Pem: Anne, I'm always interested in how an entrepreneur selects the name of his or her business. Is there a story behind the name, "Madison Square Boutique & Bridal"?
Anne: We have this wonderful little girl at home who loves to play dress up, and her name is Madison. And I'm from NY and I love the city. I have spent all my adult life in NY and DC until we moved here. Hence the name!
Pem: As a former New Yorker, what brought you to Leitchfield and inspired you to become a Kentucky businesswoman?
Anne: Madison Square Boutique came about when we came to Leitchfield as an offshoot of volunteering at the hospital gift shop. And to be frank, there were very few places to shop for fun, fashionable, up-to-date-clothing, locally. Why Leitchfield? My husband was recruited to the area by a local hospital.
That's the story behind the boutique. The bridal shop we kind of fell into. We saw a need, made a decision to purchase dresses and made them affordable. The first day we brought dresses into the shop, girls were literally buying them off the floor! We out-grew our original location so fast that we rented another building across the road, which we also outgrew in less than a year. The move to the Square has been significant for us. The visibility has increased our business 10 fold.
Our goal is to make it affordable and make it yours! You can change it and make it uniquely yours for little if any additional charge. Our dresses come in either 100 or 145 different colors and are generally available custom fit in about 30 days! We have customers from Florida, Missouri, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Ohio and of course locally.
Pem: How has your background formed your philosophy as a retailer?
Anne: I am from a family of 19 children. We were the classic disadvantaged family from upstate NY. My dad worked all the time. He drove a truck and had a refrigeration/ air conditioning repair business. My mother worked from daylight to dusk with that many children. We had no running water, no electricity most of the time, plastic over our windows and literally picked the dump for food. People would bring boxes of clothes and sit them outside our door. I pulled a dress from one of the infamous boxes that appeared in the night on our front step. It was beautiful! So pretty and colorful. I wore it to school the next day... and a girl said to me "That used to be my dress and we threw it out." I was mortified! I loved the dress but I couldn't wear it anymore... she told everyone! I had never had new things. I didn't know the dress was trash.
"We were hungry and digging for food.
I reached inside this jar of mayonnaise..."
When I was about six a group of us were on the side of this big hill covered in trash. We were hungry and digging for food. I reached inside this jar of mayonnaise. Do you know how mayonnaise looks when it starts going bad? Kind of semi-translucent and yellowish green. Well, I had my hand inside that jar with a big handful pulling it out of the jar...I was hungry. I was going to eat it. My brother walked up behind...being the big loving brother that he was- pulled his hand back and bopped me on the back of my head and said "Don't eat that, stupid! It will kill you!". I remember that day like it was yesterday. And laugh.
I appreciate the fact that we learned to live off the land and ate what was put in front of us- we may not have liked it but if it was there, we ate it. I learned to value the least of things. Most importantly I learned that today I am blessed far more than most.
Pem: It's obvious when you enter Madison Square Boutique & Bridal that it's not just another bridal shop. What sets your's apart?
Anne: We are a pay it forward shop. We want the girls in this area to be able to have as beautiful a dress as anyone else, at affordable prices. We say we sell happiness and I think that statement proves itself once you enter our shop.
Pem: You received the prestigious WeddingWire.com 2016 Couples Choice Award. That has to be satisfying! How do think you and your business have impacted your clients and your community?
Anne: The impact locally has been significant. We generally sell about three dresses a day at this time- we are still growing! Many of our customers come from out of town and that generally means that when they come in with their friends and family they will either purchase gas or get a bite to eat as well as visit our shop.
The award from
com this year was an amazing surprise. We were chosen from all the bridal shops in Kentucky by our clients! It was not only a regional but a national recognition, for which we are very grateful. We love the fact that most of our customers come by word of mouth. We love our customers! When you come in the door you become part of our family.