Circa Bridal Boutique: Here Comes the Bridal Business

Connie Ioset woke up one morning in March 2017 from a dream that she had opened a bridal shop above her husband’s dental practice – and seven months later, she made it happen. Located on Broad Street, Ioset has been running Circa Bridal Boutique on her own while balancing taking care of her grandchildren. While small in size, Ioset’s dream and mission has always been to increase access to bridal dresses for everyone.

“My goal is to have a shop where every bride can afford a dress and be beautiful. I don’t think that brides need to spend $3,000 on a dress, so my range […] is as low as $100 up to $1300,” Ioset said. “I have wedding dresses, mother of the bride dresses, [outfits for] flower girls, first communion, some formal [dresses] and […] an alterations person that works for me too.”

Ioset always wished to be a wedding coordinator, but found it hard to fully commit to it because of other commitments. However, after having such a vivid dream back in 2017, she reached out to a shop in Michigan to answer some of her questions, which ended with a surprising outcome. 

“That week I called a shop in Michigan that my niece had bought a dress from and I just really hit it off with the lady […] and by the end of the conversation she had sold me her shop,” Ioset said. “So I had the dream in March and I opened up the shop in October.”

With most of her business being from word of mouth or through the internet, Ioset’s clients come from all over — her very first customer coming from New York City. But one of her favorite clients came right from the University this past fall. 

“I have had lots of amazing people […] come in and just share their life story with me as we’re trying on dresses,” she said. “But I think one of my favorite memories […] was somebody that worked at Colgate who was getting married for the second time. She kept saying [she had] always dreamed of having a dress with lots and lots of tulle [but felt like] she shouldn’t. After she tried on so many dresses […] I found one with lots and lots of tulle and she put it on and just started crying and [said] she felt so beautiful. It was a neat experience because she never would’ve [gotten] that, but she wore it on her wedding day.”

Despite having quite a bit of success in New York, Ioset hasn’t quite broken into the Colgate market, and hopes to see more success in the future. She is excited to increase awareness of Circa Bridal Boutique, highlighting formal wear that could be of interest to Colgate students attending more formal events.

“When I first started I was hoping I would get some business from college people as far as dresses and formal wear but that just never happened. I’m not sure if it’s just because they don’t know I’m here or [if] I should be advertising somewhere up on campus,” Ioset said. “But, I would just love for [Colgate students] to know that I’m here and […] would love for [them] to come up even if [they] just want to stop in and see.”