We had the good fortune of connecting with Kennedy Bingham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kennedy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk has played a major role in my life. I took a risk leaving a secure finance job to pursue a career in fashion. I took a risk turning down my first major offer for a position I was more passionate about. I took a risk leaving that job to start my own business. And so far, all those risks have paid off (knock on wood). In the moment before a decision, all you can see are the possibilities of failing. But looking back, a lot of those possibilities I considered failing weren’t worth not giving myself a chance. The reasons we use to justify holding ourselves back often include worrying about what other people will think of our path or even what we’ll think of ourselves if we fail. Once I started thinking of failures as redirections, taking risks felt a lot less scary. Growing up you often hear the phrase “high risk, high reward.” I have held steadfast to that mantra and feel that it’s paid off immensely. However, it’s important to note that I was privileged enough to be in a position where I was able to take those risks. I had a partner who supported my decisions without question and a family of creatives who offered unwavering encouragement. A lot of those risks I took, were really just me allowing myself to trust my intuition because of the people who instilled in me the confidence to believe in myself.
What should our readers know about your business?
The best part about my career path is the fact that it’s so new. I’m not the first independent bridal stylist or bridal influencer, but our group is few and far between. When I work with a bride, I focus on the fact that each bride is unique. Instead of trying to fit a bride into my experience, I tailor the experience to my bride. In the same way, I never tried to fit my professional goals into a career that already existed. I didn’t quite fit as a bridal stylist or content creator, so instead of trying to pick a path I chose both. The hardest part has been navigating the unknown. I don’t have a lot of people who can relate to this experience or offer advice on which step to take next. The past few years have consisted of a lot crossed fingers and hope. I really had to learn how to siphon the good from the well-meaning advice. I welcome criticism, but also knew that sometimes I would have to make decisions that people wouldn’t understand because they couldn’t. My skin had to be thick, but I never wanted anyone to feel like I didn’t appreciate the wise words they were offering. I’m still learning to toe that line. The thing I love about wedding dresses is that there’s so many options out there. You never have to compromise who you are to find the one. That’s the same way I feel about my business. If I have to compromise something about myself to fit an opportunity, then it’s not the right one.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m huge rock climber, so anytime a friend comes to town I always take them to visit my home gym. Afterwards we’ll hit some of my favorite Korean BBQ dives and end with a late night cafe run in Korea town. If there’s snow I’ll probably drag them up to the mountains for a snowboarding trip and use the drive back to stop by all my favorite flea markets. If they aren’t going back home with a stomach full of good food and a suitcase full of souvenirs then I haven’t done my job right.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I think of people who have helped me on my journey, there are two who immediately come to the forefront of my mind. The first is my friend and colleague, Rachele. We met at my first bridal job and immediately clicked. She had so much experience in life and bridal, there wasn’t a question I asked she didn’t have an answer to. Every time I didn’t know what was the next road to take, it seemed like she always had a map waiting for me. Even though it’s been a minute since we’ve actually worked together, I still find myself reaching out anytime I come to a crossroad in my career. Her ability to be unwavering about her career goals while still uplifting those around her has shaped a lot of the way I practice my own professional relationships. Some people tell me I’m lucky that my first job in fashion was bridal because it’s such a hard industry to break into. But I think the real luck was being able to start my career with someone like Rachele at my side. The second is my partner, Gerson. It’s easy to forget that my risks are his as well. Every decision I’ve made, we’ve made together. He always knows what I need, whether it’s a push, a critique, or a shoulder to lean on. It’s hard to put into words how important he’s been on this journey. I can only say that any semblance of success I’ve earned is as much his as it is mine.
Image on the stairs: Dress by Ritual Union found at Stone Bridal in Laguna Beach Image in front of red background: Dress by Lihi Hod Image in front of fireplace: Dress by Amanda James Bridal