We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Katie Horan. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Katie below.
Hi Katie, thanks for joining us today. What’s the backstory behind how you came up with the idea for your business?
All Bodies, All Brides started as a creative way to merge my interests and return home for the summer! After completing my first year at Princeton University, I knew I needed to return home to my family and my community. My father passed away in March of my spring semester and it was important to me that I was able to spend time with my mother and my brother intentionally and wholeheartedly to heal and encourage eachother. My brother, Mark, is my biggest supporter and number one fan. He is also on the Autism spectrum, and his interactions with the world has shaped my passion for disability justice. Society often mistreats people with disabilities—whether through intentional ableism, lack of accessible resources, or general misinformation about disabilities. I decided from a young age that I wanted to challenge the stigma surrounding what life can look like for people with a disability.
All Bodies, All Brides represents my first independent step to make a difference so as I lead workshops for stores and train staff on elevated protocol promoting accessibility, inclusion, and excellence. This is the first program of its kind for the bridal industry and represents a personalized standard of business consulting that advocates for necessary retail-wide progress. I worked with a team of women from the Alliance of Disability Advocates in North Carolina (ADANC) to come up with my training program and received the sponsorship of the Pace Center for Civic Engagement through my university to secure funding. The first store I was able to offer an All Bodies, All Brides (ABAB) certification is near and dear to my heart—Simply Blush Bridal of Wendell, North Carolina is where I found my love for the bridal industry and was where I spent weekends working in high school. This boutique is located close to my home and it was an honor to be the recipient of guidance from Amy and Tracy, the store’s owners, throughout the summer. The “marriage” of disability advocacy and the bridal industry might seem unconventional at first glance but is something I have come to see as more than necessary. We offer a level of verification and comfort to guests that regardless of their backgrounds or physical appearance, they can be properly assisted within the walls of the business. While buying a wedding dress is an exciting experience, many people feel anxious about the dress search. The ABAB certification aims to quell a bride’s fears and offer them certainty that their needs will be met
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Katie Horan and I am the founder and lead coordinator of All Bodies, All Brides. I am Canadian by birth but Southern at heart, having spent most of my childhood in North Carolina. Currently, I am attending Princeton University and pursing my bachelor’s degree in order to pursue my passion for disability advocacy. I fell in love with bridal when I was 16 and have over 3 years of experience in the industry. All Bodies, All Brides is a product of the merging of these two very diverse passions: disability justice and bridal! Our mission is to bring exceptional accessibility to bridal boutiques or stores alike through a custom-tailored training experience. Expect one’s team to emerge better prepared to provide exceptional appointments to all guests. Our program ensures that companies are wheel-chair minded, equipped for overstimulation, language-inclusive, and designed to make finding or designing a dress the perfect experience!
Are there any books, videos, essays or other resources that have significantly impacted your management and entrepreneurial thinking and philosophy?
Absolutely! “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist” by Judith Heumann was greatly impactful in my understanding of what it means to be a disabled person. When I first read it in 2021, I was blown away by the legendary work that Judith Heumann was able to accomplish. As a young woman, Judith was already making strides. A leader in organizing sit-ins that led to the creation of Section 504, she rolled her wheelchair through the doors of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in San Francisco in the longest takeover of a governmental building in American history. Heumann successfully advocated against the Carter administration for the creation of the ADA and organized masses of disabled people in a way that had never before been seen.
I think Judith Heumann’s autobiography helped inform the philosophy I utilize in my daily business model of amplifying disabled voices and narratives. It is my desire to not only call for accessible changes I believe should occur in the bridal industry, but also to amplify the pleas and requests of people with disabilities authentically.
What’s been the best source of new clients for you?
Social media has been my largest source of clients! Creating interactive reels and informative content helps to show followers the All Bodies, All Brides stands for something substantial and has fun doing it. Feel free to follow us @allbodiesallbrides!
- Website: https://allbodiesallbrides.com
- Instagram: @allbodiesallbrides
Krissie of KStarsPhotography