File 3 - Attire Bridal magazine

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File 3 - Attire Bridal magazine
$77,5(
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 ISSUE 39
FOCUS ON
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The Essential
Collection
Exclusive trade
show update
HAIR FLAIR
Trend-setting
accessories
MODA
PREVIEW
SHOES
WITH
SOUL
Plus
Perfect party
pieces
Business
advice
News and events
Retail technology
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Regulars
16
Industry news
Our round-up of the latest bridal
collections and trade events
40
Shop window
Annie Cannock puts together a gold
product palette, perfect for a seasonal
window display
42
Retailer report 2013
Three retailers, all with varying levels
of experience in the bridal industry, tell
us how their businesses have fared over
the past 12 months, and their
expectations for 2014
45
46
76
The collections
The Fashion Files
51
Stand on ceremony
The spring/summer 2014 collections
offer ample opportunity to showcase
the legs with these cute cropped gowns
57
PR & marketing
Nicola Russill-Roy, Founder of
Wedding PR specialist agency Propose
PR, reveals how bridal businesses can
maximise their marketing budgets
The collections
The perfect accessories to match our
two key bridal themes
58
ACID
Dids MacDonald, CEO of AntiCopying in Design, advises
how you can protect your designs
It’s in the detail
Slinky gowns featuring beads, crystals
and textured fabrics ensure all eyes are
on the bride
Columns
Hine Insurance
Rachael Carrington explains what to
do in the event of a break-in, and offers
some expert advice on preventing
in-store theft
84
David Mackley
An informative guide to
Google Updates
101
Twitter update
We bring you all the hottest news, stats
and facts from our followers
40
57
Shop window
34
Retail Bridalwear Association
New Chair of the RBA, Nicola Garton,
reports on the association’s recent
away day
66
Xedo Software Ltd
Raymond O’Hare examines the ways
that social media can enhance
your offering to brides
93
Richards Designs Ltd
Louise Dicks offers her advice on some
of the best ways to clear unwanted
stock and ex-samples
106
The White Closet
Eve Broadhurst, Creative Director and
Co-Owner of The White Closet,
discusses the challenges of selling on
bridal gown samples
106
The White
Closet
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81 64
Focus
on prom
Up and
coming
Features
69
97
27
Special occasion
accessories
36
38
Diane
Harbridge
Profiles
Hair decorations
We ask leading accessories suppliers to
reveal the key design elements for the
season ahead
74
Venus Bridal
With an impressive 14 ranges in its
portfolio, Venus Bridal promises retailers
a gown for every budget
Collection focus
Talented accessories designer, Victoria
Swan, talks us through her latest
glamorous 1920s-inspired bridal line
97
Diane Harbridge
This classically elegant bridal label is less
than two years old. Turn to page 97 to
find out how it all began
Retailer interview
Six years after opening their Midlandsbased bridal boutique, Wedding Belles
of Four Oaks, Melanie Storer and
Claire Jackson reveal all about
24
their recent award nomination
Shows
27
Hair decorations
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64
Up and coming
88
We find out about Tabitha, a new label
dedicated to providing retailers with
creative yet commercial gowns for
their brides
69
Fancy that
We showcase some sensational
clutch bags and shoes to provide
the perfect finishing touch for any
special occasion
78
Retailer profile
Best friends Hollie Needham and
Emma Swain are passionate about their
bridal business, Derbyshire-based Nora
& Eve which they opened in 2012
81
Focus on prom
We take a look at the ever-changing
market for glamorous prom wear
90
Email marketing
Martin Barnes from Create Click
explains how to get started on
your own email campaigns
The Essential Collection 2014
Exclusive preview of this top trade show
Moda
Taking place in February, we preview one
of the UK’s leading fashion trade fairs
24
The Essential
Collection
Editor’s letter
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014
Image courtesy of Venus Bridal
+44 (0)113 256 9627
www.venusbridaluk.com
MANAGING EDITOR
Georgina Cassels
DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR
Lauren Dowey
EDITOR
Demelza Rayner
+44 (0)1376 535 609
[email protected]
SUB EDITOR
Louise Prance
SALES MANAGER
Robert Clark
+44 (0)1376 514 000
[email protected]
SALES EXECUTIVE
Jan Griffin
+44 (0)1376 535 612
[email protected]
PRODUCTION MANAGER
Scott Brothwell
[email protected]
+44 (0)1376 535 616
DEPUTY PRODUCTION
MANAGER
Sarah Barnes
SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Vicky O’Connor
GRAPHIC DESIGNERS
Rebecca Clarke, Samantha Lock,
Charlotte Brown
WEB DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
Stuart Weatherley
SUBSCRIPTIONS
Kay Tilbury, Tammy Watt
+44 (0)1376 514 000
KD Media Publishing Limited
Pantile House Newlands Drive
Witham, Essex CM8 2AP
www.attirebridal.com
$77,5(
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This chic shoulder bag from Leko
adds a touch of Gatsby glitz to any
special occasion.
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PǸȰȨȽȝɕɜɄȃȰ
Maintaining an elegant and attractive shop interior,
with pristine gowns and sparkling accessories is
key to creating the right atmosphere for your brides.
In order to achieve this; however, ex-samples and
unwanted stock need to be moved on efficiently,
ethically and without compromising existing displays.
In this issue, Louise Dicks offers her advice on
deciding when to move stock on, how to keep
it looking its best for longer and simple ways to
streamline the process. We also hear from Eve
Broadhurst, Co-Owner of The White Closet, on how she manages the
cycle of incoming and outgoing samples.
With the onset of the new year, thoughts turn to the key trade shows
for 2014, beginning with one of the UK’s leading fashion events in
February – Moda. We also exclusively reveal the latest exhibitors to sign
up to The Essential Collection, taking place from 6th-8th July, 2014, as
well as announcing two of our seminar speakers.
Finally, we speak to three retailers, with varying levels of experience,
to find out how they fared in 2013. The results demonstrate that
independents with passion, know-how and tenacity have the drive to
succeed, even in the most difficult marketplace.
Fashion file 1
on page 51
Enjoy reading,
ȐȹȐȵɺǸ
Demelza Rayner
Editor
ISSN 1758-0072
Attire Bridal is solely owned, published
and designed by KD Media Publishing
Limited. Whilst every effort was
made to ensure the information in
this magazine was correct at the
time of going to press, the publishers
cannot accept legal responsibility for
any errors or omissions, nor can they
accept responsibility of the standing
of advertisers nor by the editorial
contributions. The views expressed
do not necessarily reflect those of the
publisher. Attire Bridal is published
six times a year. Subscription rates for
overseas readers are £75 per annum
(incl. p+p), Cheques should be made
out to KD Media Publishing Limited
and sent to Attire Bridal @ Pantile
House, Newlands Drive, Witham,
Essex CM8 2AP.
Window dressing
on page 40
Average Net
Circulation: 3,162
The Essential
Collection on
page 24
01/07/2012 - 30/06/2013
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Industry news
Read on for the latest
innovations and events
in the bridal industry.
Rupert The Tailor offers a fresh
approach to formalwear
Retailers with space restrictions may be interested
in a new approach to bespoke formalwear
purchasing offered by Rupert The Tailor.
With a simple online measuring system, the
firm’s tailor is at your disposal. As a stockist,
you need very little outlay on stock: a smart suit
or tailcoat and a swatch of fabrics is all that’s
required to begin selling this to the men in the
wedding party.
With fast turn-around time (three to four
weeks delivery), and a wide variety of sizes, styles
and colours, Rupert The Tailor prides itself on
its flexible working ethic. For further details
telephone +44 (0)1335 361 287 or visit the
website at www.rupertthetailor.co.uk.
Blossom Tiaras releases
2014 collection
Blossom Tiaras has just unveiled its romantic
2014 accessories collection, comprising delicate
organza flower combs and side head pieces.
In addition, to complement the everpopular vintage collection, Blossom Tiaras has
introduced large, soft hair flowers for statement
headwear. There’s also a range of beautiful
British-designed hair jewels with elastic fastening
for versatility.
For further details simply visit the website at
www.blossom.co.uk.
Diane Harbridge creates 15 new
designs for The Essential Collection
First-time exhibitor, Diane Harbridge, has revealed
that she will be designing 15 exclusive new gowns for
The Essential Collection, taking place from 6th-8th July,
2014, at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.
“I’m looking forward to showing my designs at
The Essential Collection in July – many retailers have
already expressed their interest in visiting me at the
event,” she says. “The timing of The Essential Collection
means that the new dresses will be delivered to stockists
in early October, ready for the busy season ahead.”
To view Diane Harbridge’s latest collection, visit
www.dianeharbridge.com. To find out more about The
Essential Collection, visit www.tec2014.com.
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News & events
Debbie Carlisle unveils the
Adagio collection
Fresh from Debbie Carlisle is a range of
nine stunning headpieces and 22 pairs of
earrings. Inspired by the grace and beauty
of the ballet, pieces range from simple,
elegant hair combs and headbands to
statement headpieces, unusual hair jewels
and circlets.
Prices range from £15 to £85 for
earrings and from £30 to £165 for
headpieces, so the collection offers
something for brides of all budgets.
Debbie said: “The Adagio collection
includes some of my most versatile
headpieces yet. In particular, the Ophelia
and Darcey circlet halos are real multitaskers which can be worn on the crown
or the side of the head, or even pinned
into place as a striking double-strand
forehead band.”
For details about the collection, contact
Debbie at [email protected] or
log on to www.dcbouquets.co.uk.
TONY BROMILOW SIGNS UP FOR 2014 MARATHON
Tony Bromilow, agent for bridal accessories brand, Miranda Templeton, will be running his first London Marathon
next year in aid of Children with Cancer UK.
Speaking about his decision to run in 2014, Tony says: “I watched the marathon this year from the comfort of my
sofa and decided there and then that I was going to participate in the 2014 event.” He continues: “I’m running to
achieve a personal goal, but also to help raise money for a very worthy cause – Children with Cancer UK. This is an
amazing charity and one that helps so many families through what must be a very traumatic time.”
Tony aims to raise at least £5,000 for the charity and is currently organising a number of fund-raising events. If
you would like to sponsor Tony, simply visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TonyBromilow
Award win for hat shop
The Simply Devine Hat Shop won the Retailer of the Year
Award at the Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards
Event sponsored by Barclays. The ceremony was held at The
Queens Hotel in Leeds on 15th November, 2013, with over 400
business women in attendance.
Liz Devine-Wright had been a previous finalist in the
Awards. She and her mother Joy set up Simply Devine in
2004 as a destination hat store. By 2006, they had expanded
into online selling, sending their hats, fascinators and
hatinators worldwide.
Joy retired in 2011, and the business has since introduced
a mother of the bride and groom boutique which perfectly
complements the hat and fascinator business. Core clients
are race-goers and wedding guests, as well as those who
simply want to stand out from the crowd. The retail award
was presented to Liz Devine-Wright by Sharon Pegg of the
Co-Operative Bank.
Liz says: “I’m bursting with pride and am delighted to
receive this prestigious award, especially with it being so close
to our 10th anniversary!”
For further details, visit www.simplydevine.co.uk.
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[email protected]@?<I?
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[email protected](
CREATING EXCLUSIVE LUXURY
WEDDING DRESSES AND BRIDAL GOWNS
01323 741419
E-MAIL [email protected]
WWW.QIANABRIDAL.CO.UK
News & events
New site gains retailer following
Created to tackle the growing problem of online wedding gown
counterfeiting, Bridal Traders is proving to be a popular solution
to help retailers sell off ex-samples by driving brides back into store.
Speaking about the site, Graham Bartlett says: “I think we’ll
see some major developments before the end of the year as we’re
starting our search engine optimisation (SEO) work. It seems to be
taking effect as we’re now appearing on related google searches.”
He adds: “We have to ensure that all retailers are maximising
their selling space so when a bride visits there will be around 2,500
items to view.”
For further information, visit www.bridaltraders.co.uk.
VOWS Awards 2013 winners announced
A number of Scottish businesses have been crowned
winners at this year’s Scottish Wedding Industry
Awards – The VOWS Awards – which took place on
Monday 25th November.
Established in 2004, the VOWS Awards are voted
by customers and recognise those companies offering
consistently excellent customer service within the
Scottish wedding industry.
This year’s event took place at the Corn Exchange
in Edinburgh where guests enjoyed a Vegas-themed
dinner and ceremony hosted by comedian Des Clarke.
VOWS Awards judge, Graeme Atha of The
Marketing Society Scotland, said: “It was clear from
the business review forms that every shortlisted
company offers excellent customer service. When
combined with the mystery shopper results, there were some clear winners, but every
company shortlisted should take pride in the recognition of the excellent customer
service they provide.”
Among the winners were Rene Walrus, winner of best bridal accessories, Rachel
Scott Bridal Couture, recipient of the award for best bridal dress boutique and
Lindsay Fleming Couture, winner of best bridal dress designer.
Voting for the VOWS Aawards 2014 is now open. For futher details, visit
www.vowsawards.co.uk.
Little Eglantine releases its new collection
Following the creation of
exquisite flower girl dresses
and page boy outfits for the
wedding of the Prince Felix
of Luxembourg, Little
Eglantine has released its
latest collection of four
original hand-made dresses.
This year, the new
2014 collection is all
about softness and light.
Comprising four dresses –
Chloé, Alix, Caroline and
Daphné – the collection
recalls the spirit and
French know-how of haute
couture. All the dresses
can fit little girls from 18
months to eight-years-old.
For more information visit www.littleeglantine.com.
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Social media success for bridal boutique
A Northamptonshire-based bridal company has been recognised in the first
ever Citrus Awards, celebrating the firm’s innovative use of social media to
grow their business.
Charlotte Harley Bridal Couture, based at the Heart of the Shires
shopping village near Weedon, was named the winner of the Most
Innovative Use of Social Media category at the glittering ceremony held at
Kilworth House.
In less than two years, the company has built a loyal and interactive
fan base on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, encouraging readers to
recommend the company to their friends and family.
Charlotte Harley-Hipkiss, owner of Charlotte Harley Bridal Couture,
says: “It was amazing to win and fantastic to be recognised. We’re tucked
away in a small courtyard in a rural location so social media enables us
to compete.”
The awards attracted entrants from across the country and from a wide
range of industries.
Daniel Owens, of organisers Orange Juice Communications, said: “We
were overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of entries. Judging was an
incredibly difficult process but we were unanimous in our conclusion that
the team at Charlotte Harley Bridal Couture was a worthy winner.”
For more details on Charlotte Harley Bridal Couture visit the website
www.weddingdressnorthamptonshire.com
Caroline Atelier secures bridal distributor
twobirds Bridesmaid launches new tones
Lark Bridal Ltd has become the exclusive global distributor of the
award-winning bridal designer, Caroline Atelier. The firm will begin
an international marketing
campaign in 2014,
introducing the couture
Caroline Atelier collection
to a network of top class
bridal boutiques across
Europe, the Middle East and
North America.
Caroline Atelier is already
stocked in a number of
luxury bridal boutiques
across Ireland, Northern
Ireland and the UK, and
further stockists will be
appointed in the coming
12 months.
For further details visit
www.larkbridal.com.
twobirds Bridesmaid,
the multi-award winning
company for stylish
bridesmaid gowns, has
announced the addition of
four stunning new colours.
Offering a contemporary
twist on traditional pastel
shades, duck egg, heather,
mint and peach are now
available to retailers.
The twobirds
bridesmaid gowns are
available in a choice of
25 on-trend colourways,
from vintage pastel shades
to monochrome chic and
contemporary colour pops.
For further details
visit www.twobirds
bridesmaid.co.uk.
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www.venusbridal.co.uk
0113 256 9627
&KULVWLQD5RVVL
Exclusive stockist areas still available
For a brochure and price list
please call or email
01224 228665 or 07717 208614
[email protected]
News & events
David Charles unveils
2014 collection
British designer, David Charles,
has created a beautiful collection
of trend-led bridesmaid dresses
for 2014. Bright shades are key,
with wild pink, lime and turquoise
presenting a riot of colour.
The accessories range has
also expanded, consisting of
coordinating handbags, hair bands,
clips, combs and jewellery.
Visit www.davidcharles.co.uk to
find out more.
bira announces High Street Conference and
Gala Awards 2014
Britten signs up four new stockists
Vintage-inspired accessories brand, Britten, has announced its
2014 Libertie collection is to be stocked in four new UK bridal
boutiques from December 2013 – Blackburn Bridal Couture,
Luella’s Boudoir, Serendipity Brides and The Wedding Club. The
retailers have all been handpicked by the Britten team to reflect its
philosophy of offering brides timeless luxury with a focus on quality
and personalised service.
To find out more, visit www.brittenweddings.co.uk.
