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Talking Shop with Gina Jansen, owner of the Andrew Jackson Bridal & Tuxedo
Gina Jansen has been helping brides and grooms plan for that special day for more than 20 years as owner of The Andrew Jackson Bridal & Tuxedo. She worked at the store for several years before purchasing it from Tom Schulte 20 years ago this month. Through the years, she has expanded the store's selection to include bridal and prom dresses. Jansen also organizes the annual Own the Night prom show set for this Sunday at the Plaza Conference Center in Cape Girardeau.
Q: The Andrew Jackson has been a fixture on the corner of High Street in uptown Jackson since the 1970s. How has it grown and changed through the years?
A: It was a men's formal wear shop in the beginning. I brought prom in first and then bridal. I knew I had to do it at a snail's pace. I knew that I needed to venture into the bridal arena, but I didn't know where to start. Needless to say, I figured it out. We work very hard at getting to know our customers and getting them what they want.
Q: How important is the gown when it comes to planning a wedding?
A: We have a variety of gowns. From the beginning and still today, it's really all about the gown. It sets the tone of the wedding. Our motto is "Be Original, Be an Andrew Jackson Bride." We don't have one dress in every size, but we do have a unique set of gowns that fit our brides' personalities. I get to know these girls, we become friends, and I want to see them out and say, "Hey guys, are you still honeymooning it?"
Q: What's the biggest challenge to owning your own business?
A: I really do love what I do. I am so blessed to have this job. I really do wear a lot of hats from window designs to buying gowns at market to a janitor. Somebody has to take the trash out. It's a challenging job. Everything comes at you at once. We have two shows coming up in January, tons of inventory arriving and a lot of customers looking for that special something. Whether it be a prom-goer, grooms trying to find just the right look without breaking their buddys' backs, and brides looking for that unique dress to match a pair of boots.
Q: How have fashion trends and tastes changed over the years?
A: In one day you can have a girl wanting something very simple to a girl wanting all over lace. Everything comes back around, too. Lace went away and now it's back.
Q: How did the concept for the Own the Night prom show, now in its second year, come about?
A: There were bridal shows in the area that included prom, but they're really just two very different markets. A prom-goer can spend just as much money as a bride. They buy dresses, flowers, get their hair and make up done, they go to restaurants.