Waves crashing.....to the tune of Hilary Duff.....Jenna and Nikki's voices narrating.....here is the journey of Stori Anne Co. as it is today....
Welcome to our blog! I PROMISE, our posts will never again be this wordy but we wanted to catch you up on a little bit of Stori Anne Co. knowledge.
Here we are! Going into 2017, we dropped the bomb on you that we will no longer carry bridal, we have changed our name and we have a full-blown boutique! When did that happen?! Well, let’s take you back! Some of you have known us from day one and some of you have met us along the way. Either way, we want to tell you a quick little ditty of how we went from Atelier On Main - Bridal Shop to Stori Anne Co. Boutique. Hold on tight! Just kidding - enjoy your coffee and wine and try your best not to fall asleep ;)
I’m Nikki - I’ll be telling you this little story. Considering the season, picture me on an armchair with a roaring fire.
Picture it - Jenna’s birthday, 2012 - We were having dinner with her and her sister and I told her that I would be starting a store and I wanted her to start it with me! In a strange twist of fate, she said “YES” immediately! We turn around and tell her fiance (now her husband) that she would be quitting her job and starting a store with me. In an even stranger twist, her fiance was totally on board. Crazy right?! The news quickly made its way around our families and all knew we would be ending all that is “for sure” (paycheck, employment, etc.) and would be starting this crazy little store.
We toured suburban Madison to find the perfect location for our dream store and fell in love with downtown Stoughton. I may be a bit biased being from here, but the Stars Hollow feel (Gilmore Girls reference) was hard to deny and we both had a love for “small town Wisconsin”. We were super fortunate to come into contact with some fabulous landlords that let us just go nuts and completely redo a piece of historic Stoughton when we took over what has been a pharmacy, bar, and part of the old Stoughton Hotel.
The idea was very natural for us to create a bridal boutique in downtown Stoughton after each having our own bridal experiences and looking for a different experience for our future clients to have. Not that either of our experiences were bad — we just hoped for a different experience for the girls of the future. The name Atelier On Main was created while looking at another space in downtown Stoughton where I had stated I wanted the girls to have an “atelier” where it felt like a large dressing room/powder room that they were picking out their dream gowns. We just really didn’t like the idea of our names being part of the name — HA! Silly Jenna and Nikki :)
We were days from opening our brand new bridal store and I was sitting at home wondering “What if no one comes?! What if no one likes us?! What if we never sell a single wedding dress…ever?!” My thoughts got a whee-bit out of hand and I had the crazy-pants idea to add a whole new department to the shop….a cocktail area! Here’s the best part….I placed a big order for dresses and DID NOT tell Jenna. You want to see if your business partner will quickly jump ship or will sue you?! Here’s a good way to find out. SPOILER ALERT: She’s uber understanding and did not get mad and sue me or leave me. WHEW - close one! Do you see a theme here?! “Hey Jenna, I’m Nikki - want to hear a crazy pants idea I have?! Well you’re going to help me do it!” and then she responds “Nikki - That sounds just great” while she is the super nice person that makes sure everything goes smoothly on the crazy idea that I have just thrown her into.
Our store was started - we even sold a gown on our very first appointment before we opened! All was perfect in the world, people loved our wedding dresses, people loved the small boutique selection and all was right in the world. What could go wrong?! I’ll tell you — people HATED our name! Not like hated but no one could pronounce or remember it. So our name was ATELIER (just take a guess how that is pronounced….ok, now I’ll tell you). It’s pronounced UH-TILL-EE-AY. Probably different than how you guessed. It’s ok - we got a lot of AT-LEE-ER, ANTLER, UH-TILL-EE-ER…all very legit, but none correct. We also got called a lot about alterations and lots of people came right in with their gowns right before prom. You try telling “Suzy Highschooler” there is literally nothing you can do to help with her alterations when prom is tomorrow….not very fun!
Want to turn a small town on its head?! Change your name super randomly, doesn’t confuse anyone :) We were super awesome and came up with a super cute new name, got it trademarked, labored over new design options for a logo, and were about ready to launch it when SURPRISE…some online only boutique out of Texas just made this a page on Facebook the other day. We could still take it but we would have to go through all of that legal fun stuff. NO THANK YOU! Here’s the best part - we had already told people!! We scrambled to find a new name and do all of those super fun legal/design things that I just said before but in 1/100th of the time. Here’s a thought…we have a corporation name called “Stori Anne Co.” with both of our middle names. Why don’t we use that?! Great job Jenna and Nikki. Time well spent!
Our little boutique also had changed during this time. We had gone from this small little sampling of items for special occasions to everyday looks, basics, maxis, bottoms, and all things fun and fabulous for your daily life! All of these things including bridal and prom shared a space. To be honest, it was actually a cozy little home for quite some time for everything but was a very different dynamic from the thought we started with. When you were a bride, you were quickly joined by ten of your newest friends when coming out of the dressing room - who doesn’t love watching a bride play dress-up?! On the flip-side, girls in the boutique would feel bad when they would be shopping around and brides were doing their thing in the larger fitting rooms. Nothing makes you feel worse than asking where the fleece lined leggings are when a girl is crying over her dream gown. Both “departments” were so special to us and we weren’t doing them justice by keeping them all in the same location. Why not get a second space?! 314 Division Street was born - our by appointment, one bride at a time, bridal suite!
Here’s the thing. We set out to make a great store for the people of Stoughton and the surrounding areas. The hope was that a few folks would like us and we would absolutely love to do what we do on a daily basis. All of those things happen. We were super fortunate to have TWO successful businesses that we absolutely could not delegate out to employees - ask our girls who have worked here! I feel so bad for those poor girls! “Hey do you want to work here?! By the way, I’m kind of a control freak and won’t let you do basically anything besides fold things”. I’m sure that was SO fun for them! Each and every customer that comes in the store means the absolute world to us and we (the owners) want to be the ones to personally welcome you into the store, hear about your event, hear what is happening for the weekend, and wish you well on your way. This all became a bit of a problem when we had two stores….we couldn’t be everywhere at every minute despite our best efforts. So sadly, we had to make a choice….keep both stores and feel like we’re not giving it all on both sides (it’s sort of like having two infant kids, if you’re a mom) or make a choice and move on from one of them. After a lot of careful consideration, we found our fab bridal shop a new home. It has a happy owner who takes good care of it and gives us updates on how “she’s” doing.
At the end of the day, we were so incredibly sad to say goodbye to our bridal shop but we knew “she’s” being fabulous and well taken care of in her new home (doesn’t it sound like I re-homed my dog?!) and the boutique is doing its thing in the fabulous, downtown Stoughton. That is the story of the Stori Anne Co. Boutique and how it came to be just as it is. Thank you for joining me for Stori time (HA) and we’ll see you again for a much shorter and more entertaining post - COMING SOON!
XOXO - Jenna & Nikki