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Kelly Midgley, CEO Maggie Sottero Designs, with curvy model Liris Crosse.
Kelly Midgley, CEO Maggie Sottero Designs, with curvy model Liris Crosse.

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Q and A with Kelly Midgley, new CEO of Maggie Sottero Designs

Kelly Midgley, vice president of Design for Maggie Sottero Designs and daughter of founder Lesley Margaret (”Maggie”) Webster, was promoted to CEO of the 23-year-old global bridal brand.

We caught up with her recently to ask about the transition, and her thoughts on having a member of the family leading Maggie Sottero again.

 

VOWS: What is the significance of having a member of the family assume the top leadership position?

MIDGLEY: I am thrilled to assume my new position in this company that my family has worked incredibly hard to grow into a global business. I truly believe this opportunity is occurring at the perfect time in my life and our company’s journey. With our new Personalize It! For Your Love story initiative, this personal engagement with our brides and retail partners creates a highly engaged, internal culture.

I am ready to take the reigns and continue my family’s legacy. I’ve become well versed in and have adopted the family acumen from growing up surrounded by this family business. I first stepped into design over 15 years ago with the greatest teachers and mentors; my mother and grandmother. While I have loved being in the creative space of design, I have always loved the business side, too (maybe even more so!). I have very fond memories of listening and discussing business with my family. Growing up, it was always business in the car, business at the dinner table, and everywhere in between. This new position will allow me to cultivate and grow both the creative and the business aspect of the company. I couldn’t be more excited to do so.

VOWS: Understanding that the core mission statement and brand of Maggie Sottero Designs will not change, have you goals or a vision of how you see the company continuing to evolve?

MIDGLEY: One of my goals is to make Maggie more transparent than what we’ve been in the past. I want our retailers and brides to know more about us, as we have THE BEST staff (which we consider family) in the world. And I want the world to know it! Increased transparency will also allow us to show how we have been cultivating more authenticity around our brands, as well as creating a more personal connection to our retailers and brides. Having the members of the Maggie Family come to the forefront will establish a more personal connection to today’s consumer. More transparency will further the innovation that first put Maggie on the map!

VOWS: How will the success and experience of your design leadership impact your role as CEO?

MIDGLEY: I’m confident that I will be able to transfer the success and experience of my design leadership into my role as CEO. In design, you always need to be on your toes and fully aware of what is happening around you. It’s important as CEO to be aware of the status of every aspect of the business, how every employee is doing, and how every customer is responding. You need to have well laid out plans in design, but also have room to be reactive. It’s also important to gather a supportive, talented, forward-thinking, and dependable team that surrounds you. I have been successful in these endeavors during my leadership in the design realm, and these same skills will be imperative in my success as CEO.

VOWS: Regarding COVID... how do you see this pandemic affecting bride's behavior long term...
And what steps/policies/campaigns do you see Maggie Sottero Designs undertaking to address this change?

MIDGLEY: This time has proven that love conquers all. It has shown the true beauty of this industry, the fact that there is always an occasion to celebrate love. We’ve realized that the desired style and price point for a bride shifts based on the individual circumstances of this year. Which is why we’ve worked hard to design with every bride in mind and create a product offering that is celebratory of all love and is reflective of these changing times. We want our brides to be able to represent their unique, beautiful self, so we launched Personalize It! For Your Love Story, which allows brides to personalize elements of their gown like sleeves, layers in the skirt, and trains. No matter what a bride’s shape, size, style, or budget, we are committed to making sure she feels like her best self on her special day. This is the guiding pillar we’ve used throughout this time to really refine and enhance our product for today’s bride in this COVID season and beyond.

VOWS: What message would you like to convey to all bridal boutiques?

MIDGLEY: I love this question, as I love connecting to our valued retail partners! We are here to support you as much as possible. We are constantly training to better serve you and your unique business. We share the same goal, which is to make a bride’s dream a reality. We truly love working with you to make that happen. Finally, please let us know what we can do for you! Our lines of communication are always open to our partners! And, be sure to join our Private Retailer Facebook Group if you haven’t done so already. This is a space to share ideas, provide feedback, and establish strong connections throughout this global company!

 

Personalize It! For Your Love Story program encourages brides to personalize elements of their gowns.

 

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