Darien resident opens new Rowayton bridal boutique
Coren Moore knows that finding a dress that will fit the needs, desires and bodies of a large number of bridesmaids in no small task. She survived the daunting process of finding a dress for 10 bridesmaids who ranged in size from 0 to 16 for her wedding six years ago, but the challenge sparked a new idea.
"When I was looking six years ago, bridesmaid dresses were either very expensive or inexpensive," she said. She had a lot of trouble finding cocktail-style dresses that fell into the middle of the price continuum.
A year later she began her own design business, Coren Moore Brides & Maids.
She did all her designing in her Brooklyn apartment, and used fabrics from New York City's garment district. To this day, Moore handles all the sketching, and works with a pattern maker and sample maker in New York City -- all the dresses are made in America.
Shortly after launching her new design firm, her bridal business began to boom; before she knew it, she was opening two stores outside of the city: one in San Francisco and one in Boston.
While she loves coastal towns and beach weddings -- and cites this interest as one of the main reasons she relocated to Darien -- she now has about 60 retail stores all over the country, in cities like Atlanta, Chicago and Houston to name a few.
Now she's focusing on a more local scale. She's used Darien residents as models, used Darien locations for her last two photo shoots and hired Darien-based photographer to snap all the shots.
One year ago, Moore, her husband and their two daughters moved to Darien, and last week she celebrated the opening of her new Rowayton retail location. The new store, located at 158 Rowayton Avenue, in a barn-like building behind the River Cat Grill, will offer a unique experience for Connecticut brides, Moore said.
"Our goal was to build a store where wedding customers can spend an afternoon," she said. "We want to create an experience for the bride and the wedding party. They can come here to find the perfect dress and make an all-day event out of it by having lunch at Rowayton Seafood."
The designer is hoping to expand her retail space in the near future, allowing more space for brides and wedding parties, and could possibly be moving to a larger location in Rowayton in the next few months.
But she said she loves Coastal Connecticut, and plans to stay within Rowayton.
"New York is a huge market for us, and I think that will continue," she said. "But I think Fairfield County is the ideal location for us, with our classic and timeless styles."
Her line offers several floor-length bridesmaids' gowns for country club weddings, as well as shorter styles, which she said are perfect for summer beach weddings.
"My style for bridesmaid dresses is really like a cocktail dress," she said. "It's not your typical dress."
And as far as the timeless bridesmaid cliché of "shortening it and wearing it again," she said she designs dresses with the idea of being able to re-use them in mind.
Her company doesn't do a lot of custom orders, she said, but there is enough variety within her line that she doesn't feel it's necessary. Currently, the label has about 20 styles which can be ordered in 20 different colors, offering a variety of dresses for any style wedding, she said.
"We can source other colors," she said. "We don't change the style of the dresses, but we can help with the color."
As for bridal gowns, she has about six different styles, in the $2,500 to $4,000 price range, and said she is able to do more custom work with the brides.
"We can change the train length and the trim color with those," she said.
Customer service and satisfaction are incredibly important to the Darienite.
"Being here allows her to carve out time for her clients," said Jody Peters, the brand manager for the Connecticut office. "And having the designer here, we know the line very well... and because this is our home-base now, we have everything here."
The line's most popular style right now is a one-shoulder, ruched bridesmaid dress, called "Kate," which sells for between $260 and $290 depending on the fabric. But Moore said it's important to know that brides don't have to choose just one style.
"We see a lot of people where the bride picks the color and the girls pick the style that suits them the best," she said. "Really, the most important thing is to make sure that the girls are comfortable."
The new boutique is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., by appointment only. Brides and maids can set up a time to meet with Moore and her staff by calling 203-202-7778 or e-mailing email@example.com.