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Welcome to Better Know a Store Owner, a weekly Racked feature focusing on the people who run our favorite boutiques around the city.
Photos by William Chan
Shopping for your wedding gown at Soho's Stone Fox Bride is the exact opposite of appearing on an episode of Say Yes to the Dress. There's no magnificent alter or hordes of satin hanging in plastic garment bags. Instead, there are racks of both traditional and non-traditional dresses from Electric Feathers and Mandy Coon, flower crowns displayed on a low wooden coffee table, and a dressing room that resembles a boho yurt.
There are also photos of absolute babes all over the walls—the same you'll find on Stone Fox Bride's prolific Instagram. When she first opened the store, Molly filled it with a kaleidoscope of colored gowns; now, she's refined the collection for the modern foxy bride and introduced her own in-house line. For this special edition of Better Know a Store Owner, we spoke with her about where the dresses come from, who her client really is, and what types of services shaman can offer to a pair of newlyweds.
How have things changed since you opened?
We've seen so many things change. The most important and the most fundamental change is that, when I opened Stone Fox Bride, my vision was to offer non-traditional wedding dresses made by cool, high-fashion unconventional designers. So that included Electric Feathers, Mandy Coon, Ohne Titel. We had really offbeat stuff in here—we had purple dresses, red dresses, and tie-dye dresses. And then within two months of being open I was like, "Oh shit. Everyone loves these dresses, but they still want traditional white dresses."
I had a baby right after we opened, and when I came back from maternity leave I was like, "Let's get all the crazy stuff out of here and really refine our selection. We started to make our own line in September, and the designers that we continued to work with were the ones who wanted to make simple clean white dresses, and make them match their aesthetic. Last year at this time we were like an explosion—an acid trip of color. Now we're trying to keep things very white and pretty and refined, but also edgy.
What prompted you to start Stone Fox Bride—were you in fashion before you did this?
I was a magazine editor when I first moved here. I've never worked in fashion before; I was always on the editorial side of things. When I got married, I had just finished my MFA, I had sold a book to Grove Press, and I was starting to figure out that the magazine industry was not what it was when I moved here. In the midst of all this I got engaged and started to plan my wedding, and couldn't believe that there was no place in downtown New York City where I could buy a wedding dress that seemed cool and my style. I had no background in business either.
Do you find that most of your clients want everything about their wedding to be non-traditional, or do they just want a special dress?
Most people don't want non-traditional. They think they do, but rich/poor, black/white, uptown/downtown, girls want to look thin and beautiful on their wedding day. So any measures it takes to get there, they will.
What's the most common silhouette that you sell?
Women really like to have a lot of structure around the waist. Even when I was getting married, I remember I really wanted to feel like I was being sucked in—the idea of having even the smallest pouch exposed is so horrible. So people really like to show off their backs and their necklines and their décolletage.
Out of the brands that you are carrying now, are there any that people tend to gravitate toward more than others?
It's the dresses that they gravitate toward. That's another thing that I learned. I thought the first year that people would really come in and want high-end designers. And it doesn't matter if the dress is made by a seamstress in the middle of America or Rodarte, it's really that the girls just want a beautiful dress.
Do you also do vintage?
We have a lot of amazing vintage. We have a really beautiful vintage collection.
Is that usually a struggle with fit?
It's funny, we just sold someone this amazing, beautiful beaded 1920s dress for her rehearsal dinner. We did a thorough photoshoot with the dress before she bought it, because it's so fragile and it's going to rip and tear in 100 different places. But that's sort of the beauty of a vintage dress—all of the scars on it.
Are you still doing other stuff beyond dresses and jewelry—when you first opened, I remember you were also recommending astrologists.
We're like a one-stop shop. Basically we do everything from referring our brides to stylists and hair and makeup people to sex therapists to counselors to shaman to astrologists to nutritionists. To anyone and anything.
What kind of shaman/astrologist network do you have?
I've vetted through personal experience a really good roster of people—some are in New York, some are in California, some are across the world, but everyone is available via phone or email to tap into a bride's most fragile psyche, and how to fix it up.
We work with this really amazing shaman who will go into the bridal party the morning of their wedding and work with all sorts chanting and smudging [traditions] to create a very prosperous start for the couple.
Do you have a lot of customers that request that?
Who do you think epitomizes the Stone Fox Bride?
I would say anyone who's kind of turned off by the traditional wedding industry. I know it's sort of a cliche almost, brands that say that they're ideal customer is someone who has their own style, but generally people that come through our door are people who are not ones to flip through fashion magazines to get an idea of what the trend is. They really know their own skin, know who they are, don't listen to trends, but have an inherent, innate sense of style. They listen to their heart.
Do you get a lot of clients outside of New York?
Yea, we get a ton. All of the info emails go to me, and I always wake up in the morning with a shitload of emails from Australia, England, India, because that's when those girls are at work.
How many appointments would you say you take in a week?
Is that a lot?
It feels like a lot—you're definitely filling a niche that doesn't really exist elsewhere. You launched your in house line in September, right?
It was so informal. We never intended to design our own collection. This was just going to be a showcase for other designers. But unintentionally I got so much client feedback in my first year of business, and I thought maybe I'd just try putting a couple of dresses together. And so we really launched our first collection a few months ago, and we're working on our second collection for the fall. And we have an amazing team of designers—people who used to work at Richard Chai and Zac Posen and Derek Lam, and we're going to make some really kickass stuff.
That's the most fun part. Trying to figure out what our aesthetic is, what our mission statement for the line is, what sets us apart. It's really creative and challenging.
Do you think you'll ever do wholesale?
I'd love to do wholesale.
Sidenote: who runs your Instagram?
Me! I put every single picture up that's on there. I do it all. I have a baby at home so I have no social life, so at night when my husband's watching TV I'll just go on Tumblr and Pintrest and load up my phone.
Alright, it's time for the lightening round. This one's wedding themed.
Flower crown or veil?
Detachable veil/flower crown. You walk down the isle with the veil with fresh flowers and then you take it off and you have the flower crown for the rest of the party.
New or vintage?
Both. New for the ceremony, vintage for the party.
Barefoot or shoes?
Beach of mountains?
Something borrowed or something blue?
Gold or silver?