It’s a sister act here at Bella with two darling Southern belles, Shelley Sanford and Annie Kate Worley. These fun loving sisters knew at some point they would want to go into business together, but not until Shelley discovered Bella Bridesmaid did this come true. After being a customer of Bella for several different weddings, Shelley was put in contact with franchise owner, Bridget Brown and soon became the new owner of the Nashville boutique in 2010. Excited to share her experience, Shelley told her sister of another opportunity at the Memphis boutique. Not long after, our sister duo became the Bella Bridesmaid Tennessee team. These lovely ladies shared a few of their most memorable moments and even the tough decision between Brangelina or Justifer…
BB: What was your career before becoming a Bella Bridesmaid owner, and what attracted you to the franchise?
S: Before owning Bella Bridesmaid Nashville, I taught at a school from 2003-2008 and then was a full time nanny until the Nashville Bella fell into my lap. Funny thing is Annie Kate and I talked about opening a store after college, but we just never got around to it. I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t or we may not be where we are today! I had actually been a bridesmaid that had purchased several dresses through various Bella Bridesmaid locations, and I always thought the concept was brilliant. A Bella storeowner contacted me when the Nashville location became available… I think I emailed Bridget that day!
|Shelley and Annie Kate|
AK: Before discovering Bella, I worked at an all girls’ school in Memphis. I designed and implemented an organic gardening program. The girls would help plant, tend, harvest in the garden as well as eat and cook the food. I also taught science lab in lower school. Although I love science, I also enjoy business and have an MBA. When my sister bought the Nashville location we talked about how much fun it would be to both own Bella’s. I had found my bridesmaid dresses at Bella in Nashville, and my youngest sister had found her dresses at the Bella in Memphis. I just loved the selection of dresses that Bella had to offer. When the previous owner contacted Shelley about wanting to sell, my sister called me immediately… it worked out perfectly!
BB: What is the most memorable moment so far in owning your boutique?
S: My most memorable moment so far would have to be all of the personal thank-you notes. One in particular was from a mother of the bride thanking me for making her daughter’s experience unforgettable. It was a great reminder that each appointment deserves an amazing experience in your store. Going above and beyond to ensure that the hour you spend with each bride is enjoyable pays off!
AK: My most memorable moment was the first time one of my brides expressed to me how helpful I had been in helping her select bridesmaid dresses and assisting her in the ordering process. There are so many fun aspects to being a Bella owner, but it brings such satisfaction to know that you have really been helpful to a bride and to hear how much she appreciated you!
|Joanna August Union|
BB: What is your idea of a perfect night out on the town? Which one of our dresses would you wear, and how would you style it?
S: A perfect night on the town would be getting dressed up for cocktails and sushi with the girls and people watching! Nashville has a very eccentric mix of people so you just never know who you’re going to see, celebrities included. My go to dress from here on out is going to be the short Union Lace dress in black by Joanna August from her new Ceremony collection. You can dress it up for a wedding, or make it casual with a fun, colorful belt and flats or sandals. I’m counting the days until it arrives! Another favorite of mine is the LulaKate Ashley, short with straight skirt. I wore it to my sister’s rehearsal dinner with a fabulous necklace and heels, and then to work one day with a belt and blazer…my manager didn’t even recognize it! It’s nice to have a few pieces like that in your closet that are appropriate no matter the occasion.
|Mamie + James Belle|
AK: Now that I have a 6 month old, a night out for drinks and dinner with friends (sans the little one) is the perfect night on the town! I would wear Mamie + James Belle in black and white stripes. I would pair it with colored peep toe heels and some fun jewelry.
BB: What is your fave celebrity wedding dress?
S: Ivanka Trump’s dress was stunning. I loved the sleeves! It had a classic, romantic feel, and after years of strapless it was nice to see an older look brought back to the spotlight.
AK: Grace Kelly – just divine!
|Shelley at Bridal Market 2011|
BB: How would you describe your own personal style?
S: That’s a hard one… I guess I would say classic or traditional with a modern twist.
AK: Casual chic. I’ve been wearing lots of dresses and skirts paired with cardigans, tall boots or ballet flats and fun jewelry.
|Annie Kate with fellow Bellas|
BB: Favorite guilty pleasure?
S: Gossip Girl and Lionel Ritchie…L.O.V.E. him!
AK: A glass of wine and a good book!
Now… For This & That!
Real Housewives of OC or Beverly Hills?
S: OC Housewives for sure! I love that show, it’s like a train wreck… you can’t help but look.
AK: Neither! I am usually reading when I have a free moment
Facebook or Twitter?
S: I would say Facebook… I still get really confused by Twitter. I need a tutorial!
Green tea or skinny latte?
S: Skinny Latte…I rarely get one though, trying to give up caffeine.
AK: Skinny Latte
Brangelina or Justifer?
Lady Gaga or Adele?
S: I love Adele, but secretly am obsessed with Lady Gaga. I think because she’s such a mystery.
Thank you both!