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Essentially for the bridesmaid

By Susan Shinn
Salisbury Post
Credit Kathy Scott Rummage for having a good idea ó then waiting ’til the time was right to develop it.
About eight years ago, Rummage, 32, was asked to be a bridesmaid. She’d only done it once before, and she wanted to be prepared.
“She was so put together,” Rummage says of her friend. “I just wanted to do well by her and have a good time.”
Rummage started researching Web sites to get information about her duties as a bridesmaid.
Turns out, there weren’t any such sites.
“At that time, there was really nothing out there,” says Rummage, who became a bride in 2004.
She purchased a book ó something like “The Idiot’s Guide to Bridal Showers” and took it to work with her. At the time, she was working for a television station.
Her female co-workers laughed at her ó then one by one, later came to her desk and asked to borrow the book.
Hmmm, she thought, I’m not the only one who needs help.
She bought a few Web site names and held onto them.
In February, Rummage’s plans came to fruition with the launch of www.bridesmaidessentials.com.
She’s worked in broadcast journalism and public relations for more than 10 years. Most recently, she was public relations manager for the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.
But she left that position to launch her own business.
Rummage has done her homework. She took every free seminar she could at Central Piedmont Community College. She developed a business plan. With the help of a Web designer, she created the site.
“It’s a long time coming,” Rummage says. “It’s just as relevant now as it was several years ago. This niche has not been filled.”
Understandably, most wedding-related Web sites are geared toward the bride.
By and large, bridesmaids are the only repeat customers in the industry. Rummage has been a bridesmaid six times, for example.
“Bridesmaids need new ideas and trends,” Rummage says. “The Web site is a great place to get new ideas so you’re not doing the same routines and patterns for each bride ó and you’re making it more enjoyable for yourself, too.”
Rummage and her husband, Abe, a massage therapist, live in Denver. In launching a business, Rummage wanted a career with flexible hours once they start their family.
“It’s terrifying and exciting,” Rummage says of her venture. “With a small business, success or failure rests squarely on your shoulders. It’s exciting to create something that women will enjoy, to help with questions or share ideas. There are so many good ideas for showers and bachelorette parties.”
So far, the site has had more than 150,000 hits, and Rummage says she’s gotten “really good feedback.”
Some of the national wedding blogs have picked up on the site, she reports.
Highlights of the site include:
* Downloadable planners and checklists, to help bridesmaids stay organized and sane.
* Flip That Dress ó An online consignment service to sell, refashion or donate that barely used bridesmaid dress.
* Frankenbride ó A forum to share horror stories about a monstrous bride.
* Bridesmaid Blog ó Read the site founder’s blog on her latest turn as a bridesmaid and her quest to find fresh ways to make the job fun.
* Forum ó Chat with other bridesmaids (newbies and pros) to get the best tips and techniques.
* Photo Gallery and Video Vault ó Post photos and videos.
* News and happenings ó Find out the latest trends in the world of weddings.
Since Rummage has her own blog on bridesmaidsessentials.com, she spends a lot of time researching industry trends.
“I’ve got a massive magazine stack at my house,” she says.
She subscribes to everything from bridal magazines to Entrepreneur and Newsweek to Rachel Ray and Martha Stewart.
Because she’s an independent business owner, Rummage can fill in bridesmaids on all types of trends, colors and styles.
She’s constantly updating her information.
“It’s a living, breathing site that will be adjusted to the women who use it ó what they need, what they want and what they make of it,” Rummage says.
Fortunately, she’s never been in a wedding that had a Frankenbride.
“I want to bring women together at a time that’s so special and make it more enjoyable for them and help them find some solutions,” she says. “I know friendships that have been ruined by bad brides.”

For more information about the Web site, log on to www.bridesmaid essentials.com.
Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or sshinn@salisburypost.com.

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