Calling all brides-to-be: There’s a new collaborative business in Birmingham that aims to simplify the wedding planning process by bringing together an assortment of independently owned, high-end service providers under one roof.
“This is a pretty new concept,” says Karen N. Lippowiths, owner and founding member of Boutique Blu, which will open Wednesday at 251 E. Merrill St. “Usually, what you find is a lot of people will collaborate without an actual physical space and without a trained conductor. They all say, ‘Let’s refer business to one another,’ but no nobody actually spearheads the efforts to do the marketing and the outreach and make it run.”
So Lippowiths, a photographer, took charge and found a 600-square-foot space and adjoining street-level window display within the Merrillwood Building. Member businesses can use the space to showcase their goods and services, meet with clients, and participate in marketing and special events.
Boutique Blu will consist of 12-member businesses, including 23Eleven Floral, Bella e Dolce Cakes, Epic Motion Videography, Erin Levitt Hair and Makeup, Karen Lippowiths Photography, Luxe Event Linen, Mammothbooth!, One in a Million Bridal Accessory Boutique, Purple Clover Events, Spa Mariana, Roma Sposa Bridal Couture, and Vivian Elle Invitations.
Clients have the option to use one or all of the vendors, says Lippowiths, noting that the businesses are in the process of creating discounts and incentives to using multiple Boutique Blu members.
“It’s a whole shared economy thing,” she says. “Most small businesses want to do something a little bit bigger and better, and this let’s them have a bigger slice of pie than they would on their own.”
There are about 20 unfilled categories (i.e., bartender, calligrapher, personal coach, etc.), however, Lippowiths says a full house would likely be between 15 and 20 members.
Later this month, the location will also roll out a retail section, offering jewelry, accessories, frames, custom wine bags, and other wedding-related goods.
On Wednesday, Boutique Blu will host a no-cost, grand opening event, where members will be on-site to showcase and talk about their services. Reservations are not required unless brides to be want a swag bag or be entered for bridal-themed giveaways. For more information, or to RSVP, click here.