Heart and Soul Bridal ready to serve needs of area brides
Margie Crawford has set up shop right on Broadway to help Red Oak residents and those from the surrounding area with their wedding needs.
Heart and Soul Bridal, at 1010 N. Broadway, had its soft opening in December of last year, and is now fully operational and ready for appointments. Crawford said she’s a recent resident of the Red Oak area.
“I moved out to Montgomery County just over two years ago, in January 2022, because I married someone in November 2021, and settled on a farm out here. We have six kids between the two of us and we’re a blended family,” said Crawford.
In her role as owner of Heart and Soul Bridal, Crawford brings a wealth of experience to the area.
“I’m all about bridal. I’m a seamstress, a designer, and I’ve been producing bridal shows for well over a decade, and been in the bridal industry for more than two decades. I had a shop in Bellevue, Neb., until I closed it in July 2023 thinking I was going to get out of the bridal business,” explained Crawford. “I was thinking I’d just do alterations at home, but the more I was out of it the more I found that I missed it. I have always loved working in the bridal industry.”
Crawford described what drew her into the bridal business, saying she was an executive in general and owned a couple of brick-and-mortar stores before joining the industry.
“I thought going into consignment bridal was the way to go, as there wasn’t anything in the Omaha area at the time. My business broker contacted me and said he had a bridal shop available. He sent me the information and I went through it as I was going out of town, and when I came back, I bought a shop,” commented Crawford.
Crawford said even with all her experience in Bellevue, it’s still been a challenge coming to Red Oak and starting over.
“It’s a whole new community, even though we’re only an hour away from Bellevue. My family was in the Bellevue area for more than 70 years. But after I moved out here, my two oldest children moved out to the area too, so we’ve brought two more generations with us because my grandchildren are out here too. I love being in the country, and I love the people out here. I’m everywhere from Creston, to Corning, to Atlantic, and Shenandoah, and it really feels like home. Now I’m just getting established and getting to know people in the communities.”
Crawford said the decision to open up Heart and Soul came to fruition in October of last year.
“I was initially going to put a building on our property and just do alterations, but the more my husband and I talked, the more it made sense that I should find a place to rent. I searched on Facebook and found this place. It fit my criteria, and it felt like the right vibe as soon as I walked in. It was a former salon, and I did some things to prep it properly to fit what I needed too,” said Crawford. “I really like it here, and I feel it’s going to work out really well. There’s a lot of flexibility with the space.”
In addition to wanting to return to the industry, Crawford felt the community had a need for bridal services.
“The community needs a location for wedding gowns and tuxedos that are in a budget. The average wedding gown in the Omaha, Neb. metro area or in Des Moines is $1,800 or above. People also like the one-on-one service of someone providing their gown,” advised Crawford. “Here, I’m able to give them a custom type of service if they want it. We can take a dress and turn it into whatever they want. It’s like working with a friend. I try to treat my customers like friends and family, rather than a random person walking in out of the street.”
Crawford felt it was very important that prospective brides don’t simply feel like their a number.
“They want to feel like they’re the most important person. The big things in people’s lives are births, deaths, house buying, graduations, and weddings. These things, for women especially, are very tactile and tangible. They want to feel and see,” Crawford stated.
She added that the shop allowed brides to be to avoid the dangers of buying something unseen online.
“A lot of the dresses are $200 knock-offs of a $3,000 dress, and unfortunately, in many of those cases, you’re going to get what you pay for. Red Oak is a great community, and it’s important to support local. Without that support, things will be very hard.”
Crawford has a wide selection of dresses, and said she feels that when the prospective bride finds the right one, it’s a bit like destiny.
“I feel like the dress finds the woman. It’s the same thing with guys and their tuxedos. They feel like they can wear anything until you actually sit down with them. The dress is going to find them, whether it’s a $99 dress, or a $9,000 dress.”
Crawford said the shop will also cater to brides of certain sizes.
“I’ve always specialized in size 14 and above, but we’re moving towards being in stock for size 14 and above only. I do have a large selection of dresses from my prior store, there’s more than 200 dresses. I designed 99% of those dresses. I don’t make them here, I have three different countries I cut in. I also make veils, headpieces, sashes, and belts. I’ve had my business be as big as 10 dressing rooms and 10 consultants on the floor, but I prefer being one-on-one with people,” Crawford stated.
Crawford says she also caps out her prices at less than they’d pay for dresses in the bigger cities.
“I try to cap out at $1,200 here price-wise, so it’s a lot more budget-friendly for a lot of people. With all of the new stuff I’ve got cut and coming in, I may have a few pieces in the $1,500 range, but I do everything I can to keep the prices down as much as I can. I don’t want people to be thousands of dollars in debt at the end of their wedding. I want to help someone be in their budget. I also do full custom work, but full custom dress work is about $3,000 to $5,000,” Crawford commented.
The most rewarding and satisfying part of her job, Crawford said, is the moment when the right dress finds the right bride.
“Eyes don’t lie. You can see it come together, and even when they’re wearing the dress without the alterations, and make up and hair isn’t done, but you can still see the look in their eyes that they feel like a million bucks. From there, it’s seeing them put the dress on when the alterations are done and the dream has come full circle for them and I can see their dress,” stated Crawford.
Crawford said prospective brides should come to the shop ready to laugh and have fun, and recommends bringing a small group of people.
“I prefer they only bring about four people with them. Not only is Heart and Soul Bridal a boutique environment, but when there are too many people, there are too many opinions, and at the end of the day, the only opinion that truly matters is the bride’s. As I’ve said before, the dress will find them. Also, I’m not a hard sell. If they don’t find what they want here, they’ve at least learned what they want and can take the next step. Education is just as important,” Crawford stated.
Crawford also reminds residents that the Red Oak Bridal show, which was postponed earlier due to inclement weather, will now take place from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 4 at Stadium 34, 1200 Senate Ave., Red Oak. Crawford is looking forward to hosting.
“It brings people to town. Brides will travel. If they know about you, they will come to you, whether you’re in the middle of a big city, or in a cornfield. Also, someone coming to visit here benefits other areas of the community as well, as they may visit some of the city’s restaurants or go other places. It’s full-circle on many levels,” explained Crawford.
Crawford was pleased she was able to find another day that worked after the initial date was put out of play due to the blizzard hitting the area.
“The bridal season is very tricky, so it was lucky I found another Sunday to do the show, because after this, I won’t have another Sunday off until April, and that’s okay. Also, I hope other area entities support the bridal show, like photographers, travel agents, even caterers. The brides won’t know you’re there if you’re not there. This is a community event. I want people to see all we have to offer right here. You don’t have to bring in people from the big city, we have vendors here.”
Brides who pre register at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc5qT64TLIQJDDJQ