Can you dig it?
The Allyson Group will be rolling out a different kind of content here in the next several months, as we take on a project unlike anything we’ve done before. Weddings. Specifically, House of Maya Bridal Salons of Norfolk, Virginia.
Our new story lines are likely to have all the elements of drama, with a compelling protagonist, a remarkable personal story, massive business growth in a powerful niche industry, extraordinary vision, magical alliances, and seemingly a fairytale environment in which it all plays out.
I’m going to tell you about it here first, the three of you who actually read this blog. lol. Ahem!
The protagonist’s name is Maya Holihan and she is very, very sympathetic.
Maya is from Boston, was fostered by and then adopted into a Caucasian family as a toddler. She found her way to Gianni Versace, then later Vera Wang, in New York, where she fell in love with all things weddings.
Fast forward a few years. She’s now in Norfolk, Virginia, where she bought a small bridal shop in 2004, and branded it Maya Couture in 2007. A decade later a team member took her to Suffolk; she fell deeper in love with Virginia. She opened Maya Couture On Main in 2014. Over the next couple of years, changing circumstances in the lives of two friends in the industry required them to sell. Maya was able to buy.
Today the House of Maya Bridal Salons empire encompasses six stores: Maya Couture, Maya Couture on Main, Pure English, Couture Bridal, Silk Social Occasion Studio, and Privee’ Bride of Ghent; and a wedding services company, The Bridal Dish® by House of Maya. The stores are located in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Suffolk, Virginia. This means House of Maya can dress the whole wedding party, at any price point, and can handle a wedding from start to finish. Literally. Engagement to The Big Day. That’s remarkable for one, woman-owned, outfit.
But there’s more! In 2016 Maya was offered and bought out the largest bridal show in Virginia, Pearl Taylor’s Uniquely Yours Bridal Showcase, now in its 10th year.The event has been rebranded as House of Maya Presents Uniquely Yours Bridal Showcase.
And in 2017, she is poised to make a major technology announcement that she believes can transform the industry and place Coastal Virginia squarely among the most elite Atlantic seaboard wedding destinations.
So this woman is rocking. You got me? And she’s got a lot of high-level help. Jennifer La Londe of The Bridal Dish is now her COO. I sense already that one part of Maya’s strategy for success is to surround herself with smart people, and to trust them to do their thing.
Long before Romeo and Juliet, questions of marriage and its celebration have consumed the human race. Even in the most joyless places, we have learned (think concentration camps, refugee camps, Aleppo Syria in 2016), humans are compelled by our very nature to bond with each other, fall in love, mate, and marry.
There’s no denying that the very thought of a wedding lightens the heart a little. The pictures that pop, unbidden, to mind, evoke joy. Lofty ideas like Destiny.
Though customs and traditions vary from culture to culture, weddings across the world are remarkably similar. In all cases they are about commitment. And despite all our various other tendencies, human beings are essentially mating creatures.
The wedding industry in America only began to resemble what it is today during the Great Depression. For most of the 1800s and up to the turn of the 19th century most people got married at home. The size and scope of the wedding was determined not only by the family’s income, but also by the size of their house – or garden, if that is where the wedding would be held. Point is, weddings were mostly private affairs.
Brides got married in the best dress they had, regardless of the color. The so-called “white wedding” seems to have been kicked-off by the splashy marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert in 1840. Her lavish white gown set off a craze that has endured to the point we now consider it “tradition.”
So we love weddings. Even crotchety old me can relate to the luminescent hopefulness of a young bride, in love, committing to a mate, and embracing a new future. In our culture – in virtually every culture – a wedding is one of the most iconic celebrations in a person’s life. It represents one of the universal truths in a human life: we know we can count on death and taxes, yes. But also love…and bonding together in marriage. What’s not to love about that?
This is going to be fun!