On April 1, 2022, Madison Bowman, opened The Frock Bridal House. Their mission is to provide a stress free, pressure free and memorable day for each future bride. They want to provide a unique selection of gowns to allow their client to be their most elevated self. They work with smaller independent designers, which allow for choices not found at larger boutiques and endless customization options.
Madison grew up in Washington, IN and then attended IU, graduating in 2016 with degrees in Information Systems, International Business and Apparel Merchandising. However, she originally started out as an Entrepreneurship major with the hope of starting a bridal shop. Once Madison got to college, though, she chickened out and went down a path with more job security and a steady paycheck! She then spent 5 years in Indianapolis doing IT & Business consulting before starting her business.
Questions & Answers
What motivated you to start your own business? How did you develop the skills to start your own business?
I grew up obsessing over bridal gowns with my grandma. We would watch Say Yes to the Dress together and every time we drove near the local bridal shop, we’d have to stop to pick out our favorite gown in the window. Owning a bridal store has always been my dream job, but I thought it would always be just that, a dream.
Then I finally got to shop for my own wedding dress in 2018 (my wedding was in 2019). I thought after I found my own wedding dress, my passion for bridal would fizzle out. However, I was disappointed with the selection and the experience. The same designers were carried at all the stores and the dress styles felt so repetitive. I also experienced so much stressful sales pressure that it made this highly anticipated shopping trip a bit of a letdown.
After I got married, I decided to start doing research and building a business plan to try to breathe fresh air into the wedding dress shopping experience in Indiana. I made it my mission to take everything I disliked about dress shopping and build a store that fixed those problems!
What makes your business stand out from other businesses in Bloomington?
The Frock is currently the only made- to- order bridal store in Bloomington so we don’t have what you might think of as competition! However, I do want to recognize My Sister’s Closet who is another great shop offering wedding gowns. They sell consignment wedding gowns which can be a great option for last minute brides, or brides with a tighter budget! All our gowns are made to order, and they take 16 weeks to come in. Prices range from $700 - $4300. However, I have worked with brides on tighter timelines and budgets and will do anything I can to find the perfect gown for every bride!
What has been your biggest success to date?
Every time I have helped find the perfect frock for a bride! Each of those moments have felt equally successful. And it especially makes me feel great when I get feedback from brides confirming that we have filled a gap in the market. So many brides want to wear something on their wedding day that they have not been able to find at the more traditional stores in the area – so hearing that The Frock is achieving what I set out to do is very exciting!
What has been your biggest challenge?
Getting the word out there to brides planning their wedding. The wedding industry is interesting when it comes to reaching your target market. There is a short window of time when from when a person gets engaged and they are ready to shop with you to when they have already purchased a gown and are no longer a potential client. Since The Frock is so new, working to connect with those people who just got engaged, but have not said yes to the dress is challenging. However, the local support in Bloomington from residents and other businesses has been incredible and I have no doubt that word will continue to spread!
What are your plans for the future of your business?
Long term, I would like to expand our offerings to more than just bride focused items! Right now, I am only focusing on bridal gowns and bridal accessories, but I’d love to start carrying options for Mothers of the Bride/Groom and flower girls. I would also love to do a Prom Pop-up shop to give more local options to area high school students!
But in the short term, I want to continue to grow my inventory to be more inclusive and give brides even more unique options!
You can find more information on the Frock Bridal House at thefrockbridal.com or on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest @thefrockbridal
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