Once she became a bride-to-be herself, Veatrice Conley's love for fashion and her passion for supporting Black designers grew into a desire to open her own bridal studio.
"Chattanooga has a great fashion scene," Conley says. "All of the boutiques here are different."
Unveiled Bridal Studio, which opened in January on Cherry Street, brings a wedding boutique-style shop to downtown Chattanooga. As part of the local fashion scene since 2012, Conley has her own line of clothing called Regina James Fashion, named after her parents, which she has showcased during Chattanooga's Fashion Week.
"My clothing is for the woman who wants to stand out and be seen and be bold," Conley says. "I want the same thing for the bride. I want her to stand out and look different."
Unveiled Bridal Studio carries dresses from three designers. Two of the lines, Nouvelle Amsale Bridal, and Pantora Bridal, are from Black designers.
"That was a big part of my business plan. I wanted to bring minority fashion to Chattanooga," Conley says.
The third line is Daughters of Simone, which Conley notes has been a favorite and has gotten a lot of inquiries.
"It is a bohemian style collection. I was thinking about the brides that are getting married in the mountains, and all of the elopements, too," Conley say.
In the future, Conley hopes to bring her own line of dresses into the studio, she adds.
Conley had always wanted a boutique, but she didn't think her clothing line would be a good fit in a brick-and-mortar location, she says. After her great experience as a bride-to-be at a bridal studio in Nashville, she knew that this was the right path.
"This is something I can bring to the city for women of all sizes, shapes and cultures," Conley says.
Conley shopped the idea of Unveiled Bridal Studio for all of 2020, but the pandemic made it slow going.
"When it came time for the funding and the capital side of it, I got a lot of no's. I think that was because of COVID," Conley says.
She took an online business class where she got the idea to apply for an Idea Leap Loan for startup businesses from the Tennessee Valley Credit Union.
"It was like a door just magically opened, but it was still a lot of work," Conley says.
Unveiled Bridal Studio at 707 Cherry St. is open for private appointments only for brides and bridesmaids.
To book an appointment, and for more information, visit unveiledbridalstudio.com.
The studio is also listed on Facebook and Instagram.
Conley notes that, even with the pandemic, brides are still shopping, but their wedding dates are just further out on the calendar.
With a lot of micro-weddings and elopements happening because of the pandemic, Unveiled Bridal Studio carries a small selection of consignment dresses. If a bride's wedding is coming up soon, but they are hesitant to buy a dress, a consignment dress can be available right away if they find one they like.
Unveiled Bridal Studio also offers Amsale bridesmaid dresses, as well as veils, headpieces, earrings and bracelets.
"I am very optimistic," Conley says about her business. "So many people got engaged over the holidays, so I am confident that brides are looking. My hope is that I can assist as many brides this year as I can."