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Get to know Marie & Marie Bridal

Women in Business

Get to know Marie & Marie Bridal

Some people claim they can read their sibling’s mind. For sisters Erin Rallis and Kayla Thompson, that sentiment just might be more than hyperbole.

Erin Rallis and Kayla Thompson, owners of Sioux Falls bridal shop Marie and Marie Bridal.Marie and Marie Bridal feels like one of those things that was meant to be,” said Erin, co-founder and co-owner of the Sioux Falls bridal shop. “Kayla and I both came up with the idea separately. When I approached her about it, I was shocked to learn that she had already created a Pinterest board for starting a bridal shop.”

The sisters opened their small business in April 2018 in the Boyce-Greeley building, which is located on Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls.

A spirit of entrepreneurship

Erin and Kayla were born and raised in Sioux Falls, but both ventured off on their separate paths for college.

Erin graduated from the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management with a degree in finance and management information systems, while Kayla attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to earn her degree in business marketing.

“We didn’t always know what kind of business we wanted to open,” said Kayla, co-owner and co-founder of the shop, “but entrepreneurship was always in the back of our minds.”

Their dad owned his own business, so that seed had been planted for the sisters early on.

“We grew up with a spirit of entrepreneurship,” Erin said.

When they eventually came together with separate ideas to open a bridal shop, everything started falling into place.

“We both felt that Sioux Falls was missing a store like Marie and Marie Bridal, and that our combined strengths could make it happen,” Erin said. “Kayla is very creative and design-focused, while I come from a finance and tech background.”

“We love the community and energy of downtown,” Kayla said, “so when we learned of the available space in the Boyce-Greeley building, we knew we had found our home.”

The front window of Marie and Marie Bridal in downtown Sioux Falls.

Erin Rallis hangs wedding dresses in the window of Sioux Falls bridal shop Marie and Marie Bridal.

The biggest hurdle when starting the business, according to the sisters, was obtaining financing.

“But we met with Derek [Ohme] at First National about acquiring a loan after we had put our business plan together,” Erin said. “He was so supportive from day one and helped us make our dream a reality.”

Big challenges and bigger wins

Only two years into the business, COVID hit Marie and Marie Bridal hard — just as it did every small business across the nation.

Erin and Kayla had to put their dreams on hold, shutting down the store and joining the world in its sudden halt.

“Derek assured us he would be there to help with anything we needed,” Erin said. “His confidence in us and reassurance helped us pull through.”

Not only did the sisters survive their first major setback since the early beginnings of Marie and Marie Bridal, but they just celebrated their six-year anniversary last month.

“We’re so thankful for our brides,” Kayla said. “We really have the most amazing customers.”

“We have brides from all over the country who tell us this was their favorite dress-shopping experience,” Erin said, “and nothing makes us happier than that.”

Wedding gowns hanging on racks in Marie and Marie Bridal.

Wedding gowns hanging on racks in Marie and Marie Bridal.

The Marie and Marie Bridal experience

“Bridal dress shopping can be one of the most meaningful and important aspects of wedding planning, and we want to make sure our brides have an unforgettable experience,” Kayla said.

That’s why Marie and Marie Bridal operates by appointment only — to give each bride the attention and personalization she deserves.

Erin and Kayla offer private bridal suites to create a more intimate atmosphere for brides and their entourages.

A private bridal suite at Marie and Marie Bridal.

Additionally, they assign each bride a stylist to help curate their look and guide them along the dress-shopping journey.

“Before you come to the shop, we’ll have you fill out a questionnaire that helps our stylist personalize your appointment,” Erin said. “When you arrive, you can expect to be greeted with mimosas to make the moment extra special, and then we’ll escort you to your private suite!”

A stylist will work with each bride to hand-select which styles she’d like to try on and guide her through the process, all the way to purchasing a gown.

“When a bride says ‘yes’ to the dress, the stylist will help her select a size, color, and any customizations she might want,” Erin said.

“To end the appointment,” Kayla added, “we always finish with a ‘Said Yes to the Dress’ photo with the entire group.”

If you’re a budding entrepreneur looking to start your own business, reach out to our Business Banking team; they’d be happy to help!

And if you’d like to experience Marie and Marie Bridal for yourself, you can learn more about the female-owned small business on their website.

Have questions? We're here to help.

Derek Ohme

Business Banking Team Lead

Jeremy Keckler

Business Banking Manager

Jill Mockler

Business Banking Team Lead

Russ Robers

Business Banking Team Lead
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