Not many 22-year-olds can say they’ve been a part of the bridal industry for 16 years. Sarah Bland, manager and soon-to-be owner of Pierre’s Bridal in Lansing, however, has grown up working at her parents’ store. Since her mother, Virginia, passed away in January 2018, Bland has had to step into her figurative shoes, but no one is more equipped to take over.
“I’ve never had another job,” Bland said. “Pierre’s is home.” Bland truly grew into her role at Pierre’s, and loyal customers know it too.
“Ever since I was little, I’ve had people coming in saying, ‘Wow, you’re so old now! I remember when I first came in here and you were in that back fitting room, running around in the dresses,’” Bland said.
Bland’s mother was, and still is to many, the face of Pierre’s. Carrying on a family legacy is a big job, but Bland has already started creating a vision board because she “has a lot of goals for the store.” Of those goals, becoming mid-Michigan’s and Lansing’s premier bridal shop is at the top of the list. She would never want to lose Pierre’s family-owned appeal, however, adding that “sometimes when you become too big and too corporate, you lose that authenticity.”
The wedding process can be long and emotional, but Bland, who is recently engaged, is just starting to fully understand it. Now that she’s experiencing the process firsthand and picking out dresses, she realized, “I don’t know anything about weddings; I only know the dresses.” That’s changing, however, as she added, “All my brides have the feeling and the emotions when they find their dress, and now I say ‘Wow, it’s a real feeling!’ – it isn’t just something my mom told me to say to people.”
According to Statista, there are approximately 2.5 million weddings each year in the United States. For the bride, the dress is the biggest part of one of the biggest days of their lives, so choosing the right one isn’t always easy. In the coming years, Bland explained, she doesn’t “want to open new locations; I just want to have a better Pierre’s.”
Working closely with brides on a daily basis, Bland said, “If I can help make that process easier and memorable, then I’ve achieved my goal.”