The British Independent Retailers Association (bira) has announced the
details of its next annual High Street Conference, which will take place on
Thursday 15th May, 2014 at Four Pillars Hotel, Cotswold Water Park.
The conference will discuss matters concerning independent retailers from
across the retail sector and will offer advice and information on areas such as:
how to power sales, reduce overheads, boost profits and the pros and cons of
going global or staying local.
The event will offer independent retailers an unrivalled opportunity to
network, share insights and problems with like-minded retailers, suppliers
and service partners throughout the day. The conference interlinks with the
bira direct Suppliers Conference and service partners will be invited to talk
about the benefits and preferential deals offered to bira members.
The event will reach a climax in celebrating the successes of inspirational
young retailers within the UK, key suppliers and charitable champions of the
retail industry at the Gala Awards Dinner later that evening.
To register an interest and receive exclusive information about the event
programme as it develops, visit www.highstreetconference.co.uk.
Other key events on the bira calendar for 2014 include CHA
Independents Day, which takes place on Monday 24th March at Eckington
Manor and the Retail Study Tour in New York in June 2014.
To keep up to date with the bira events calendar visit the events section of
the bira website ‒ www.bira.co.uk/events.
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2014
Now in its fourth year, The Essential Collection is the must-attend bridal trade event for retailers
seeking early delivery of next season’s collections.
TH
TH
6 -8 JULY 2014
Taking place once again at Stoneleigh Park
Exhibition and Conference Centre in
Warwickshire, this year the bridal wear offering
is stronger than ever. Diane Harbridge will
be appearing at The Essential Collection for
the first time and has designed 15 new pieces
especially for the event. She says: “I’m looking
forward to showing for the first time at The
Essential Collection in July – retailers have
already expressed their interest in visiting me and
viewing my new collection.” She continues: “The
timing of the show is excellent and means that
retailers will have the new season’s collection in
their shops for early October, ready for the busy
season ahead.”
We’re also thrilled to welcome back the
glamorous Mia Solano bridal line, as the label
looks to build on the success of last year’s show,
as well as the effortlessly elegant True Bride
collection. Speaking about True Bride’s return to
The Essential Collection, Designer Nicki Flynn
says: “It’s an ideal opportunity for buyers to be
the first to preview our 2014 collection. The
Essential Collection has a real quality over
quantity feel to it, with a relaxed atmosphere
for buyers to take the time to discuss their
requirements. What’s more, the show has a great,
central location and good facilities. We look
forward to returning and sharing our new designs
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with retailers in July!”
However, The Essential Collection is about
much more than bridal wear, with an impressive
selection of hair decorations, jewellery, veils,
tiaras and other accessories. Indeed, with 17 years
of experience in the industry, Elizabeth Dickens
will once again be showcasing its diverse selection
of bridal veils, while Richard Designs, Heading
Up! and Blue Ribbon will all be presenting
their latest lines. Also back for another year are
Yarwood-White and En Vogue with their elegant
and eye-catching jewellery designs.
Prom also takes centre stage, with a first look at
the new collection from Utopia Prom. We’ll also
be welcoming back Crystal Breeze, with its range
of stylish prom dresses and bridal gowns.
For the younger members of the bridal party,
Tara Lee specialises in pretty British-designed
and made flower girl dresses. Speaking about
her long-term commitment to the show, Gloria
Bretland says: “We’ve supported The Essential
Collection since its launch in 2011 and are
looking forward to exhibiting once again in 2014
with our growing collection of British-made
flower girl dresses and Communion gowns. The
show is incredibly well organised and we always
sign up plenty of new stockists at the event.”
TEC2014
Diane Harbridge
En Vogue
Elizabeth Dickens
Seminars
Taking place eight
times over the
three show days,
our FREE seminars
provide the perfect
opportunity to
brush up on your
business basics.
New for 2014 is Heidi Thompson,
founder of Evolve Your Wedding Business
(www.evolveyourweddingbusiness.com),
who will be hosting a session on blogging
for bridal shops. You’ll learn not just why
you need to be blogging but also how to
determine what to write about, how often
to post and how to get your blog posts in
front of your ideal client.
Heidi will be appearing at our Seminar
Theatre at 2.45pm on Monday 7th July.
We’re also delighted to welcome back the
team from County Wedding Magazines,
who will be offering a valuable insight
into working with consumer publications.
Whether you want to know the best way of
securing editorial coverage for your store,
advice on becoming a regular columnist, or
even the secrets to a successful advertising
campaign, this workshop is for you.
The full seminar schedule will be available
at www.tec2014.com.
Aside from the excellent location and
plentiful free parking, there are so many
reasons to visit The Essential Collection
2014. Timed hot on the heels of the other
major European bridal exhibitions, the
event provides the perfect opportunity
to see and order from many of the 2015
spring/summer collections, for the first
time in the UK.
Our fashion shows take place eight times
over the three days of the exhibition, so
buyers can instantly recognise the up and
coming trends, as well as being able to see
this season’s hottest gowns shown off to
their best advantage.
We’ll also be offering more networking
opportunities with friends and colleagues
in the industry – simply visit the website
for the latest details. $
Utopia Prom
True Bride
Twilight Designs
Richard Designs
At the 2013 show:
Crystal Breeze
Mia Solano
• 84 per cent of visitors placed orders
• 85 per cent of visitors said they would return for 2014
• 86 per cent of visitors praised the location
• 87 per cent of visitors liked the date
• 83 per cent of visitors were impressed by the quality
of the exhibitors
Tara Lee
Contact
• The Essential Collection is free to attend. Please register in advance by visiting the show
website at www.tec2014.com
• To find out how to reach Stoneleigh Park, simply visit the exhibition website at
www.stoneleighpark.com
• Follow us on Twitter for the very latest information at @EssentialColl
$77,5(
LǸɕɕɄ
Contact: Elaine and Katie Carter
www.sassobride.co.uk
Email: [email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Freephone: 08081 789103
Freefax: 08081 789183
Sasso Bride Ltd, Sasso Emporium,
20-22 King Charles Street
Leeds, LS1 6LT
Hair decorations
MAKE A
STATEMENT
We ask leading suppliers to reveal the key design elements for the season ahead.
Sarah-Jane Bates, Britten
+44 (0)1225 866 892
www.brittenweddings.co.uk
Describe your latest
bridal collection
Our 2014 Libertié
collection is inspired by
the style and glamour of
the Edwardian golden
age. The range reflects
the fusion of Art
Nouveau and British
luxury that became
synonymous with King Edward VII’s reign. Comprised of over 24 bespoke pieces, from
opulent marabou feather hairbands, purses
and fans to intricately embellished deco crystal
and pearl hair crowns, combs and pins, each
piece is hand made from our workshop in Bath.
Incorporating our signature detailing, every bead
is hand-sewn, every pattern hand-cut and every
flower hand-pressed from the softest silk. This
ensures the highest quality products, designed
to offer classic heirlooms to be passed down for
generations to come. Each item purchased from the Libertié
collection is made to order and presented in a
luxury gift box. Which piece from the new collection do you
think will be the best-seller and why?
Our Orlee, an embellished crystal hair crown,
and our Zoie, a sparkling floral band, are both
already proving to be popular. They’re original
designs that will appeal to the fashion-forward
bride. In addition, they’re very versatile and can
be worn in a number of different positions in
the hair. What do you predict will be the key hair
decoration trends for 2014?
Brides are becoming bolder in their choices
and are selecting accessories that reflect their
personalities. I think (and hope) we will see
lots more variation in the world of accessories
for 2014. $77,5( ·
Monica Welch, Director and
Founder, Blossom Tiaras Ltd
+44(0)1202 477 873 www.blossom.co.uk
Describe your latest
bridal collection
Our latest collection
incorporates a more
romantic feel than
before, with soft
organza floral pieces in
pastel colours as well
as Swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls. The
broad range of accessories enables retailers to
dress their brides with classic, contemporary,
romantic or vintage designs.
Which piece from the new collection do you
think will be the best-seller and why?
We’re confident that HV37 will do well over the
coming season. We’ve had so many repeat orders
on it already and it’s only been in our stockists’
grasp for about a month! It’s a great piece with
strong, simple lines that taps into the Gatsby era.
What do you predict will be the key hair
decoration trends for 2014?
We’re starting to see a shift away from vintage
with many of our stockists seeking romantic
floral styles or a combination of sparkle with
flowers. We think the trend for dainty designs
will continue to complement the new season’s
bridal gowns.
Corrine Smith
+44 (0)1563 532 561
www.corrinesmith.com
Describe your
latest bridal
collection
With the
Enchanted
collection, I didn’t
want to limit
my creativity
by sticking to a
particular brief in
terms of theme
or style. I wanted to enjoy experimenting with
new ideas and styles. It’s always exciting for me
to set time aside and flick through my sketch
pads, pick out ideas, adapt them and then
bring them to life. This collection will appeal
to all tastes and has been largely influenced by
1970’s bridal fashion with a bohemian feel. I
also took inspiration from a number of bespoke
commissions that I’ve created over the last
few months.
$77,5(
Which piece from the new collection do you
think will be the best-seller and why?
So far the Rosaline hairvine has been hugely
popular with our brides. It’s a versatile accessory
that can be placed anywhere in the hair. The
design incorporates a mix of Swarovski crystals
and freshwater pearls adorned with mother of
pearl flowers and leaves.
What do you predict will be the key hair
decoration trends for 2014?
I predict an increase in demand for versatile hair
accessories. More brides than ever are opting for
styles that can be worn a number of different
ways, allowing them to choose a different look
for day and night without having to invest in
two separate pieces. This will be a key influence
for our 2014 Decadence collection which will
be launching next spring to coincide with our
10th anniversary celebrations.
BLOSSOM
designed in the uk since 1986
This stunning, totally unique collection is the first of its kind in the UK and
promises to give retailers the accessories for brides who are wanting
something traditional, unusual and timeless! Each Orange Blossom Wax Flower is
hand made and shaped using a special compound to recreate the Victorian inspired
wax flower headpieces. Each one is different to the next allowing brides the designer
look but at a fantastic price. As the flowers are so lightweight brides can achieve a
more dramatic result than by wearing pearls and crystals alone. Beautifully boxed,
each piece comes with its own information leaflet detailing the inspiration behind the
collection and giving brides an heirloom of the future.
For a free sample/wholesale pack contact:
Vanessa/Rachael on: 01629 732745 | [email protected]
w w w. h e i r l o o m s e v e r a f t e r. c o . u k
01202 477873 | www.blossom.co.uk | [email protected]
(OL]DEHWK'LFNHQV
HPDLOQLQDDQGDODQ#IUHHXNFRPZHEHOL]DEHWKGLFNHQVYHLOVFRXN
Hair decorations
Sally Crawford
[email protected]
www.sallycrawford.co.uk
Describe your latest
bridal collection
Our 2014 collection
is glamorous and
sophisticated with
intricate detailing and
a profusion of cut glass
stones, glossy pearls and
sparkling set diamantés.
Wisps of softest
Chantilly lace and
stunning hand made Duchesse silk flowers adorn
some of our most feminine pieces and create a
lovely nostalgic feel.
For a more traditional look, there are some
Sarah Bird, Ivory & Co
+44 (0)1684 592 030
www.ivoryandcotiaras.co.uk
Describe your latest
bridal collection
Our latest bridal
collection is made up of
eye-catching statement
items including combs,
headbands and versatile
pieces that can be worn
in a variety of ways.
Triple A-rated
simulated diamonds, Swarovski crystals and
freshwater pearls are encrusted on the new
pieces for extra sparkle. classic shaped tiaras which exude an air of
effortless elegance.
Our diffusion range, The Damsel Collection,
features a selection of more affordable pieces – all
made with the same robust construction as our
main range – so our designs can withstand being
repeatedly tried on by brides.
Which piece from the new collection will be
the best seller and why?
Our best seller is undoubtedly the exquisite
Cherish with its extravagant pearl and diamante
blossom centre. The central flower is framed
by sprays of softest ivory tulle leaves along with
crystal lupins and sprigs of pearl.
This piece looks just as effective alongside a
full-skirted tulle gown, as it does a slinky A line
draped style, or even a destination dress.
What do you predict will be the key hair
decoration trends?
As lace continues to be the preferred choice for
many brides, this is reflected in some of our most
popular designs.
Side pieces and vintage styles are set to remain
a hit in 2014 and, as many gown designers are
introducing soft shades of colour, hair accessories
will follow suit for a cohesive look.
What do you predict will be the key hair
decoration trends?
For 2014 we’ll continue to see a demand for
versatile accessories that brides can wear in
several different ways. Delicate pieces with
added sparkle will be key as brides are seeking
feminine accessories as well as larger impact
designs to match the dress fashions for the
coming year.
Which piece from the new collection will be
the best seller and why?
Renata from our new collection has already
had an amazing reaction from retailers. It’s a
jewel-encrusted piece on a ribbon which can be
worn as a headband, choker, across the forehead
or as a belt.
$77,5( ·
Rachael Hand,
Heirlooms Ever After
+44 (0)1629 732 745
www.heirloomseverafter.co.uk
Describe your latest bridal collection
Our Orange Blossom Wax Flower collection
includes a side tiara, coronet, hair combs, circlet,
hair vines, trio pin sets and boutonnieres. It’s a
quintessentially English collection that’s original
and quirky.
We’ve developed a compound that replicates
the age old tradition that the Victorian and
Edwardian brides used of making their hair vines
and accessories out of wax. Sadly, only a few of
these gorgeous pieces of art have stood the test
of time and are either too fragile or damaged
to wear. The compound we use is resilient and
lightweight so if a bride wants a dramatic look,
this can easily be achieved with wax. We also offer a full restoration service for
brides wanting to use their own heirloom
headdress and can discuss this service with
individual retailers as required.
Which piece from the new collection do you
think will be the best-seller and why?
Although we feel each design is versatile, our
projected best seller is Heavenly. The feminine
side tiara is made extra special by the wax flowers
and diamantes wrapped in pure silk. It sits
perfectly alongside the vintage lace and distinctly
Victoriana feel that some designers are embracing
within their 2014 collections.
Debbie Carlisle
[email protected]
www.dcbouquets.co.uk
Describe your latest
bridal collection
My new bridal
collection, Adagio,
is inspired by the
feminine grace and
beauty of the ballet
and features pieces
ranging from simple,
elegant, hair combs
and headbands to
statement headpieces and unusual hair jewels
and circlets.
While still inspired by vintage eras, I’ve
moved towards a slightly simpler and more
classic and contemporary style. In ballet, adagio
refers to slow, fluid and graceful movement
which I think sums up the feel of this collection.
Adagio includes some of my most versatile
headpieces yet. In particular, my Ophelia and
Darcey circlet halos can be worn on the crown
of the head or pinned into place as a doublestrand forehead band, headband, or looped at
the back of the head over loose bohemian curls
or under a high top-knot bun.
Retail prices range from £30 to £165,
$77,5(
offering something for brides of all budgets,
including smaller combs which are suitable for
bridesmaids as well as brides.
Which piece from the new collection do you
think will be the best-seller and why?
Odette is already proving to be my most
popular piece from the new collection – as well
as being a personal favourite –its size makes
quite a statement without being overwhelming.
In addition, the leaf design with its softly
shimmering bugle beads and simple crystal
centrepiece creates a natural look with a
subtle sparkle that complements rather than
overshadows the piece.
What do you predict will be the key hair
decoration trends for 2014?
We have a strong feeling that colour will be
featuring in bridal headdresses with muted roses
and floral themes playing a big part. Our next
collection promises to answer a lot of brides’
dreams when it comes to bridal hair decorations! With lace still playing a prominent part in many
bridal gowns, and the strong 1920s theme with
the back detailing and elegant tea length dresses
too, we feel brides may start looking for more
statement hair decorations for 2014 with a
leaning towards opulence and vintage chic.
What do you predict will be the key hair
decoration trends for 2014?
While vintage-inspired designs will remain
popular in 2014, many brides will be looking
for a slightly more contemporary and classic
style of hair decoration with cleaner lines and a
less ‘chintzy’ vintage feel. Headbands – whether
on a fixed headband or a softer and more
comfortable ribbon – remain a popular choice
for brides who don’t want to go down the more
obvious tiara route. Fashion-forward brides will
also be looking for bridal hair jewels which can
be worn on the forehead, crown or back of the
head, for a more unusual and on-trend way to
decorate their hair. $
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Working together
Nicola Garton, owner of The Wedding Shop in Colchester, Essex, and Chair
of the Retail Bridalwear Association (RBA), shares details of the association’s
recent away day at Wyboston Lakes in Milton Keynes.
As the season winds down towards Christmas
and the New Year, the RBA hosts its annual away
day. This is a chance for stores to get together
and meet other like-minded retailers while
getting some valuable advice on how to run their
businesses more successfully.
