I’m typically a cheerful person. Part of this has to do with some difficult things I overcame as a teenager, which taught me to never take one day for granted. But another, equally significant piece is I have many outlets. When the going gets rough, I tend to throw myself into (pick one): working out, playing sports, talking to friends, learning new things or enjoying small treats, which never fails to boost my mood.
   Dealing with stress in healthy, not destructive, ways is one of my better habits.
   But lately, my usually cheerful disposition has been tested. It’s not just the barrage of negative headlines we’ve all seen – Inflation! War in Russia! Possible recession! Political upheaval! – it’s the fact that many of the places I turn to get away from those headlines have also been infiltrated by negativity.
   People are stressed out and in bad moods; businesses are short-staffed and understocked; hours have been changed or events canceled altogether; neighbors and teammates are fighting with each other (both on social and in person) about heated topics like Roe v Wade or gun control, saying awful things I couldn’t imagine repeating or typing to another human.
   Even if you remind yourself that this level of negativity/stress is an anomaly that will eventually pass, there’s only so much you can take before it starts impacting your mood – especially when you log on and see your investments not doing so great on the same day the car dealership calls to inform you that the part you need is six weeks delayed.
   I doubt my experience is unusual; almost everyone I know is under considerable amounts of stress for many of the same reasons. It stands to reason, therefore, that brides are too, and that the experience they have in your store is even more important than ever right now. Your boutique is the one place where they can enjoy a much-needed respite from the everyday stress while indulging in an amazing, pampering shopping experience – something that is in short supply in the world right now.
   Everything contributes to that experience – from the tone of your voice, to the expression on your face, to the temperature of the bottle of water you hand her as she walks in the door – so don’t neglect the little things. But the bigger elements are equally important, and starting on pg. 48, we have two great stories showcasing the various ways boutiques are adding uniqueness and excitement to the traditional shopping experience, winning brides’ hearts and wallets one “Yes” at a time (check them out for some major inspo!)
   Right now more than ever, brides are craving an environment where they can step away from the day-to-day negativity and indulge. You’ve always been good at providing this, but if you kick it up a notch and do everything within your power to be their anchor now amidst this sea of stress, you will have a brand advocate for life.