Prom & Pageant Store is Young Woman’s Brainchild
Posted on March 08 2017
It takes a certain kind of mind to look at one’s circumstances and pluck from the chaos the kind of business idea that could forever shape a personal future.
But then again, not everybody has Natalie Albright’s entrepreneurial brain.
The founder and VP Operations of Rsvp Prom & Pageant in Lawrenceville and daughter of likeminded entrepreneurs who moved here from California, Albright managed to keep her penchant for enterprise in check — at least until high school.
At the age of 18, having attended prom and homecoming all four years of high school, the young woman had a whole closet full of gowns and dresses. So she did what any business-minded person with her genetic leanings might do: she rented them out.
Around the same time, being involved with the DECA program at Grayson High School, she entered a competition in which she had to write a business plan, describing financials, target market and marketing strategies. She and her sister, Michele Davis, chose a dress rental business as their project and went on to win the state competition.
Now 26 years old, her idea for a DECA project has evolved into a successful retail business, Rsvp Prom & Pageant, with two locations. The most recently opened store in Johns Creek is in the process of expanding after only several months in business.
At the Lawrenceville store, which opened in 2012, Albright said the family found an ideal spot.
“Downtown Lawrenceville seemed to be the perfect place, especially because of the foot traffic and all the events that happen on the square. … It turned out to be a perfect location for us,” she said.
Specializing in prom, homecoming, Quinceañera and destination wedding dresses, the Lawrenceville store — located at 111 W. Crogan St. — has several dressing rooms, seemingly endless rows of hanging gowns and dresses and a sort of runway surrounded by mirrors.
Albright said these days the Lawrenceville store is “so successful it’s bursting at the seams.”
Between the two locations there’s about 20 staff members, as well as Albright, her sister, Michele, another sister, Danielle Davis, and her parents, Iris and Bruce Davis.
Danielle and Iris manage the Lawrenceville store. Albright said Bruce is “the one who goes back and forth, bringing inventory here, changing the light bulbs and doing all the maintenance, which is nice.”
Added Albright: “I get to spend quality time with my dad when he comes over here to help me out, and he loves it, too.”
She credits her parents, who own the stores, with all the business success.
Beyond the two locations, Albright said the online side of the business is also thriving.
The secret to having done so well in this endeavor?
“We focus on customer service,” Albright said. “It comes down to giving them the full attention they expect when they walk into a store like this. Some have never prom-shopped before, so we hold their hands through that process and help them select options that will make them feel good about their selection.”
Customer Charity Rutledge said the level of service has kept her coming back to the store time and time again. She’s bought many dresses for her daughter, Emily Rutledge, 17.
“The girls that work at (Rsvp Prom & Pageant) are helpful and sweet, and they make these girls feel like princesses,” Rutledge said.
That’s the idea, Albright said.
“It’s like they’re the stars, and that’s how we like to treat our customers.”
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