Open forum
Members arrived at 11am for tea and biscuits
before Emma Simpkins from The Tailor’s Cat
led a talk on handy alteration tips. She explained
how to do complicated alterations more speedily,
therefore keeping the cost down for the bride
and making the workroom more efficient. It’s
amazing how you can do something the same way
for years, only to discover there was a much easier
method. We found out that one particular Mori
Lee dress had been altered completely differently
by individual stores – if a dress is a best seller, it
pays to know the quickest way to alter it!
After Sunday lunch we had an open forum for
discussion. David’s Bridal was high on the list of
topics and almost half of the members present
had been to take a look, myself included, on the
opening evening. It was felt that although David’s
is impressive in terms of space and location,
the dresses at the same price point as those in
our independent boutiques are not on a par for
quality. Most of the feedback I’ve received from
brides visiting my own store is that they visit
David’s to look at the bridesmaid rather than
bridal dresses. The perception is that David’s has
a comprehensive range of colours and sizes in
stock, which is an obvious draw. Having said this,
the brides I’ve spoken to have still had to order
their dresses in. Once David’s has been open for
a while, it will be interesting to pay another visit.
With rumours of 20 stores to be opened across
the UK it cannot be ignored – there may well be
a branch opening near you soon.
We also discussed alterations and costs as
members had a host of different ways of servicing
the bride and charging. For the majority, a price
list detailing individual alterations seemed to
be the most effective way of informing brides of
these charges. Some stores asked for payment in
advance while others waited until all fittings had
been completed.
We also discussed order forms and marketing
material as well as packaging and letter writing
skills. When it comes to handling complaints,
sometimes the less said the better as it’s easy for
brides to misinterpret the content if a reply is too
lengthy and goes into too much detail.
Day two
Monday started off with a talk from the team
at Richard Designs and we all appreciated the
bespoke goody bags that were distributed to
members. The firm gave invaluable advice on how
to display accessory merchandise and how to
up-sell to your bride by making your accessories
bespoke. In this way, the temptation to search
for the product cheaper on line is minimised and
you can make the bride feel special.
Our social media guru, David Fletcher, who
has worked with Sony, Levi and other top blue
chip companies, spent the morning giving us a
$77,5(
Designed and made in the UK
For wholesale enquiries, please email us at:
[email protected]
www.sallycrawford.co.uk
Opulent...Sumptuous...Breathtaking
Contact
[email protected]
www.rbaltd.org.uk.
presentation on how social media is changing our buying habits. Did you
know there are over 1 billion unique monthly visitors on YouTube, 1.15
billion users of Facebook, 500 million Twitter users, 130 million Instagram
users and 70 million users on Pinterest?
It probably won’t surprise you to know that women check out a brand’s
social page more often than men, and that 44 per cent of consumers
always research a product on line before purchasing in-store. These are
the new challenges for our businesses – to adapt to the way our brides are
communicating with us. A strong website and Facebook presence will be
paramount to a successful business in the future. After the presentation
we had a break for lunch and were all keen to learn from David’s in-depth
knowledge. How do we turn ‘likes’ on our Facebook page into spending
customers? Increasingly, a bride is not just buying her dress but an
experience’ and she’s also buying into the brand’ so it has to be up-to-date
and relevant.
We ended the day with a presentation from Helena Cotter who
specialises in sales and consultancy services. After the virtual world, it was
time to return to the real one. A good sales team can determine if your
business will survive or fail. Do you have a structure to your appointments
and do you know how you’re going to approach each bride before she
arrives for her consultation? Helena says that ‘the closing of a sale starts the
minute you pick up the phone and make her first appointment’. I have a
feeling she’s right. $
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Putting on
THE GLITZ
Talented accessories designer, Victoria Swan, talks us
through her latest glamorous 1920s-inspired
bridal line.
Our Twenties Heirloom Collection encapsulates
the glitz ‘n’ glamour of the 1920s; think
geometric Art Deco style earrings and hairpins
to statement headpieces and tiaras. It’s a
collection I’m personally thrilled to launch as
I adore the style of the ’20s so the inspiration
came easily. I like to build an overview of an
era or style through original vintage photos and
by researching authentic pieces. Along with
my collection of books, Google images and
Pinterest are also invaluable tools.
Can you tell us a little about your background
in bridal accessory design?
I’ve been designing for over 10 years but
my background actually lies in dance. After
qualifying as a dance teacher, I spent several
years working in an investment bank but I’ve
always been very interested in the fashion
industry. I guess you could say Glitzy Secrets is
the result of my creative side merging with my
business brain!
When did you set up your own bridal
accessories label and what prompted you
to do so?
I wanted to turn my dream of setting up my
own accessory company into a reality so I
launched Glitzy Secrets in 2004. I spent a year
researching the market and found there was
a gap to fill for high quality, vintage-inspired
accessories at affordable prices. Almost a
decade later, we’ve stayed true to our ethos
of creating heirlooms with a purse-friendly
price tag.
How has the company evolved since
its inception?
It’s honestly overwhelming to think how
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What components have you used in these
designs and where did you source them?
Our signature Austrian crystal and Austrian
crystal and pearl combinations feature heavily
in our Twenties Heirloom Collection.
dramatically Glitzy Secrets has evolved.
We’re now a multi award-winning company
with a small but perfectly formed team of five
dedicated members of staff. Our designs
have featured on TV shows from the global
sensation, Downton Abbey, to Strictly Come
Dancing, and our products regularly grace the
pages of national bridal magazines.
Would you say you had a signature style?
From the start, our collection has been heavily
influenced by precious vintage jewellery from
the 1920s to 1950s, with particular focus on the
classic glamour of Old Hollywood. However,
our expanding collection of over 500 designs
also allows us to offer diversity and embrace
new, emerging trends.
How would you describe your latest bridal
collection and where did you find inspiration
for these designs?
What is your favourite piece from the
collection and why?
My favourite piece tends to change daily! One
design I keep returning to, however, is our Deco
Vine Hair Comb. I adore how it incorporates
chic Deco detail in a soft sweeping design
for a hint of femininity and romance. I can just
imagine this pretty piece set at the side of the
head in the popular marcel waves hairstyle of
the time.
Collection focus
What is your marketing strategy for growing
your brand and raising its profile with both
brides and retailers?
Our brand has grown significantly over the last
three years, which has enabled us to create
a defined strategy to expand our business.
We currently ship to brides in many countries,
however, over the last few years we found that
demand increased significantly from several
international markets, which led us to carry out
research and develop an expansion plan into
these countries. We’ve also commenced a
new, targeted SEO campaign and have another
online marketing campaign in the pipeline so
2014 is set to be a very busy and exciting year
for Glitzy Secrets.
In terms of raising our profile with retailers,
we’ve always been aware of the importance
of press coverage for a brand and dedicate a
lot of time to our PR campaigns. Brides love
to know their Glitzy Secrets tiara is featuring in
their favourite wedding magazine or on a TV
show like Downton Abbey. Such coverage also
has a positive effect for our offline stockists who
are in a position to liaise on a one-to-one basis
with their customers.
What type of customer would these designs
appeal to?
Our Twenties Heirloom Collection will capture
the hearts of brides who simply adore
timeless vintage glamour. While some of the
designs are very obviously inspired by the Art
Deco movement, others feature more subtle
influences and will appeal to the bride who
perhaps doesn’t want her bridal style to be
specific to a particular era.
How many stockists do you currently have and
how would you like to grow this stockist base?
We currently have 56 stockists in the UK, three
in the Republic of Ireland and three international
stockists. To date we’ve never exhibited at a
trade fair and haven’t focused on a strategy
to expand our stockist base. The majority of
our stockists have approached us after seeing
the quality of our jewels first hand at a dress
fitting or through coverage in Attire Bridal or
consumer wedding publications. While this is
a channel we have definite plans to develop,
it’s important we do so in a way that will enable
us to continue to offer the one-to-one support
we provide to our stockists such as best-seller
advice based on a retailer’s target customer
and the promotion of their in-store news on our
blog and social media channels.
What do you think sets you apart from other
bridal accessories designers?
With over 500 designs, I feel we offer an
extensive and diverse collection of high
quality yet affordable wedding accessories
for the bride and her bridal party. For me, it’s
important that we stay true to my reasons for
starting the company and that is simply to offer
beautiful jewels to brides who adore vintage
style regardless of their budget. With our
designs retailing from £12 to £135 and from
the overwhelming number of testimonials we
receive from our brides and stockists, I feel
we’re on the right track.
What do you hope to achieve in the next
five years?
I’m a self-confessed workaholic and I adore
my job so I’m continually looking for the next
project or 10! At this moment in time, I have so
many plans and ideas for Glitzy Secrets that I
could fill pages with our project calendar. My
main aims include developing Glitzy Secrets’
international presence, implementing new
acquisition channels and further improving our
current channels as solid foundations are vital. I
also have the urge to develop a new accessory
line but that’s under wraps for now! $
Contact
Glitzy Secrets
www.glitzysecrets.com/
trade-application
[email protected]
glitzysecrets.com
$77,5(
Steps to success
Six years after opening their Midlands-based bridal boutique, Wedding Belles of Four Oaks,
Melanie Storer and Claire Jackson reveal all about their recent award nomination.
When was Wedding Belles of Four Oaks first
opened to brides?
We opened Wedding Belles of Four Oaks in
June, 2007, as a result of our shared passion
for all things bridal, as well as our strong sales/
customer service background. We first met 15
years ago when we were both working for a
wedding department within a travel company,
and we’ve been best friends ever since. As a result,
we manage the shop equally, and have extra help
from our wonderful senior consultant, Hester.
How has the business evolved since this time?
We started with one ground-floor bridal suite,
along with a selection of bridesmaid dresses.
Within two years we realised we were rapidly
outgrowing our space and had a long waiting list
for Saturday appointments. As a result, in year
three we refurbished the entire shop, expanding
into the second floor to create an extensive
bridesmaid department with over 150 dresses.
This then made way for two further bridal
changing areas downstairs.
How would you describe your current in-store
bridal collection?
We stock some of the leading bridal designers
and always ensure that we have a wide range
of designs and prices for our brides. At present
many of our customers are asking for lace and
vintage-style dresses so our collections always
reflect the current trends.
Which designers do you stock and why?
We’re proud to stock the stunning Maggie
Sottero gowns, along with dresses from its sister
$77,5(
company, Sottero & Midgley.
We’re also the only UK boutique to stock
dresses from Nicole Fashion Group, based in
Milan, Italy. We were originally seduced by their
beautiful photography a few years back and first
met with the designer at a bridal trade show. Its
dresses are romantic, chic and lightweight and
our brides love them.
When choosing our designers, we always seek
good quality gowns with great fit, however, we
also expect on-time deliveries and exemplary
customer service.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
We absolutely love what we do and hope that our
passion shows through in all aspects of our shop.
We like to be hands on with our brides, and are
with them every step of their journey, from their
first appointment through to their alterations
and the collection of their finished gown.
We also get very excited when the new bridal
collections come out, and thoroughly enjoy our
trips to the bridal trade shows – going to Italy is a
particular highlight!
What do you feel makes your shop original and
how do you self-promote?
We’re delighted that most of our business comes
from word-of-mouth recommendation. We also
regularly promote ourselves at local wedding fairs
and through national and regional consumer
bridal magazines.
Our website and Facebook pages give an
excellent first impression of our business and we
make a conscious effort to keep them updated
with news, events and new collections.
How do you ensure that you’re providing your
brides with the best possible service?
We’re always very hands on with our brides and
we support our staff with their appointments,
providing regular training on customer service.
In addition, we always follow up on each
appointment and we firmly believe we stock the
best collections and designers in the area.
Aftercare is really important – customer
service doesn’t stop when the bride buys her
dress – we maintain this through every aspect of
a bride’s journey i.e. fittings, collection of dress
and so forth.
What do you believe is the key to running a
successful bridal retail business?
It’s so important to listen carefully to what
Retailer interview
Contact
Wedding Belles of
Four Oaks
+44 (0)121 323 4033
www.weddingbelles
bridal.co.uk
brides want from their wedding dress shopping
experience. We always try to move with the
times, ensuring our collections are relevant to
the key trends, and we alter our opening times at
busy times of the year.
More and more brides are using the internet
to research wedding dresses before they set foot
in a bridal shop, so its absolutely vital that our
website is up-to-date and eye-catching.
What would you say are the main challenges you
face as a bridal shop owner?
Definitely internet buying of copycat bridal
gowns. We bought a copy of a Maggie Sottero
dress so our customers can see it for themselves in
store – it’s definitely a talking point and it helps
to raise awareness of a significant problem in the
bridal trade.
We also find it incredibly frustrating when
other bridal shops offer high discounts and
undercut stores in the area as we feel this
downgrades the bridal industry.
When did you open your sale lounge and what
prompted you to do so?
We originally had a men’s department on the
second floor but as our bridal appointments
got busier, we just didn’t have the time to invest
in this additional service. We were getting an
increasing number of brides needing dresses
within a short time scale and at a lower price
point. This prompted us to open up what we call
the ‘Sale Lounge’. It’s been extremely popular
and worthwhile so far, so we’re pleased we made
the change.
What inspired you to enter The Wedding Industry
Awards and how did you feel when you found out
you were one of the regional finalists?
We received an email from The Wedding
Industry Awards asking if we would like to
enter for 2014 as a number of brides had
recommended us. We were over the moon as our
brides have gone out of their way to vote for us,
so we would love to win it for them.
What are your plans for Wedding Belles of Four
Oaks over the next few years?
We’ll continue giving our brides excellent service
and hope to help many more ladies to find their
dream dress! $
$77,5(
Banquet candle sconce, £145,
The French Bedroom Company
+44 (0)845 644 8022
www.frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk
Set of 3 large gold pom pom decorations,
£9, Hunkydory Home
+44 (0)191 645 4004
www.hunkydoryhome.co.uk
Silver and gold metal rose
heart, £14, Simply Add Style
+44 (0)190 447 0072
www.simplyaddstyle.com
You are ȝɄȵȇ
www.eternitybridal.co.uk
Rose tea cup and saucer,
£12.95, Love from Rosie
+44 (0)781 784 4698
www.lovefromrosie.co.uk
Now winter has truly arrived, Annie Cannock puts together
a gold product palette perfect for a seasonal window display
Gold gilt bed end stool, £566, Sweetpea & Willow
+44 (0)845 527 2627
www.sweetpeaandwillow.com
Romeo and Juliet carved shelf, £65, The French Bedroom Company
+44 (0)845 644 8022
www.frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk
Designer champagne flutes, £5.99,
HomeSense
+44 (0)1923 473 000
www.homesense.com
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Gisela Graham golden glitter crown, £3.75,
The Contemporary Home
+44 (0)239 246 9400
www.tch.net
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Retailer report 2013
Three retailers, all with varying levels of experience in the bridal industry, tell us how their
businesses have fared over the past 12 months, and their expectations for 2014.
Pam Hope, James Bride
www.james-bride.com
How’s 2013 been for you?
Like many retailers, I feel
like I’ve been on a roller
coaster: we’ve experienced some deep dips but
also some high peaks. The year started slowly
and we had some quiet designer days when
brides couldn’t reach us due to heavy snow fall.
Nottingham can be quite superstitious so 2013
was not a good year to get married, making the
first half of the year very quiet.
We also had the great uncertainty when
another bridal shop opened next door, and we
wondered how this would affect us.
As for the highs, we’ve sold some amazing
dresses to some lovely brides. We’ve celebrated
our 50 years in business, been filmed for Don’t
Tell The Bride, had some fantastic designer days,
and introduced our popular accessory events.
Unfortunately, we came back down to earth
with a bang when we were broken into and our
head-dress stock stolen. We finished the year
glad to have made it through!
What has been your greatest success this year?
In challenging economic times the introduction
of a budget collection has enabled us to offer
Dudu Sibandu,
Couture & Tiaras Bridal
www.coutureandtiaras.com
How’s 2013 been for you?
The past 12 months have felt like a roller coaster,
and we’ve buckled up and enjoyed the ride.
Although we’ve had a steady growth on weddings
compared to last year, we feel the superstition
surrounding the number 13 has led to many
brides postponing their weddings to 2014.
As a result, I predict the coming year will be a
particularly good one for the bridal industry.
What’s been your greatest success this year?
I’m always grateful to celebrate Couture &
Tiaras’ birthday – we’ll be celebrating our 5th in
2014. We’ve built a strong reputation in the area
which is great for the business. Twice this year
$77,5(
a more competitive price point. Girls can take
advantage of our excellent personal service at a
price they can afford.
need, to offer the most choice to our brides. We
have a restricted display area and we don’t want
to look cluttered and overstocked.
