“I was and still am a working mom,” says Vatana Watters, founder of the global bridal brand, Watters. As an entrepreneur boasting one of America’s largest female-owned, multi-tiered bridal wear brands, Vatana has combined her two passions: being a mom and a businesswoman. Sydney Dunbar, Vatana’s daughter, recently celebrated her one-year anniversary of working at the family business alongside her mom. In the past year, the dynamic duo’s generational differences have proven to be an asset in Watters’s ability to shake up the bridal fashion industry.
Vatana got her start in the industry when she uprooted from Los Angeles to Dallas in pursuit of penetrating a vastly untapped market. The bold entrepreneur admits that back in 1986 she relied heavily on “word of mouth” marketing techniques, fostered from making personal connections and building relationships with people.
Fast-forward to 2018 and though personal connections still reign supreme, especially in the bridal industry, the digital era has exposed Vatana to a whole new menu of marketing strategies for Vatana and her brand. “We’re finding ways to make what we do faster and get on board with the digital age. It will be uniquely different for us and I feel like it’s taking us to the future,” says Vatana on the current strategy for Watters. “This is something that’s so new to me.” That’s where Sydney comes in.
Spoken as a true millennial, Sydney says of her first year at Watters, “I jumped into the deep end and learned how to swim in multiple areas of business from marketing to product. It’s all about taking this traditional industry and how to make it more modern. I think that’s what I’m here to do.”
Traditional meets contemporary is exactly what you’ll see as you scroll through the three carefully curated bridal wear collections from Watters. From a diverse range of bridesmaids dresses purposefully meant to look less like bridesmaid dresses to the uniquely elegant collection images incorporating avant-garde headpieces and candy apple red gloves; modernization is on the rise from both a design and a digital perspective.
While the full-throttle thrust toward change excites both women, the Yin to the Yang of Watters’s digital progression is the duo’s authenticity. Sydney describes the “Watters Woman” as a modern woman whose day is really all about her vision. Vatana chimes in saying, “And that’s why our mission is to make sure that customers can talk to us. That’s why our digital platform will still be personal. So many things change in our fashion industry but what we can hold on to is that authentic genuine feel that we have a voice.”
Some say ‘out with the old and in with the new,’ but Vatana Watters and Sydney Dunbar of the Watters brand are embracing their mother-daughter bond and celebrating their bridal brand’s heritage while adapting a modern upgrade.