Weddings are a special occasion and “going the extra mile” for the perfect wedding is not unusual. Going an extra 15, 20 or 50 miles, however, can cause problems. That, Samantha Higgins, one of the owners of XO Bridal, said inspired the business’ creation.
“A friend of mine was getting married and she made a comment about running around to different places out of town to look for dresses and how a lot of times not all the bridesmaids could go with her because of scheduling and having to go out of town,” Higgins said.
After thinking about it, she went to Katy Allsman with the idea, and the pair decided to go with it.
“We just wanted to keep things local. We don’t have a formal dress store here for women and with everyone having to go out of town we wanted to keep it local, keep the money in Columbus,” Higgins said.
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Thus, XO Bridal opened on Nov. 6, 2021, at 122 E. 24th St. Allsman said the name came from the use of X and O as abbreviations for kisses and hugs.
“We wanted to keep it associated with weddings, love and the concept of what people are coming into a wedding store for,” Allsman said. “A girlfriend of mine threw around some stuff and we landed on XO, like hugs and kisses. Love Bridal is kind of what our thought was.”
The pair said they opened during a less-than-desirable time to start a business. Supply chains were backed up, the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing and they started in between peak times for the dress business, something they didn’t realize at the time.
“We literally opened directly after homecoming, right before the holidays. With issues getting inventory, we had all our brides getting engaged during the holidays then we weren’t getting our dresses in for them to try on,” Allsman said. “We were kind of hit during that season but we ran with it and did the best we could.”
As time went on, things leveled out, they said. Now, they’re able to do their favorite part of the job and help women find something that makes them feel good.
“[The best part is] the brides finding their dresses, or just anybody. The brides are great but even the girls we get for homecoming and prom, that’s a big moment for that point in their life and it’s fun to be able to find that dress they feel pretty in,” Higgins said.
“That’s it for me also, watching a woman feel beautiful in a dress, that’s my favorite part,” Allsman said.
Following a ribbon-cutting with the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce so close to the one-year anniversary, the pair said that they’re still getting settled in. They agreed when they opened that they would feel comfortable when they get past three years in operation.
“For us, we’re basically halfway when we look at it, like we’re not over the hump. We’re hoping to be here for the next 10 years or more but three was our minimum,” Higgins said.
Looking toward that future, they hope to one day expand their services and their space. Higgins said she hopes they can one day operate out of their own building and offer alteration services in-house.
“We do outside alterations, it’s something I’m working on learning but it’s a whole different ball game between hemming pants or fixing a ripped seam and taking apart a wedding dress,” Higgins said.
Allsman said they also hope to expand their options in the future, becoming a place for all things related to weddings and women’s formalwear.
“[I’d like to] expand into all of that stuff that goes along with the wedding, the wedding night, bridal shower, bachelorette, even like the galas or the cattlemen’s ball, nicer options for people that’s not full formal, semiformal, an expansion of that more dress-up, prettier side of being a woman,” Allsman said.
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