What has been your biggest challenge?
To try to stay ahead of the competition we
endeavour to have dresses which stand out from
the norm, yet are still best sellers. It’s hard when
we’re required to take minimum orders from
suppliers to get the variety of dresses that we
What are your plans for next year?
I’m really excited about 2014, there’s a real
influx of excited new brides coming in looking
for their wedding dresses dresses. We have plans
for lots of special events throughout the year
and I can’t wait to get started.
we’ve won the best dressed window competition
in the town. We’ve also managed to secure some
established labels that were beyond our reach in
the beginning and we’re proud to present these to
our brides.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge has been managing stock
volumes. When we first opened our labels were
more than happy for us to repeat on orders.
How times have changed – they now all seem
to dictate yearly minimums which are on the
increase. It’s been challenging holding on to the
best sellers and making room for the new stock.
We’re also finding that brides are encouraged to
shop around when some retailers don’t stick to
the recommended retail price points. These price
cuts are not sustainable and will harm the bridal
industry in the long run.
What are your plans for next year?
As mentioned above, I’m anticipating a much
better year for weddings in 2014. We have
expansion plans for the new year and hope
to celebrate the shop’s 5th birthday too. I’m
delighted with the bridal labels we currently
carry and hope to grow our businesses together.
I look forward to seeing many more brides in the
coming months.
Retailer
Retailer
report
round-up
2013
Deborah Griffiths,
Lola Bridal
www.lolabridal.co.uk
How has 2013 been for you?
This year has been incredible.
We only opened in September
2012, so this has been our first full year of
trading. Opening a brand new business in the
current economic climate was terrifying, but
we knew that this was the time to offer brides
something different. As brides are now expecting
more for their money, we identified a gap in the
market for a more diverse range of styles for a
wide range of budgets, while offering a premium
customer experience, from first appointment to
final fitting.
We opened with four designers, VWDC
by Charlie Brear, Anoushka G, LM by Lusan
Mandongus and Phil Collins Bridal, however,
quickly identified which designers were working
for us and which weren’t. We parted ways with
two labels, replacing them with La Sposa by
Pronovias Fashion Group, Sincerity Bridal,
Belle and Bunty and Eliza Jane Howell. With
these designers now on board, we’re providing
brides with a wide range of styles, from suppliers
we trust, which means we can confidently keep
brides informed with reliable timescales, avoiding
any last minute panics!
We’ve also taken on Noir by Lazaro and Alvina
Valenta to provide a collection of bridesmaid
dresses that are beautiful, elegant and made from
great fabrics.
We decided not to traipse around the country
doing wedding fairs, but to stay in the shop doing
what we do best, which is face-to-face contact
with brides, ensuring that our customer service
is second to none and that each bride has had
the best experience possible. The Lola Bridal
experience simply cannot be replicated in a six
foot stand!
What has been your greatest success this year?
Undoubtedly the huge numbers of brides who
come to us from recommendations – this shows
us that we’re doing things right! The bridal
industry is an odd one, where brides will decide
whether or not to visit a boutique solely on the
opinion of their friends – or even friends of
friends! The great feedback, thank you cards,
wedding pictures and invitations we receive
makes us the happiest business owners in the
world! We don’t just sell dresses, we’ve become
firm friends, mentors, and confidantes of our
brides. They often just pop in for a cup of tea and
a chat!
We surpassed beyond our wildest dreams the
number of dresses that we’ve sold in 2013 –
three times the target we set for ourselves, and
have been able to invest in new ranges, making
the shop look incredible, as well as extra staff
to provide the best service possible and ensure
everything runs smoothly.
Our passion for our business has been
recognised in several awards. We were shortlisted
as finalists for the Citrus PR Social Media
Awards, Northamptonshire Business Excellence
Awards, and most importantly, the Wedding
Industry Awards, which are voted for by brides.
What has been your biggest challenge?
We started our business with just Lauren here full
time, whilst I continued working full time in my
marketing position, and working evenings and
weekends in the shop. We juggled six-day weeks,
long days, forecasting into the early hours, and
answering emails late into the night, with small
children, family commitments and long suffering
friends! We sacrificed holidays, our social lives
and pay to get our business up and running, and
to meet the expectations from both ourselves
and our brides. Thanks to our incredible success,
we’re both now in the business full time and
every bride is served by one of us. We continue to
undertake every aspect of the business between
ourselves, and are proud to have full control of
every decision we make.
As our brand grows, so does our competitors’
awareness of what we do and we have to remain
on top of our game every day to ensure that
we stand head and shoulders above the rest,
consistently doing what we do best, whilst
continuing to raise the bar for ourselves. The
problem of other bridal shops undercutting on
price has raised its ugly head, as has no-shows
for appointments. Both are issues experienced
throughout the industry, but still drive us a
little crazy!
Servicing an ever-increasing number of brides,
while maintaining the privacy, exclusivity and
service on which we pride ourselves, can be a
challenge. We’ve perfected the art of returning
the shop to normal in a three-minute timescale,
so that the bride enters into a haven of calm and
tranquility. She has no idea that the previous
bride tried on 30 dresses and brought 11 guests
with them, including babies and toddlers!
What are your plans for next year?
We plan to keep doing what we’re doing! We
feel that we now have the perfect blend of
designers; we’ve got our appointments just right,
and are running a well oiled machine! We want
to continue to offer the exceptional level of
customer service our brides have come to expect,
keep the business fresh and exciting with our
amazing designers, and keep thinking outside of
the box when it comes to marketing ideas and
creative photo shoots.
We plan to expand our range of bridesmaids
and accessories, and will also be researching
locations, working towards our dream of opening
another shop in the near future. We want to
remain true to the values that we have had from
the outset and not compromise on our exclusive
appointments and quality of service and dresses. $
$77,5(
Insurance
Beat the burglars
Don’t let bridal shop theft rob you of your livelihood, says Rachael Carrington, a Commercial
Account Executive with bridal industry insurance specialists, Hine Chartered Insurance Brokers.
Thieves pose a real threat to
all types of business, but none
more so than to bridal firms.
Bridal shop owners carry high
value stock items – often in
large quantities – as well as the
expectations and hopes of their
soon-to-be-wed clients, and a theft or break-in
can spell disaster for the company, its customers
and its reputation.
you’re covered. Photos of any damage caused may
also be required.
Am I covered for shoplifting?
Shoplifting is generally not covered by UK
insurers as it happens so often and losses are
difficult to quantify. To reduce your chances of
suffering from shoplifting you should ensure,
where possible, that front doors are locked
when you’re away from the shop floor, such
as during fittings. You should also keep any
personal possessions including mobile phones
and handbags out of sight and in a locked
compartment.
What should I do if I suffer a theft ?
Historically, theft was one of the most infrequent
causes of an insurance claim in the bridal world.
However, this is no longer the case and theft
is becoming increasingly common, posing a
real threat to bridal wear businesses. The key
to getting an eligible claim paid quickly is to
provide as much documentation as possible to
help substantiate the loss.
Firstly, the theft or act of vandalism must be
supported by an official police report. These
reports are used by insurance companies to
verify that an event happened in the first
place. Secondly, you must provide evidence
of ownership and value. Insurance companies
rely heavily on documentation provided by a
policyholder to prove ownership of the items
stolen or damaged and to substantiate their value.
This documentation can be provided in a variety
of forms, from videos and pictures to receipts and
credit card statements.
Lastly, you should obtain two estimates for
repair or replacement of any property damage
related to the theft – including broken windows,
doors, locks and equipment that occurred as a
result of the theft or attempted theft. Make sure
you give these to your insurance company before
carrying out the necessary repair work to ensure
Will my insurance premium go up after a
break in?
Your insurance premium is likely to increase
after making any claim on a policy. Underwriters
will look at your loss ratio over a period of time,
usually three to five years. This is worked out
by adding up the total amount paid on claims
and the total amount paid in premiums over
the period. They will then apply an appropriate
increase – the higher the loss ratio, the higher
the increase.
Historically, theft was one of the
most infrequent causes of an
insurance claim in the bridal world.
However, this is no longer the case
and theft is becoming increasingly
common, posing a real threat to
bridal wear businesses.
Talk to your insurance broker about loss
recovery insurance
Arranging loss recovery insurance is a great way
to achieve a fair and fast settlement of your
claim. It will provide and pay for the cost of an
expert loss adjuster to help you prepare, negotiate
and settle your material damage and business
interruption claims. These loss adjusters act
“
“
Insurance companies rely heavily
on documentation provided by a
policyholder to prove ownership of
the items stolen or damaged and
to substantiate their value. This
documentation can be provided
in a variety of forms, from videos
and pictures to receipts and credit
card statements.
”
independently of your insurance company, on
your behalf, to recover your losses.
Some of the many benefits of loss recovery
insurance include:
• Prompt visit to the site, usually within 24 hours
of the notification
• Help in mitigating the loss and disruption to
your business
• Expert advice on emergency repairs and
salvage opportunities
• Review of security measures if breached,
in respect of physical building security and
employee/customer safety
• Advice regarding the appointment of specialist
contractors and professionals including quantity
surveyors, architects and engineers and help
project managing the reinstatement process
• Assistance in sourcing business equipment and
arranging alternative premises
• Report preparation for interim payment
request to insurers
• Initiation and hosting of all meetings with
insurers, insurance company representatives
and adjusters
• Challenges to insurers in respect of claims
repudiations and reduced claims settlement
offers where appropriate, including technical
advice on under insurance and breach of
warranty/policy conditions. $
Hine offers:
• Specialist knowledge in the bridal sector
• Expert advice on the type and level of
insurance you need
• Competitive quotations from a range of
leading insurers
• Help with your claim in the unfortunate
event of a loss
• Comprehensive after-sales support
Contact
Hine Chartered Insurance Brokers
+44 (0)161 438 0000
www.hine.co.uk
Twitter @hineinsurance
facebook.com/hineinsurance
$77,5(
Clear communication
Nicola Russill-Roy, Founder of Wedding PR specialist agency Propose PR,
reveals how bridal businesses can maximise their marketing budgets.
You’ve reached a point in your business
where you can allocate a budget to PR
campaigns. You’ve great products and
services, a good reputation and a top
agency on the case. That means you can
sit back, put your feet up and wait for the coverage to roll in, right? Well,
not exactly. A PR agency can only go so far with its own research. The
purpose of PR is to place you in suitable publications as an expert in your
field – you’re the expert and to get your character and business across in the
right way, your PR agency needs you to be as involved as possible. Here’s
my guide on how to get the most for your money when it comes to working
with a PR agency.
Understanding PR
Before you hire a PR agency, you should know exactly what you’re buying.
There are several things that your PR agency can, and should, do for you
– and certain things it can’t. For example, your PR should work towards
placing you in relevant media for your client base. If you’re a high-end cake
designer, for example, it won’t send out press releases to Gardening Weekly.
Generally, the best way to get you into magazines, newspapers and blogs
is to use your expertise, rather than trying to push advertorial or overly
‘salesy’ copy. This means that brides reading ‘top five wedding cakes for
2014’, for example, will associate your name with your expert knowledge,
thus establishing you as a leader in your field. A PR agency will also look for
reactive opportunities to news and planned features, to get your comments
heard, as well as placing you on TV, introducing you to editors and
generally getting your name in all the right places.
“If you’re not easily contactable or prefer not to be too
hands on, then PR might not be the right route for you
as it can require a lot of your time and expertise at
short notice.”
Full disclosure
In order for this type of publicity to work, your PR agency needs to know
everything about you and your business. Knowing you, your team and the
way that you operate inside and out means that an agency can react more
quickly to media requests, without having to consult you on every detail
every time and without misrepresenting you. This means that you’ll need
to devote some time at the beginning of your working relationship to really
clue your agency in on all the important facts and figures.
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“A picture speaks a thousand words so a database of
professional images that your PR can use to promote
your business is priceless.”
Tone of voice and preferences
Every client will have a particular tone of voice and a preference for
different publications when dealing with their business. They’ll also have
their dislikes and, in some cases, editorial guidelines. If there’s a phrase that
really grates on you, or a way you’d like your business to be referred to, or
a magazine you’re dying to be seen in, tell your PR agency. That way they
can get it right first time without wasting your time on multiple drafts or
pitches to the wrong places.
Images and credits
A picture speaks a thousand words so a database of professional images that
your PR can use to promote your business is priceless. Ask for permission
from photographers you’ve worked with to share their images. This is all
down to the photographer’s discretion, but many will be happy for you to
use their images, as long as they’re correctly credited. After all, it’s publicity
for them too.
Be available by phone and email
PR is a fast game and your agency may need quick answers and information
from you for a last-minute piece of coverage or quote. If you’re not easily
contactable or prefer not to be too hands on, then PR might not be the
right route for you as it can require a great deal of your time and expertise at
short notice.
Building trust
Trust is the single most important factor in a PR-client relationship. You
must have complete faith that your PR account manager knows what
they are doing and that they’re finding the best possible opportunities.
Sometimes, they may advise you to send out samples to journalists, or very
occasionally provide your services for free or for a reduced fee if they can see
long-term PR benefits. They may also advise you against doing something
you’d planned, or tell you a publication isn’t right for your work or target
client base. If the results are good, trust your PR agent’s instincts – they’re
looking out for you.
Be patient
PR doesn’t always generate instant results. It’s a long-term investment, so
know what to expect when you sign up. A good PR agency will try to get
“Your PR agency needs to know everything about you
and your business. Knowing you, your team and the
way that you operate inside and out means that an
agency can react more quickly to media requests.”
you a mix of online and print coverage, and magazines plan their issues
months in advance. Sometimes your best work may not bear fruit for two
or three months and that’s perfectly acceptable.
Your final sign off is your final sign off
No PR agency worth its salt will send out copy that you’re not happy with.
However, read it carefully when it’s sent to you for approval as it’s difficult
to recall it once it’s been released, especially if it’s already gone to print or
been posted online. Asking a journalist to print a retraction or to change
online copy can damage a PR’s relationship with the publication and should
only be done if the error is glaring and the journalist is at fault. Working
with a PR agency doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. If you
provide as much information as you possibly can from the outset then
it’ll mostly be a matter of approving any work before it goes to press, or
providing quotes via quick phone calls. Do the ground work and watch as
the results roll in. $
Contact
Propose PR
www.proposepr.com
Twitter @ProposePR
Facebook www.facebook.com/ProposePR
Be wise when
you advertise
Test a publisher’s statement
of circulation. In today’s
business climate you can’t
afford not to.
Our ABC Certificate
provides accurate,
independently verified
circulation figures, giving
you confidence in your
advertising investment.
If you want to reach
3,162 total average
net circulation, then
call Jan Griffin on
01376 535 612 or email
[email protected]
For more information visit
www.abc.org.uk or email
[email protected]
Fashion files
ATTIRE BRIDAL
FILE
LɜǸȽȇɄȽ
1
ȐɑȐȹɄȽɴ
WTOO Brides
Blue by Enzoani
Fashion Files
Tabitha
The spring/summer 2014
collections offer ample
opportunity to showcase
the legs with these cute
cropped gowns.
FILE
PȣȐ
2
ɄȵȵȐȃɜȨɄȽɕ
Gorgeous accessories
to match our two key
bridal trends.
PLUS
Discover Tabitha Bridal,
FILE
a thoroughly modern
TɉǸȽȇ bridal brand featuring
classic shapes with
ȃɄȹȨȽȝ
contemporary flair.
4
FILE
$ɜѼɕȨȽɜȣȐ
3
ȐɜǸȨȵ
Slinky gowns featuring
beads, crystals and
textured fabrics ensure
all eyes are on the bride.
$77,5( ·
File
File13
LɜǸȽȇɄȽ
CEREMONY
The spring/summer 2014 collections offer
ample opportunity to showcase the legs with
these cute cropped gowns.
Nicki Flynn
+44 (0)1273 728 637
www.truebride.co.uk
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$77,5(
·
2
1
3
1. Alan Hannah
+44 (0)208 804 1444
www.alanhannah.co.uk
$77,5(
2. Qiana Bridal
+44 (0)1323 741 419
www.qianabridal.co.uk
4
3. Phoenix Gowns
+44 (0)1689 831 841
www.phoenixgowns.co.uk
4. Lyn Ashworth by
Sarah Barrett
+44 (0)1283 820 643
www.lynashworth.co.uk
File
File13
Blue by Enzoani
+44 (0)1792 586 615
www.enzoani.com
$77,5( ·
1
2
3
4
1. Mooshki
+44 (0)191 526 0772
www.houseofmooshki.com
$77,5(
2. Tobi Hannah
+44 (0)207 724 4659
www.tobihannah.co.uk
3. Eternity Bride
+44 (0)8707 707 670
www.eternitybridal.co.uk
4. Christina Rossi
+44 (0)1224 228 665
www.christinarossi.co.uk
Tara Lee UK
Manufacturers of
Flower Girl & Holy
Communion Dresses.
