Working in Clark County: Crystal Payne, bridal consultant

By Mary Ricks, Columbian news assistant



Working in Clark County

Working in Clark County, a brief profile of interesting Clark County business owners or a worker in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. Send ideas to Mary Ricks:; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.

Crystal Payne worked for Hilton Reservations Worldwide in Vancouver. She liked her job, but they closed the call center and she was unemployed. She started working as a bridal consultant at The Hostess House/Bridal Arts Building 10 years ago. I have learned a lot from the brides and from my mistakes, but I have a job I love, she said.

Name: Crystal Payne.

Job/employer: Bridal consultant and manager of The Hostess House/Bridal Arts Building, 10017 N.E. Sixth Ave.

Age: 46.

Education/professional background: I graduated from Columbia River High School and attended business college in Georgia. I served in the Army for four years and two years in the reserves. I returned to Vancouver and worked for Hilton Reservations Worldwide. After they closed the call center I needed a job. That was 10 years ago. And for the last eight years I have also been the manager of the Bridal Arts Building.

I was not technically trained for the job but have learned a lot from the brides and from my mistakes. Brides come in with no idea of what they want. They may have seen a dress on a television show and they want that particular dress. I can usually find something a bride likes. We have 1,000 gowns in the shop from five manufacturers and are one of the few shops that carries plus-sized gowns up to size 32.

Bridezillas: I haven't had to deal with bridezillas. The biggest problem is usually the mother of the bride. Some mothers are trying to live through their daughter, and some brides don't want to disappoint their mother.

Residence: Hazel Dell.

One word to describe yourself: Outgoing.

Most rewarding part of job: I just love seeing a happy bride.

Most challenging part of job: When a bride feels she is the only one with a particular problem I try to reassure her that she is OK and everything will work out. Some get quite upset and think they are the only one with a problem.

Odd brides: Sometimes a guy will come in to try on a dress and have photos taken because he has lost a bet and this is his punishment. Of course, nothing fits. They are embarrassed, but we just play along with them.

Personal/business philosophy: Don't panic unless you see me panic. And I don't panic.

Something you would like to do over: There isn't anything I want to do over. Since I have been here, everything I have learned has been positive. I have learned so many things. I am involved in the hiring and the training and love working the bridal shows.

My Clark County community: I miss the old Hazel Dell with the country fields and the livestock. Now we have lots of new buildings. I realize that it is progress, but everything is so fast-paced now.

Favorite restaurant/pub/coffee shop/store: I usually go to Starbucks in the Salmon Creek Safeway and I like Billygan's Roadhouse restaurant.

Hobbies: I recently started walking for recreation and did my first half marathon last month. My youngest son is 7, and he has started walking with me.

Volunteer activities: I volunteer with Special Olympics at the Bite of Oregon.

Favorite travel destination: Lincoln City, Ore.

Most interesting play/movie/arts event: My whole family loved the Michael Jackson show by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.

One thing you want to do this year: Purchase a home.

Something you want to do within five years: I would like to visit the Caribbean.

Person you'd most like to meet: Oprah.