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Trader WEDDING

WEDDINGTRADERMAG.COM

ISSUE 15 • MAY/JUNE ’19

IAN STUART TAKES TO THE ROAD AND COMES BACK WITH A SMILE

Chat and snap THE NEW BREED OF PHONES THAT TAKE THE BEST PICTURES

STATEMENT-MAKERS FOR THE MEN IN THE BRIDAL PARTY

Mum’s the word

WHAT THE WELLDRESSED WOMAN WILL BE WEARING

The talk of the shows

THE TRENDS SET IN THE SEASON’S TOP EVENTS A RETAILER’S GUIDE TO SETTING UP YOUR VERY OWN PHOTO SHOOT


FREE FREE SAMPLES SAMPLES FOR FOR QUALIFIED QUALIFIED ACCOUNTS ACCOUNTS Apply Apply online: online: www.dessy.com/retailers www.dessy.com/retailers

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RO M A N T I C A C O L L E C T I O N S BRITISH BY DESIGN

View the spectacular 2019 A/W collections on our website: www.romanticaofdevon.co.uk We will be launching our brand new 2020 collections at The Harrogate Bridal Show from the 8th - 10th of September. Find us at The St George Hotel.


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contents PERFECTLY STAGED Randy Fenoli gets the applause at London Bridal Fashion Week

W H AT ’ S W HE RE 13 TA L KING P OINT The latest need-to-knows in bridal

68

19 I N MY OP INION Laura Daly says sizing matters

72

22 L ET TER FROM AME R ICA Peter Grimes on follow up service

76

26 RUNWAY TO RETAI L II Ellie Sanderson’s views pull in responses

78

32 DOING IT H IS WAY Graham Phebey and one-stop shopping

82

36 S IX O F TH E BEST Veils, and the decoration that counts

86

40 MATERNAL INSTIN CT S What every MOB will be wanting

88

44 YOUR WEBSITE Myrna explains DMO™

92

46 PLU NGING BACKS Our guide to the deliciously daring

96

50 MOTE E MAID S Q&A with Roseanne Garden

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55

T REND S FR OM NEW YO R K What top designers have put their money on

100 THE NEWEST PHONES

58 G IVE IT A SH OT Creatiques produces its own images

103 S O C IAL M E DIA

62 VB BFW Now this takes a lot of beating

104 MONEY TALKS

64 A N E W D IRECTION Jason Jennings’ next chapter

106 GE T T ING DOW N TO BAS I C S

A DIFFE R E NT V I E W When Ian and Pete got out in the van S HOW B U S INES S A snap shot view of what happened where GE T T ING IT RI G H T Opening a bridal business with Luxe expertise L E AR NING FR O M T H E B EST Meet Charlotte Fraine who knows how it works M E NSWE AR Dominic Bliss reports on the latest looks B R IDES TAL K So did you make the best impression? WHIT E GAL L ERY FAV ES The designers on what sold best for them FIND YO U R DRE A M D R ES S A cracking new website gets launched A DAY IN T HE LI F E You’ll get exhausted just reading this! DRESSING UP THE DÉCOR Cushions for comfort and added personality

Gary Wilkins gets on to Instagram Your financial queries answered Layout, lighting, creating the environment

INVITATIONS BY VENI INFANTINO

Taking photos is now the priority

MAY/JUNE 2019 ♦ WEDDING TRADER ♦ 7


CO NTACT US

Ed’s Letter

Editor Susi Rogol

Thousands of dresses later, photos and notes at the ready for that grand preview and, for many, a huge sigh of relief that clear trends emerged from the shows so far this year. Those who have been around the industry for decades know how important it is for energies to be revitalised season after season, regardless of the political and business climate. There have been years when one has come away disappointed, thinking:“same old, same old” but this time round it was “wow wow wow” as both designers and manufacturers across the globe went all out to impress. and, with the speed of getting the message out there today thanks to social media, brides-to-be will be getting excited now about what’s to come. But it’s not just the females who have style matters to consider... our menswear editor Dominic Bliss says the chaps are in for treats, too, with ever-more-fanciful formalwear – grooms will be singing the blues for another year it seems. This issue is show-report-packed. We’d love to know about your favourites of the new trends. EDITOR SUSI ROGOL-GOODKIND TEAM TALK Andy Allen Art Director “I’ve got a wedding coming up. I am really tempted to go all out with trendsetting gear but I’m still into traditional kit.” (p82) Nardene Smith Advertising Sales Consultant “I missed the shows this season so reading about what led the way is vital for me.” (p54, 62 and 72) Martha Cooke Sales Executive “Knowing how other people spend their day is fascinating. I thought I was busy but Tracie’s diary says I am not!” (p96) Jade Pepperell Love Our Wedding “We are talking to brides all the time and their views should be taken on board by the industry.” (p86)

CONTRIBUTORS Dominic Bliss, Michael Cahill, Helena Cotter, Laura Daly, Myrna Plaisir Daramy, Jill Eckersley, Charlotte Fraine, Roseanne Garden, Peter Grimes, Peta Hunt, Hannah Jacobs, Jason Jennings, Emma Meek, Chris Partridge, Rob and Andrew Pearce, Graham Phebey, Ellie Sanderson, Ian Stuart, Gary Wilkins, Tracie Willis

Trader WEDDING

WEDDINGTRADERMAG.COM

susi@meanttobemedia.com

Deputy Editor Carrie Marsden carrie@meanttobemedia.com

Art Director Andy Allen andy@meanttobemedia.com

Advertising Sales Consultant Nardene Smith nardene@meanttobemedia.com Mobile: 07957 372276

