Xtraordinary Person Jan. 2017

Deedee Vicory is a resilient woman who at first glance intimidated me. There was something about her that grasped my attention and, that is when I immediately knew that Deedee had something in her that shined. She is a confident woman with a strong presence and wit. 

Last summer I had the privilege of hosting Deedee Vicory, D’Lola Couture, at the Lost in a Garden of Roses, fashion show.   The fashion show was held amongst a beautiful rose garden and presented an array of elegant gowns by some of Denver’s top designers.   As one of the hosts of the show I had the pleasure of meeting with Deedee prior to the show at her boutique. As soon as I walked into D’Lola Couture I felt at ease and I started dreaming about my future wedding. The gowns were exquisitely presented and I was simply in awe. The jaw dropping didn’t stop at her store though; the evening of the fashion show was simply enchanting.  Deedee presented her wedding gowns and it was as if I was in a dream. As every model made their way around the rose garden, the elegant gowns flowed with such delicacy, simplicity and an essence of love.   As I was observing from behind the scenes, I also caught a glimpse at Deedee and how she marveled at her gowns. I saw tears begin to fall out and the humbleness she exuded as she made her way down the runway with her gowns. It was mind blowing.  The experience I had with Deedee from the Lost in a Garden of Roses, Fashion Show is what ultimately led me to want to get to know her more and interview her.

Deedee has been in the Bridal fashion industry since 1993. It wasn’t until 2010 that she created her line, D’Lola Couture.  Deedee only uses the finest materials for her gowns. For example, she uses Spanish lace and French lace and many other textiles to create her masterpieces.  Along with bridal gowns, Deedee also has a runway collection in which she mentions that she gets to be a “little more creative”. As a young girl, Deedee used to create bridal gowns for her friends Barbie’s. It was one of her favorite things to do.  When Deedee was just 8 years old she created a Christmas skirt. She mentions that she felt so proud to have made it on an interview with local Denver publication. It is evident that Deedee’s passion for fashion has been created into a life reality in which she has managed to be a successful business owner.

Deedee has owned a bridal store for many years.  This experience ultimately built the foundation for Deedee to start her own line. She states that she has always been business savvy and thinks about the future of her business before making crucial decisions.  Deedee Vicory was also a sales director for Mary Kay for about 9 years. She states that she learned a lot about the business world through Mary Kay and that she has applied things learned in her business today.

Deedee Vicory is a self-made woman that comes from humble beginnings. She is a Colorado native who was born to very young parents. Her father did not play a huge role in her life and her mother passed away when she was 15 years old.  Living in and out of group homes, Deedee was eventually taken in by her grandmother.  Deedee’s grandmother was her greatest role model. She influenced Deedee by making her believe that she could do anything, as long as she put work in and stayed faithful to what she wanted to achieve.   Deedee said that her grandmother supported her in creating a strong backbone for herself by teaching her to be independent and strong.  It is amazing to see how family backgrounds impact designers, similar to Deedee, Diane Von Furstenberg was heavily influenced by her mother’s strength which ultimately inspired Diane and gave her the strength to be the woman she wanted to be.

The biggest impact for Deedee was when she started seeing her results. With the support of her husband who believed in her enough to open her own store, she started sewing dresses. It was remarkable to her to see that people liked what she created and were purchasing her products. She was amazed at the amount of support she would receive outside of her family, as customers referred her to other customers. As I was listening to Deedee’s answer to this question over the phone I could hear the excitement in her voice, it was almost as if she couldn’t believe it was a reality.

Finances had a huge influence in Deedee’s fashion business.  There were times where she felt she wasn’t going to make it but her backbone allowed her to find the courage to realize that she could push through. In this industry, she states that you can never anticipate enough finances. A seamstress by trade, Deedee is considered to be a master seamstress.  She refers to herself as a “sew ninja” because she can sew very fast and produce quality garments. Deedee takes pride in her craft, and worked very hard being a seamstress because she knew that getting a loan was not an option.  Her talents set her up for success as it ultimately funded her being able to open up her own storefront and brand, D’Lola Couture.   In a way, Deedee somewhat had a lean startup model as she had a minimal viable service, creating custom wedding gowns. She was already a seamstress and little by little as she made wedding dresses and started getting referrals which helped her grow and save the money she needed, she did not have to get investors or a loan.

When it was time to create a logo for her company, a lot of thought was put into the process. She did not want her name on the brand because she wanted future designers to be able to feel like they could design for her label and still feel proud of her design because there is a sense of unity.  The D in D’Lola stands for Deedee and it’s a larger D due to the fact that she has grown so much as a person and continues to grow. Lola represents her mother, as that is what they used to call her.  In my marketing in fashion course with Dr. Kerviler Gwarlann, she taught us the importance of branding and creating a story. It is evident that Deedee began to do this with her logo as it speaks family history and growth, while still being simple, classic and elegant. Ultimately, she is speaking the story of a bride through her logo as all brides have a family history, and their marriage is a huge stepping stone to them growing as individuals.

Deedee uses the loss of her mother as a strong backbone to her work ethic.  From that experience, she learned how to be independent at a very young age.  Her grandmother taught her to embrace and love her life, no matter what circumstances she found herself in.  She said, don’t worry about what you don’t have and go get what you want.   

Deedee is an introvert by nature.  To be in the spotlight is something that does not come easily to her.  Trust has always played a key role in Deedee’s life as well.  Deedee states that it takes time and effort to trust someone, but once it is there, she is a faithful and loyal friend. Deedee focuses solely on bridal dresses, because it is her expertise and what she says, her calling as she used to design Barbie wedding dresses (mentioned earlier) for her friends when she was a child.   I would describe Deedee as a strong, creative, introverted, attentive entrepreneur full of life and happiness.

“For the bride that can’t decide,” this is Deedee’s ultimate business. Deedee brings great value to her clients. Her proposition is for the girls that can’t just fit in at any other store. These girls aren’t too excited about the cookie cutter dress.  These girls are confident in their own skin. But deciding on a wedding dress is hard work, and it often results in going to store after store, making it harder for a customer to be able to make a decision on which dress best fits their needs and wants. Deedee tries to make the future bride comfortable in her wedding dress.  Her goal is to make her clients feel absolutely beautiful and sexy, no matter what her styling preferences are.  One of Deedee’s competitive advantages is that she has worked with women her whole life. That is all she knows. She understands women and she can read a woman just by seeing her.  She says women are beautiful and so interesting. This insight is what helps her differentiate her products among the rest of her market.   I believe that Deedee’s customer value proposition is extremely successful in that she will always be fulfilling a need for many brides to come.  Brides come in all shapes and sizes, they are all different and the fact that Deedee can make a gown just as unique as the bride, goes a long way.

Written by Fashion Forward Correspondent, Leticia Rose MSc Fashion Management

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Photos by Teddy Gomez / Xposer Photography