The Loveliest Journey
Written By: Anna Wiggins
I created Loveliest because I wanted brides to have a uniquely memorable experience during one of the most important seasons in their lives. I wanted each bride to have an oasis where she could intentionally find “the dress” worthy enough for her wedding, one that made her feel not just lovely, but her Loveliest. I had no idea how much I would be impacted in return by the employees, brides, and fellow Knoxville business owners I met along the way. I shared happy tears and squeals of delight with a bride who saw herself in a dress for the first time after undergoing major weight loss surgery. I sat beside and consoled a bride whose parents did not accept her same sex marriage. I watched a mother with terminal cancer share a special moment with her daughter. I witnessed great generosities, including a group of friends who pooled their resources to buy a bride her dream dress she could not afford. To say the decision to sell was bittersweet doesn’t seem to cover it. Loveliest was my first baby. Now that I have a daughter of my own and a mother with progressive dementia, the time had come to step back from the responsibility of sole proprietorship. I almost felt foolish to give up something I loved so much, but I knew the time was right for new life to be breathed into it. I could not have imagined just how beautifully that story would unfold.
“I am not fond of the saying “everything happens for a reason,” because based on my own lived experiences that just doesn’t cut it.”
I am not fond of the saying “everything happens for a reason,” because based on my own lived experiences that just doesn’t cut it. Maybe there were reasons that led to an event, but I don’t want to settle for just accepting those, as I’m sure many others may feel who have been discriminated against, disenfranchised, or traumatized by situations beyond their control. However, we are the ones who decide which lessons to take away from each circumstance we face. Something maybe didn’t happen for a reason, but we have since assigned a meaning to that moment. I do know everything that happens becomes part of our journey or life story. I don’t think my dad took his life for any logical reason. I do think that I gained a greater sense of empathy for those facing similar situations, and I’m grateful for that understanding even if I absolutely detest the part of my journey that brought me to that point. Anyway, back to the story of selling Loveliest. I think the way in which the sale came to fruition was a very magical part of my life’s path.
When I first listed my business with a broker, I was advised that it would likely take up to a year to sell (or possibly not happen at all), because it was a smaller business and apparently most people looking to purchase businesses were men aiming to spend millions of dollars on ventures that were not entirely geared to serve women (ugh). I put my patient cap on, one that likes to slip right off my little peanut head (as my dad called it), but luckily I did not have to wait long to learn that we had a nibble. Apparently a gentleman was interested in my business, not for himself but for his wife. After a decent amount of data gathering, financial report pulling, and question answering, a time was set to meet this man and his wife in person. My broker and I asked a couple times for the wife’s name so that we could greet her accordingly, but he dodged the question. It seemed odd. I started to wonder if this wife might be a bit of an eclectic personality. Oh well, I would meet her in person soon enough. The night before our in person meeting, I learned the husband had been called away on business but the wife was still planning to attend. We were going to meet at 2 PM after a few morning bridal appointments I had.
“I could not imagine a better duo to usher Loveliest into its next season.”
The day arrived. In between other appointments, around 12:15 PM, I got a call from a bride who had recently picked up her dress. My gut reaction was, “What’s wrong?” We often received hand written thank you notes after weddings but phone calls before that point were usually because there had been a change (of heart, of wedding date, etc.). She started by thanking me for my and my employee’s help in finding the perfect dress and veil. Then she told me that she wanted to give me a heads up that it was her and her mom that would be attending the meeting at 2 PM that day. Y’all, I got chills all over and just did again as I typed this out. I could not stop smiling. I was ecstatic! My former employee Kim took most of our appointments at this point in the business, but as fate would have it, Kim and I had both worked with this bride and her mom, so I knew who they were. I had gotten to spend time with them and be privy to her magical moment of finding and saying yes to her Loveliest dress. They were two of the kindest people we had ever had visit our store and I could not imagine a better duo to usher Loveliest into its next season.
Over the next few months we discovered many more miraculous alignments of dates, family histories, and locations that held meaning for us. I learned that our Loveliest bride’s dad worked in the field of buying and selling businesses and happened to get a notification about my listing. Nowhere in the document was the name or exact location of the business disclosed, but when he showed it to his daughter, she said “based on the way this is written, I think this is for the boutique where I just bought my dress.” She and her mom decided to pursue the possibility of embarking on this adventure together as a team, and from there, everything began falling into place. I found out that each of their family members had a connection to the elementary school across the street, that they lived less than a mile down the road, that they had personal experience with dementia and understood my decision to sell, and of course that they had just had their own Loveliest experience. I hate to say that this all happened “for a reason,” but it definitely felt meant to be a part of each of our journeys. It has now been four months since I stepped away from the business, and it is amazing to see how quickly the time has passed. I’m excited to continue keeping up with the Loveliest story even as my own verges in another direction.
About the author »
Anna Wiggins is a former bridal boutique owner, current blogger, and aspiring future second business owner. She is a daughter of dementia and survivor of suicide by her father, wife to the epitome of an engineer, and mother to a sweet and spunky, ever absorbing toddler. She loves honey lavender lattes, visiting walkable destinations, and being outside (when it’s warm). She prefers the mountains over the beach and is neither a night owl or morning bird.
Instagram: /untetheredtangles | Blog: Untethered Tangles
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