Sales Executive Martha Cooke martha@meanttobemedia.com Mobile: 07877 449122

ISSUE 15 • MAY/JUNE ’19

IAN STUART TAKES TO THE ROAD AND COMES BACK WITH A SMILE

@WeddingTraderUK

Chat and snap THE NEW BREED OF PHONES THAT TAKE THE BEST PICTURES

STATEMENT-MAKERS FOR THE MEN IN THE BRIDAL PARTY

Mum’s the word

WHAT THE WELLDRESSED WOMAN WILL BE WEARING

WT15_Cover 1aa_s_c.indd 1

The talk of the shows

THE TRENDS SET IN THE SEASON’S TOP EVENTS A RETAILER’S GUIDE TO SETTING UP YOUR VERY OWN PHOTO SHOOT

07/05/2019 12:21

Cover image: Allure Bridals allurebridals.com

@WeddingTraderMag @weddingtrader

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Trader WEDDING

Wedding Trader magazine is distributed to hundreds of the best bridal retailers all over the UK. Designed and created by the makers of Love Our Wedding

MEANT TO BE MEDIA Wedding Trader is published by: Meant To Be Media Ltd, 68a Oldham Road, Manchester M4 5EE. Tel: 0161 236 6712 weddingtradermag.com meanttobemedia.com Meant To Be Media Ltd also publish:

MAY/JUNE 2019 ♦ WEDDING TRADER ♦ 9


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TAL KING POINT The latest news in the wedding world, right here, right now

Wow Factor We are huge fans of Rasha London, the design house that raises the bar every season, and with every dress in her collection. And then she produces the most fabulous images to tell the story. This gown is Athena, and it is all about effortless glamour with a low back and soft flare at the bottom. In gold and ivory tulle, and handbeaded to Rasha’s own hand-drawn design, it will retail at £3,750. Our thanks to models: @angelaloalv @ivanmonagas and photography:@darkmaito. Rasha is reachable at +44 (0)7989 556878 / rasha@rashalondon.com

WHY SHOULD CHAPS SETTLE FOR THE SENSIBLE? Into menswear? Get a headstart – or rather a foot forward – with the new collection from London Brogues, the label that has a reputation for putting fashion into fellas’ shoes – taking the classics and adding twists, like wild colours and whacky detail. Be it an updated Oxford or a laid-back loafer, this is all about style statements. The quality is top-notch and prices sensible – up to a max of £120 RRP. +44 (0)116 269 7011 / londonbrogues.co.uk

M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 9 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 13


O CCAS I ON WEA R G R E AT S AT H AR R O GAT E FASH I O N W E E K Already a star of the exhibition circuit for those in search of great new looks, the next edition of the Harrogate show – 28-29 July – is offering a curated line up of quality brands including John Charles, Pomodoro, Sahara, Orientique, Helen Moore, Lily & Me, Goose Island and Ella Boo. Joining the show for the first time, are some exciting new brands such as Kate Cooper, Naya, Personal Choice, Grace Jewellery, Johnny Loves Rosie, Captain Corsaire, Mistral and Lotus Shoes. Interestingly, says Show Director Sarah Moody, the event is now attracting attention from footwear brands looking to target the independent boutique market. “These brands want to be right in amongst the womenswear exhibitors, not lost in a hall full of footwear, where womenswear buyers may not even go.”

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The exhibition has also announced a collaboration with MICE, a hotel bookings agency that has negotiated special rates with many of the Harrogate hotels. Director Wendy Adams says: “We want to make the buyers’ experience in Harrogate as pleasant and cost-effective as possible, and a large part of that is making sure that they’re getting good value for money with their hotel accommodation. We’ve found that a number of buyers are staying on for an extra day and so they have the time to pop out to Betty’s or Gino D’Acampo for lunch, then come back into the exhibition for the afternoon, or perhaps spend a day in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, which are on Harrogate’s doorstep”. Details of all special hotel offers during the show can be found on Harrogatefashionweek.com


CA M B R IDG E R ES U LT S DOM Bridals recently invited all its UK and European stockists to a complimentary weekend at the Double Tree by Hilton Cambridge Belfry to celebrate the launch of Mon Cheri Bridals Fall 2019 collections. Sumptuous catwalk shows in a relaxed environment meant that the team had the opportunity to spend time with their customers and discuss the collections in detail. “We really enjoyed sharing thoughts and being able to spoil our customers with hotel accommodation, delicious food, special show offers and a constant flow of Champagne,” they said. Martin Thornburg A Mon Cheri Collection opened the proceedings with

a line-up of five models of different shapes and sizes cleverly illustrating how versatile the collection is with elegant unadorned gowns, slim-fitting trumpet silhouettes, wonderful lace numbers all in an array of colours and some available in a choice of materials. Ellie Wilde for Mon Cheri and Colette for Mon Cheri took to the stage next with a stunning range that included brightly-coloured gowns with added sparkle, and shimming elegant evening gowns. The following day retailers were treated to Enchanting by Mon Cheri, which is designed by Martin Thornburg along with Mon Cheri’s occasionwear

designer Ivonne Dome, and then came the much-anticipated Sophia Tolli Australia collection... an example of classic grace, artistry and never-ending attention to detail. After the event, it was thumbs up all round from Mon Cheri stockists. “A fabulous weekend as always! The collections were stunning and we loved the hotel.” “A great weekend away, loved seeing all the catwalk shows and having the chance to socialise with other bridal retailers.” “Really relaxed friendly environment, the gowns were amazing!”

