Girl Boss: Jess from Brides by Jessa

Happy Friday all! This post is part 4 in my weekly "girl boss" series (view the others HERE!) and this week I'm proud to feature my friend Jess, owner of Brides by Jessa.

Brides by Jessa is an intimate, upscale bridal store in the Iowa River Landing area of Coralville. She offers a custom experience for brides, so if you're in the market you MUST go check it out.

I really admire Jess for her strength, not only professionally, but personally as well. She is an awesome mama to two beautiful boys, a great friend, an inspiring entrepreneur and makes it all look effortless. While following her passion, she always puts her family first, which I believe is a key to her happiness and success as an entrepreneur. I hope you'll find her answers to my questions inspiring, whatever your personal journey may be!

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Also, thank you to Elizabeth from Girl Wonderful who sent me some shirts after I bought two for myself and was inspired to do this project. Please, check her out - I love what she stands for and her tees would make a great gift for yourself or any awesome girl you know!

Tell me about starting your business, what was your inspiration?

While I was in college, I was working at a jewelry store. We did a lot of custom pieces for brides to wear on their wedding day and I just loved working with them and making their vision come to life. Around the same time, I was taking some entrepreneurship classes and we had to write a business plan. Being just recently engaged, I decided to write a business plan for a Bridal Boutique as it was something I had always thought would be really fun! From there, we graduated from the University and ended up moving away for a couple of years for my husband’s work. When we returned to Iowa City, I was expecting our son Liam, and I wanted to create a career for myself where I truly enjoyed going to work everyday. My husband encouraged me to go for it and here we are, 4 years later!

Advice you would give to future female entrepreneurs: 

Be strong, brave, and trust your gut!

What decisions have you made that you feel have gotten you to where you are with your business right now? 

Always choosing to do what is best for my family, even if that means doing something that others do not agree with, and always asking for advice from other successful bridal boutique and business owners. You learn something new every day!

What are some challenges you've faced along the way? 

So many! Being a small business owner means you get to wear all of the hats. HR, Accountant, Buyer, Designer, Merchandiser, Negotiator. Trying to find the balance and learning to delegate when possible is so important. 

Tips for balancing career and family/personal life? 

Always put your family first! 

Describe your journey so far in three words: 

Empowering, Learning, Joy

What as been the most rewarding part of owning/running your own business? 

Making memories with so many brides by helping them choose the most memorable dress they will ever wear. 

Where do you see your business in 5 years? 

Expanded in terms of the quantity of styles we carry, but still small and intimate for our clients. 




Do you know an awesome Girl Boss you want to see featured? Email me: info@jenmadigan.com!

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