The exhibit-only night of The Monthly Dress Tour was a slightly different experience, but still just as magical. In many ways, it felt a little more intimate, because I had a longer time to spend chatting with my guests.
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The exhibit-only night was full of little girls!! I just died getting to meet so many darling little girls all dressed up with their moms, aunts, and Grandmas. In Utah we had five little girls dress up like The May Dress (complete with a floral crown). I loved having each little girl twirl for me in their pretty dress. They felt so special!
HOW I PICKED WHAT CITIES TO BRING THE MONTHLY DRESS TOUR TO
Planning this scale of a dress tour really felt a lot like planning four separate weddings. I posted a survey six months earlier that gave me a good idea of the location of where women would would want to attend lived, and about how many were truly interested.
Most of my survey responses came from women living in Southern California and Utah. I was relieved so many of them were in California, because I was dying to show off my home city, Pasadena. I was equally as happy to pick Utah as a location, because I lived up in Provo, UT for 10 years while I was in school and while Garrett was doing his undergrad and law school years, so Utah felt very much like home. I also had a lot of really good connections still up in Utah that I knew I could ask for help.
THE LOGISTICS OF BRINGING THE MONTHLY DRESS TOUR TO UTAH
We started by securing the Utah venue (the Pasadena venue took much longer and was so incredibly complicated). Then we broke down the tour piece by piece. We went to downtown LA and bought 12 mannequins to display each of the dresses. I was incredibly picky and specific about how I wanted my dresses displayed. We got the mannequin toppers and bases at a different location from the actual bust forms because I liked the busts at one location and the toppers at another location.
I’m glad that I was really picky. I had a hand and a say in every single part of this tour, and I think that played a big role in having it turn out exactly how I envisioned. I wasn’t afraid of working hard and taking on tasks that I wasn’t super thrilled about in order to bring the tour to life properly.
ONE THING I LEARNED TO BE REALLY GOOD AT:
Asking for help! Ahh! Many times I hate asking for help, but I had so many friends and readers reach out and ask how they could help with the tour. If I didn’t have something specific for them to do right then, I would make a mental note and you better believe I reached out when something came up later on down the line! I learned the importance of relying on my community. There are so many talented and connected women that wanted to help!
For the past year, I had spent a lot of my energy trying to keep my dresses, locations, and shoots a secret. I love the concept of doing a big reveal without sharing much behind the scenes with my community beforehand. I think that was a big part of the magic in The Monthly Dress Series..the reveal.
For the dress tour, everyone had seen the dresses and everyone knew it was coming. I didn’t need to hide many things. There were some aspects of planning the tour where my instagram community showed up for me in MAJOR ways!
I learned very quickly how to lean on my community and ask for help! When we had exhausted every possible option in LA, I turned to my readers on Instagram to ask for help find someone to custom make the dress pedestals for me. One reader’s husband is a talented woodworker, and when I asked about who could help me make these pedestals to display my dresses on, a handful of women recommended him!
In Utah so many people reached out and volunteered to help with set up/take down, flowers, treats, etc. I have to give a huge thank you to Rebecca from Rebecca Creative for organizing all 16+ amazing volunteers to help set up/work/and take down the Utah tour. She helped me find a florist, videographer, photographer, makeup artist, and really helped put my mind at ease in pulling the tour together when I was states away!
MY GOAL FOR MY GUESTS
My goal for my guests at The Monthly Dress Tour was for them to be able to walk into the ballroom and have a way to experience each of the dresses and relive each photoshoot. The dress on it’s own is an amazing display, but I needed a way to incorporate the shoot.
I was lucky enough to partner with Mixbook who instantly saw my vision for this exhibit and really pulled through with bringing the dress shoots to life. Mixbook offers high quality completely customizable photo books, cards, home decor, photo prints, etc.
When each guest entered the venue they received this Monthly Dress Guide that I created with Mixbook. I selected a customizable folding 5X7 card which was perfect so that I could load each page of the guide. The cards were printed on thick high quality matte finish paper with crystal clear printing.
The Dress Guide walked each of my guests through all of the dresses starting with January. We had them displayed in order when you first entered the room. The guide featured all of Jill’s drawings of each dress and talked about details about each dress- the inspiration, how long each one took to make, how much fabric was used, etc. The customized cards were a hit with the guests and they were the perfect take home souvenir from the event.
THE PERFECT DISPLAY
Using Mixbook’s incredible easy to use software, I also created twelve Photo Books that were 11.5 x 8. Most of the images from the dress shoots were vertical, and I was so excited to find a Photo Book printer that offered this size of book! I displayed each book next to the corresponding dress, and the books displayed all of the shots for that particular dress shoot! We displayed them on tall bistro tables at both locations. I loved having something eye level that my guests could pick up and flip through. I wanted someone to enter the room who had never seen my dresses before, to grasp the full concept of each shoot, and I love that Mixbook helped me achieve that.
MY FAVORITE PART ABOUT USING MIXBOOK FOR MY DISPLAYS
The dresses wouldn’t be complete without showcasing a large print from the actual shoot. Mixbook has a 20 x 30 Mounted Poster Print option that is totally customizable. I actually screamed out loud when I got them in the mail. They are incredibly crisp clear quality for being so large, and they come mounted on foam board with a backing that makes them super easy to hang. Truly blown away by the quality of Mixbooks products!
I’m absolutely sold on the quality, ease of use, and customer service that Mixbook offers. They offer fast shipping (it took less than 5 business days to receive over 600 of my custom cards). I can’t recommend them enough!
Next week I will be sharing all about the Pasadena Monthly Dress tour, what I learned from this tour, and some of my most memorable moments with the guests at the tour!