IN MEMORIAM Just hours after Karl Lagerfeld’s passing at the age of 85, the auction search engine Barnebys saw an increase in searches for Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld on the secondhand market. Chanel jumped up by more

than 30 rankings to become the eleventh-most-popular search term on the Barnebys global analytics. With an increase in demand for Chanel goods, prices will only increase. Hold on to that handbag! M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 9 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 15


T H E WO RLD O F J E N NY PAC KH A M Jenny Packham’s 2020 collection, showcased at the Mayfair Townhouse in March during London Bridal Fashion Week, captures the spirit of some of the world’s most romantic destinations – Paris, Buenos Aires and New York. A tale of three cities collectively encapsulating a feminine and distinctly modern beauty. The city of light and love, Paris is renowned for its fin-de-siècle grace and its haute couture heritage. Inspired by this sentiment, JP used draped chiffon, finely pleated tulle, delicately embroidered organza and voluminous skirts for a softy romantic look for an ethereal bride. Vibrant, passionate and beautiful, Buenos Aires is synonymous with a Latino love of music and dance. In homage to the sensuality and soul of the city, these silhouettes celebrate the female form with bias-cut crepes, intricate embellishment, fishtail skirts and plunging necklines. New York, meanwhile, is an icon of high-octane glamour. Saluting the Upper East side elegance and the hedonism of downtown Manhattan are high-low hemlines, crystal-encrusted mini dresses and ostrich feather trims – sophisticated gowns for a sensational party.

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THE FINISHING LINE Softly softly and unquestionably sexy sexy Marguerite Hannah’s 2020 collection for Alan Hannah was unveiled at White Gallery in March. Every dress, as you’d expect, is magical – a snapshot of timeless elegance. There are sculptural structured gowns in mikado and satin which have a geometric simplicity with beautiful corsetry and boning. Then there are softer shapings, like this one, Persephone, which is sheer red-carpet glamour.

When we started our search for six fabulous veils – see page 36 – we didn’t think the task would be so tough, or the choice of what’s on offer so tantalising… we could easily have changed the theme to ‘a dozen winners’ but of course that wouldn’t quite sit right in a Six of the Best series! We wanted you to see this particular Richard Designs model in tulle with corded lace and sparkling crystal. It’s in the new Abbey length (though you can order it in any length you or your bride fancies). Style is C562D, RRP is £439. +44 (0)1353 661600 / info@richard-designs.com

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SPECIALDAY www.specialday-ireland.com


In my opinion It’s no secret that the average woman has increased in size and height since dress sizes were standardised in the 1950s. It’s time our suppliers took this on board and sized gowns accordingly says Laura Daly

I

don’t know about you, but my seamstresses are encountering ever-increasing problems altering gowns these days. Not because they don’t know how to tackle them, but rather because of the complexity of some of the work required. Apart from the sheer technicality of intricate overlays, lace hems and minute beads, there’s the fundamental issue of fit. Low backs, high necklines, sleeves and delicate fabrics, makes the work more time-consuming than ever and this only adds to the pressure all round. I imagine the labels I carry are fairly representative of the average UK bridal store offering. One of the designers offers a full made-to-measure service, a couple offer ‘special measurement’ options, but the majority only offer gowns cut to their basic size charts. Recently, it’s been increasingly difficult to pick the size that will take into consideration the customer’s ‘worst’ measurement – the one that will push her into a larger size. While researching for this piece, I came across an interesting article published in the Independent a couple of years ago which supports exactly what my seamstresses have found: the average UK woman’s waist these days is 34”, compared to only 28” in 1957. The average bust size is now 36”, compared to the previous 34”. When I look at my designers’ size charts – of which, I might add, no two

are the same – I can see that, whereas the average bride of 1957 might have needed only a minor alteration on the bust of her gown, our average bride of today would need it adjusted by as much as eight inches. That can involve a lot of work, multiple appointments, and a hefty alteration bill. It’s not always something that the bride has fully understood, despite our best efforts to explain everything when she chose the gown. Surely, now’s time for our mainstream manufacturers to look at their size charts and consider how they could better reflect today’s shapes? If you’re a manufacturer and you’ve seen a downturn in your repeat orders, this could be one of the reasons why your gowns aren’t selling. If there’s another label that offers a bust/waist/ hip special measurement option, I can guarantee that the stockist will be pushing that label to the bride because it’s likely to make the whole process easier for everyone. If your size chart means that the bride will not fit anything under a size 18 and she’ll need major alterations on certain measurements, she may well choose not to purchase. If she does place an order, she may later remember how your size 12 or 14 fitted her nicely at the front but totally forget that it didn’t do up at the back. When her size 18 comes in, she will hate it – and probably hate the retailer, too -

because the bust will be huge. Ian Stuart cleverly came up with a solution and now offers the front of one size combined with the back of another to accommodate smaller busts with bigger backs. As a designer who works with a factory and a size chart, and who gets to deal directly with some of his customers, he’s been in a position to move with the times and, to his great credit, has had the foresight to do so. Morilee has also issued a new additional size chart for bridesmaids with wider waists, but only on the bigger sizes at the moment. So, here’s the thing. We know that we independents have to offer viable and desirable options to our brides to beat the dreaded off-the-peg shops. We also know it’s impossible for us to stock all our gowns in every size. One of the big attractions of off-thepeg is that a bride can try on her size and instantly decide if she likes the fit, while on many big labels, we have to advise which size to order and explain that it won’t fit when it comes in… When you look at it like that, I can fully understand why a bride would rather take her chances with a dress she can actually try on in her size before committing any money. I truly believe that this is an issue that needs addressing without delay by any manufacturer that wants to remain competitive going forward. Please think about it. It affects us all.

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Letter from America Peter Grimes, publisher of VOWS magazine and the voice of the industry in the US says it is vital to extend the client ‘experience’ through to follow up

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e often write about the importance of understanding and executing your Experience Advantage... that ability of full service, brick and click salons to create extraordinary in-store and inperson experiences that resonate with your brides and community. In principle and reality it is a competitive advantage for all bridal stores regardless of the country or market segment they are in.

