Creating and planning The Monthly Dress Tour was a huge undertaking. I knew the scale I wanted this event to be, and there were plenty of challenges and setbacks along the way.
< we completely transformed the space and gave it a fresh coat of white paint. We also hung all the posters on the wall gallery style which looked so cool and freed up more space for the guests >
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION.
The part of planning the tour that took the longest, was securing a location for Pasadena. We started looking for a venue to hold the tour back in June of last year! I was very adamant about having it in Pasadena. I wanted to invite guests to my city! I wanted them to experience how magical Pasadena is. We researched every venue option in Pasadena. We met with venue after venue (hotels, wedding venues, churches, City Hall, everywhere!). There were some places that felt right but were way out of our budget, and some places that weren’t a good fit.
After realizing that most venues in Pasadena were out of our budget and/or not the location I wanted, we ended up working with a commercial real estate agent who showed us some store locations for lease at The Paseo (the outdoor mall location we ultimately used). The location was perfect and the budget was right. This meant that we had a lot more prep work for the space than booking a traditional venue, but this also meant that I could mold the space into exactly what I wanted it to be.
MY BIGGEST CHALLENGES WITH PLANNING THE TOUR.
Working with the city of Pasadena is NO JOKE.
There are rules and lots of people you need to jump through hoops to get approvals from. We worked for 2 months on trying to get a max capacity number from the city. I had to get a max number of people that could fit in the space before I could sell tickets. Could you imagine if the fire department shut down the tour because it was over the capacity number? I knew I was going to have guests flying in for this, so I needed the number I had to work with.
Tracking down the right contact was tricky, then getting him to listen to me was harder! I didn’t want to annoy him..but he was also very busy.
If you remember I shared this story a little on my instagram stories a few months back. I called and called and emailed and emailed. I finally got him when he was in his office and I ended up bribing him with a pizza and a beer if he would just give me a number right there on the phone! He ended up being really great (but did not understand why people would want to “just come look at dresses”). I finally got a max capacity number from him!
A few days before we were supposed to get our original location painted, we got a call from the management saying that there was a leak in a previous space and that another store needed to take out location (which was contractually legal for them to do). This was a day after we had finally gotten a max capacity number for the space! So we had to change store locations (which ended up working out better in the end), and push back the dates of the tour by 2 months.
I kept pretty quiet about these setbacks on social media, mostly because I wanted to keep everything surrounding the tour positive. I didn’t want to get on and complain, or express any worry. That was something I needed to keep between me and my team.
The tour was happening regardless. When front doors closed, that just meant that I needed to work a little harder to find a back door or open window to use instead.
< The boys knew just what to do! I loved having them walk me onto the stage! >
< I really wanted to display January a little differently, to make her look like she was under water! >
< let’s talk about the acrylic podium for a minute. I was adamant on finding an acrylic podium and when I found the only place that rented one I had to have it! I loved it SO MUCH! >
THE TWO COMMENTS THAT ALMOST MADE ME QUIT.
I didn’t have very many people saying “You can’t do this!” to me. For the most part when I talked to people about the tour, it was well received. But many people were confused. Venues, potential sponsors, paninters, management offices said
But at the very beginning there were two comments that really got to me. I toyed around with the idea of having an exhibit where people could come see them. I posted a survey on my blog back in June asking if people would be interested in seeing my dresses. 3000 responses in 24 hours. 2998 responses from women wanting to see my dresses in person. But there were 2 that said no. And I can quote word for word those 2 comments.
“You do realize that this is a vanity project, just a way for you to show off”.
That hit me hard. It had not crossed my mind that this could appear a little vain. This whole time, I was just making dresses! I was thinking how much fun this was and why not have a big party when they were done! I also know how many women were inspired by this series and had lots of people ask if I could display them somewhere for people to see them!
< my best girlfriends from high school + my best Pasadena girlfriends. It was so much fun getting to see them all! >
The second comment of a woman who wasn’t interested in coming to the tour said,
“There was a Dior exhibit not too far from me, and it cost money to go see. I didn’t even want to pay to see Dior’s dresses. There is no way people are going to pay to see your dresses.”
I had 2998 women telling me they would buy a ticket to see my dresses, and all I could think about was how nobody would want to buy a ticket.This comment almost killed the whole project. In all honesty when I got that comment, I stopped. For a moment the light was out. There is no way. What if she was right? What is nobody buys a ticket.
BUT THE DRESS TOUR SOLD OUT.
Everyone bought a ticket. What if I had listened to that one voice? What if I had let that stop me?
<I made my dress the night before in 5 hours. Mood Fabrics graciously gifted me the fabric. I knew that I wanted a blush pink fabric with feathers for the first night of the Pasadena tour!>
< my amazing group of volunteers! These women were so incredible! All so hardworking and happy to be there. I’m so grateful for their help with running both nights of the tour! >
< Dots Cafe (the bakery where we shot The April Dress) was kind enough to provide cupcakes to each guest the first night. But these weren’t any cupcakes..they were CUSTOM Monthly Dress Cupcakes with an image of a monthly dress on each cupcake! I absolutely died when I saw them and guests were freaking out over them! >
< I love that the fabric was embroidered along the top and the feathers gathered at the bottom. I wanted to keep that same effect with the dress! >
< My incredible assistant, Jill >
< my sweet friends surprised me, Jill, and Jordan all with flowers! >
< he is the greatest >
To me, being creative includes ignoring people who just don’t get it. I had to ignore these voices, and keep moving forward in planning this tour. And I am so incredibly glad that I did!
GET MY SIMILAR LOOK:
Stop by later this week as I share photos from my last night of the tour along with some of the most touching interactions and stories I had with my guests! These moments are so special to me, you won’t want to miss it!
Catch up on my other Monthly Dress Tour night recaps: