A fashionista who specializes in custom wedding dresses has set up shop at 385 Franklin Street, former home to Fred Handmade Wares + Gifts. Amanda Hensley says that she wanted to open up the business years ago, but decided that it would be best if she entered into the Apparel Design Program at Buffalo State first. After graduating, Amanda interned at ‘made by anatomy‘ inside The Hotel @ The Lafayette. “I’ve always been involved with fashion,” explains Amanda. “Now I make and sell wedding dresses. So far it’s been pretty seamless, working with the brides-to-be. They have an idea about what they want. We talk about various silhouettes and materials, then I come up with the sketches… they like to be part of the design process. After all, it’s all about creating the “dream dress”.
Luxe & Lace Bridal opened in January of this year. Along with her own designs, Amanda also carries an array of wedding dress selections from notable designers. I asked Amanda what the percentage was, between the orders for her dresses, compared to the orders for other designers. She says that it’s about 50/50, which I find pretty darn impressive. After all, we’re talking about designers who have been in the industry for many years.
Amanda attributes her success in the market with word of mouth, along with customers who like the idea of supporting a local designer. “It’s been very organic,” she says, as she ponders her mounting successes. “We also consign some dresses, because some of the brides expressed an interest in both consigning and purchasing. It’s good to recirculate newer dresses, by giving them a second life. Plus, it offers a lower price point for some customers – we do all of the bridal fittings and alterations in-house… we even do alterations for dresses that were not purchased here.”
For the bridesmaids, Amanda carries Dessy Bridesmaids Dresses (five brand designers that can be mixed and matched with up to 102 different colors), which ensures that there are limitless options to chooses from. It also allows Luxe & Lace to be a one stop shop for the ladies of the bridal party.
When it comes to the bridal world, Amanda makes sure that she’s staying current. She even lends the bridal boutique out for pop-up shops and classes, thus aligning herself with a number of other local businesses including Chantelle Nicole Makeup Artistry (Bridal Makeup Masterclass), B in a Bonnet, Bubbles & Berries Boudoir, and Primrose Path.
Along with operating her custom bridal boutique, Amanda is also participating in various bridal-beauty events around town, in order to get her name out there. She says that she’s happy to be involved with the shows, as well as the clinics and workshops that pop-up at her shop. There’s a lot of industry networking that goes on behind the scenes. The networking equates to more offerings, which translates to more unique weddings. In the end, it’s all about making the bridal parties as happy as humanly possible. To Amanda, that’s all in a day’s work.