WHEN CASSIE TACKETT and Erin Hannum decided to start a business selling wedding dresses, they did what any smart millennial would do: “Jokingly, but also kind of seriously, we Googled ‘how to start a bridal shop,’ ” Hannum says, laughing. As wedding photographers, they were already familiar with the bridal industry, and knew there was a lack of inclusivity.
“Throughout our careers, we’ve seen so many brides who haven’t been able to find what they were looking for,” Tackett says. “We wanted to curate a collection that allows every woman to feel beautiful.”
The duo joined forces after a mutual friend told them of each other’s common goal. The rest, as they say, is history, and their online store, Ox & Opal, launched last March. Diversity is the driving force behind their brand. Log onto the website and you’ll be greeted with models of all skin tones and sizes; browse through the collection and you’ll find dresses and accessories in a range of prices.
The styles they offer reflect Hannum and Tackett’s opposite (yet equally chic) aesthetics; while Hannum prefers a modern, sleek look, Tackett favors an earthy, bohemian vibe. They also sell vintage, which is a passion of Hannum’s. “Cold-brew coffee in hand, I can peruse antique stores for hours,” she says. “I love hunting for special pieces that are different and unique.”
For now, bridal appointments are held in Hannum’s home in Dearborn. “She has this gorgeous room that’s set up with dresses and accessories,” Tackett says. “We have snacks and drinks for the brides. We let them take their time.”
Hannum and Tackett do have their sights set on a brick-and-mortar store — perhaps one that’s complete with a coffee bar. But until then, they’re satisfied when their brides are satisfied. “To have women tell us, ‘this has been the best appointment,’ or ‘I’ve never felt more comfortable,’ makes it all worth it,” Tackett says.
For more information, visit oxandopal.com