Lead time of only 2-4 weeks. No minimum order.
To become a stockist contact Tara Lee sales
agent Samee Everard mob 07967 452558
email: [email protected]
www.taralee .co.uk
Stand A11 @ BBEH
File 2
The Collections
Ivory & Co
+44 (0)1684 592 030
www.ivoryandcotiaras.co.uk
To accompany our bridal fashion features this issue, we’ve
compiled a selection of accessories to complete the look.
Debbie Carlisle
[email protected]
www.dcbouquets.co.uk
Corrine Smith
+44 (0)1563 532 561
www.corrinesmith.com
Glitzy Secrets
[email protected]
www.glitzysecrets.com
Benjamin Adams
+44 (0)208 885 8000
www.paradoxlondon.com
GIRLS WITH
GLAMOUR
Sexy and seductive, figure-hugging bridal gowns
deserve sparkly yet sophisticated accessories.
Fun and flirty
These ultra-feminine
accessories would
enhance any cute
cropped wedding dress.
Emmy
+44 (0)207 704 0012
www.emmyshoes.co.uk
Rainbow Club
+44 (0)1392 207 030
www.rainbowclub.co.uk
La Pearle
[email protected]
www.lapearle.co.uk
Donna Crain
+44 (0)1276 35297
www.donnacrain.com
Twilight Designs
+44 (0)1827 55444
www.twilightdesigns.co.uk
$77,5(
Maggie Sottero
+44 (0)151 482 3000
www.maggiesottero.com
It’s in the
ȐɜǸȨȵ
Slinky gowns featuring beads, crystals and
textured fabrics ensure all eyes are on the bride.
$77,5(
File
File33
1. Belle & Bunty
+44 (0)207 267 3322
www.belleandbunty.co.uk
1
2
3
4
2. Claire Pettibone
+44 (0)7733 884 501
www.clairepettibone.com
3. Eliza Jane Howell
+44 (0)207 436 2992
www.elizajanehowell.com
4. Jenny Packham
+44 (0)207 436 2992
www.jennypackham.com
$77,5( ·
Alan Hannah
+44 (0)208 804 1444
www.alanhannah.co.uk
File 3
$77,5( ·
1. Johanna Hehir
[email protected]
www.johanna-hehir.com
$77,5(
1
2
3
4
2. Lyn Ashworth by
Sarah Barrett
+44 (0)1283 820 643
www.lynashworth.co.uk
3. Naomi Neoh
+44 (0)208 670 7070
www.naomineoh.com
4. WTOO Brides
www.watters.com
What women want
We find out about Tabitha, a new label dedicated to providing retailers with creative yet
commercial gowns for their brides. The brand’s manager, Derek Bayford, explains how
it all began…
$77,5(
Up and coming
Can you tell us about your background in the
bridal industry?
We’ve been in the bridal industry for over 20
years, beginning with one retail store and later
acquiring a further four. As a result, we have
many years of experience with brides and their
choice of bridal gown.
When did you set up your bridal label and what
prompted you to do so?
We set up Tabitha just over a year ago as we
believe that, although some brides like to be
extreme in their choice of gown, the majority just
want a beautiful dress that suits their body shape
and personality.
Who designed the debut collection?
The collection was designed by our in-house
team who listened carefully to managers and staff
to find out what wedding dress styles the brides
were asking for in the retail stores.
How would you describe the signature style for
Tabitha Bridal?
We offer such a diverse range that we don’t have
a signature style as such; we feel it’s important
not to inflict your own taste on the customer.
We offer romantic girly dresses alongside more
sophisticated slimmer gowns so there should be
something for every taste.
What piece from the collection do you think will be
the best-seller and why?
Our current best seller is a slim lace dress which
gives brides of every size the perfect figure. It has
a vintage look and incorporates ivory lace over a
coffee-coloured slip.
What do you think the key bridal trends will be
for 2014?
A bridal gown is such an individual choice that
trends are hard to predict. Plainer styles with
accent beading appear to be taking centre stage,
predominantly with l940-1950’s silhouettes.
We believe that the bride should be wearing the
dress, not the dress wearing the bride – that way
her personality shines through. When the bride
says she’s comfortable, it’s not the dress so much
that is comfortable, but rather the fact that she
feels happy and relaxed in it.
What type of retailer is your collection most
suited to?
Our dresses are most suited to stores that offer
a wide range of styling, not just one look. For
example, many of the latest bridal dresses appear
to be long bodied or swept to one side which not
every bride can wear or wants.
We are adding new retailers to our stockist base
daily, and were pleased to acquire a number of
quality stores during a recent trade show.
What do you hope to achieve in the next five years?
We’ve just finished our collection for autumn
2014, and we’re extremely pleased with all
the designs. We’ve taken elements from our
first collection, adding styles according to
demand from brides in our stores and from
our current stockists. $
Contact
Tabitha Bridal
www.tabithabridal.com
How many retailers currently stock your label and
how do you plan to grow this stockist base?
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Move with
the times
Raymond O’Hare, Director at Xedo Software Ltd, examines the ways that social media can
enhance your offering to brides.
‘Like us on Facebook’, ‘we’re trending on Twitter’,
‘Pinning our hopes on Pinterest’ – it seems
that every business is getting on board with
social media. But do they know why? More
importantly, do they really know how to harness
the power of social media for their organisation?
For many businesses, Facebook makes no
sense at all, and as for trying to sell products and
services in a 140-character tweet; it’s very hard
to achieve. So it’s vital that we take a practical
approach to using social media for business.
Bridal benefits
For bridal stores, however, social media provides
opportunities on a number of levels and is an
original way of building up relationships with
your customers. As I’ve said before in this
column, people are interacting more online
than ever before, so being able to arrange
appointments or fittings over Facebook or
Twitter makes it easy for your busy customers
and prospects to stay connected in a helpful way
– Facebook is particularly good for this.
Raising awareness of your store and building
your brand can now be achieved more easily and
cost-effectively by using ‘promoted posts’ on
Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. There’s still some
debate over whether this is a better approach
than straightforward advertising on these sites,
however, it’s worth noting that Facebook is
redesigning the site to give ‘promoted posts’ an
even higher profile.
“For bridal stores, however, social
media provides opportunities on a
number of levels and is an original way
of building up relationships with your
customers”
If you think about the average age of brides,
social media is likely to be a much more
successful way to reach them than print, radio
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and other traditional methods of advertising
and communication.
Pinterest also has the potential to be a real asset
for any forward-thinking bridal store. It’s a great
tool for showcasing what kind of brand you are
by creating boards which reflect the store’s ideas,
approach and business proposition. You can
invite customers and potential customers to view
these boards for inspiration, and even use what
people have re-pinned from them, to target them
with more specific ideas.
Organising events using Facebook will be
much more visible than fliers, e-mails or word of
mouth, and should attract more attendees. It’s a
practical way to promote discount nights, sales
and new ranges coming into store.
To complement this, Twitter can be used as a
‘live’ news feed to regularly update your followers
on what’s happening at the store and the events
and promotions scheduled to take place over the
coming weeks.
Search smart
Using social media can be a great way of doing
market research on your competitors. You can
easily see what they’re doing by checking out
their profiles, and by identifying areas where their
online presence is weak (obviously, they can do
this too!).
Smart use of social media gives you an
opportunity to become a ‘brand butler’. This is
all about the idea of not just offering your core
products and services, but by being helpful in
lots of other ways – recommending groomswear,
florists, jewellers, photographers and so forth. As
long as you do this in a non-pushy way, it could
be beneficial for everyone, and help you to build
strong partnerships with other businesses in the
wedding industry.
In general, people don’t want to be sold to on
social media, they want to feel they are getting
an enhanced service. Brides want to know when
appointments are available, and when special
nights are being held, but they don’t want to be
hounded after an appointment to see if they want
to purchase the dress. So use social media with
care and apply your experience and common
sense at all times.
Asking people to ‘like you’ on Facebook or
‘follow you’ on Twitter is great, but you need to
keep their interest once you’ve got them. If you
have interesting and informative content and
generally make life easier for them, you’ll buildup a good reputation, and people will even start
to follow/like you from further afield.
Using social media requires some knowledge
and expertise. You can’t just post what comes
into your head. Each message needs to have
structure and a point to it, otherwise it looks
unprofessional and could have a negative effect
on your business. Getting help from an expert is
always a good idea, but there’s a huge untapped
pool of skills right in front of you, if you’re
not quite sure how to begin. Sons, daughters,
nephews and nieces will be surprisingly switched
on to this technology, and at the very least
should be able to point you in the right direction
and get you started. $
“Organising events using Facebook
will be much more visible than fliers,
e-mails or word of mouth, and should
attract more attendees. It’s a practical
way to promote discount nights, sales
and new ranges coming into store.”
CONTACT
Xedo Software
+44 (0)141 781 6545
www.xedosoftware.com
Basedow Fashion
Must-Have-collections for all being interested in cocktail
and evening wear and especially for you if you are looking
for your dress showing at your best side!
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FRPIRUWDEOHIDEULFVDVWKHSHUIHFWFXWPHHWVWKH(XURSHDQ
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Nicola Oetker-Hilker: Tel. 0049-2151-650650
Fax 0049-2151-65065-16
Mail: [email protected]
www.basedow-fashion.com
Bridal shoes
Occasionwear
Fancy
that
We showcase some
sensational clutch bags
and shoes to provide the
perfect finishing touch for
any special occasion.
Eternity Prom: +44 (0)8707 707 670
www.eternityprom.co.uk
$77,5( ·
1
2
3
4
Back to Black
This season classic black accessories are transformed
into works of art with detailed embellishments and
unusual motifs.
6
5
7
8
1. House of Harlow 1960: +44 (0)207 349 8887 or www.houseofharlow1960.com, 2. Benjamin Adams: +44 (0)208 885 8000
www.benjaminadamslondon.com, 3. Pia Rossini: + 44 (0)289 146 7999 or www.piarossini.com, 4. Emmy Shoes: +44 (0)207 704 0012
www.emmyshoes.co.uk 5. Moda in Pelle: +44 (0)113 239 2379 or www.modainpelle.com 6. Wilbur & Gussie: +44 (0)207 908 3940 or www.wilbur
andgussie.com 7. Juno: +44 (0)1484 475 800 or www.junoaccessories.co.uk 8. Kat Maconie: +44 (0)207 736 9655 or www.katmaconie.com.
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1
Bridal shoes
Occasionwear
3
2
Animal Magnetism
Subtle leopard and snake print designs have never been
more popular. Here’s our pick of the best around…
4
5
6
7
1. House of Harlow 1960: +44 (0)207 349 8887 or www.houseofharlow1960.com 2. Benjamin Adams: +44 (0)208 885 8000
www.benjaminadamslondon.com 3. Bourne: +44 (0)1482 334 950 www.bournecollection.com, 4. Cocorose London: +44 (0)208 829 8919 or
www.cocoroselondon.com 5. Gabriella: +44 (0)1985 212 291 or www.gabysfashion.com, 6. House of Cases: +49 40 3867 0093 or
www.houseofcases.com 7. A Cuckoo Moment: +49 (0)404 162 2457 www.a-cuckoo-moment.de.
$77,5( ·
1
3
2
PȨȹȐɜɄLȣȨȽȐ
Metallics never go out of fashion, whether
daring gold or more understated shades
of champagne and silver.
5
7
8
4
6
9
1. Leko: +44 (0)208 813 8545 or www.leko.co.uk, 2. Rachel Simpson: +44 (0)121 433 5492 www.rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk, 3. Wilbur & Gussie:
+44 (0)207 908 3940 or www.wilburandgussie.com, 4. Nadia Minkoff: +44 (0)208 202 1099 or www.nadiaminkoff.com, 5. Olga Berg: +44 (0)207 287
8119 or www.olgaberg.com, 6. Dents: +44 (0)1885 212 291 or www.dents.co.uk, 7. Carmen Woods: +44 (0)1702 710 595 or www.carmenwoods.com,
8. Gabriella: +44 (0)1985 212 291 or www.gabysfashion.com, 9. Benjamin Adams: +44 (0)208 885 8000 www.benjaminadamslondon.com
$77,5(
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A Decade of Dresses
With an impressive 14 ranges in its portfolio, Venus Bridal promises retailers a gown for every
budget. We speak to Sales and Marketing Manager, Dawn Booth-Lydon, to find out more.
When did Venus Bridal launch and how has
the label evolved since this time?
Venus Bridal launched in the UK 10 years ago,
although the brand has been around for much
longer in the US.
How did you first become involved with Venus
Bridal and what do you enjoy most about
your role?
I became Sales and Marketing Manager at
Venus Bridal UK in 2008. The best part of my
job is seeing and speaking to our stockists on
a daily basis, and many have become friends
over the years.
How many ranges are there in the Venus
Bridal portfolio and how do they complement
one another?
Venus Bridal UK has 14 ranges in its portfolio,
all offering a wide variety of colours and
fabrics. Each range falls into a different retail
price position, enabling us to offer the bride
a designer gown of the highest standard,
whatever her budget. We’re proud to offer
a selection of our bridesmaid gowns with a
matching junior maid and little maiden gown.
We’re also proud of our Woman collection,
comprising styles to fit our plus size brides
without any extra size charges. We also offer a
petite size range on all of our bridal gowns. Our
Venus Exclusive collection, along with our other
ranges, are setting trends across the industry.
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Profile
CONTACT
Venus Bridal
+44 (0)113 256 9627
www.venusbridaluk.com
Are you planning to introduce any new ranges
into the Venus Bridal portfolio for 2014?
Yes, we’ll be introducing the Isla Novia Range
for 2014, focusing on semi-informal gowns
with a train. This is based on the overwhelming
success of our Venus Informal range. With
a price tag of £500 or less, the gowns are
incredibly affordable.
What do you expect the key bridal trend will
be for next season?
For 2014, the trend is still focused on lace and
I firmly believe that this fabric has longevity.
As the season progresses, however, I think
the trend will begin to tilt more towards plainer
gowns. Crystal embellishment will remain key,
closely followed by diamante.
Venus Bridal celebrated its 25th anniversary
in 2009 – what do you think is the key to
longevity in the bridal industry?
We’ve found the key to longevity in the bridal
industry is simply listening. We listen carefully
to our stockists and they pass the wishes of
their brides onto us. Our design team is heavily
influenced by the views of our stores and their
brides, which leads to the fabulous designs we
currently offer.
What type of bridal retailer is best suited to
your ranges?
As we offer 14 different ranges within the Venus
Bridal UK Portfolio, we’re suited to all kinds
of retailer.
How many stockists do you currently have in
the UK?
We currently have 300 stores across the
UK and Ireland. Once a store becomes a
Venus stockist, they’re incredibly loyal as we
have so much to offer. Growing our stockist
base happens fairly organically – we remain
supportive of our existing Venus Bridal stockists
and would only supply a new retailer in an area
not already carrying our line.
What support are you able to offer to your
bridal stockists?
The excellent service provided by our customer
service team is a key feature in the backup
we provide to our stockists. All Venus Bridal
UK retailers can sell our gowns, secure in the
knowledge that they have our full support.
When we create a new collection we have
samples for our area representatives, Maikel
and Eileen, to take out on the road to show
stores. We’re also more than happy to loan
sample gowns to our stockists and there’s no
charge for reasonable use of this service. We
also offer three delivery schedules including
standard delivery, rush delivery and quick
deliver on all orders.
How do you plan to grow the brand over the
coming year?
Growing the brand over the coming year will
remain budget based on behalf of our stores.
We’re conscious that even though the UK is
lifting out of recession, our stockists need time
to recover. We will concentrate on keeping
our prices as low as possible while never
compromising on quality and customer service. $
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design protection
Dids MacDonald, CEO of Anti-Copying in Design (ACID),
advises how to protect your designs.
New design or product launch?
In a tough competitive market, launching new,
innovative designs is a key differentiator and
an integral part of brand development to stay
ahead of the game. I hope I can help answer for
you. But how do you protect your designs from
the ‘me-too’ or deliberate copying challenge and
how do you ensure that bringing your tradable
intellectual property to market will earn you
the rewards as the originator? How can you
maximise the return on investment you have
made in bringing a new product or design to
market and is it protectable? How do you go
about it, what are the criteria for protection and
what’s the cost of registration? How can you
protect your next must-have design? What is
ACID Marketplace?
Firstly, have you got your IP house in order?
One of the first things to do it to create a simple
proactive IP strategy positively communicated
internally and externally and throughout the
whole supply chain. Basically, if you don’t want
to be copied, say so! There’s no better place
than on a website, within terms and conditions,
marketing material and product labelling.
