. Waist-length veils are the most complimentary to the waistline. Floor-length veils should be detachable for easy movement during the reception. Sequins and lace should match the dress.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)