This week’s “Friendor Friday” is all about Megan, owner of Malindy Elene! As one of Tampa’s premiere bridal stores, Malindy Elene has been serving brides in the area for 10 years! And we must say, her boutique has some STUNNING gowns!
How did Malindy Elene start?
Malindy Elene was actually started by a woman with the namesake! She started the company in 2001 and it was in it’s original Central Avenue in St. Petersburg location for about 12 years. I came to be the store manager at the end of 2012… which leads me to the next question!
How did you become the current owner?
When I took on the role as store manager, I knew that Malindy was looking to sell the store in the near future. So one day, she calls me into the office and says she wants to talk to me. I thought, “Oh no, this is it! She sold the store and I have to get another job.” But instead she ended up offering ME the store! It was super unexpected and very exciting! I was 24 years old at the time so it was a bit of a whirlwind but I accepted! She helped me get a lawyer (who is still my lawyer today), I got myself a business loan and in 2 months time was the new owner of Malindy Elene and was in my new location in South Tampa! Thank god I was that young because I worked on very little sleep there for quite a while!
What designers do you carry and how do you select which ones you will carry in store?
We carry quite a wide range of designers but we definitely have an aesthetic in the store! We pride ourselves on the quality of our gowns and the fabrics our designers use. Almost everything is made in the United States, Australia or Europe which is a huge thing for me. I go to New York City market twice a year, every year to look at the different designers. I select them based on a number of qualifications but most of those are numbers and boring things (haha). The most important questions are this: would I wear this? Would my friend wear this? Why or why not? Our designers are: Amsale, Anne Barge, Alvina Valenta, Martina Liana, Augusta Jones, Robert Bullock, Nicole Miller, Theia, Ivy and Aster, Anna Campbell, and Cristiano Lucci.
What do you tell a bride who has first time shopping jitters?
Just have fun with it! We are not here to push you into a gown or make you buy one the second you walk into the store. We are here to guide you to your dream gown. I didn’t design any gown in the store so you can’t offend me if you dislike something and I won’t make you try on anything you don’t want to try . It’s a totally no pressure environment that makes you feel like you are shopping with your girlfriend. I want to get to know you and your wedding day and help you pick something you love. How can that not be fun?! Ha!
How do you help a bride who has no idea of what she wants in a wedding gown?
It is amazing how quickly you discover what feels like you and what feels like dress up and what feels right and is flattering. Just getting into a multitude of styles makes it so much easier! I always start by having girls try on different silhouettes: ballgown, fitted, sheath, etc. Then if you can narrow down fit then we go into design: lace, straps, beading, tulle, sleeves, etc. Just by trying on one or two, you can get into your vibe super easy!
What are a couple of your favorite gowns?
Well see, that’s why I do this job… so I can pick every gown! Haha! No just kidding… I love anything with a classic shape and lace. There is no other time in your life where you can wear something with lace like on your wedding day. It is so quintessentially bridal! I’m a sucker for it. Oh and veils are the best thing that’s ever happened to the world. Love them!
Any dress/style trends you love? Any you would like to see left behind?
I’m loving the illusion tops! Like loving them… they are so demure yet fashion forward. They look so different than the strapless, sweetheart
that has been so popular for so long. Love that. What to get left behind? Oh that is easy for me! The “cut down to there” trend! There are so many gowns with a deep v-neck plunge and then a deep v-back. Come on ladies… this is your wedding day! Your grandparents and neighbors will be there! We have something called “Hug Appropriate Cleavage” which means if you can lean over and hug your guests hello without showing too much skin, then you’re good to go. Otherwise, maybe raise the neckline a tad.
To veil or not to veil?
As the Veil Advocate of America (hehe) I always say veil! At least try one on because you will probably never get to again!
How do you handle a “bridezilla”? Or a wild wedding party?
I have been SO lucky with my amazing clients and very few would I consider bridezillas or wild wedding parties! But when they do appear, I always remember what my grandmother once said: You can say anything with a little bit of tact. I think it’s all about being honest with the clients or their guests and very politely explaining what I can or can’t do for them and how the process works. But again, that’s very few and far between here!
Do you get ever get emotional when a bride has “her moment”?
Oh yes! It’s common! I love my clients and I love watching them in their true happiness.
Favorite part about owning a bridal store?
Being a part of people’s lives. What a cool thing to be a part of! I love when a bride comes back a few months after her wedding to show us pictures. Or when I see them out and about in Tampa and get to talk to them about everything. Shoot, I even go to lunch with some of them! What other job can say that? I love it.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Malindy Elene is pretty all-consuming and I’m here almost 6 days a week, to be honest. But when I do get time off, I LOVE to be outside. I don’t care what I’m doing but it’s a necessary thing when I have time off! Oh and I’m addicted to every show on Bravo. Don’t judge me!
Check out some of our beautiful ADP brides wearing bridal gowns from Malindy Elene!