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Family-Owned: How do you work with your family?

HOW WE MANAGE OUR FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS TO SUCCEED AS BUSINESS PARTNERS AND SISTERS

RUNNING A FAMILY-OWNED BUSINNESS – HOW DO YOU WORK WITH YOUR FAMILY?!

This is by far one of our most asked questions. And honestly, it took us some time to learn how to do it properly while also succeeding as business partners and as sisters.

We’ve known each other our whole lives, so you would think that would give us the added benefit of understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses. But the craziest thing we’ve both learned over the years is that you can always learn more about someone, and you can always learn more about yourself.

Family-Owned Sinders Bridal House sisters, Meghan and Stacey

Now, those of you who have siblings will know that a parent or another sibling often has to play the role of mediator when things don’t go smoothly. Well, lucky for us, we have literally the most incredible parents – they’re our biggest supporters. They back us, they believe in us, and they know what we’re capable of because they created some pretty headstrong and stubborn daughters. And to this day, our mom is still our mediator.

However, the go-between is rarely needed anymore, as we’ve grown so much as people, as entrepreneurs, and as business partners, over the years that we can tell when to take a breather and when to stand by a point we believe in. But I’m not going to lie, there was a point in our family-owned business history (a long, long time ago!) when we didn’t speak for a few months. We aren’t drama-driven or petty people by nature – who has time for that?! But we have had our share of ups and downs, and sometimes, in the downtimes, the people that are closest to you get the short end of the stick. We hadn’t yet learned to lean on each other and respect each other as we should.

IT’S A LEARNING PROCESS.
EVERYTHING IN LIFE CAN BE LOOKED AT AS EXPERIENCE.

That is the single most important thing that gets us through our lives together as a family who works together day in and day out. We make mistakes, we learn from them, and we help each other out of the dark spaces when we need to.

Family is there to support you, so that’s when you realize that there are families you are born with and families that you choose. We’ve been lucky enough (or smart enough) to build our businesses with the root of a family where everyone who joins us becomes a part of that family.

SO, HOW DO WE HANDLE WORKING WITH OUR FAMILY?

We currently have an incredible group of 16 sisters/mothers/aunts/friends who we call our family. Have you met our team!?

And sure, Stacey and I shared a room growing up, and fought over paint colours for that room. But guess what? As adults, we now get to share several rooms with 16 different women and get to fight over paint colours for those rooms every time we redecorate!

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News

Unveiling the newly renovated Sinders Bridal House

A LOOK AT WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO BEHIND THE SCENES AT SINDERS BRIDAL HOUSE

With our shop officially re-opened after a tumultuous few months, we figured, what better time to highlight what’s been going on with the Sinders Bridal House team behind the scenes and announce our big news? For starters – we’ve renovated the boutique!

Keep reading to learn more about our renovation process and what you can expect next time you set foot into Sinders Bridal House.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO RENOVATE SINDERS BRIDAL HOUSE?

We had long-term renovation plans for years. Some we take on continually, but there were many pieces that we knew would need to be done when the shop was closed. But we never wanted to take the steps to close the shop for a week or even just a few days in order to get those done. So there were a few pieces we delayed. In that way, the pandemic gave us the opportunity to make the most dramatic changes we’d planned without inconveniencing our brides in the process.

WHAT WORK WAS DONE TO REVAMP THE SHOP?

As a Victorian home, our shop has a lot of old features and a lot of character. We took the hardwood floors back to their original look but they were definitely in need of professional help to make them shine. This was one of the biggest pieces we had planned, and one of the few projects where we asked for outside help. Other large projects included a new coat of paint in literally every room, floor, and nook and cranny in the building. We went with soft white to give a blank canvas for viewing the gowns, and to make the dark woodwork pop. Other changes include new chandeliers everywhere, doors instead of curtains in change rooms, new furniture, and a new set up for every bridal suite. Honestly, there wasn’t a room we didn’t overhaul in the process.