Creating a highly-personalised and essentially customised store experience is a challenge, though, especially when compounded by the need to continually fine-tune your approach for a constantly-evolving market place and consumer. Yet multiple and recent consumer preference studies confirm that it’s worth all the effort: today’s consumers are increasingly making decisions on the products and services they buy based on the ‘experience’ factor. Research indications This is hardly news to any of us... and probably reflects our own personal shopping and buying preferences and habits. But here’s one finding that adds a bit of weight to the discussion, as presented by the customer service consulting firm Walker, in its report Customers/2020: “Customers will dictate the experience. Customer expectations in the future are the outcome of movements that have been underway for decades. Changes such as the

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explosion of digital, the empowered customer, and the acceleration of innovation are having a profound impact on customer expectations. “The customer of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive. They will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalise the experience. “Immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs.” And this conclusion: “Customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.” It’s all about more But here’s the key takeaway from all these studies: customer experience is not just one thing, nor is it a ‘one-anddone’ action. More than a nicely presented store interior, more than a Facebook post of photos of your brides holding signs proclaiming “I said yes to the dress,”


more than knowledgeable stylists and consultants, more than having the right merchandise at the right time. It encompasses every touch point with your bride, including how you handle the follow up in two critical situations:

with brides equally effective, in their chosen method, whether text, or email. Especially for those ‘walking’ brides.

Suggestions l All follow up communications must be personalised and reference some l the acknowledgement/affirmation/ aspect of her needs and/or details from the appointment. celebration after she purchases; This is not a one-size fits all circumstance. (If your stylists/ l your follow up with the bride who consultants are not adding notes to a can’t or won’t make the decision to bride’s profile in a consistent, timely buy because you were the first store shopped, or because she has another manner, you lose all chance to entice this bride back to your salon.) appointment and wants to keep the party going. l Create a checklist of procedures for In talking with a number of you this your staff’s follow-up communication to include not only the number of Market season, the real frustration communications, but what details is clearly with the second scenario... specific to that bride’s search must be getting those brides who have included, and when each follow up shopped you back in the store. text or email must be sent. To do so is simply stated, though difficult to execute: your in-store l Also, consider creating a template/ experience is a powerful marketing script that can be easily adapted asset, but you must also work to make each of your digital touch points to each bride. Doing so creates a

consistent brand presentation to the brides, and adds a bit of convenience for your stylists. When your brides receive communications tailored to their shopping and buying history and personal profile, they’re more likely to click through to see what you have to offer... increasing the odds of their return. And delivering a highlypersonalised experience throughout the process reaches your brides how they want and expect to be reached. Which, of course, is the goal of your Experience Advantage.

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, our Brides Talk feature on pages 76-77, substantiates everything that Peter is talking about here. Brides’ expectations are high, their research is meticulous and, importantly, if a retailer does not deliver and meet those expectations, they are discarded. Staff attitudes count for a lot, without question, as we heard time again.

Calling all boutique owners! Give this brilliant free wedding magazine as a gift to your brides!

ISSUE FOUR • OCTOBER 2015

STUNNING STYLES FOR EVERY TIME OF YEAR

Trend alert!

THE BEST DETAILS TO MAKE YOUR DAY WOW

REAL BRIDES

BEAUTIFUL WEDDINGS & REAL ADVICE INSIDE

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PERFECT REAL-LIFE WEDDINGS

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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY THIS SEASON’S MUST-VISIT SHOWS

WIN TICKETS TO THE NATIONAL WEDDING SHOW!

BRIDESMAID HANDBOOK

‘I’m engaged!’ WE FOLLOW A REAL BRIDE-TO-BE ON HER WEDDING JOURNEY

EVERYTHING YOUR GIRLS NEED TO KNOW!

Gift ideas

FOOD IDEAS

GIVE YOUR NEWLYWED NEST A VINTAGE GLOSS WITH OUR BEST BUYS

TASTY DISHES FOR YOU AND YOUR GUESTS, P86

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03/08/2015 20:17

DRESSES FOR EVERY BODY SHAPE FIND A GORGEOUS GOWN THAT LOOKS & FEELS INCREDIBLE

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ADORABLE IDEAS FOR FLOWERGIRLS

GET AN AMAZING 25% OFF YOUR ACCESSORIES! PLUS-SIZE SHOPPING TIPS GREAT ADVICE FOR CURVIER BRIDES

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TIPS TO CREATE THE WEDDING OF YOUR DREAMS, FOR LESS!

ELBETH GILLIS HOW ONE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S BEST DESIGNERS IS SET TO WOW THE UK

Let’s celebrate!

NEW WAYS TO KEEP YOUR GUESTS ENTERTAINED

BEAUTIFUL WEDDINGS REAL STORIES WITH BRILLIANT IDEAS TO STEAL, P70

01/05/2016 18:20

ISSUE 27 • SEPTEMBER 2017

A little something extra for your brides Packed with top planning tips, dreamy details and bridal fashion, Love Our Wedding is the UK’s favourite free wedding magazine, and you can give this handbag-sized treat to your brides, free of charge! Every issue can be delivered to your door in packs of 20, so you can distribute them to your brides as you wish. Proudly display them in store or put them in goody bags for your customers to take away. To become a stockist, email andy@meanttobemedia.com.

FLAWLESS NEW FROCKS FOR YOU & YOUR BRIDESMAIDS

• STATIONERY • DECOR • SHOES • JEWELLERY • CAKES &

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Photo finish EXPERTS REVEAL THE BEST WAYS TO POSE FOR PHOTOS

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THE SIGNATURE STYLES YOU’LL FALL IN LOVE WITH

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SEE THE NEW STYLES FROM ONE OF BRIDAL’S FAVOURITE DESIGNERS

She’s the one

INCREDIBLE DRESSES FOR EVERY BRIDE, P14

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50 GORGEOUS NEW DRESSES

WE SELECT OUR FAVOURITE BRIDAL DESIGNS FOR 2017

He’s the one! REASONS TO HIRE YOUR GROOM’S SUIT, P50 WORRIES OF A BRIDE-TO-BE SECRET THOUGHTS EVERY BRIDE HAS

BENJAMIN ROBERTS WHY THE NEW COLLECTION IS THEIR BEST YET!

