Sandra Gonzalez

FOUNDER / CREATIVE DIRECTOR - SPARKLE BRIDAL COUTURE

As Founder & Creative Director of SPARKLE bridal couture, I am passionate about empowering curvy women to accept their natural beauty and to feel beautiful, confident and fabulous on their wedding day and beyond. Prior to founding SPARKLE, I managed sales and marketing at my mother's bridal salon, which she owned for nearly 20 years. That experience combined with my previous position in the wine industry helped me understand the role of service and hospitality when working with clients and our community.

What are you best known for?

We are best known for the fit, construction and design of our collection. We work with design teams to assemble a collection of high-quality gowns that flatter every curve and create flattering proportion for full-figured women. We have the largest selection of plus size gowns on the West Coast, and being the first plus size bridal salon on the West Coast has helped us gain more insight and feedback from our clients and team. On a personal note, I am also known for being a fair person, owner and business person. And I can dance a mean wobble, when necessary! LOL!

What or who has influenced your design aesthetic the most?

This may make others laugh, but I really have to say Miss Piggy is the "person" who has inspired me the most when it comes to fashion. Don't get me wrong, Coco Chanel is my favorite all-time designer. But when I was a little girl, there were NO plus-size role models on TV, magazines or movies. The only plus size character I could relate to was Miss Piggy - she was confident, fabulous and always looked on-point! She was perfectly coiffed, nails done, had the most stylish clothes and beautiful hats. As a kid, I had to wear boys "husky" size clothes. But I loved fashion, so I learned to sew my own clothes (since there were no stylish clothes for me at that time). So seeing her on the screen wearing cute ensembles and looking polished was inspirational! She expected nothing less than the best, she did not make her size an issue that limited her confidence or sense of being. Seeing her tapped into my love of fashion that felt inside of me, but didn't know how to express or relate to. So needless to say I totally obsessed over the Queen MP! Now as the owner of SPARKLE bridal couture, I follow that same aesthetic in our collections. Our curvy brides deserve the BEST, designs that ANY woman would be proud to wear and we help full-figure brides look on-point on their most special day! Our brides should not have to apologize to anyone for showing off their curves, arms, hips, bust, etc. we want them to feel beautiful, confident and fabulous! It would be a total dream to meet Miss Piggy someday!!

What inspired you to become a designer?

What motivated me to become a bridal salon owner is much of what has been stated above. In addition to helping curvy women look and feel fabulous on their special day, it was my mother that motivated and inspired me to open my bridal salon. Being the daughter of immigrants, it was important for me to continue the legacy of what my mother started. She owned her bridal salon for nearly 20 years, and though my salon has a different focus/niche, I do feel it is a testament to her hard work, an honor of her legacy and all she taught me that motivates me to keep growing my business to help women.