A Fashion Designer Built Her Own Runway to Success
When you think about fashion cities, Milan, Paris, and New York come to mind—but Birmingham, Alabama? Not so much. Heidi Elnora is determined to change that through her eponymous bridal gown design company.
After college, the fashionista was on an exciting path to a fashion career that included moving to Atlanta to work at Carter’s, a children’s clothing brand, and competing on Bravo’s Project Runway. Her journey took a tragic turn when, while driving back from an embroidery mill, she was hit by a drunk driver. The accident landed Elnora back in Birmingham, where her mother, a nurse, helped manage her recovery. While there, Elnora met her husband and made Birmingham her home.
Once fully recovered, Elnora reached out to a local wedding magazine and introduced herself as a bridal gown designer. “I had only designed a single wedding dress in my entire life,” she says. The magazine asked to do a spread on her bridal line, and with that, her wedding gown design business was born. “I wanted to create a niche in the market,” she says. “Something I could be passionate about and that people would cherish.”
Obstacles have been the norm for heidi elnora since its 2006 launch. “You can read as many books as you want, but to create a company that’s truly yours—unique, with its own brand and feel—there’s a lot of trial, error, and prayer,” Elnora says.
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