Identify where you’re trading and what are
the risk factors. If your designs are infringed
in another country, where is your IP support?
Have you registered your designs in that
country? For example, to take legal action
in China you need to have registered your
designs. Create an IP portfolio of your design
and trademark registrations, and if you employ
anyone ensure there are restrictions in their
contract of employment. There’s nothing worse
than finding out that an ex-employee has run
off with all your valuable trade secrets to arm a
competitor with a fast track to your know-how.
Guard your trade secrets carefully. Ensure that
there’s a confidentiality protocol in place to
ensure that your business isn’t compromised.
Create confidentiality agreements for sensitive
information between you and any employees
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privy to this information.
If you have a good idea for a new product, keep
it safe. Never underestimate the risks of sharing a
good idea unless you know there are safeguards.
If the safeguards are in place then the idea can
turn into positive design collaboration that can
be mutually advantageous and successful for
both parties.
Register for protection
There are different kinds of protection that may
apply to designs. Register new designs wherever
possible and budget for enforcement. ACID’s
Design Databank for unregistered designs
continues as part of ACID Marketplace for
ACID members. This doesn’t add to IPRs, but
nevertheless serves as compelling evidence as
independent third party proof of the existence of
a design when it is received by ACID.
• UK Registered Designs
(you pay to register, £60)
• UK Unregistered Design right
(free and they arise automatically)
• Registered Community Designs
(you pay to register – visit www.oami.europa.eu
for costs)
• Unregistered Community Designs
(free and they arise automatically)
• Copyright (free and arises automatically)
“If you have a good idea for a
new product, keep it safe. Never
underestimate the risks of sharing
a good idea unless you know there
are safeguards. If the safeguards
are in place then the idea can turn
into positive design collaboration
that can be mutually advantageous
and successful for both parties.”
What is ACID Marketplace and how can I
launch new products more safely?
It’s a UK first! Consider launching your new
designs on ACID Marketplace and inviting your
independent retailers and retail buyers to view
them in a safer trading environment. Recently
launched, this is an exciting new online trading
portal and conduit between designers and
design buyers. The majority of members send
their designs into the ACID Design Databank,
which is confidential and unseen by anyone.
With ACID Marketplace, members now have
the option of expanding their markets with a 24hour online exhibition zone, either by showing
their designs by invitation or opening them for
all design buyers to view.
Alternatively, if members wish to keep their
new designs confidential like the original Design
Databank, that option is also still open – the best
of all worlds. Members will have the safety of
knowing that all design buyers who want to see
their new product ranges will first have to register
and sign in support of the ACID Design Buyers’
Charter, an open demonstration of best practice
in design buying. All design viewings are tracked
and recorded on the member’s personal profile.
Award-winning designer, Lee Broom says: “As
a company who strives to bring original and
exclusive British design to the global marketplace,
we are delighted to support ACID Marketplace.
Not only does it secure evidence of the creator’s
ownership, but expands the availability of
intelligent ideas to the market and encourages
greater access to suitable buyers. I hope the entire
industry will support this important endeavour.” $
CONTACT
For more information,
visit www.acid.uk.com
Crystal Breeze
Bridal & Prom
[email protected]
Tel: 020 8541 1199
www.crystalbreeze.co.uk
Two’s
Company
Hollie Needham and Emma Swain are passionate about their
bridal business, Derbyshire-based Nora & Eve, which they
opened in 2012. Read on to find out about the highs and lows of
their first 18 months in business…
What inspired you to set up a bridal boutique and how long did it take you
from the initial idea, to opening?
We launched Nora Eve because we wanted to offer a wedding service with a
difference, selling affordable designer bridal gowns.
We started out as best friends with a dream and worked hard, quickly
turning it into reality. We held our opening night on Friday 13th July, 2012.
How did you come
up with the name for
the boutique?
We were both close to
our Nans and wanted
them to be a part
of this exciting new
venture, incorporating
their first names into
the shop title. Nora
is my Nan and Eve is Hollie’s. We also have their respective wedding day
photos on display in the boutique.
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Where are you based and how did you go about finding the perfect premises?
Nora Eve is located on Chatsworth Road, in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
We spent many hours driving up and down this road looking for a perfect
property, eventually coming across a rundown, derelict building with plenty
of potential at number 272! We spent many months knocking walls out,
stripping paper and renovating; however all the hard work paid off when we
finally opened the doors to Nora Eve Bridal Boutique.
How have you created a point of difference in your boutique, compared to
others in the area?
One of our selling points is that we offer beautiful, brand-new, highly
affordable designer wedding dresses, in a comprehensive range of sizes and
styles. We’re the only business in the area to offer brides the opportunity to
buy a cost-effective, yet high-quality designer wedding dress, off the peg.
We have a private viewing lounge where the bride showcases the dresses
to family and friends, with a spacious en-suite dressing room. We also offer
“Our first 18 months have been far better than we
could ever have hoped: it seems we’ve successfully
filled a gap in the market.”
Retailer profile
“We’re currently extending our three-storey bridal
house to create an extra room. This means we
can double the hundreds of dresses we already have
in stock.”
bridal accessories, flower girl dresses, teen and adult bridesmaid dresses as
well as quirky wedding gifts.
Our late-night and weekend opening hours make us accommodating
to most brides, but we’re always willing to be flexible by offering some
out-of-hours appointments.
We strive to ensure that everyone who leaves Nora Eve has had a personal,
positive and magical experience. Our philosophy is ‘may all that enter as
guests, leave as friends’.
How have you found the first 18 months’ trading? What have been the highs
and lows?
Our first 18 months have been far better than we could ever have hoped: it
seems we’ve successfully filled a gap in the market.
We can honestly say that there haven’t been many lows. However, one
that particularly stands out was when we’d spent a whole day renovating the
boutique and proudly started to hang all of our new dresses on the rail. Part
way into the operation, the entire rail fell down, bringing half of the wall
with it!
We also had a heated debate over the font for the ‘N’ on the front of the
logo – it may sound like a small thing but branding is so important and we
simply couldn’t agree!
As for our highs, where do we begin? We love meeting so many brides
each week and enjoy helping them bring their whole wedding together. It’s
so rewarding to see their photos after the big day and we enjoy receiving
such positive feedback from our brides.
Which bridal designers are currently stocked at Nora Eve and why? Will you
be welcoming any more names over the coming months?
When we first opened the boutique, we only sold off-the-peg English
designer wedding dresses. They were all excess stock that we received priced
at £499 or below so we cut the tags and sold them at purse-friendly prices.
We’re now expanding our reach with a host of bridal labels. The Co-op
department store recently closed down in Chesterfield so we were delighted
when one of their bridal brands, Mori Lee, chose us to be its new stockist in
the area.
From January, we will also have Timeless Couture, Amanda Wyatt, Venus
plus sizes and Charlotte Balbier.
How has the business evolved since the boutique first opened?
Within a year of opening, we realised that brides weren’t just coming to us
for the affordability of the gowns so we decided to take on a few designers
so that we could offer a bigger range at a slightly higher price point.
We now offer off-the-peg and re-orderable wedding dresses, bespoke
Derbyshire-made bridal gowns, a plus-size range, bridesmaid dresses, flower
girl dresses and accessories.
Aside from bridal gowns, what else do you offer the bridal party? Are there any
plans to introduce new lines?
We currently have around 50 bridesmaid, teen and flowergirl dresses. These
can all be re-ordered in a range of colours, sizes and material, and start from
just £49. We also sell capes, head pieces, belts, veils, jackets and more.
As an extra service, we offer free wedding planning from our boutique,
and have a gallery of work from reputable local suppliers on display.
What do you enjoy most about running your bridal shop?
Absolutely everything, what is there not to enjoy? We have pretty dresses,
lovely customers, and we both love working here.
What are the most challenging aspects of running your store?
We always want to do more and are constantly looking at ways we can
improve the business. There are simply not enough hours in the day to be
open to our brides and to carry out the newest master plan.
We both find it hard to have a work/home balance as we always want to
move the business forward. In addition, we occasionally have differences of
opinion, although we always reach a conclusion!
What are your future plans for Nora Eve?
We’re currently extending our three-storey bridal house to create an extra
room. This means we can double the hundreds of dresses we have in stock.
We don’t sit still very easily so any chance we have we’re always thinking
bigger and better. We still have to pinch ourselves that our dream became a
reality so we’ll do everything within our power to keep the dream growing. $
Contact
Nora Eve Bridal Boutique
+44 (0)1246 208 555
www.noraevebridalboutique.co.uk
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Prom
We take a look at the ever-changing market for glamorous
prom wear.
Gino Cerruti
Christine Joneja, Crystal Breeze
www.crystalbreezelondon.net
What were your best-selling prom dresses over the past year?
Our best-selling dresses were the Lola and Mia designs. Both feature long,
floating skirts made from tulle, with a high waist and lots of sparkle.
How does your prom collection for 2014 differ from the 2013 collection?
We have absolutely no taffeta in our 2014 collection and the colour palette
is definitely leaning towards soft pastels.
What dress do you predict will be your best seller for 2014 and why?
Lola is already the best seller for 2014. It’s currently in production as our
dresses are made to order at least six months in advance.
How do you predict the market for prom wear will evolve over the next couple
of years?
More girls will need to buy off the peg as schools are frequently using the
prom as a disciplinary tool – good behaviour earns a prom ticket. Therefore,
prom dress sales are rapidly moving from Jan/Feb to May/June which leaves
no room to order individual dresses. It’s in the retailer’s best interests to
stock a full range of gowns to take advantage of this swing in trade.
Crystal Breeze
Pinky Johar, Gino Cerruti
www.wholesalegown.com
What were your best-selling prom dresses over the past year?
Over the past year our prom dresses have been split into two distinct
looks. We’ve done well with full-length crepe, jersey and georgette
gowns, with lots of glamorous diamantè beading and figure-revealing
details on the back. We’ve also found that our sparkly, frothy ball gowns
made from tulle with crystal embellishment have sold well.
How does your prom collection for 2014 differ from the 2013 collection?
The most significant change is in the choice of colour, moving from
the neutral champagne palette to dark and mysterious burgundy
and midnight blue. Slinky, more revealing, styles remain popular,
influenced by the music industry’s fabulous but risqué icons. Bling is
still the number one decoration and next year the crystals will be bigger
and bolder than ever.
What dress do you predict will be your best seller for 2014 and why?
We predict our best seller will be our gorgeous 667K style, daringly
designed to reveal a fabulous low-cut back. It’s made from a heavy jersey
fabric and embellished with large Swarovski crystal stones. It ticks all
the boxes as a grown-up, red-carpet, show-stopping gown.
How do you predict the market for prom wear will evolve over the next
couple of years?
The market for prom wear is highly competitive, especially with a great
deal of transactions being made online. However, if we keep our designs
current, the quality high and our pricing competitive, we feel there’s
still tremendous potential for growth.
$77,5( ·
Ruby Prom
Amanda O’Neill, Ruby Prom
www.rubyprom.com
Kiss Me Kate Designs
Richard Whitehouse, Kiss Me Kate Designs
www.kissmekatedesigns.co.uk
What were your best-selling prom dresses over the past year?
Our best-selling line was our primary prom, which continues to do well year
on year.
How does your prom collection for 2014 differ from the 2013 collection?
Our 2014 collection has changed as we’ve included a new evening wear
collection. This is a luxurious and exclusive, yet affordable, range of dresses
which are made to the high Kiss Me Kate standard.
What dress do you predict will be your best seller for 2014 and why?
We still predict the primary prom will do well, but I think that the new
evening gowns from the 2014 collection will be popular as they are ‘red
carpet ready’. Girls want to dress like their idols and this range should help
them to do just that.
How do you predict the market for prom wear will evolve over the next couple
of years?
I think that girls will continue to follow their favourite celebrities’ fashion
choices. With these images being instantly available on social networking
sites, designers are quick to mimic these styles, allowing girls to be a
celebrity themselves at their prom. I also think that budget is key – more
parents are now shopping around and purchasing on-line.
Rebekah Hock, Eternity Prom
www.eternityprom.co.uk
What were your best-selling prom dresses over the past year?
Our best-selling prom dress was 61103, a beautiful layered tulle skirt
with fitted sequin bodice.
How does your prom collection for 2014 differ from the 2013 collection?
The 2014 collection features lightweight fabrics such as chiffon and
tulle with subtle detailing. We’re still providing a mixture of slim flowing
gowns, full ball gowns and short dresses. High-low hems are also very
popular. The collection is more sophisticated than before and will appeal
to older customers as well as teenagers.
What dress do you predict will be your best seller for 2014 and why?
We predict shorter styles will make a comeback – 52327 from the new
collection is a guaranteed best seller.
How do you predict the market for prom wear will evolve over the next
couple of years?
Online sales will grow. To compete, bricks-and-mortar retailers need
to have stock in their shops ready to buy off the peg. Eternity Prom
stockists can login to our online warehouse and order stock to be
delivered within two days. $
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What were your best-selling prom dresses
over the past year?
Our best-selling style was London, a full
tulle skirt with a sparkly bodice. Last year
the quartz (a dusky lilac shade) was the
most popular whereas this year the dark
grey and deep aubergine colours have
been popular.
How does your prom collection for 2014
differ from the 2013 collection?
We’ve expanded our range with Ruby
Black, which is a more sophisticated,
sparkly, evening wear look. We’ve used
more lace and intricate hand beading that
can be seen on the Sienna and the Lola.
We’ve also introduced sequin fabrics on the Scarlett full tulle skirt to the
Rachel dress which has a detachable long chiffon skirt over a short sparkly
dress, giving the wearer two looks. In the main collection we’ve added rich
colours like wine, charcoal, midnight, navy, and claret.
What dress do you predict will be your best seller for 2014 and why?
I predict our Scarlett silver dress with its sequin bodice and large gem
beading will do well. It looks far more spectacular in real life than in
a photo.
How do you predict the market for prom wear will evolve over the next couple
of years?
We’re seeing a growing divide between the top and bottom of the market,
with more customers reporting higher sales on prom dresses retailing from
£300 upwards. We’ve already seen some good sales from girls who have
ordered early so they don’t miss out on their dream gown! Last year we had
a lot of late orders.
Eternity Prom, 61103
Kiss me Kate’s Primary Prom
Contact Richard or Jo for further information
07989 522721 or 01902 656345 | email: [email protected] | www.kissmekatedesigns.co.uk
On the search
David Mackley brings you a guide to Google updates and his views on how to reduce the risk of
being damaged by them.
If you have a website and rely on Google
listings to bring in customers, you may be
aware of Google updates and how they can
change the position of your website in Google
search listings. You will have probably heard of
PANDA, PENGUIN and other friendly names,
however, a Google update can seriously damage
your business. Here’s a potted history of Google
updates, and my own view on how to reduce the
risks of being damaged by them.
WHAT IS A GOOGLE UPDATE?
BING has just launched a new logo for its search
engine, as it strives to make a bigger dent into
Google’s dominance, but it’s still miles behind.
Google has its faults, but it really is good at
delivering relevant search results, which is why
they’re so utterly dominant in the market.
Google search is powered by its secret
Algorithm and every now and again the Google
team find new ways to improve it. These
improvements are sometimes announced and,
more recently, kept quiet. In either case they do
tend to have an impact on the search results.
So, if you sell teddy bears online and are lucky
enough to be in Google’s first page results for
these items, you’ll probably be getting a nice
revenue stream from new customers. How would
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you feel though if Google publishes an update
that pushes you down, and effectively out of the
search results? You would lose most, if not all, of
your teddy bear business overnight.
This does actually happen. Some businesses
have literally gone bust; as a result they’ve
launched petitions with thousands of signatures
asking Google to remove updates, but chances
are nothing will happen. It’s pretty scary but very
real, there are lots of cases where small businesses
have lost more than 40 per cent of their turnover
overnight after the Google PANDA update.
Who knows when the next one will strike?
For those wanting to track such things, there
are SEO companies that have tools to track
changes in Google rankings on a massive scale
and give temperature readings to reflect change
in rankings. When the temperature gets above
100 degrees, it means there are lots of changes
to Google rankings. Webmasters then get
extremely twitchy.
Google has more recently become wary about
officially confirming when updates are released.
Partly because so much rides on Google listings
for so many businesses, and also after the uproar
that happened with PANDA and PENGUIN
updates. As this is an area of concern for people,
there are rumours that fly thick and fast. Here’s
a potted history of some of the main Google
updates in recent years.
GOOGLE UPDATES A POTTED HISTORY
• Domain Crowding – May 2013. Google
released an update to reduce the problem where
a website comes up multiple times for the same
search term.
