Boss Behind the Biz: Dede of Altar Bridal
Name: Dede Palmer
Occupation: Owner, Altar Bridal
How do you start your day?
I don’t really have much of a consistent morning routine except dragging myself out of bed at 6:45am and hanging with my kiddos while they eat breakfast. But since they need to be on the bus by 7:10 and my husband is out the door shortly thereafter, resisting the urge to go back to bed and get a few snoozes in before I really need to start the day is always the first hurdle! However, now that the summer months are upon us I will be spending a lot of mornings in my garden. I love to garden and I find it very therapeutic. At some point I eat breakfast, have an iced coffee, and start the work day – which may or may not mean going into the store. Having flexibility in my day is very much a perk of being the owner.
What inspired you to start your business?
State and Local Corporate Taxes. Or should I say, the desire to not do them day in and day out anymore. Seriously. I was uninspired with the work I was doing (sorry to anyone that still does what I used to do) and needed something fresh and new. So, without any clear idea of what business I wanted to start, I signed up for the Kauffman Foundation New Venture Fast-Track program to learn how to write a business plan. Bridalboutique was one of my many ideas so I went with that one…and the rest is history.
Did you always know that you wanted to own a business?
Not really. But I grew up with my dad always encouraging us kids (5 of us) to start some sort of business to make money. He’s a CPA as well…maybe he wanted to live vicariously through us? Unfortunately we were lazy kids and never did capitalize on any of his great ideas. However, maybe my dad actually planted the entrepreneurial seed. I now find myself doing the same thing with my kids.
Tell us about one your most memorable achievements in your career?
Being nominated and then awarded the Kansas City, Kansas Chamber of Commerce New Small Business of the Year Award. When you are starting your business and feeling like you are doing everything wrong – being recognized for your hard work is pretty awesome and validating.
What’s something you can’t go a day without?
This is a really hard question for some reason. Seeing or talking to my hubs and kids? Everything thing else is just material and I could most certainly live without. I do enjoy my iced coffee though.
What’s your favorite KC restaurant?
I think that La Bodega has one of the best happy hours in town and I love tapas for the variety. Urban Table continues to be a fave for me but KC is lucky to have so many awesome local restaurants to enjoy. I have so many I still need to visit.
Your favorite 'hidden treasure' or secret spot to visit in KC?
Well if I told you it wouldn’t be a secret anymore! But a simple picnic from the market and a bottle of wine enjoyed with my husband on the Nelson lawn is a great date night.
Favorite thing to do on the weekend (or when not working) in KC?
Being that Saturday’s are the busiest day of the week I’ve worked more than I’ve had off. But when I have an awesome staff going strong at the store I’m able to take Saturday’s off. Which is great because it allows me to go to my kids soccer games, work on larger house projects (just moved a little over a year ago), work in the garden or just hang out with close friends and family on a sunny day with a beer in hand. It’s the little things that give me the fuel to press on in this crazy world of bridal retail!
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
It seems like a no-brainer but a very smart person simply told me – keep your expenses low. And that is hard to do sometimes when you are just trying to do everything you can to get your new business up and running. Mistakes are expensive! But when you really start to realize every dollar you spend is a dollar you don’t get to pay yourself, you certainly think more intentionally about what you spend your money on. She also said don’t be afraid to do things differently. Just because your competition has always done it one way, does not mean you have to. I have definitely taken that advice to heart.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business?
Well, the advice above is a great start. But I would also add that extensive market research is so important. I thought I did plenty only to realize that there were some key areas of my business that had I researched them a little bit more (i.e. the actual name of my store – no, we do not do alterations) I may have encountered a few less expensive mistakes.
What's a quote you live by every day?
“Living the dream” Because I am. And because it’s the best response to people that ask “how’s the business is going?”. When you ask a small business owner how things are going, or tell them their small business “looks like it’s really rocking” you just kind of have to brush by an actual answer. Being a small business owner is complicated and when asked that question we know you don’t REALLY want to know what is actually going on because on any given day it just might sound like we don’t want to do what we started. Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride. And depending on the day we may love it or hate it. So, the simple response of “living the dream” is a positive response and a reminder to myself that I really am and should just focus on the positive aspects of owning my own business.
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