CORALVILLE — As a young bride-to-be, Jessica Attere was disappointed with her wedding dress shopping experience.
“I just didn’t have any help,” Attere recalled. “I had an appointment, but the store was busy and no one paid any attention to me.”
Attere did find a dress that day, but she credits the efforts of family members who helped locate dresses for her to try on and carried them back to the dressing room.
As the owner of new bridal boutique, Attere has vowed to give her customers a much different experience than her own.
“I want her to be comfortable trying on dresses, excited to be here and, most importantly, to find the dress she will wear on the most important day of her life,” she said.
Attere opened Brides by Jessa in Coralville’s Iowa River Landing on Dec. 29, selling wedding gowns, prom dresses, and accessories. Brides by Jessa specializes in bridal and other formal gowns that aren’t otherwise available in the area. Shopping is by appointment only.
“I don’t want to compromise the whole idea behind this store,” Attere said. “I want to give each bride my undivided attention.”
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While the boutique is less than two months old, she’s been making plans for the store for more than four years.
As an economics student at the University of Iowa, Attere took classes on entrepreneurship and learned how to write business plans. It occurred to her that she could open her own bridal store to give other brides the personalized dress shopping experience that she didn’t have.
She even wrote a business plan for the store at the time.
But then, when Attere and her husband graduated in 2011, he was offered his “dream job” in Belvidere, Ill. Attere put her business plans on hold to relocate with him.
Two years later, with a baby on the way, the couple moved back to the Iowa City area to be closer to family.
Attere took a job as an analyst for a large consulting company to help support their growing family but really hadn’t wanted to work after maternity leave.
Last August, shortly after she went back to work, Attere and her husband had a date night were at Iowa River Landing. As they walked from their car to a restaurant, Attere looked around and commented that the development would be perfect for her bridal boutique.
“My husband’s response was, ‘I wish you would quit talking about it and just do it already,’” Attere said.
“We went home and combed through our finances, and I quit my job the next day.”
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At a Glance:
Owner: Jessica Attere
Business: Brides by Jessa
Address: 920 E. Second Ave., Suite 120, Coralville
Telephone: (319) 400-4200