YBOD: So, our first question is, how did you get started in the bridal industry?
Orla: I worked in fashion for the majority of my adult life, in both NY and LA. I met my boyfriend in NY, we came back to LA, and we got engaged! So I got to go through the whole wedding dress shopping experience, and I was incredibly discouraged. I was really disappointed in the Los Angeles bridal scene. I realized that some of the most exciting things happening in fashion were not happening in bridal, and I was really just deflated by that. Anyways, we got married, and then I made a couple of moves with my husband. During one of those moves I gave up my career in the fashion industry, and I was kind of re-evaluating where I wanted to go - did I want to have kids, did I want to start another career path? Opening a store has always been a pipe dream of mine, and I was always trying to figure out what niche I would want to fill if I were to open a store. I realized that maybe if I combined my experience as a bride with my experience in the fashion industry, THAT could be what I did. There was such a lack of intimate, personal bridal salon experiences when I was looking for my dress. So ultimately I just bought Small Business for Dummies, took a loan out, went to Bridal Fashion Week, and within 9 months, decided to open Solstice Bride!
YBOD: What have been the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of opening your own business?
Orla: My god, well, I did not take any business classes, I am terrible at math, I can't use a spreadsheet to save my life. My background has always been in fashion but on the visual side of things, not on the operational side of things. So that's definitely been my biggest challenge, the day to day operations. Luckily I have a great accountant! But also one of the biggest challenges - and it's also something that has made me a better person - is getting rid of my pride and hearing "no" a lot. I've heard "no" a LOT, so persevering through all the no's, getting through all of the haters and the doubt, and knowing that you're doing this for a reason. But the best thing has been just the overwhelmingly positive responses I've received. And it's not all positive, because I'm real and I'm raw and I'm upfront and candid. But I've definitely met some great people in this business and they get it. And those positive responses have really vindicated this crazy pipe dream I had of opening a bridal boutique. It just hit me last week, like "oh my god I own a business, and people are super responsive to it and supportive!"
YBOD: So what are some of the cool, creative ideas you've seen in today's weddings?
Orla: I think personalizing your outfit, putting your own spin on your wedding attire, has been really fun. Seeing girls with personalized accessories is really cool. As far as bridal trends, everyone is veering away from true white. Whether it's a softer shade of ivory or a light gray or blush or even apricot, light blue, the ombre dip dye - that's pretty rad - or even interesting fabrics. I've seen velvet, which I loved. Stone Fox Bride did the most incredible velvet wedding gown. I love the crochet, fringe, there's been some cool fabrics.
"I'm asked a lot about wedding trends, and my favorite trend is that people AREN'T doing trends anymore." - Orla Stiles
Orla: People are over the rustic barns, people are over the mason jars, and the customized matchbooks, and people are coming up with ways to infuse their own personal taste. People are bringing their own furniture, cool vintage rugs, and wildflowers. People are choosing to not do ANY florals at their wedding, but just doing lights or crystals instead and I love that. I love restaurant weddings - it's intimate, and it just feels so chic to me. I heard about a wedding recently where the couple is going to do a karaoke hour and I'm obsessed with that. We had a tattoo parlor because my husband has tattoos. And we thought it would be really funny to have our custom tattoos for all of our guests. It was hilarious because by 10pm, everyone had tattoos on their faces, including my aunts!