• Exact-Match Domain Update – September
2012. Google announced a change in the way it
handled exact-match domains (where the search
term is the same as the URL of the website, e.g.
teddy bears = www.teddybears.com. This led to
devalued listings for about one per cent of sites.
• 7-Result SERPs – August 2012. Google made
a change to limit its first page to only show seven,
and not 10 results for many queries. This change
impacted about 18 per cent of keywords.
• DMCA Penalty – August 2012. DMCA
stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
You can post a DMCA Takedown to request
an Internet Service Provider (ISP) take down
material that infringes another’s copyright.
Google announced that it would start penalising
sites with repeat copyright violations, probably
via DMCA takedown requests.
• Knowledge Graph – May 2012. In a step
toward semantic search, Google started rolling
out Knowledge Graph, a new page layout
providing extra information about certain
people, places, and things. Type Star Wars into
Google and see the Knowledge Panel appear.
• Penguin – April 2012. Google rolled out this
major anti-spam update, which became known
as Penguin. Penguin impacted an estimated three
per cent of English queries. A number of changes
were made to clean up search listings. Sites were
penalised for keyword stuffing, participating in
link schemes, deliberate creation of duplicate
content and other underhand techniques.
• Venice – February 2012. This update
appeared to give more strength to geographically
local based results, e.g. if Google knows you are
in Leeds and you type in toy shop, you’re more
likely to get local shops appear than shops down
in Devon!
David Mackley MBA BSc
is Managing Director of Intelligent
Retail – www.intelligentretail.co.uk –
providers of multichannel EPoS and
eCommerce websites for independent
retailers. If you have any questions you can
contact David on T: +44 (0)845 680 0126
or E: [email protected]
• Ads Above The Fold – January 2012. Google devalued sites with too
many adverts in the top part of the page.
• Freshness Update – November 2011. Google announced they would
reward freshness, e.g. fresh content on sites. This impacted up to 35 per
cent of queries. This update primarily affected search terms that were
time-sensitive like news, but signalled a much stronger focus on fresh
content generally.
• Panda (Europe) – April 2011. A major update hit sites hard, affecting
up to 12 per cent of search results. Panda seemed to crack down on
websites with thin content, sites with a high ratio of adverts to content,
as well as other quality issues. Google has since rolled out about 30 more
revisions to Panda.
HOW TO AVOID BEING DUMPED BY AN UPDATE
Here is my view on how to avoid being penalised by a Google update.
Take the view that Google wishes to present the best possible site for any
particular search term. They want to get rid of poor quality and copied
websites. Put yourself in the shoes of someone typing a search term into
Google; what would you want Google to provide for that term? This
mind-set will start you on the right track. Here are a few pointers:
1. Aim for your website to be a positive contribution to the wonderful
World Wide Web.
2. Provide genuinely useful information in the form of text, images and
video for people to use.
3. Don’t copy or spam, i.e. don’t write junk for the sake of Google listings.
4. Endeavour to get other good quality websites to link to yours where it’s
relevant and useful.
Google’s informal corporate slogan is Don’t be evil. If your general frame
of mind is to cheat Google, you’re at risk. If your frame of mind is to
genuinely provide useful information for people using the web, you’re less
likely to be affected, in fact you will probably gain good listings over time. $
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The Essential Collection is a bridal trade
show organised by the publisher of the
UK’s leading bridal trade magazine, Attire
Bridal. The show takes place every July,
hot on the heels of the major European
bridal trade events.
Now firmly established and in its fourth
year, The Essential Collection is a must-see
event for everyone in the bridal trade and
will be your first opportunity in the UK to
see many of the new 2015 collections.
You will be able to meet suppliers, make
new contacts and enjoy your day in a
thoroughly relaxing environment.
The modern purpose-built exhibition
centre at Stoneleigh Park is situated in the
centre of England and within easy reach
of most UK major cities.
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of visitors placed orders at the show
of visitors thought the location was
right for them
of visitors liked the dates of the show
of visitors thought the quality of
exhibitors was right for them
of visitors said they would be back
next year
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WHAT WILL YOU SEE?
The Essential Collection is an ideal event for
you to not only view the 2015 collections
from well-known and established companies
but also innovative designers not see at any
other exhibition.
Bridal fashions - Choose from great brands
You will be able to choose from some of
the best brands around for your brides. The
Essential Collection brings you a show with a
great range of dresses and styles to help you
to offer brides the dress of their dreams.
Prom - from major designers
As Prom grows in popularity, choose dresses
and menswear from some of the industry’s
top designers.
Bridal accessories – completing the look
Finish off that great look for your customers
with accessories from some of the best
designers around. The Essential Collection
brings you shoes, veils, jewellery, lingerie and
much more.
Plus… stunning catwalk shows and a full
seminar programme
Make sure you’re part of the essential buying
event of the year!
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Located in the heart of England within 100 miles of most of the UK’s major cities,
Stoneleigh Park is ideally placed to allow visitors to travel easily to the show.
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GETTING THERE
Address: Stoneleigh Park Exhibition and
Conference Centre, Warwickshire, CV8
2LG, UK
BY ROAD
All sat nav users should use CV8 2LG
From the North West: Leave the M6 at J2
following signs for Warwick (A46). After
joining the A46 from the A45, take the exit
signposted Stoneleigh NAC. Follow roadside
signage to the Stoneleigh Park showground.
From the North: Leave the M1 and J21
following signs for Coventry (M69). At the end
of the M69, follow signs for Warwick. After
joining the A46 from the A45, take the exit
signposted Stoneleigh NAC. Follow roadside
signage to the Stoneleigh Park showground.
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Magazines
From the South: Leave the M40 at J15
following signs for Coventry (A46). After
approximately 8 miles on the A46, take
the exit signposted Stoneleigh NAC. Follow
roadside signage to the Stoneleigh Park
showground.
BY RAIL
Royal Leamington Spa, Warwick and
Warwick Parkway rail stations are situated
on the main London Marylebone Birmingham line whilst Coventry is a regular
stop for the Virgin West Coast mainline.
BY BUS/COACH
Coventry bus station is 6 miles (10 km) away
from Stoneleigh Park. Warwick bus station is
9 miles (14km) away.
BY TAXI
AA cars and minibuses are permanently
located at Stoneleigh Park and can be
contacted on +44 (0)1926 425252.
BY AIR
Stoneleigh Park is within a 30 minute drive
of Birmingham International Airport.
PARKING
Don’t forget there is unlimited free on-site
parking at Stoneleigh Park.
ACCOMMODATION
There are over 40 local hotels and guest
houses within easy reach of Stoneleigh Park.
A selection of which can be found through
www.booking.com, www.hotels.com
or www.laterooms.com.
REGISTER NOW
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We preview Moda, one of the UK’s premier buying events for the
womenswear sector.
In brief
Show: Moda
Location: NEC, Birmingham
Date: 16th-18th February, 2014
Opening hours: Sunday and Monday
9.30am-6.00pm, Tuesday 9.30am-4.00pm.
Website: www.moda-uk.co.uk
Moda offers a diverse selection of contemporary
and mainstream women’s branded fashion, so it’s
no wonder it’s a well-established and essential
part of the UK trade show calendar.
It also has much to interest the independent
bridal retailer, from occasionwear and prom to
footwear, accessories and lingerie.
The February event, showcasing autumn/
winter 2014 collections, will take place on 16th18th February, 2014, at the NEC in Birmingham.
New labels, product launches and ranges
new to the UK line-up alongside big brands
from across the industry every season. Whether
visiting current suppliers or sourcing new ones,
there’s always something exciting to see.
With specialist product areas for evening
and occasionwear, Moda Noir, and directional
designs, Moda White, finding the products to
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suit your store is hassle-free.
Sarah Moody, event director for Moda Woman
says: “As the eveningwear offer has grown
stronger each season we felt it appropriate to
create a dedicated area to showcase the fantastic
brands we have on board for the February show.
It’s an exciting time and I’m really looking
forward to seeing the new areas take shape.”
Mon Cheri, John Charles, Linea Raffaelli
and Ann Balon are among the leading line-up
of brands supporting this specialised area, with
Daniel Saul of Mascara commenting: “This new
dedicated space for evening and occasionwear
highlights the importance of the product and
brands to the ever-changing retailer of today.”
Avril Bell, sales manager for Veromia mirrored
the sentiment: “It will be great to have all the
occasionwear brands focused around a central
plaza, and it’s a move I’m sure the buyers will
welcome. We look forward to showing both
Dress Code and Irrisistible at Moda Noir.”
One of the most popular areas of the show is
Moda Accessories, ideal if you’re a specialist store
or are simply looking for add-on products. Moda
Accessories offers the widest range of costume
jewellery, handbags, leather goods, scarves, gloves
and millinery in one dedicated show, making
it the ideal location for all your autumn/winter
buying needs.
Seminar programme
Each season Moda assembles business leaders
and experts from across the fashion industry
to deliver a comprehensive range of seminars.
Covering topics from marketing and social media
to techniques for increasing profit margins and
Moda
controlling stock, it’s free business advice you
can’t afford to miss.
Taking place over the two catwalk stages and
in the dedicated Lingerie & Swimwear Retail
Theatre, this season’s seminar programme will be
released in the lead up to the show and will also
be available to view on the Moda App.
Catwalk schedule
Throughout the three-day show Moda presents
the season’s hottest trends, with six specialist
catwalks taking place daily across two stages.
Stylist Fran Lee brings together the best
collections from across the show to provide the
ultimate inspiration for buyers from every sector.
Lexus International
Crystal Valley
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HOW TO GET THERE
By Road: Birmingham is at the hub of the
UK motorway network, enabling visitors to
travel directly from the M6, M1, M40 and
M42. Parking is free and shuttle buses operate
between the car parks and the show.
Using Sat Nav? Enter the postcode B40
1NT for the NEC Birmingham and follow
the onsite signage for car parking.
Crystal Valley
+44 (0)203 371 8958
www.crystalvalleylondon.co.uk
Crystal Valley’s 2014 collection promises to
take a bold stand on bridal design. The firm has
expanded its range with an art deco-themed line
whilst incorporating the ever-popular vintage
and 1920-30’s theme.
Glamour n Glitz
By Rail: The NEC is served by Birmingham
International Station, joined to the
exhibition centre by a covered walkway. There
are direct trains from major cities across the
country, including London Euston, which is
just 1hr 10mins away.
Lexus International Ltd
+44 (0)1902 456 800
www.lexusinternational.com
Showcasing its latest range of bridal footwear
with matching handbags, Lexus International
Ltd is a regular on the trade fair circuit. The
affordable yet fashion-forward designs are
winning many fans among brides-to-be.
Glamour n Glitz
+44 (0)1282 773 891
www.glitzshoes.com
Glamour n Glitz will be presenting its current
range of bridal, occasion and prom shoes, many
available on a short order basis. The collection
features vertiginous sparkly heels in eye-popping
shades of blue and purple, as well as elegant shoes
in ivory, soft gold and champagne.
Glamour n Glitz
By Air: Birmingham International Airport
is located on the NEC complex and provides
scheduled flights from 34 destinations in
the UK, US and Europe, including frequent
flights from the Republic of Ireland. Visit
www.birminghamairport.co.uk for more
information. $
Contact
Moda
+44 (0)844 588 8084
www.moda-uk.co.uk
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Enhance relationships
with email
Email marketing has been utilised for a long time due to its success as a marketing medium.
Martin Barnes from Create Click explains how to get started on your own email campaigns.
There are more than 3.2 billion email accounts in
the world and it’s predicted that this will increase
to 6.4 billion by 2016. With this in mind,
the potential for email marketing as a way to
communicate with your customers and convince
them to buy and remain loyal to your brand is as
important as ever. In 2012, 44 per cent of email
recipients made at least one purchase based on a
promotional email, and 56 per cent of businesses
said the company would increase their use of
email marketing in 2013.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing remains one of the most
effective ways to keep in touch with your
customers while promoting your business.
Other marketing methods can be costly, but
email marketing is both cost effective and
environmentally friendly, while enabling you to
target specific markets and customers.
There are many ways to use an email marketing
campaign, from a welcome email that thanks a
new contact for opting in to your subscription, to
announcing products, services and discounting
future purchases.
Choose software that is capable of functioning
as your lists grow, that can also scan outgoing
messages for viruses, and can measure the
effectiveness of your campaign. Mail Chimp
is probably one of the most well-known email
marketing solutions and has 3.5 million users
that collectively send more than 4 billion emails
a month.
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Benefits of email marketing
Sharing
The ability to share emails can increase your
email marketing reach. Even if the direct
recipient of your email isn’t interested in what
you have to offer, they can forward it on with
ease to a friend or colleague who they think
might be.
Feedback
Email marketing allows your customers to give
you feedback in the form of a direct reply to the
email you sent them. This information can then
be used to see what works and what doesn’t,
so that your next email campaign can be more
successful.
You can track your campaign’s progress through
the use of some useful statistics such as:
• How many emails have been delivered
(delivery rate)
• How many emails have been opened
(open rate)
• The number of click-through generated
(click-through rate)
• How many people that go to your website and
leave (bounce rate)
• How often a specific person opened
your email.
TIP: Take a look at some of the promotional
emails that you’ve received yourself recently to
identify what you liked about them, and what
you didn’t!
Timing
It’s important to decide how often you intend to
send out this type of communication – there’s
a fine line between too many and not enough!
Combining a mix of content at different times is
usually acceptable to most customers who have
opted in to your email list.
Make sure you have a variety of promotional
and compelling editorial communication. Put
yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself
questions like:
• What is there to read about and respond to?
• Would I like to receive updates of when
products are back in stock?
When to send the email out is equally
as important.
Most emails have a life of only three days. Thus,
if you’re marketing to business people at their
offices, sending early in the week is usually better
than sending on a Friday. However, if you’re
marketing to individuals at home, it’s much
better to send on a Saturday to be read leisurely
over the weekend.
List building
Building your own list internally can take time,
however, the quality of your recipient list will
remain relevant to your business. Make sure that
your home page includes an email sign-up form
that allows people to sign-up to your mailing
list themselves.
Keep an accurate audit of how your business
receives permission to contact the
subscribers of the lists, as people can forget
how they signed up. Make sure you delete those
individuals who know longer wish to receive your
email campaigns.
Title
The title of your email campaign is significant.
Subject lines of less than 10 characters have an
open rate of 58 per cent and those that have
personalised subject lines (for example those that
were name specific “Hello with name”) had an
additional 22 per cent chance of being opened.
Try to keep your subject line short, sweet, and
straight to the point while also being relevant
to the market you’re trying to target. Try not to
use words like ‘free’ in the title as this can trigger
spam filters. Appearance and contents
Your email should be built with HTML and
CSS, which will allow you to style your email to
suit your business with images and logos. Plain
text email campaigns can look bland which could
turn customers off from wanting to buy.
Content
Make the content easy to scan quickly so the
recipient can get the gist of the email without
having to read it in full. Most recipients won’t
read every word until they’ve decided whether or
not they’re interested.
CONTACT
Create Click Ltd is a leading marketing
agency based on the South Coast. Founded
in 2012, Create Click offers a wide range
of marketing serves including brand,
illustration, graphic and print design, web,
social, email and SEO.
Further information
T: +44 (0) 2392 876 030
E: [email protected]
W: www.createclick.co.uk
Don’t rely on your email’s spell checker, and ask someone else to proof
read it for accuracy before sending. Keep scrolling to a minimum and
make your call-to-action prominent and clear so that your audience knows
what to do.
Make images and text clickable and direct customers through to a
relevant landing page on your website. You’ve successfully got them to
open and read it so don’t allow them to lose interest by clicking through to
a page that isn’t relevant.
The bottom line
Every email that you send out should have your company’s information
on the bottom, giving potential customers a chance to learn more about
your business as well as an ‘opt-in’ to get future emails. Provide recipients
with a clear way to contact you for more information, including a staffed
telephone number or email address.
Magazines
Helping you to reach brides in your area
Test before you send
First impressions really do count and you don’t want anything to go wrong
so test your email on yourself and a colleague to see how it looks on the
receiving end. You won’t get everything right first time, but it’s important
to use your campaign results to adapt and re-test in
the future. $
RESOURCES
For more statistic information on email marketing, visit the
Salesforce Blog
http://blogs.salesforce.com/company/2013/07/email-marketing
-stats.html
To find out more call 01376 514000
or visit our website
www.countyweddingmagazines.com
Column
Out with the old
Louise Dicks, Marketing Manager at Richard Designs offers her advice on some
of the best ways to clear unwanted stock and ex-samples.
We all know that one of the biggest challenges in
owning a bridal shop is keeping control on the
investment in your stock. This means not only
watching the pennies when buying, but knowing
when to let go of old or ineffective samples.
You can be sure that the one thing a bride
wants on her wedding day is a pristine dress.