HOT PLUS-SIZE GOWNS FOR FULLER FIGURES

FIND MY VENUE! WE DISCOVER THE UK’S BEST COUNTRY HOUSE VENUES, P115

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couples 12 PAGES OF BEAUTIFUL REAL-LIFE WEDDINGS

HOW TO DE-STRESS BEFORE THE BIG DAY KEEP THOSE NERVES UNDER CONTROL WITH OUR TOP TIPS

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Catwalk chic

A BUMPER 1ST BIRTHDAY ISSUE!

SHOW TIME!

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Seasonal food ideas DELICIOUS DISHES FOR YOUR MENU

OUR BIGGEST SELECTION OF BEAUTIFUL

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REAL BRIDES

BRILLIANT IDEAS AND INSPIRING STORIES

The finer details

FROM STATIONERY TO BRIDAL ACCESSORIES, FIND HUNDREDS OF FINISHING TOUCHES INSIDE

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MINI MAIDS ADORABLE PICKS FOR YOUR FLOWERGIRLS

WIN A N HONEYMOO IN CRETE WORTH OVER £2,500 VENUE SPECIAL FIND THE PERFECT PLACE FOR YOUR BIG DAY

Wedding dress how-to FIND THE DRESS OF YOUR DREAMS WITH OUR BRIDAL GUIDE

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yes! OUR PLANNING TIPS FOR NEWLYENGAGED BRIDES

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Enzoani HOT 2018 STYLES FOR EVERY BRIDE

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Mini maids

PRETTY FLOWERGIRL DRESSES THEY’LL LOVE

DREAMY DISCOUNTS GREAT DEALS FOR EVERY READER!

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Br ides REAL IDEAS, ADVICE AND DETAILS TO INSPIRE YOU

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WOW-FACTOR COLLECTIONS

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P lus-size gowns

A SELECTION OF GORGEOUS DRESSES FOR CURVY BRIDES

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THE BEST OF BRITISH TOP HOME-GROWN DESIGNER NAMES TO LOOK OUT FOR

Hair ideas

TAKE THESE PRETTY STYLES TO THE SALON

Make a wish

THE BEST SELECTION OF DREAMY DETAILS FOR YOUR WISH LIST

ELLIS BRIDALS

WE FIND OUT WHAT THIS AMAZING TEAM HAVE IN STORE FOR 2017

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STUNNING WEDDINGS

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NEW WAYS TO DO VINTAGE, BRIGHTS & MUCH MORE, P101

‘HOW I LOST OVER 3ST FOR THE WEDDING’ ONE BRIDE REVEALS ALL!

01/07/2016 15:12

ISSUE 38

• AUGUST 2018

TISSUES AT THE READY FOR OUR BEAUTIFUL REAL WEDDING STORIES

Travel special

FROM MARRYING ABROAD TO IDYLLIC HONEYMOON IDEAS – WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED

Blue by Enzoani WHY WE THINK THIS IS THE BEST COLLECTION YET!

OVER 100 GORGEOUS WEDDING GOWNS

Flower power! WHICH BLOOMS WILL WORK BEST IN YOUR BOUQUET?

WIN YOUR WEDDING RINGS, FROM PURELY DIAMONDS! P71

Wedding trends 2018 EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR YOUR DREAM DAY

Fashion special THE DESIGNERS AND DRESSES YOU HAVE TO SEE

DIY WEDDING FLOWERS HOW TO CREATE PRETTY PAPER BLOOMS

We love curves! GORGEOUS GOWNS FOR FULL-FIGURED BRIDES

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LOVEOURWEDDINGMAG.COM

GOLDEN GIRL ACCESSORIES FIT FOR A QUEEN

01/07/2018 12:19

SEE THE CHIC NEW DESIGNS

03/11/2015 14:22

SHOES, STATIONERY AND THEME IDEAS

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INSPIRATIONAL BRIDESMAID TRENDS ALL THE TOP LOOKS THAT YOUR GIRLS WILL LOVE

Wilderly Bride WE VIEW THE STUNNING SPRING COLLECTION FROM ALLURE BRIDALS

NEW BRIDAL GOWNS FOR 2018

PUMP UP THE JAMS! HOT WEDDING SONGS FOR YOUR PLAYLIST

REAL-LIFE WEDDINGS

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AMAZING ACCESSORIES DELICATE DETAILS TO FINISH YOUR LOOK

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BRIDAL GOWNS TO SUIT EVERY BODY TYPE

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LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE & GET MARRIED!

ISSUE 16 • OCTOBER 2016

• APRIL 2018

Stress-free planning

MENSWEAR TRENDS FOR THE NEW SEASON

Last-minute weddings

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A HANDY GUIDE TO MARRYING OVERSEAS

WHY WE ADORE THEIR CHIC NEW COLLECTIONS

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ISSUE 34

Dress up!

‘I do’ abroad

SEE THIS YEAR’S CATWALK TRENDS

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Dreamy details

• SEPTEMBER 2018

Gorgeous Weddings BE INSPIRED BY THESE THREE REAL-LIFE CELEBRATIONS

ISSUE 36

• MAY 2018

Spring in her step CELEBRATE THIS SEASON WITH OUR BRILLIANT TIPS

Get the look GORGEOUS STYLES FROM VINTAGE TO GLAMOUR SO MUCH TO DO, PLENTY OF TIME! OUR CHECKLIST MAKES PLANNING A BREEZE

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FALL HEAD OVER HEELS FOR THE NEW ROMANCE COLLECTION

Darling details LOADS OF PRETTY BUYS INSIDE, FROM JUST £1

Real fairytales

TISSUES AT THE READY FOR THESE SUPER-CUTE WEDDING STORIES

30 BRIDESMAID DRESSES YOUR GIRLS WILL BEG YOU TO LET THEM WEAR!

GREEN WITH ENVY VEGETARIAN RECIPES THAT ARE HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS, P70

• JUNE 2018

Inspirational Weddings REAL COUPLES SHARE THE DETAILS OF THEIR BEAUTIFUL BIG DAYS

NICHE NECKLINES COOL LOOKS FOR YOUR BRIDESMAIDS

Finishing touches FROM SHOES & CLUTCHES TO STATIONERY & DECOR

ROCK THE DRESS! 50 FIGURE-FLATTERING STYLES WE ADORE – AND SO WILL YOU!

