Longtime friends open bridal shop

[attach]4962[/attach]When Kelly Power went shopping for a wedding dress she found the experience unnerving.

“You’d come out of the room, there’d be like 20 people looking at you, it was the worst,” she says. “I hated that feeling.”

This led Power and her business partner Michelle Gunn to choose a three-level space on Davenport Road near Avenue Road to open Mrs. Bridal Boutique. Although the first floor is open to the public, their second floor showroom, which is filled with gowns, is by appointment only.

“The store offers kind of an exclusive shopping experience,” says Power. “We offer an appointment of an hour, wine, champagne, water, so it’s kind of an experience whether or not you find the dress, we hope you do, but if you don’t the next best thing is that you have an amazing time.”

Power and Gunn first met in grade 9 at Branksome Hall but it wasn’t until they both got married last year that they decided to go into business together. Initially the pair contemplated naming the store after their last names, but decided Gunn Power or Powerful Gunns didn’t have the right ring to it.

Gunn says although she came across some great dresses in the city, she had a less-than-desirable shopping experience or the price tags were more than she wanted to spend.

“I ended up buying my dress in New York and after finding some amazing designers down there Kelly and I discussed and said ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could bring these great designers that aren’t available anywhere else in Canada and offer them to our Toronto brides?’ ” she says.

Power says they work closely with designers to select dresses for their boutique, which had its grand opening on Sept. 21.

“We pick a couple things that we personally like in addition we take all the suggestions from the designers, what are the best sellers, what works on different body types because it can’t just be our style,” she says.

Although most of their dresses are unique to the city, Gunn says they also carry two designers who are available at other shops.

Power and Gunn have teamed up with other female entrepreneurs, which they call the family of Mrs., and have a referral system in place for customers seeking a photographer, florist, hair stylist and make up artist.

They say their goal is to provide an experience that takes the stress out of bridal shopping.

“It can be a stressful experience trying to find a wedding gown,” says Gunn. “But we want to make it as comfortable, fun and relaxing as possible.”