Sinders Bridal House
Photo by Mary Calotes

WHAT WAS THE PROCESS LIKE? EXPLAIN THE JOURNEY.

Since we’d be talking about making some changes for so long, those were obvious. We just had to find the right people to help with the more extensive changes. To start, several of us at the shop made lists of all the changes we’d like to see. Then we prioritized the most important since we didn’t know how long we would be closed.

We most definitely added more to our plate than any sane person would have. But we do tend to push ourselves to go big! There were 2-4 of us working on it every day. Although we are not professionals, it took more than 4 weeks to get close to the end of the list we had created for ourselves.

WHAT SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT THE RENOVATION PROCESS?

How much we were capable of. Stacey and I were raised to try on our own but admit you need help when necessary. However, we have been so fortunate with our team, as they have the same mentality and are such incredibly capable women who will give it everything they have. Aside from sanding floors and painting one dangerous portion of stairwell, we were able to complete everything on our very extensive list and could not be more proud of what we’ve done.

THE SINDERS BUILDING HAS BEEN AROUND FOR SO LONG. DID YOU UNEARTH ANYTHING INTERESTING?

Always! Every time we touch a wall, we know we’ll find decades worth of wallpaper, often 3 or 4 layers deep. It’s one of the best things to look back and see how the styles have changed. Often the oldest layer is absolutely gorgeous and we would keep it there if it were salvageable.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO COMPLETE EVERYTHING?

It was flat out for about three weeks, then we got word that we could reopen, so we had to switch gears and make sure we were able to adhere to government regulations. In a way, we’re never satisfied. We will always be tweaking and touching one last thing to make it better, prettier, and more helpful for our brides. So, in that way, we never are really finished. We’re always working to make the building and our business run as well as it can

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE TO THE SHOP?

One of the best changes was giving each viewing room its own individual personality. We named each room after the mother and her three daughters who originally lived in the house. Then we gave each room a colour palette and new furniture to fit the feel of that room. It gives a one of a kind experience when you can say you found your gown in the Laura room, with it’s beautiful blue décor and vintage chandelier hanging in the window.

WHAT ELSE WERE YOU WORKING ON BEHIND THE SCENES OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS?

Besides building renovations, we had many things we wanted to implement and are still working on a few. We recently updated to an online booking system. Plus, we took the time to reevaluate the designers we carry and how we want to move forward to best service our brides. Needless to say, we are always adjusting something!

WHAT DID YOU MISS MOST WHEN THE SHOP HAD TO CLOSE ITS DOORS?

Our team and the happiness of a bride finding her gown. We rarely take time away. Although the forced vacation was great for family time, it was heartbreaking to part with our girls and not have answers about when we would be able to open again.

Every one of us gets to share in one of the most exciting choices a bride can have. And we love the feeling of happiness we get to share when they find their gown. Missing that for several weeks/months was a noticeable change to our normal days. We can’t wait to welcome brides back to their appointments.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO NOW THAT SINDERS BRIDAL HOUSE IS OPEN AGAIN?

Helping our brides shift and recover from a wedding that might have been postponed or dramatically changed from what they expected. In the very least, we can help them remember how incredible they felt when they found their gown and hold onto a small part of that excitement until they can get the rest of their plans set again.

ANY ADVICE OR WORDS OF WISDOM FOR BRIDES THAT HAD TO CANCEL OR POSTPONE THEIR WEDDINGS DUE TO THE PANDEMIC?

Try to stay positive and find the silver lining. We’ve had brides choose an intimate ceremony on their original date, with a bigger party when things are more normal. And we’ve had full postponements until the world has settled. No matter what, just remember that one way or another, you will get to marry the person you love.

