Today we’d like to introduce you to Kendra Harris.
Hi Kendra, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I started very young knowing I loved to create. I have sewed and made things since I was little and even made a dress in Jr High for a dance. In college, I worked at Davids bridal in the alteration department while I received my degree in Apparel Design from Iowa State. Already knowing bridal, I did an internship with a lady who made custom dresses. You could say I just knew bridal and stuck with it. After having my first child, I started working more from home and started my business out of my basement. It was slow at first which was perfect for having a little one. After two years from home we purchased a little house off of North Oak Trafficway and hired our first employee. I say “we” because through this whole journey of growing a business, my husband and family has been there. When you start a business there is a period of just making hardly anything all the while putting a ton of work into it. There is no income because it goes to reinvesting in the business. I love what I do, the love for creating is still there whether it is fixing an existing dress to fit someone perfectly or designing a dream dress. We are a little bigger now after six years in business and have moved into a bigger building in Claycomo with four full-time AMAZING employees. Still making wedding dresses and making them better. Just recently, I had a bride that came in with her mom and she said that she had heard about us from her friends because we altered all their wedding dresses. She said that we were the premiere wedding dress alterations place in Kansas City, that really hit me. I was thinking how not too long ago it was just me in my basement!
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The wedding industry is very seasonal. With that, you have periods of 15 hour days and then you have a season of 3 hour days. It is hard to figure out a balance and make sure the employees are cool with that. During the busy season, I have to focus on the business and less on the family, friends and home life. You could say I drop off the face of the earth! Luckily as the business has grown there are more employees to help with that shift and disperse the extra load. We just learn more with every year. After two employees had moved on to other things and we were about three years into the business, my sister started working for me, I was training her and putting in crazy hours with spending time with a three years old and two years old and working late into the night. It was nuts! I felt like I was going through labor pains of delivering a business. We made through and now my sister Kayla and I just laugh and reminisce about it.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We specialize in custom sewing. We like to say we tackle the projects that no other sewer will touch. My love for problem-solving really comes in play here. It’s like the episode of the Bill Cosby Show where and older gentleman says “challenge” and then does a little tap dance number challenging Mr. Huxtable to do better. I love when people challenge me saying it can’t be done and then I do my little sewing tap dance. This of course is followed by tears and hugs because it is the wedding industry and we literally making things happen that brides dream about. Our quality really sets us apart. I want to make things the right way, not the easy way or the cheap way. That quality is what I aim for. But we are so chill and willing to work with a bride if they are on a tight budget. I love to do designer quality, but if someone just needs a quick fix, I’ll help them out with that too.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Learning to juggle. Time is not infinite and where I put my time is where my heart is. If I need to go slow and just let the business sit for a little while I pay attention to God, husband, and family that is okay. It’s okay to drop some of the balls I am juggling to focus on the ones I really care about, maybe I’ll pick them up later. With life, things are constantly in motion and you can’t just put things on a shelf. You have to interact with them if they matter to you. It’s something that I have learned and continue to learn. It’s not about being perfect or being the best me, it’s about just making it better. That lesson has become our mantra at Kendra J Bridal “envision it, make it, make it better”.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.kendrajbridal.com
- Instagram: kendrajbridal
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/kendrajbridal