Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Mason.
Hi Nicole, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
In college, I always knew I someday wanted to own my own business but doing what I truly had no idea. I dabbled in accounting and while I was good at it and truly enjoyed it, I missed the human aspect of the job. After graduating, the wedding industry sort of just found me. I attended my cousin’s wedding the summer after graduation and found myself watching her planner thinking I could do it better. After that, I pursued a job in wedding planning and when the owner of the small company, I worked for was moving I had the opportunity to buy her business that had 5 weddings booked. While trying to build my business I was introduced and fell in love with the bridal industry working at David’s Bridal part-time. Fast forward a few years and Ivory & Beau was opened – a bridal shop one-stop-shop that also offered couples wedding planning services and floral design.
The business has grown from two employees to ten full-time employees plus several contract workers during wedding season and one location to now two locations – one solely operating as the bridal boutique and the other houses our wedding planning and floral team. It has been a rollercoaster of a ride but one that has been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There have been many obstacles I have overcame to get to where I am today. The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was when my business partner decided she wanted out. For 6 months we had to continue to work together while we were in legal negotiations to come to a mutual agreement for me to buy her portion of the company. There were so many days during that period where I came so close to calling it quits but something in me just knew that wasn’t my story.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Ivory & Beau is a bridal boutique, wedding planning, and floral design company – a one-stop-shop for weddings! We are known in Savannah, Georgia as being a bit more fun, laid-back and unique. I have built the business using social media as a key tool to grow and that includes sharing a bit more into my personal life and showing my personality as well as my team’s personalities. I think that has helped potential customers feel like they know us even before visiting our store, especially those who have followed us on social media for a while! I love it when couples come in and know the name of my baby and search for the hidden dinosaurs in our boutique. Dinosaurs have been our mascot since we opened — I had a few hidden around the shop and brides started to remember us by them.
I am most proud of building a brand that shows that it is okay to be yourself in what you do! I love sharing on social media the message to couples that their wedding should feel like them and not just like a Pinterest wedding but really have some touches that are truly personalized.
While Ivory & Beau’s bridal boutique may be located only in Atlanta, the I&B Team does travel for weddings and flowers in other states and cities! So, wherever your wedding is happening, we would love if you want to take us with you!
The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
During Covid-19 more than ever it has been crucial to pivot and pivot quickly with new strategies. When the shutdowns began in Savannah, we did 2 big things to help continue to bring in cash: the first was a flash sale on social media where we sold older styles solely on Instagram. We sold 20 dresses and were able to bring a good cash flow when otherwise our doors were closed to the public. The other thing we did was offer virtual appointments where we would share the styles virtually with a bride one-on-one over zoom and then she could choose up to 3 styles that she would “rent” to try on at home to make her decision.
Additionally, we were approached by photographer, Apt B, who was putting together a Savannah Elopement Package and we were able to become the florist for this. The package has been an awesome added source of revenue for us during slower months and especially during the months when Covid-19 was causing a lot of couples to downsize their weddings.
- Dresses range from $1500-3500
- Wedding planning starts at $3000
- Flower packages range based on budget, style, flower varieties, etc.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: ivoryandbeau.com
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/ivoryandbeau
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/ivoryandbeau
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/ivoryandbeau
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/ivory-and-beau-savannah
Ale Santana Photography
Apt B Photography