Planning the perfect wedding day is the dream of many girls at a young age. Find the ideal husband to love forever, make your best friend your maid of honor, and most importantly, find the perfect dress that makes you feel like a princess. Alumna Claire (Lochmondy) Landgraf ’11 got a taste of the glamorous bridal sector before college and knew that being part of wedding memories was something she wanted to do professionally for the rest of her life.
“I came to Holy Cross already having worked in the bridal industry for a number of years, but knowing that I wanted to develop educationally prior to embarking on the path to becoming a business owner,” notes Landgraf. “During my time at Holy Cross, I was able to be a full-time student, while continuing to work within my chosen field. It was a great balance that allowed me to apply what I was learning in real-time and ask questions of my professors regarding specific situations I was encountering on a day-to-day basis.”
While at Holy Cross College, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in business with a minor in English.
“Both concentrations have proven to be incredibly helpful as I have developed and grown my business. Having the ability to communicate concisely with my clients and employees as well as being able to execute a strategic plan for my business has helped me experience success in my field” said Landgraf, owner of Finery Bridal Chic, an exclusive boutique offering a fantastic selection of gowns, veils, and accessories for Southeast Minnesota brides.
Holy Cross College influence
“The internship pillar that Holy Cross requires of their students was invaluable to me, both professionally and personally. I believe my ability to absorb my coursework outside of the classroom increased significantly. By nature, I learn by doing – this guided internship experience was the perfect marriage between classroom learning and real-world exposure,” notes Landgraf. “Additionally, I had the benefit of learning from multiple professors who had experience in the business world. I always knew that I was receiving accurate information that was actually practiced outside the campus. I left Holy Cross feeling so much better equipped to handle myself in a professional environment.”
“I was a student who was registered with Disabled Student Services due to a math-specific learning disability. My confidence coming into Holy Cross College was low, as I had never been in a setting that allowed and encouraged me to learn in a way that catered to my academic needs. After working with my academic advisor and understanding exactly what needed to happen for me to experience success, my confidence grew in a way that I’d previously not thought I was capable of. Holy Cross’ ability to not only understand what I needed as a student, but also adapt to my needs due to their small class size was the recipe for success for me. I still reference adaptive learning techniques in my everyday life that were developed while at Holy Cross College,” said Landgraf.
“With my business being in its third year of operation, growth is the plan for the future. Not only would I love to experience growth in my sales goals and customer experience, but I also aim to see growth in myself, both as a business owner and boss. I am constantly reviewing strategy, customer service models, and leadership goals. My focus is to never stop developing those things so my business stays profitable, relevant, and continues to add to my community,” notes Landgraf, the married mother of a four-year-old daughter with a second child on the way in the spring. “Future goals also include showing my children why my business and my path to business ownership have been so fulfilling.”