Show time! ESSENTIAL DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR

HOT S HAIRSTYLE TO CHIC IDEAS TAKE TO THE SALON

‘I do’ overseas

TOP PLANNING TIPS FOR THE PERFECT WEDDING ABROAD

SHAPED TO PERFECTION STUNNING GOWNS FOR PLUS-SIZES

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Seasonal sisters! BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAID DRESSES FOR SPRING THROUGH TO WINTER

Martin Thornburg A MON CHERI COLLECTION THAT’S FIT FOR A PRINCESS

ISSUE 40

Making the cut!

• OCTOBER 2018

Real-life Weddings THREE CELEBRATIONS JAM-PACKED WITH GREAT IDEAS TO STEAL

IT’S ALL IN THE DETAIL... SHOES, DECOR, JEWELLERY, STATIONERY & MUCH MORE

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• NOVEMBER 2018

WAYS TO IMPRESS

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REAL STORIES: FROM WHEN HE POPPED THE QUESTION, TO THE DAY THEY SAID ‘I DO’

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GORGEOUS GROOMS GREAT IDEAS FOR YOUR MODERN MAN

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• JANUARY 2018

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YOUR DREAM WEDDING DAY

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HEAVENLY HONEYMOONS THE BEST LOCATIONS FOR YOUR RADAR

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• DECEMBER 2018

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DELICIOUS RECIPES TO TRY AT HOME, COURTESY OF SLIMMING WORLD

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THEMES FOR 2019 HOW TO TAP INTO THE LATEST WEDDING TRENDS

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LIGHT AVENIR 35

Runway To Retail II Ellie Sanderson is not afraid of being heard and voices opinions others share but are often reticent to voice out loud. She looks, assesses and analyses so her views are based on research, not whim. We welcome them...

I

n the March/April issue of Wedding Trader I wrote about ‘runway to retail’ and questioned the lead-times we currently have when we buy new samples. The article challenged why we currently buy in March for delivery in October and was that time line set up for media and show purposes or the consumer needs? I believe the former. The response to this piece was cosmic and came from far and wide. I enjoyed a week of healthy and

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heated debate from both suppliers and retailers. Some utterly agreed that we needed to change and others defended that change was not needed, as our industry is “different” to mainstream retailing. (Pop online and read the comments – excellent points were made.) It was brilliant to debate in such a lively way and in doing so I also


learned that whilst the supply chain is slow in some areas of our industry, in others – and in particular at the manufactured end – there was some great progress underway to speed the processes up. My point was and still is, that showing product in March that cannot physically be made and delivered until October / November is counter productive. Guessing forward predictions for over a year ahead and the release of images of product that is not available for months is a threat to our livelihood and out of kilter. Without doubt, all retailers that stock designer labels 100% agreed for the need to change, below is a snap shot of some of the comments received. “Showing in March with delivery in October is far too long a gap and is setting us all up to fail. There should be the most popular dresses (and there will be four of those, at least, per

product now would then lead to consumer demand now is a very real threat to us all. Here’s what some retailers had to say: “Brides see the new collection runway shows on YouTube etc and think they should be able to buy it within a couple of Picture My point was and still is, that weeks, just as they can with their day/ imperfect showing product in March evening wear.” Other “I couldn’t retailers that cannot physically be agree more, how agreed that made and delivered until frustrating it is to releasing have a bride come to imagery at October / November is us six months before show time a collection arrives was a huge counter productive. in the boutique with issue, fuelling images that she can’t try and can’t get the consumer’s expectations that out of her head. This does not help us the dresses were readily available. close a sale.” (I do have to add, though, that some retailers were just as responsible Widening the gap for this happening and, IMHO, over The comments about my article have shared those images.) also highlighted the huge distinction The concern that in showing the designer) that should be ready to ship to us within a month of the show.” “I agree that we need to look at the way we buy and I would love to have smaller drops throughout the year. Some high-end designers are very slow at getting their new collections out.”

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between designer labels and manufactured labels. Whilst I totally accept these products are massively different and that their production processes are too, they seem to be miles apart now more than ever. A number of retailers commented on how brilliantly their manufacturers have been coping with the consumer change in demands and gave so many great examples of superb ideas to cut down the time from runway to consumer. One heaped praise of a particular supplier: “Some companies are moving in this direction, I’ve just come back from a buying trip where the dresses have all been tested in stores before the collection was launched, best sellers have already been put into production so some of the samples I’ve ordered will be with me in May. They also have a fantastic portal system and often have stock of popular dresses.”

It is clear that designer label retailers would rather buy in September for December/ early January delivery There were examples of manufacturers who had their top five dresses available to ship in four weeks. Tied into a social media launch and it’s the perfect model. Intelligent retailing at its best. So what now? It is clear and very real that designer label retailers would rather buy in September for December / early January delivery. This closes down the gap of product exposure to the media without availability. And the majority of them would happily buy throughout the year for fresh deliveries during the

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season. This smoothes out cash flow, manages production better for our suppliers and tightens up the loop of runway to retailer. This seems such a no brainer but our designers need to be in synch for this to work. Many manufacturers seem to have grabbed this nettle fast and hard – these guys will clean up with their modern approach but, sadly though, those that defend how we currently buy and deliver will lose their market share. More retailers than ever have this on their non-negotiable list when they go shopping and only those retailers who are naive or new find the old timelines acceptable for today’s consumer. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens next year. What I do know is this: the retailers are asking for this change and suppliers who change will be the future not the past.


