We met Annie Corbin and Kate Applebaum during a dress fitting for an upcoming Forever Bride styled shoot, giving us a chance to see the two co-owners of Annika Bridal Boutique in action. The shop, located in Edina, is full of natural light, flowers, and racks of gorgeous gowns. Annie and Kate greeted us excitedly and began pulling gowns for our styled shoot model, Allegra Rose B., to try on. Each time the curtains were pulled back and Allegra stood up on the pedestal modeling a different gown, it was clear just how much Annie and Kate love what they do. Nothing beats a beautiful wedding dress.
So how did you guys meet?
Annie: We were gymnasts together, so we met when we were in like 6th grade!
How long have you both been working in the bridal industry?
Annie: I’ve been in the bridal industry for a little over eight years. I started out as a stylist and went to a few other shops and then Kate and I started our thing here.
Kate: I’ve been in the bridal industry for about two years. I actually got my first job through Annie at another bridal shop!
How did you come to the decision to be business partners?
Annie: We both loved bridal so much and we wanted to do something together - it just felt right.
Kate: We were working at other shops and just decided we were ready to do our own thing and do it our own way.
What inspired you to open a bridal boutique?
Annie: We loved it so much. We loved being a part of the experience. It’s all about the experience with the bride, from the time they say "yes" to the dress, to the time they are fitted for the dress, to the time after the wedding asking them for photos. It’s such a huge life experience. It’s just a really cool thing to be a part of that. In addition to loving gowns, you know? I mean, who doesn’t love a good dress? (laughs)
What would you say your dynamic is like?
Annie: I think we’re really similar in a lot of aspects, and then we’re opposite in a lot of aspects too. (looks at Kate) I mean, what do you think?
Kate: (nods) Mhmm.
Annie: We love to joke... you know it’s funny because, owning your own business, there’s things that come up. And there’s situations that we’ve never been in before and we're like, “Oh my gosh, how do we tackle this?” So we’re learning from each other too. And I think it’s learning how to… you know owning a business together is very different than just being friends. So it’s learning how we each operate in that aspect too.
What are the different roles you take on within the business?
Annie: I think we kind of have our hands everywhere right now. We both sell, we love being on the floor selling… I mean that’s-
Kate: The best part. (smiles)
Annie: We both have a hand in everything right now but are learning to divid and conquer (smiles). We also have incredibly talented stylists that take on other roles than just selling.
Kate: It is a team atmosphere here which was our goal and another thing that we feel sets us apart.
What is the best part of owning your own business and what is the most difficult part?
Annie: The best part -- our brides. The worst part…
(both look at each other and laugh)
Annie to Kate: What would you say the worst part is?
Kate: I think it’s just handling the business-owner stuff of accounting and being responsible for everything. When we’ve worked at other places, we went in and did our job, and now our job never really ends.
Annie: Yeah, so now at night we’re emailing brides, we’re talking on the phone...
Kate: (laughs) Our husbands are about to kill us. So it never leaves you really, which is a good thing and a bad thing. I’d say that’s like the biggest change that we didn’t see - that it would be totally 24/7.
Annie: Yeah, and at the end of the day, because this is ours, we do want to cater to our brides and we want to be there for them, you know?
Kate: Yeah it’s the work-life balance, I think, that’s been the most challenging.
What is Annika Bridal’s style and what sets you apart from other bridal boutiques?
Annie: Our service, knowledgeable consultants and dress selection set us apart. Our atmosphere is a relaxed environment where we pride ourselves on transparency.
Kate: Since we are new, we are still learning who "our" bride is. Annie and I love the simple, classic look but also love the high fashion more editorial dresses. At our shop, you will get an eclectic mix which I think is very unique to our bridal shop.
How did you come up with the name Annika Bridal?
Annie: (points to Kate) She did!
Kate: Basically, it’s our names chopped and put together.
Annie: We were bouncing name ideas off each other like crazy and we had no idea what to do, and then Kate was like, “How about Annika?” And I was like, “I don’t really know what I think about that...” But then it grew on me, and it’s got meaning, you know? At least it’s got meaning. But it’s hard to come up with a name!
In five years where do you want to be?
Annie: Um, here still! (laughs) Selling gowns.
Do you want to open more locations in the future?
Annie: I mean, I think it’s making sure that we are successful here first, and then we can always talk about branching out. We haven’t really discussed that. I don’t think we’re wanting to take over the bridal world... we’re just wanting to do what we do best, and especially serve the Minnesota bride and the midwest bride, you know? And I think it’s hard because if we were to think about branching out, one of us would have to move, because that’s how we want it to be, we want to be involved in the appointments. So while we would love to do that, I would say that it's not on our radar right now.
Mention Forever Bride at Annika Bridal to get 15% off all accessories!