Meet Christine Haines Greenberg (B.S. ’09): Urban Set Bride and Hive Wedding Co.

For Black History Month, we’re shining a spotlight on Black alumni business owners. Meet the many grads of VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences that have tapped into their entrepreneurial spirit.
Christine Haines Greenberg

Meet Christine Haines Greenberg, officiant, founder and creative director of Urban Set Bride and Hive Wedding Co., two businesses that she started in 2014. Learn more about the wedding industry and what makes this business owner stand out. 

Can you describe your business and its goal?

I graduated from VCU in 2009 with a degree in English and a double minor in women's studies and political science. I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go in after school, but I fell into the wedding industry by happy accident and it proved to be a perfect space for me to be both type-A and creative, rather than having to pick one asset. I started planning and designing weddings as a part-time hustle, but I had my heart set on owning a clothing boutique for years. Once I got into weddings, the dream of owning a bridal shop entered my head and never left. I continued to grow my wedding planning company, left my full-time corporate job in November 2013 and opened up Urban Set Bride with my mom in March 2014. 

What inspired you to start your company?

Wedding planning was my first love. I was raised an Army brat and my family moved every two years my whole life until college. That experience made me adaptable and able to get along with any type of person, perfect for this career. I could keep clients organized, talk them through stressful choices and also flex my design muscles by bringing their Pinterest vision to reality. 

As I spent more time in the Richmond wedding industry, I noticed that Richmond has so many amazing women/womxn that are creative, savvy, progressive and cool, yet the bridal shops were all super conservative and not welcoming to all. It didn't make any sense and so many of my friends and clients were forced to buy a wedding gown online or travel up to D.C. to go gown shopping. My mom agreed to be my business partner and do a full jump into entrepreneurship and Urban Set Bride was born! 

What is something that you wish you would have known before starting your business?

I wish we knew to start ourselves on payroll instead of taking owner-draws from the company. Running a small business is hard enough, and trying to maintain the discipline to set aside enough money for taxes is very, very challenging. We now pay ourselves through payroll and give ourselves a W-2 and it makes tax time, home ownership, car purchasing, etc. so much easier. 

How did VCU prepare you for this career?

My experience at VCU was integral in having the confidence to create my own career and start multiple businesses. I don't think I'd be the person I am today without my experience at school. VCU taught me to put myself in the shoes of people who aren't as privileged as I am and to go out of our way to include everyone in our business language and marketing efforts. 

What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur? Best part?

I'd say the hardest part is never being able to check out. I have an incredible support team in the bridal shop and talented, hard-working wedding planners to help me keep the ship afloat, but I still manage three businesses and taking a vacation/ignoring my email inbox is not something I've figured out how to do. Over the last 12 years in business, I'm much better at setting boundaries and taking longer stretches of time to focus on my family, friends and free time. But you can never truly close your laptop and check out. At least, I haven't figured out how to yet. 

Where would you like to see your business in 5/10 years?

I'd love to open another location for the bridal shop, still in Richmond but different designers than what we carry currently. I want to continue growing the brand as a whole, especially the wedding planning company (the Hive Wedding Collective.) We just won Richmond's Best Wedding Planners, so I want to maintain that status and hire more planners to join our team. No matter what, I want to make sure we continue to push the Richmond wedding industry to be more inclusive, progressive and innovative. Richmond is too cool of a city to be anything less than that. 

Take a look at the beautiful gowns on Urban Set Bride’s website.