Philadelphia Bridal’s best-kept secret, Priscilla Costa, caters to a niche market of women looking for unique and authentic dresses. Priscilla Costa is the 36 year-old founder and head designer of the bridal boutique, Priscilla Costa Bridal, located in the City of Brotherly Love. “I always felt kind of lost when it came to my occupation but when I found fashion I was focused on learning the craft of designing” said Priscilla, “I became passionate about designing and for the first time I was fully focused on something.”
Priscilla is both a businesswoman and a designer. She has an online presence with an array of social media accounts and a blog with monthly posts pertaining to her current fashion contributions. At her studio she collaborates with clients to design and create custom made dresses along with offering alterations, selling her line of couture wedding dresses and bridal accessories.
Her custom-made gowns start at two thousand dollars and the process is both interactive and unique for women seeking to have a one-of-a-kind gown. She collaborates with her clients from the first consultation to the final fitting that build strong customer relationships.“I cannot thank you enough for thinking up, designing, and crafting such a perfect wedding dress” said Priscilla’s client, Julie Berger, “It was gorgeous, fun, light, playful- everything I had ever dreamed of and more. You were so wonderful to work with and made the entire process both easy and special.”
Priscilla spoke about her journey of getting into designing wedding dresses as a “very organic experience.” Priscilla grew up with her family in Brazil and her mother was an atelier who owned her own shop. “My mother never made me feel like I had to follow her footsteps” said Priscilla, “instead she pushed me to choose a different career path since she knew the fashion industry was so competitive.”
Priscilla came to the states in 2002 with her husband. She had a degree in economics but she didn’t speak any English. She took many classes to learn the language and decided to change career paths and go to community college to get her associates degree in nursing. At the end of 2005, while she was on the waiting list for clinical, she started working with her mother doing fittings but had no intention of staying.
In 2009, her interest for the craft of designing increased and it was the turning point in her life. She bought books on pattern making, sewing, and draping and self taught herself at her home studio. She always felt kind of lost and wrong in her prior endeavors but when she started designing wedding dresses that received positive feedback she became truly passionate and for the first time she was fully focused on a career. In 2012 she opened her first studio boutique and offered custom made dresses to clients in the Philadelphia area. Her journey into the fashion industry caused her to truly find herself and in her words she “can’t see herself doing anything else.”
The future for Priscilla Costa Bridal looks very bright as she is currently in the process of creating a couture wedding dress collection for fall of 2016. She has never had a real business plan but she believes she needs to become more competitive in the retail aspect since only a certain amount of women want/ can afford custom made dresses.
“Before I felt like I wasn’t good enough or ready to sell at bridal shops” said Priscilla, “I now know my market really well and I have the system down and resources I need in order to deliver what I have to sell.” Her next step is reaching out to bridal shops in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware to feature her collection in trunk shows or sell her dresses in shops that share a similar aesthetic. Everyone be on the lookout for Priscilla Costa Bridal, her custom made couture dresses may just be coming to a store near you!
By: Erin Reagan
Philadelphia University// Social Media Intern at Priscilla Costa Bridal