Cincy Chic: Have you always lived in Cincinnati?
Salyers: I grew up in Northern Kentucky and moved to Cincinnati when I married my husband, Jim, a Cincinnatian. We moved to the south side of the river about 15 years ago. I had just started Fabulous-Furs and it was quickly growing. We had a big five-bedroom home and I was also the yard person. Our daughter had just started college, our son was a high school senior and it seemed a good time to move from such a large home. We put it on the market and within a couple days, it sold, along with all our furniture. We were homeless and needed something quickly, so we created a loft apartment over The Madison – a banquet facility Jim had just begun. So, we're here by default but thrilled with how it all worked out.
Cincy Chic: What's your favorite spot in the Cincinnati area?
Salyers: My husband and I love to roller blade and it's especially beautiful on the bike trail near Terrace Park, early on Sunday mornings.
Cincy Chic: How did you get your start in the bridal/fur scene?
Salyers: Jim's banquet business grew quickly and much of it is wedding-related. The Madison brings about 2,000 visitors to Covington each week and he decided to create a Wedding District to better serve the bridal market. Fabulous-Bridal opened in November, 2005 and immediately become a destination for brides from Louisville, Lexington, Nashville, Indiana and Ohio. It's a very special occasion when a bride-to-be shops for a dress and we do everything possible to make it a fairy-tale experience.
Cincy Chic: Where were you 10 years ago and where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Salyers: Ten years ago I was working really hard, building Fabulous-Furs. In 2017, I'll be working really hard, building Fabulous-Furs.
Cincy Chic: If you had to pick one thing that made you a success, what would you say it is?
Salyers: Perhaps being totally clueless. About three or four years after I started Fabulous-Furs, someone asked about my business plan. I was naïve or clueless enough to ask "what's a business plan?" So, I've certainly worked from my gut and have always felt that no matter what, I'd find a way around, over or through. Maybe it's good not to know how difficult a task can be. But no complaints – I've enjoyed it all.
Cincy Chic: What do you love most about your job?
Salyers: I love that it's always new and exciting. It's always changing and evolving and challenging. It's never boring or routine. I'm one of those crazy people who really enjoys working.
Cincy Chic: What's been your biggest bump in the road and how did you overcome it?
Salyers: Many big bumps have appeared, but 9/11 triggered perhaps the toughest time. We were on a track to double that year and had a million catalogs in the mail, reaching people September 11-14. We staffed up and inventory was at an all-time high in order to handle our largest mailing ever. Of course, the business didn't come because most of us thought the world was ending. Shopping was the furthest thing from people's minds and the economy went spiraling out of control. It was dreadful. We had half-price sales just bring in cash to pay the few people not laid off yet. We'd take orders during the day then head for the warehouse in the evening to fill the orders. I feel very lucky and blessed to have a company that lived through such a dark time.
Cincy Chic: Personally, what's been your greatest success?
Salyers: I love the dynamics of business and how building a business can help a community, provide jobs, add to economic development, contribute to personal development and hopefully make the world a bit better.
Cincy Chic: Any advice to impart to women out there wanting to start their own business/boutique here in Cincinnati?
Salyers: It has to be something you love, because you'll need a real passion to sustain you over the hard times. Learn everything about everything and be prepared to be hands-on, then work really hard and pray.
Cincy Chic: Do you come across many "Bridezillas" in your line of work?
Salyers: No – most brides are thrilled and relieved when a detail as important as a dress is resolved. Here's a really cute story: Mother of God Church is a block from Fabulous-Bridal and one of our brides needed a place to change. It happened to snow that day, so several of the girls kept the store open so she and wedding party had a place to comfortably get dressed. They ended up walking her to the church, one along side sheltering her with an umbrella and another behind, keeping her dress out of the snow and ice, all laughing hysterically.
Cincy Chic: What's the biggest trend in weddings these days?
Salyers: Uniqueness – it can be color, or some special detail that makes the dress really yours. It might be a monogram, a four-leaf clover or any little detail that means something to the bride, the couple or their families.