CORA

ronaldjoyce.com


M A D I S O N - J A M E S . C O M


DOING IT HIS WAY Graham Phebey, one of the best-known figures in men’s formalwear, saw a gap in the retail market and set up a one-stop super-store for the newly-engaged. Jill Eckersley checked out the formula

A

s far as its creator, Graham Phebey, is aware, The Kent Wedding Centre - situated in between Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone - is the only one-stop destination in the country for those planning their special day. Not only does it offer a range of bridal and bridesmaids’ gowns, but also, unsurprisingly, groomswear, plus access to all the services that today’s couples expect, from flowers to cars, photography and videography, caterers and even a travel agent to book the

honeymoon. Plus, a few extras to tempt couples who are looking for total originality, such as table decorations made out of Lego! Founded just four years ago, the company has gone from strength to strength since then. And even though the concept is original, Graham attributes its success down to such oldfashioned values as good service. “We have to score on service to make people stay with us,” he says. “I have been in this industry long enough to know that the first thing brides look for is either the dress, or the venue. If we can offer options for both of those, and we look after them and they can see that we have all the other services on-site, they know they have no need to go anywhere else.” The CV So how did the concept come about? Graham’s background is in menswear. He joined what was then Young’s Dress Hire in the 1970s as a

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very junior junior. However, he was able to learn everything from sewing and pressing to how the business worked, and by the early 80s he had become the company’s youngest West End Manager. When Young’s was taken over by Pronuptia the company expanded considerably and Graham became a buyer. Later he was headhunted by Masterhand, one of the foremost European formalwear companies with 300 customers in the UK alone. “I also began to branch out and started my company, Harpers, to produce what Masterhand didn’t offer,” he explains, “everything from childrenswear to top hats! I had a lovely office in a former oast house in rural Kent. There was a barn on site, and that started me thinking about expanding. I was helping a struggling bridal shop in South London and offered them the barn as a wedding destination, which was what gave me the idea. The premises we have now include a much


EVERYTHING THERE It’s not just the clothes that attract; it’s the services, too

bigger, two-storey barn and five former oast houses.” Currently, the Centre has a bridal department which stocks around 200 wedding gowns and 250 bridesmaids’ dresses and can offer customers a wide choice both in terms of style, size and colours. The department is run by an experienced retail manager and works with four or five suppliers. “We stock dresses in size 8 upwards and yes, we definitely cater for curvier ladies,” Graham says. “We also employ an on-site seamstress for any required alterations so that our customers can actually see into the workroom and know that everything is dealt with right

here on the premises. “We’ve just enjoyed our first season selling prom dresses and we now need to market ourselves as serious players in that arena for 2020. We have also noted a demand for mother-ofthe bride outfits and are considering that. It’s a difficult market because of the supply chain and because mums come in all shapes, sizes and ages, so we would need to buy and hold a lot of stock. Perhaps we could have another concession come in alongside the 28 to 30 we have already?” The new man “Where menswear is concerned,

the market is changing. Ever since lounge suits became normal wear for weddings – a mistake in my opinion – it has created a problem for the trade, because both high street and online companies sell lounge suits. “Our suppliers, such as the Irelandbased Benetti and European Barutti (that’s Masterhand rebranded) need to create a market that people like Marks and Spencer won’t want to get involved in. For example, I have just seen a groom come in wanting a regular suit. We persuaded him to try a check waistcoat with a slim fit morning coat, as a wedding is such a special occasion. Many men find they actually

GROWING ALL THE TIME The bridal department alone carries 200 gowns and 250 maids’ dresses

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On our opening day, exactly four people turned up! By contrast on our last Open Day, we welcomed a total of 360 brides

like something different. It can be a hard slog convincing them but it works! “We also cater for larger men and the more awkward sizes like short and stout, which high street shops don’t.” Graham is fully aware that it takes time to establish any bridal business, especially when it is an altogether new concept and in a ‘different’ location. “You have to build it up,” he says. “Brides typically come in a year before their special day and grooms perhaps three months before. We are not on the high street, but everyone locally knows our address at The Hop Farm, which was originally a Whitbread brewery and is a well- known local destination with restaurants and bars. There is plenty of parking which is another advantage, and as we are expanding all the time with concessions – three more businesses joined us this week – we need the space. On our opening day, exactly four people turned up! By contrast on our last Open Day, we welcomed a total of 360 brides. Even when I was working with Pronuptia back in the 1980s, we were aware that

if we broke even in our third year of trading we were doing well. By the fourth year we expected to make a profit. That’s the nature of the business and you have to think in the longer-term.” Catering to new trends The Wedding Centre is always open to new ideas from businesses who want to join and are aware of current and future trends. “Rural style is big at the moment so we have a woodcutter who makes wooden plates,” Graham says. “Plus a company which sells vodka shots as wedding favours, and someone else who sells the most beautiful wedding balloons – I had no idea so much could be done with balloons! “People seem to like something different. We don’t have too many of the same kind of professionals so the market isn’t diluted. For example, we have one photographer and one videographer, and for cars we offer one vintage and one modern. Then there are presents for the bridesmaids

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and the best man. We always need to monitor where the market is going. All our concessions look after themselves, otherwise we have a small staff consisting of myself, my secretary, and a couple of people who show customers around. Including the concessions, there are probably 50 or 60 people working here and so far, the formula works. Everything is still evolving but that’s the business.” Joining Graham now as sales agent for Benetti and Barutti is Graham Harris who was with Torre UK for the past 19 years and is hugely experienced in the groomswear industry. And finally, what does Graham make of the dreaded word Brexit – as he has links with suppliers in Ireland and Germany? “My feeling is that it will all work out because we all want it to, whatever happens,“ he says. “Of course I would like everything to be sorted and to know we will have few problems on the distribution side. Our German and Irish colleagues want it to work and we need to make it happen!”