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Dress Shopping News

What to expect from your dress shopping experience during a pandemic

HOW COVID-19 IS AFFECTING DRESS SHOPPING AND THE BRIDAL INDUSTRY

Between cancelled or postponed weddings and bridal shops closing their doors, dress shopping has halted. The bridal industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic this past spring. However, with fewer cases being reported every day, governments allowing bridal boutiques to reopen, and smaller weddings forging ahead – things are looking more and more positive for brides every single day.

With that being said, we will explore all the ways COVID-19 has affected the wedding dress industry. So, you can begin your journey knowing exactly what to expect over the next several months and get you back to dress shopping.

WAYS COVID-19 HAS AFFECTED THE WEDDING DRESS INDUSTRY

DELAYED DELIVERIES

When the virus began spreading rapidly around the world back in February and March, manufacturers, including wedding dress designers, had to adapt to COVID-19 health and safety regulations, resulting in delays getting shipments out. Fortunately, though, these delays were minor. Most brides currently shopping for their wedding dress can expect their gown to arrive on time. However, this may not be the case for all designers. Be sure to ask your bridal boutique about any delays that will affect when your dress arrives.

POSTPONED NUPTIALS

One of the most significant effects COVID-19 had on the wedding industry was the cancellation or postponement of weddings scheduled to take place in 2020 due to restrictions on large gatherings.

While some couples chose to forge ahead with elopements and intimate micro weddings with only their witnesses and immediate family present, others made the tough decision to postpone until the fall of 2020 or push to 2021.

While this was understandably heartbreaking for many couples, the good news is that the Ontario provincial government has slowly begun allowing weddings to take place again, but with some restrictions. We’ll get more into that later.

INNOVATION (VIRTUAL DRESS SHOPPING)

One positive thing out of this pandemic is that many bridal shops and other vendors put their creativity to work. This creativity has kept their businesses afloat and helped brides continue to plan their weddings.

Many bridal boutiques introduced the concept of virtual shopping appointments. Where brides would be shown wedding gowns by a bridal stylist over a virtual chat like FaceTime or Zoom. Once a bride had narrowed down their selections, dresses would be shipped to their home for them to try on.

BRIDAL COLLECTIONS BEING DELAYED

Another side effect of the pandemic is that some bridal designers had to postpone the release of their latest collections. However, this hasn’t been the case with all designers. Be sure to ask your bridal stylist about whether certain styles and collections will be available. Especially if you are looking for a brand new style from a particular designer.

THE OVERALL DRESS SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

For brides that are able to continue dress shopping during the pandemic, the dress shopping experience will look a bit different than pre-COVID-19. Rest assured that your bridal stylist will do everything in their power to make your shopping experience as magical as possible.

Keep in mind that policies vary from shop to shop. Different cities and provinces have their own rules and regulations for retail businesses operating during the pandemic. However, most shops are limiting the size of brides’ entourages and requiring all visitors to wear masks.

Contact your bridal shop to learn more about how they are handling things during the pandemic.

WHERE THINGS ARE AT NOW

Now that Ontario is in Phase Three of the province’s official reopening, businesses are able to conduct business as usual, as long as sanitation and physical distancing protocols are followed and masks are worn (in certain towns and cities). This means that brides planning weddings for late 2020 or 2021 can resume the planning process without hurdles.

Even more good news is that smaller sized weddings are able to proceed again both indoors and outdoors.

For indoor wedding ceremonies and receptions, you can have up to 50 people in attendance, as long as they physically distance and don’t fill up more than 30 percent of your venue’s capacity.

For outdoor weddings, you can have up to 100 people in attendance, as long as they are able to physically distance from one another.

THE SILVER LINING

While these past few months have been challenging for everyone, it’s important to stay positive and focus on what is most important. Marrying the love of your life when the time comes. This pandemic has completely changed the way we go about our day to day lives. One thing that it cannot change is the love you have for one another.

