Human Services Career Leads to Bridal Shop Ownership | Podcast

Lorraine Love didn’t set out to open the first Black-owned bridal shop in Minnesota. She had a deeply fulfilling career in human services, but thanks to a gift for doing hair and makeup and plenty of sisters getting married, the bridal industry, she says, chose her. Listen to the episode or read the transcript.
Service-based beginnings
Love started her career in human services when she was just a child. As a teenager, she would go with her older sister Jamie to what is now the Naomi Family Residence and help babysit the children. She continued working there until she was old enough to work with the mothers who were staying there.
Love says she’s always had a passion for helping others. She became a women’s advocate for five years, then worked with at-risk homeless youth and adults. At YouthLink, Love worked with some of the many “overlooked” youth aged 16-21. She takes pride in knowing that she made a difference in these young people’s lives.
Entering the bridal world
Love says she developed her love for hair and makeup through helping her sisters. In college, she really started to hone her craft. All of a sudden, she says, she was the traveling hair and makeup artist for people’s weddings.
As she continued her career in human services, Love found that helping women look and feel their best through hair and makeup had parallels to her day job. She couldn’t help but become the de facto bridal consultant when she would go wedding dress shopping with friends and family. It was fun and exciting, and she was good at it. The industry, says Love, found her.
Eventually, Love decided to make a career out of helping brides achieve the day of their dreams. She opened LaNoire Bridal, the first Black-owned bridal shop in Minnesota. Even though it’s a historic first, Love says she didn’t give the significance much thought and instead was just “doing her thing.”
Parallels to health care
Love takes her human services skills to work with her at LaNoire Bridal – choosing a wedding dress can come with a lot of emotions. Love creates experiences that are warm and welcoming, and she does the work to get to know everything she can about what her clients are looking for in a gown.
She finds it’s essential to establish trust quickly with people – just as it is in health care. You never know what someone is going through, she says, adding that one of the most important parts of her job is just listening and being present.
To hear more from Lorraine Love, including about her challenges, how the no’s kept her going, and how every appointment at LaNoire Bridal ends with hugs, listen to this episode of Off the Charts.