Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Southern Spotlight: Gregory Ellenburg

I'm excited to be back with the second edition of Southern Spotlight, and today's feature is another entrepreneur that I had the fortunate opportunity to work closely with. Gregory Ellenburg is a designer and boutique owner out of Greenville, South Carolina, and this feature could not come at a more appropriate time. In North Carolina, it happens to be Miss NC week, where 41 beautiful contestants are currently vying for the title, and one lucky girl will be crowned.  Five years ago, I had my own opportunity of competing at Miss North Carolina for the very first time, and I got my entire wardrobe from Greg. From my swimsuit to my talent gown to my evening gown, my wardrobe was an absolute dream. I was eventually awarded first runner-up, and it is a memory that will last a lifetime.

Since then, I've had the privilege to continue following along with Greg, and his business has continued to grow. His designs have a high-fashion element that I've fallen in love with, and that same element has transferred over to his bridal collection. Greg designs one-of-a-kind gowns that are perfect for any bride. After all, when you think of June, you think weddings and when you think of weddings, you think Gregory Ellenburg.

How did Gregory Ellenburg Enterprises come to fruition?

I actually began working for Stephen Yearick and we worked together for nearly six years. In 1995, Stephen moved to NYC and I began designing evening wear for pageants out my of home in the North Main district of downtown Greenville, SC.

After doing that for two years, I realized that I needed more space and decided to open “Gregory Ellenburg Pageant and Special Occasion.”

Is designing what you have always done?
No, but I have always been involved in the arts and the arts community. As a matter of fact, I have a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and actually taught school (high school band) for seven years. In 1988, I left public education and moved to NYC and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology before going to work for Stephen (Yearick).

What are the current trends for bridal?
Right now, we are seeing quite a bit of three dimensional elements in bridal design. We have designed gowns with handmade silk floral elements, coque feathers, and even tassels in today’s gown designs.

We have also seen that many brides like to incorporate some type of heirloom in the design of her gown. We have used lace / fabrics from three generations in a bride’s gown recently – that was a wonderful experience to see all three women (bride included) involved in the gown!

What is your vision for the bridal market?
My vision for the Gregory Ellenburg bridal market is to attract a bride that wants to stay away from mass production and mass retail. We love working the one on one experience with a bride and designing her dream gown. Oftentimes, we will even fly to NYC to select fabric for designs – if a bride is looking for something very specific.

What are the characteristics of a Greg Ellenburg bride?
We enjoy brides that have discerning taste and that are really looking for a one of a kind, couture gown and experience. She can be any size, shape or age.

Any advice to brides?
My advice would be to do lots of research and homework before they come to see us – and they usually do!

We are in the age of technology where most brides walk in with their iPads, iPhone, loaded with images and ready to discuss ideas and wishes. It really helps me understand what her dream gown should look like.

How about advice to other entrepreneurs?
Someone once told me, “You have to crawl before you can walk and walk before you run.” I have always taken that approach to business growth and entrepreneurship. In 1997, we started very small with a very slim inventory of gowns. Today we have fabrics from all over the world and work with ladies from across the country to create dream wedding gowns.

How do you stay motivated?
My clients keep me motivated! Each day we have new clients that walk in the door with new ideas. Ladies are more fashion forward than ever and that motivates me to constantly create designs that each client will love forever.
I personally love Greg's designs - he recently designed Ali Rogers FauntLeRoy's gown from pieces of her mother's and grandmother's, and it was absolutely incredible (featured above in black + white). Be sure to head over to Greg's website and follow along on Instagram + Facebook. Whether you are a bride, a pageant gal, or you are just looking for a dress for that special gala or function, I can promise you won't be disappointed.
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10 comments

  1. Loving this spotlight since I'm wedding obsessed!! I can't imagine how fun and even nerve wrecking it can be to create the gowns brides wear! xo, biana -BlovedBoston

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  2. Loved reading this especially since I'm a bride-to-be! His designs look absolutely gorgeous!

    www.rosyoutlookblog.com

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  3. Such a fun interview! Greg is crazy talented!

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  4. So this guy is ridiculously talented - I loved reading and getting to know more about the business!

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  5. These pictures are stunning! Can we talk about how obsessed I am with the girl's dress in the black and white pic?! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  6. How neat! And I love hearing about your connection.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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  7. great interview.

    http://www.amysfashionblog.com/blog-home/

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  8. Great read! Very interesting!!

    Adi xx
    www.fancycorrectitude.com

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  9. So many beautiful dresses! Thanks for sharing! He's truly amazing!!

    Xoxo,

    Whitney & Blaire

    Peaches In A Pod

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  10. Such a great interview, girlie! How awesome that you were in the running for Miss NC! You are such a beauty, so it makes sense you would! It was great getting to know Greg and his company through this post, his collection is lovely! You know, I'be noticed that the most successful in the fashion industry are those who didn't initially set out to be in the industry. I've spoken to so many (successful) people in the industry and most of them hold such opposite spectrum degrees, I think it brings a unique perspective to the industry and that's what sets them apart. Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you're having a great week so far!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    www.thestylecontour.com

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I love reading each comment and try to respond to each one via email!