Also keep in mind that delaying nuptials can give you more time to plan and save up. Or, allow you to scale back your wedding in favour of a smaller, more romantic, and intimate affair with only those closest to you. No matter what avenue you choose to take, just know that we won’t let this affect your dress shopping experience. We want you to find your perfect wedding gown and that will never change – pandemic or not.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR APPOINTMENT AT SINDERS

At Sinders, we are closely following the health and safety guidelines set out by the Ontario Provincial government. As such, we require all Sinders staff and visitors to wear masks and keep a distance between each other as much as possible. We are also currently accepting fewer bookings to give us enough time to sanitize the shop in between appointments. We are also not allowing more than 3 party members to accompany brides to their appointments.

However, one thing that will not change is our dedication to making all our brides’ dreams come true. We will always find you the perfect gown to wear down the aisle. Contact us to learn more or book an appointment to start dress shopping with Sinders.

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News

Covid-19 and Sinders Bridal House

After a lot of thought and consideration, we have decided to make the difficult decision to temporarily close our shop to help prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

We are available to all our brides by email or DM to answer any questions. Always. When our doors are open or closed. Our team is still working behind the scenes to make sure the shop continues and all our amazing brides receive their gowns on time!

We will always be reachable and we will continue to post updates on social media and will be sure to keep you all informed when we feel it is safe to re-open.

Stay safe and healthy everyone! We look forward to seeing you back at Sinders again soon once this Covid-19 crisis has passed.

– Meghan and Stacey

A Letter from The Sinders Sisters:

It’s April 2020 and it’s an unprecedented time for us. That word can be used to describe either a good or bad change. I won’t lie, it’s been both.

Never in our history of entrepreneurship have we ever had to close the doors to our shop. Never have we had to tell our staff that they can’t come to work and we don’t know when we’ll be back. When we say we’re a family, I can promise you it’s not just lip service in an industry that supports love.

There are individuals that are harder hit by Covid-19 than us, I can absolutely admit. We have every intention of opening our doors and welcoming back our staff at the earliest opportunity, but what has this time changed for us? What has it done to our familiar work-home? We closed our doors and the building is cold. One of us goes every day to be in touch with brides and make sure that everything is safe inside. But there’s no laughter from the staff to keep us company. There’s no cheering and excitement from one of our bridal suites when a bride finds her gown. There’s no hustle and bustle of making a dream come true and keeping the company rhythm flowing. And it just feels wrong.

We’ve been in the wedding industry for over 20 years. Every day has happiness and often craziness as well. Saying you become addicted to the happiness high probably isn’t far from the truth! And when it’s missing I never realized how hard we would feel it’s absence. We miss you. Of course we do. We miss the calls and the questions. We miss our girls every single day. Group chats keep us in touch. But physical separation when we’ve been together for so long. It’s not something we ever thought we’d have to deal with.

I tell you this, and if you don’t believe me, I’ll explain. I’ve had three stints in the hospital – two when I delivered my babies, and one for abdominal surgery. The women I call my friends and family at work held my babies at 2-3 days old because I left the hospital and stopped at work before going to my actual home. For the surgery, I was in the hospital for a week, which made me stir crazy despite the drugs. But still, I was back the following week. Even if my capabilities were extremely limited. Because I didn’t know what to do with myself otherwise.

We’re addicted. No joke. To the laughter, the love, the happiness that exudes from our building. You can feel it when you walk in the doors, it’s like a muscle memory for a house. You open the door and walk into a place that 15 women call their home, where we take care of each other when you need a shoulder, and celebrate when life hits a high note.

So how has a global Covid-19 pandemic affected us? It left a hole in our hearts. But it also gave us perspective. It gave us incredible time with our families. It gave us a break we would never have taken on our own. And sometimes, the separation is necessary to know that when we open the doors again, we absolutely do what we do for love. To fill happiness in others at a time they’ll need calm support and also unbridled excitement. To nurture love that you can almost physically touch.

From the bottom of our hearts – we can’t wait to see you again.

– Meghan and Stacey