We spoke with Christina Haines Greenberg, the Owner of Urban Set Bride, a proudly Black-Owned Bridal Boutique in Richmond, Virginia, on her start in the bridal industry, what it’s like being a woman of color in business, and the true inclusivity of her store that she has worked hard to cultivate. Read her powerful words below.
At Maggie, we stand for love, and love for EVERYONE. Maggie Sottero would not be where it is today without the diversity of our employees, retailers, partners, and brides. As part of this ongoing commitment, we want to amplify the voices and stories of Black-Owned Bridal Boutiques who carry our wedding dresses.
Also, read on to see a list of other Black-Owned Bridal Boutiques we partner with and how you can support your local Black-Owned Businesses.
Christine’s Journey With The Bridal Industry
How did you get into the bridal industry?
“I started my wedding planning company (the Hive Wedding Collective) in 2011 and quickly realized that Central Virginia didn’t have a bridal boutique that offered high-quality, designer gowns in a cozy, comfortable, and welcoming atmosphere.
The area bridal shops were either bougie boutiques that didn’t welcome curvy brides or members of the LGBTQ+ community OR they were generic, big box stores with lower quality gowns and no personal touches. I partnered with my mom, Jennifer, to change that.
We both quit our jobs in the Fall of 2013, found a commercial space for rent in a predominantly black neighborhood in the heart of Richmond, and we got to work.
After 6 months of eating pizza and cheap microwave meals from the dollar store, countless trips to the hardware store, and a lot of hard work from our family, Urban Set Bride opened its doors in March 2014.
There were a lot of risks. We opened up in a residential neighborhood that was labeled ‘dangerous’ to many who didn’t know any better. We had no career backup plans. There were no industry allies to learn from.
But we figured it out. Slowly but surely, our popularity and business confidence grew. We figured out what designers worked for our market and which ones we needed to leave behind. From 2015 to today, we are by far the most popular bridal shop in Virginia.”
Christine and Jennifer worked hard to establish a boutique that welcomed and celebrated ALL brides. Their story is a reminder that the road to something great is not always easy, but always worth it. Now, brides in their area have an inclusive bridal boutique where they can shop for their wedding dress while feeling truly welcomed.
What It’s Like Running a Black-Owned Bridal Boutique
What is it like running your own boutique?
“To say that 2020 was a challenge for my mother Jennifer and I would be an understatement. But we got through it and we feel incredibly lucky that we are thriving. Even though we work 24/7, it feels good to sign your own checks.
It’s an honor to work closely as a mother-daughter team and spend so much time with our family as we wade through the wedding world together. And if the shop is slow on a Tuesday, we are allowed to take the day and enjoy wine and cheese on a patio somewhere instead of working.”
There’s nothing better than taking a moment to enjoy your hard work and celebrating these accomplishments with your loved ones!
P.S. Anyone else craving wine and cheese now?
Being A Woman of Color in Business
What is it like being a woman of color in business?
“Being a woman in business is already hard enough, add a little melanin to your skin and the challenges grow. But we never take no for an answer, we pivot our business model when we need to, and we always maintain the perspective that we are still incredibly lucky to have a supportive family, a warm network of friends and community members around us, and we have a lot more opportunity to succeed than many.
So, we do our best to uplift those who aren’t as lucky as we are. And we always remember that you don’t make good choices, you are given good choices. And not everyone is presented with the choice to work hard and succeed. Don’t ever stop uplifting others on your way to the top.”
We LOVE this sentiment. Empowered women empower women! It’s amazing that Christine uses her well-earned success to help others get there. You can read more about Christine’s small business consulting here.
More About Urban Set Bride
“We are size and love-inclusive, no matter what your body looks like and no matter who you love, we welcome you with open arms to ensure you have a fun, relaxed, judgement-free experience as you shop for your wedding gown.”
ALL brides are beautifully unique and have their own love story and should be recognized as such! We are so lucky to be able to partner with Urban Set Bride, and many other Authorized Retailers, who work hard to create a welcoming space full of nothing but unconditional LOVE for ALL brides!
Virginia brides! Click here to book your appointment and begin your dream dress journey with Urban Set Bride!
Other Maggie Sottero Black-Owned Bridal Boutiques
We’re proud to partner with other amazing Black-Owned Bridal Boutiques that carry Maggie Sottero! To see another one of our black-owned bridal boutiques, visit the blog: Black and Women-Owned: Insights from a Bridal Boutique. Below are a few of the Black-Owned Bridal Boutiques we partner with around the world. These beautiful boutiques work hard to create a unique, personal, and inclusive dress shopping experience for their brides. Book an appointment with them if they’re located in your area or give their social media and websites some love:
- Bridal Trousseau – New Haven, Connecticut
- Curvaceous Couture – Columbia, Maryland
- Elite Secrets – Baltimore, Maryland
- Elinam Bridal – France
- Icon Bridal – Gaithersburg, Maryland
- Lefty’s Bridal – Forestville, Maryland
- The Dress Matters – Media, Pennsylvania
- The Dress Matters Couture – Malvern, Pennsylvania (Opening Soon!)
- Labella Bridal – Occoquan, Virginia
- Love Blush Bridal – Fayetteville, North Carolina
- La Reve Bridal Couture – Sugar Land, Texas
- Love U Forever – Ashford, England
- Sidai Brides – Nairobi, Kenya
- The Gown Gallery – Kansas City, Missouri
- Your Bridal Couture – Orlando, Florida
Click here to find a Maggie Sottero Authorized Retailer near you.
You can support the black community each and every day, not just when you’re shopping for your wedding dress! Support Black-Owned Businesses when eating out, buying groceries, picking up gifts for yourself or loved ones, booking services, etc.!
Even following these businesses on social media and giving them a like or reshare can help increase their visibility and reach!
When booking vendors for your wedding, research if there are any Black-Owned Businesses in your area you could hire. Find inspo by checking out our blog post, Socially Distanced Elysian Wedding Featuring Black Wedding Vendors! Read more here on how you can support local Black-Owned Businesses in your community.
Navigating the ins and outs of the industry and running your own business as a woman has challenges on its own, but being a woman of color in this space presents a whole additional set of obstacles and roadblocks. Raising the voices and stories of women of color is a crucial part of uplifting each other! Click here to read more on why diversity in the bridal industry is so crucial.
It is so special that we have such a strong network of amazing women! Be sure to check out our Instagram, where we regularly highlight and feature our fabulous Authorized Retailers, as well as our beautiful and diverse brides. To read some of their unique stories, visit this blog: Beautiful Love Stories and Precious Traditions: Stories from Black Brides.
A special thanks to Christine and the whole Urban Set team for sharing the story of their business. Christine has established herself and her bridal boutique as a leader with grace and power. To put it simply- she’s a Rockstar!
We are so proud to partner with resilient, hardworking, and empowered women like Christine. We are also proud to be a women-led company ourselves! Without our diverse retail partners, employees, and brides, We couldn’t do what we do. We raise a virtual glass to all our Black-Owned Bridal Boutiques. We see you, we appreciate you, and we’re here to amplify your stories.