Whether she’s a high-end couture client or a
bride on a budget, she needs to know that her
gown and accessories will arrive in time and
looking perfect. This message has to be conveyed
by the presentation of your product or she will
simply go elsewhere.
We all know that times have changed and that
brides know what’s fashionable, on trend and
good quality. They’ve shopped around, been
to their friends’ weddings, bought countless
magazines, and spent hours browsing online,
so there’s no hiding – your stock must be in
immaculate condition at all times.
Which pieces should stay and which
should go?
The first, and perhaps most difficult, step of
refreshing your stock is deciding which pieces
are for keeps. The best way to do this is to forget
the feelings or emotions attached to the sample,
how you felt when you saw it for the first time
at a trade show, or how enthusiastically the sales
rep promised you it would reorder, and look at
the simple facts. Has this gown or accessory been
purchased by a bride in the last six months? Look
at your sales figures and see what your return on
investment is for each piece. Keep a tag on the
back of each gown and mark it with the date
every time it’s tried on as this will help you to
keep track of how much interest each piece
has received.
It’s a valuable skill to look at your stock
with a critical eye. Evaluate which pieces are
letting down the appearance of your offering.
Remember, sometimes it makes better business
sense to cut your losses and dispose of unwanted
goods than to keep them on display, which can
reflect badly on you. Don’t let there be any bad
apples rolling around your shop floor!
If you have an older style in store (think 18
months old or more), consider whether your
supplier is still advertising this to the trade,
either on their website, in brochures or with
their sales representatives. This will give you a
good indication of whether it’s still a good seller
and a valuable sample. If you’re still unsure, call
your suppliers to see whether it’s still worth
stocking this style, or if there’s a more up-to-date
alternative available.
If, based on the evidence available, you decide
to dispose of some samples, ensure you determine
why these styles didn’t sell, and take these facts
with you into the next buying season.
Of course, in order to keep to your minimums,
sometimes you have to purchase a gown from
a supplier that you know won’t return your
investment. In this case, ensure you build in
the cost of waste in your business plan and
forecasting. The reorders on your top samples
should outweigh the loss of investment on your
weaker styles.
How to clear dead stock
Once you’ve decided which samples should go,
you have various options with regards to their
disposal. The obvious route is to have a sample
sale which can be advertised in the press and
online. However, as we all know, bridal shops
can’t be treated like other high-street shops,
and sales need to be handled sensitively. Fiona
Bartlett from Frilly Frocks advises keeping
sale stock out of sight and bringing it out for
particular brides: “We don’t hold sale stock on
the shop floor all year round as I dislike that
untidy sale-rail look, it compromises our whole
in-store experience”.
Similarly, avoid putting sale signs in your shop
or shop window, as this can create a negative view
of your store. Ensure you maintain the image
of your chosen market position at all times – if
you’re a discount store then advertise the fact, if
not then don’t.
Think about the effect of selling stock below
cost price. In an ideal world, you’ll sell samples
at the price you paid for them, but if there’s a
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particular bride who would be very happy to take
an ex-sample at a reduced price then consider
the goodwill that will be created from making
this bride happy. We all appreciate the value of a
word-of-mouth recommendation.
Broaden your horizons and think of other
outlets through which you can dispose of old
stock. Fiona recommends taking advantage
of Facebook: “Simply picturing sale stock and
uploading to Facebook can be such a quick fix,
and works wonders for accessories!”
You can also team up with other retailers in
your area by holding a sample sale away from
your store, or take lead from some bridal stores
and look into the possibility of opening a
devoted outlet store in a separate premises.
If you don’t need the return on your ex-samples
then consider donating them to a worthwhile
cause. Your local school or theatre may be
grateful for donated gowns and accessories,
or you can even give them to a charity shop.
Samples may be worthless to you but could
make a real difference to other people’s lives. For
example, Amanda Bradwell of Eternity Group
runs a wonderful scheme which sees ex-sample
gowns from Eternity, Mon Cheri, Sincerity and
White Rose sent to disadvantaged communities
in Uganda. “The donations by the bridal industry
are helping bring people out of poverty and
offering a palpable future,” explains Rebekah
Hock of Eternity Group.
If your samples are still selling well but are
looking a bit tired, consider arranging to send
them back to your supplier for refurbishing. At
Richard Designs we take advantage of the winter
to ensure your samples are up-to-date. Fiona
says: “If we do have tired and dated samples of
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headdresses we will return them to our suppliers
for them to restore to their former glory”.
Refresh throughout the year
Getting into a good routine of maintaining your
samples can save you time and money. Ensure
your brides are handling your samples correctly –
this doesn’t mean you should plaster intimidating
warnings on the doors of your shop, but
encourage them to handle the pieces carefully by
setting an example.
When a bride comes into your shop for the
first time, spend some time with her discussing
what kind of dress she wants and what her style
is. Show her some images of the gowns you
have in stock, zoom in on the detail and make a
shortlist for her to try on. This will make it even
more special for her when she finally gets to the
fitting room, and will prevent unnecessary wear
on your samples. You should also think about
the way you present your gowns and accessories
to make it easier for brides to imagine what they
will look like before they try them on. If you have
the space you can display gowns on mannequins
instead of hangers, or attach a modelled image to
each gown so the bride can browse more easily.
Each time a gown or accessory is put away, or
on busy Saturdays at the end of each day, make
sure it’s still in good condition. Tweak tiara
sprigs, fluff veils and straighten skirts to make
sure everything is in good shape when the next
bride walks in.
Creating a strategy for dealing with ex-samples
and old stock can go a long way towards a
successful, profitable year. Make the most of this
winter to refresh your stock and create a plan of
action for next year. $
Contact
Richard Designs
www.richard-designs.com
To donate gowns to Amanda Bradwell
and the Christian Restoration Ministries,
contact Rebekah Hock at [email protected]
eternitybridal.co.uk or telephone
+44 (0)8707 707 670.
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Profile
Classic Elegance
With such a strong retail following, it’s hard to believe that Diane Harbridge’s
bridal label is less than two years old. Read on to find out how it all began…
When did you launch your label and what’s
your background in bridal design?
I launched the company at a trade fair in March,
2012, although I’d been working on the first
collection and the development of the company
six months previously.
It feels like I’ve been doing this forever which
may be because designing and selling beautiful
wedding dresses is where I began my career in
bridal – I was a partner at Aristocrats, a bridal
store that I ran with my sister and mother for
almost 30 years. I’ve spent a lot of time with
brides of all shapes and sizes wanting all sorts
of gowns. Back then, dresses were bespoke
and made for each bride rather than bought off
the peg.
On a more commercial level, my time spent
working with Maggie Sottero was invaluable
and I had the good fortune to be its UK agent,
promoting and marketing the collection to
retailers across the country. It was very exciting
to bring a new company to the forefront of the
bridal industry and to be part of its success.
How has your business evolved since this
time and what have been the most memorable
moments in its development?
I would be a liar if I said we haven’t had to
jump some hurdles over the last two years! But
I would jump them again to get to this point
of my business. We started with such a high
level of interest at the first trade show, with 45
retailers buying into my first collection, and
we’ve steadily grown to 77 retailers and several
overseas buyers. The support from the retailers
I deal with has been phenomenal and they
support the fact that I show two collections a
year. I’ve never expected our stockists to buy
minimums, for example, but they still make
sizeable orders.
Winning Best Newcomer for 2013 with
Wedding Ideas magazine was overwhelming
and gave me the confidence to believe in my
life-long dream of having my own design/
manufacturing company.
In 2013, a very special year for me, my spring
2014 collection saw my sales soar, propelling
my company to a new level. The success of
the September trade fair has given us the
confidence to enter into long-term advertising
and social media plans. Year three is all about
getting my name out to the brides and taking
very good care of my existing retailers. I already
have my autumn collection underway and it’s
looking amazing. I’m lucky to have a small
but hugely enthusiastic team supporting me
and underpinning my business; together we
intend to elevate the company to new heights.
With international buyers coming on board by
the week, I have to say that things are looking
very promising!
How would you describe your signature style?
I tend to design gowns with a classical British
cut. My collection is always focused on
figure-flattering silhouettes and fluid lines. I’ve
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gone to great lengths over the past two years
to develop perfectly fitting corsets within my
gowns. I focus on high quality gowns at pursefriendly prices. I must admit I’m a bit of fabric
snob so I endeavour to use the best quality
laces, satin, crepe, soft tulles and flowing
organzas in my designs.
What inspired your spring 2014 collection?
My 2014 collection is inspired by my love of
dance, so the dresses all move beautifully
befitting of any ballroom. I’ve used soft
whimsical laces and delicate tulles, prim
high necklines and cute fitted sleeves, and
soft flowing godet skirts. Tones of mocha,
champagne and crisp ivory all make up my
best collection so far. I can’t wait to see my
retailers next year; I intend to blow them away!
Which gown from the collection do you
predict will be the best-seller and why?
I’ve debated over the question of my best seller
for next year. There are a number of really nice
gowns but I’m going to predict Tulip will be my
best seller for 2014. It has a cute high neckline,
sexy low-cut back and an all-over vintage lace
mermaid-shaped skirt. It’s a very flattering
gown that will suit all shapes.
If you could design a bridal gown for anyone
in the public eye, who would it be and why?
If I had to design a wedding gown for someone
in the public eye it would have to be Kim
Kardashian – mainly because of the huge
amount of publicity attached to the wedding.
I’m a new business so I need all the publicity I
can get!
What support are you able to offer to your
stockists?
One aspect of my work that I enjoy is doing
the designer weekends. It’s great to be able to
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work with my retailers so closely. Meeting real
brides every month keeps me focused on what
they do and don’t like, as well as trends. It’s
interesting to see what’s being pulled off the
rail to be tried on and why. It also gives me a
chance to get to know the owner and her staff
and understand how each shop operates.
We try to be as helpful to the retailers as
possible, so we have a sample loan service. I
carry stock if dresses are needed in a hurry and
we have a reliable delivery and rush-cut service.
As an ex-retailer I think some of my new
stockists like the fact that they can call me
if they have a problem. We’re friendly and
approachable as a company and we put our
retailers first, making them feel at ease with our
staff and our business. We’re so passionate
about what we all do here at Diane Harbridge;
we love our work, which is a recipe for success! $
CONTACT
Diane Harbridge
[email protected]
www.dianeharbridge.com
Coming Soon for 2014
Glamour and good taste are the key drivers for the next
collection. Slim silhouettes with enriched details in rich
and innovative fabrics will capture everybody’s attention.
Twitter 7ZLWWHU
WEB WATCH
Attire Bridal is at the very heart of the online bridal community. Here’s
a quick update on what’s been going on…
Total num
ber of
followers
:
6,160!
SHORT AND TWEET
One of Attire Bridal’s many followers, designer Emma Tindley, explains
how Twitter has helped her business.
Name: Emma Tindley
Company Name: Emma Tindley Couture
Follow me at: @emmatindley
When did you set up a Twitter account and what
prompted you to do so?
I set up my account two years ago because I’d heard that it was a good
way to network. It appeared to be more geared towards networking
within the industry than Facebook.
Has your business benefited as a result? If so, how?
Yes, I find that Twitter is great for keeping in touch with our stockists
and I use it to announce our attendance at wedding-related events. I’ve
made some great business friends through Twitter and find it helpful for
bouncing ideas off somebody else within the industry.
How often do you tweet and what do you tweet about?
I try to tweet every couple of days. However, we’ve been so busy over the
summer months I’ve not had a chance to tweet as much as I would have
liked. I’m playing catch up now!
What advice would you give to first-time tweeters?
Enjoy it and follow people who genuinely interest you. Don’t get too
concerned with how many people you follow and who follows you
back. I never know if somebody unfollows me as I’m more interested in
connecting with people and keeping up-to-date with news and events.
Which bridal companies do you enjoy following on Twitter?
I enjoy following @elliesanderson, @abigailscoll, @missbushbridal, @
madelineisaacj, @bridesmagazine, @coutureandtiara, @brianflorist and
@youandyourwedding. $
\ȐǸɑȐȽɄɬȘɄȵȵɄɬȨȽȝѰ
This month on Twitter we have mainly been:
i Retweeting positive feedback on our last issue
i Posting the latest industry news
i Announcing new exhibitors for The Essential Collection 2014
i Following new bridal retailers
\ȐȵȃɄȹȐɜɄɄɤɑ
ȽȐɬȐɕɜȘɄȵȵɄɬȐɑɕѰ
@EveHortonBridal
@dreamdressyorks
@TabithaBridal
Bridalwear designer
Bridal shop
New bridal label
@rachelashbrides
@WendyWooMills
@SophieLouiseWed
Bridal boutique
Sales Manager at
True Bride
Bespoke bridal gowns
Bridalwear designer
Bridal boutique
Tiara designer
@naomineoh
Naomi Neoh
@KarenForteUK
Karen Forte
@CaleiraTiaras
CaleiraTiaras
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ɑȨȇǸȵ
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Next issue
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Next Issue
The Essential Collection
Exclusive trade show update
FORMALWEAR
Our in-depth market report
)YPKHS^LHY[YLUKZ
Key looks for autumn/winter 2014
Mum’s the word
True Bride
ISSUE 40
March/April 2014
Advertising deadline: 14th February, 2014
Available from: 3rd March, 2014
Glamorous occasion wear for the
mother-of-the-bride
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Business advice
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Retail technology
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It’s free for anyone working in the
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We offer a fast, reliable and friendly service on our continually increasing range
(currently over 3,500 choices) of bridal fabrics, embroidered and beaded edgings,
motifs and accessories.
Range includes: plain and shot taffeta, velvet, duchess satins, organzas, chiffons, crepes,
laces, brocades, various embroidered and
beaded fabrics, inc tulles and chiffons.
Our range of dress accessories now
exceeds 650 articles including many
brooches and buckles with crystals.
(PDLODGPLQ#PLFKDHOVEULGDOIDEULFVFRXNZZZPLFKDHOVEULGDOIDEULFVFRXN
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ɑȨȇǸȵ
To advertise here call Jan Griffin on +44 (0)1376 535 612
or visit www.attirebridal.com
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Sale of the Century
Eve Broadhurst, Creative Director and Co-Owner of The White Closet,
discusses the challenges of selling on bridal gown samples.
Working in a bridal boutique is a wonderfully
exciting experience for everyone involved. It’s
romantic, celebratory and luxurious. It’s the one
chance for a truly British shopping experience
reminiscent of Mr Selfridge and Are You
Being Served? Drinks, cakes and jazzy music
accompany exclusive use of the boutique so that
the bride feels like a celebrity for the duration of
her appointment. Business basics
All this froth and celebration is supported by a
carefully considered and solid business structure
which is based on holding our own samples. We
love and care for each and every gown as they
earn their rail space by transforming modern-day
ladies into glamorous goddesses. It’s then always a
shame when it’s time to say goodbye to a sample,
whether it’s being replaced with a new one or if
it sadly hasn’t been as popular with our brides as
we’d originally hoped. The normal platform for rehoming these
gowns is to hold a sample sale in the boutique
where brides come and grab some bargains. This
is cost effective, instantly rewarding and efficient
as it avoids endless hours sat at a computer
uploading images online.
Brides beware
Unfortunately, a new breed of online sellers
prey on the budget-focused brides by providing
substandard and counterfeit dresses. This is
no good for anyone involved in the industry,
whether bride, boutique or designer. From a
retailer’s point of view, there’s nothing more
frustrating than spending time with a bride,
finding her dress then losing the sale to a faceless
online seller. Luckily, www.weddinggowntown.com, www.
lovethedress.com and www.bridaltraders.co.uk
seem to be starting the fight to combat rogue
online traders by creating databases for brides
to find budget-friendly dresses that are on sale
in local boutiques, thereby driving the brides
back into the shop rather than buying through a
website. In my opinion, Wedding Gown Town is
the clearest and most user-friendly site which is
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Jenny Packham is just one of the designers
stocked at The White Closet
currently aimed at recruiting boutiques and has a
genuine selling point that is clearly stated. The premise for guiding brides to sale sections
of boutiques definitely seems to be a good one
and if it can be used as a tool to search for specific
dresses then all the better. I must admit that a couple of the websites are
currently a little confusing – or maybe its just
me! – and it doesn’t seem to be clear if their
customers are boutiques or brides or both? It also
seems to be another less attractive way to charge
for advertising space which sinks to the bottom
of the sea of blogs, magazines, fairs, events, cover
stories, Facebook pages, newspapers, leaflets and
so forth.
We’ll always sell off our old samples so we’ll
wholeheartedly support any initiative that aids
this process; however, the process needs to be,
above all, time effective. $
Contact
The White Closet
+44 (0)161 445 5678
www.thewhitecloset.co.uk
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www.bonny.co.uk
Telephone: 01279 418555