I love to write, and don't expect to ever write a book - so a blog is about as expressive of a vehicle as I plan on having. While the original intent of my blog was primarily for business use, it has morphed into something else over the past few posts. As it turns out, I prefer writing about "life", as things seem to “flow from the pen" more freely when I can pontificate on more personal topics such as family, health and wellness, mindfulness, etc. But IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) is a good way of communicating to my stores about my business as well, so today… I will just have to work a little bit harder to "find the words".
I am assuming that you have already received an email from Lynn Rohrman, but if not - I am including 2 attachments in my email with 2 letters she sent out last night. For clarity sake, if you have arrived at my website by means other than the link in my email, I am including the text from the main letter below. To summarize, Lynn owns 4 companies (Andrew Adela, Ambiance, Aura Bridal, and Jessica Lynn), who I have represented for the past 5-6 years. As I learned only last night directly from Lynn, she has been struggling with some serious health issues for a while now, which can no longer be "ignored". Anyone who knows Lynn knows that she is a stone cold workaholic, and this is not a good trait for someone who has been sick AND runs 4 companies in the bridal business. My perception is that her doctors told her that she must put her own health "above" her business. As a Cancer Survivor and someone who has been seriously ill twice now in the past 5 years, I can relate to what she must be going through.
She has decided therefore that she has no choice but to close 3 of her 4 companies – those being Andrew Adela, Ambiance, and Aura Bridal. She plans on continuing to run Jessica Lynn, which is her "baby", and which she has owned for over 25 years; and is confident that she has the staff and infrastructure in place to maintain the high level of quality and service she is known for. I however will no longer be representing Jessica Lynn, so it is with great sadness that I am ending my business relationship with all 4 of these companies, effective immediately. So how does this affect "us"?
I'll start with me, as the answer regarding me is fairly straightforward. This is not the first time that a company I have worked for has abruptly decided to close; although I do hope it is the last. I still work for 2 great companies (and owners), and can look for a new bridesmaid/MOB line to add to my package should I choose to - but have no plans to even think about this today. I am almost 61 years old, and still love my job (although I probably loved it a little more yesterday when I worked for Lynn). Hell... 10 years ago I lost 90% of my income in a 5 minute phone call when the owners of Bridal Originals called to tell me they were closing, and I saw a swimming pool that was 80% complete (a big hole in the ground) when I looked out my back window. For anyone who ever built a pool, there is NO turning back when you are this far into the project. If I survived that I will survive this, and I consider myself very fortunate with what I still have in my "package". While in general "belt tightening" is not in my DNA, I imagine it will be good for the soul.
How does this affect my stores is a little more complicated, which is why I "went first". Lynn expects to ship all special orders currently in the system in the time frame promised when the order was confirmed. She also plans on allowing stores to finalize any "pending" orders you may have, and will continue to accept specials through the end of September - and "deliver them on our regular schedule". Whether you choose to continue to show your samples for the next few months only you can decide, but you should feel confident in knowing that your brides will be handled. If you were one of the few stores who placed a stock order this season, you of course will not be expected to take it in.
There was some mention in Lynn's letter about a possible "restructuring of the company" within the next 3 weeks. What this means and how it affects my stores and me I don't know. If and when I learn anything I will certainly let you know.
In closing, I am a little sad about this, as I loved working for Lynn and her companies. While not the biggest company I ever worked for, no one in our industry cared more about her customers, nor strived harder to make things right by them. My thoughts are with her and her family, especially as it relates to her health. She is a very caring person, and I hope she has what it takes to slow down enough to take care of herself and get better. As a veteran of this industry, I have seen a lot of companies go out of business in my day, and many of them do it "less than honorably". I commend her for being honest with her accounts and me as soon as was feasibly possible; and expect nothing less than a smooth and professional winding down of her business.
While I don't "technically" rep these lines any more, I always have a vested interest in taking good care of my stores. Should you need any assistance relating to your orders, or wish to discuss your store's specific needs, you may certainly contact me.
To our Andrew Adela, Ambiance and Aura Bridal Accounts:
It distresses me greatly to send this email, but it is what it is. I can no longer continue with Andrew Adela, Ambiance and Aura Bridal because my health has deteriorated this past year to the point I am no longer able to function at full capacity.
I have three basic conditions: Bronchiectasis, Pseudomonas and COPD in my lungs. None of these conditions can be cured; the Pseudomonas just lies there dormant until I get too stressed or too tired (ha ha - that never happens, right?) How ironic the COPD is – I have never so much as even tried to smoke anything. My future promises to be most challenging.
My lung doctor now has me on oxygen 24/7 and if I can get a half work day accomplished, it’s like climbing Mt. Everest. He wants me in a 6-week Pulmonary Rehab program in Huntsville as soon as possible. This rehab is postponed until Mother can get better. She broke her hip and has had two surgeries in two months.
The factory owner has begun the process of restructuring the company for US distribution. I hope that he is successful because he is a wonderful person and I wish him the very best.
We will be delivering the specials that you have on order with us at this time. We will also continue to take specials during July, August and September for delivery on our regular schedule. We are aware that you have been working with brides and other customers who have not yet made their final decisions. We do not expect you to take any stock order placed this season. The factory owner should know by the first of August about the restructuring of the company and you will be contacted at that time to see if you wish to go forward. I really hope it all works out for everyone. I have put my heart and my soul into this business venture and I am so sorry that it is my health now creating a problem.
We will keep Jessica Lynn because Cindy will manage it with no difficulty. She has always been my rock and amazes me with her capabilities. I am truly blessed to have her for my sister. I will continue to design the little girl dresses and be involved, mostly from home where I can rest easier.
I know you came on board with Andrew Adela expecting a partnership that would help us both grow and secure our futures.. I expected the same. I feel in my mind as if I have let you down and I hate that, but in my heart and soul you must know that I would never intentionally let any of you down.
This is not what I had planned – it is certainly not what I had envisioned – but it is what I have to accept.
It is with a heavy heart that I end this letter…