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www.morilee.co.uk

R AYA


Check out what’s on trend for mothers-of-the-bride and groom... we canvassed opinion from the top labels

T

he challenge for any motherof-the-bride or groom is not to eclipse her daughter but to stand out from the crowd. This is where colour is important, and bold colours will be first choice for spring/summer 2020.

Avril Forbes of Veromia says that lipstick pink and cobalt blue are the hot numbers for next spring, though silver, gold, cream, blush pink and classic navy will of course remain firm favourites. Kim Bosch of Linea Raffaelli agrees: “Next summer we’ll see that people are craving ‘happy’ colours like coral, fuchsia, lipstick red, lilac and lavender. Greens from aqua to mint are also in demand.” For 2020, Ian Stuart London believes the trend is for muted shades

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IRRESISTIBLE

JOHN CHARLES

Maternal Instincts

of silver and gold, as well as dusky pink and powder blue. “Mums want to complement the bridesmaids’ colour story, while not going too pale as to compete with the bridal gown,” says Charlotte Fraine, design assistant at Ian Stuart. And while pastel shades, such as dusty pink and pale aqua, are a mainstay of Ann Balon’s collections– as are many of the timeless lace dresses themselves – bolder colours, such as electric blue and hot pink, are also evident for spring.


DRESS CODE

Fabrics, fancy and fluid When it comes to fabrics, anything goes… from lightweight crepes to structured jacquards. Veromia’s designer Daniel Lee, for example, has included fancy laces, jacquards, stretch fabrics for comfort, soft satins and delicate sparkle jersey and taffeta for spring. George Balon, director at Ann Balon, says that fabrics need to be “soft and floaty”, and comfortable to wear, while Linea Raffaelli expects lighter, fluid fabrics to overtake the

Plus sizes will always have their place in mother-of-the-bride collections. John Charles outfits are available in sizes 6 to 22, while Linea Raffaelli works in sizes from 6 to 26, though sizes 10 to 16 are most popular. Veromia finds that its UK customers are typically sizes 14 to 16, but of course its Dressed Up collection which is dedicated to curves goes up to a generous 28 and Ann Balon’s best sellers range from 18 to 24.

ANN BALON

VENI INFANTINO

Size matters

heavier, structured ones, that proved to be popular recently. According to Veni Infantino, designer at Ronald Joyce, mums are becoming more daring. “Our collection is certainly sexier and more glamorous than previously. Our customers are moving away from matching jackets and coats towards simpler dresses,” she says. “Slim silhouettes are popular with mums wanting to show off their figures, especially at the waist.” A trend that has taken off has been

the mid-length dress or skirt. Avril Forbes says: “There is a call for longer lengths and softer looks. Unusual hem-lines also are a must going forward, we think.” Over at Ian Stuart, the most popular silhouette is a fitted dress with a sleeve, while 1950s-style A-line high-low skirts sell well. Suits you, madam However, the jury is out on trouser suits for mothers-of-the-bride. “We introduced tailored catsuits

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noticed that there has been a surge in demand for dress and jacket or coats outfits again,” says Avril Forbes. George Balon explains why: “Jackets finish off an outfit and hide any problem areas.” “Linea Raffaelli is mainly focusing on dresses with shorter jackets for the future” says Kim Bosch. “Also, standalone dresses with sleeves are top sellers for us right now, especially for weddings abroad.” As an alternative to jackets, Ian Stuart finds that detachable wraps and shawls are popular especially as they create two looks in one outfit. Topping up Linea Raffaeli works with professional milliners to create matching hats. This is especially in demand in the UK and Ireland, “where people expect the allinclusive treatment”. Ian Stuart London offers a sumptuous matching hat collection and supplies additional decorations from its dresses and suits so that a

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VEROMIA OCCASIONS

LINEA RAFFAELLI

IAN STUART LONDON

into our latest collection with lots of interest from our boutiques and stockists,” says James Ellis of John Charles. Trousers are popular in Veromia’s Dressed Up plus-size collection, too, in soft chiffon with flowing coats or tops. And Kim Bosch of Linea Raffaelli adds: “Trouser suits are back – sometimes the look is a beautiful top or body with plain crepe, chiffon and pleated trousers, but there are also trousers in prints. However, Ian Stuart, whose plush Blewcoat store is a real MOB-favourite, says that they are never asked for trousers, while Veni Infantino finds they are less popular, although she has included a few designs in the new collection for mums who feel more themselves and more comfortable in trousers. With any suit, a tailored jacket adds a timeless elegance and can complement a variety of styles. “There was a time when jackets were not what customers wanted, but we have

bespoke hat can be made for the perfect match. John Charles also has hats to suit a range of styles and seasons, while Veromia dyes hats and fascinators to match outfits. Beat the high street Mothers-of-the-bride are prepared to splash out for the big day., which is good news all round. “Most mums want something special and will pay extra for it,” says James Ellis. “We aim to achieve a look that the high street cannot match.” “Ann Balon has its own image and individuality – in high street stores, everything is similar,” adds George Balon. Avril Forbes is fast to agree: “A mother doesn’t want to buy from the high street for such an important event. Can you imagine a guest turning up in the same dress or suit?” Buy into a collection With so much effort going into each collection, many designers expect boutiques to place a minimum order.


VENI INFANTINO

IAN STUART LONDON

DRESS CODE

Veromia, for example, has between 24 and 30 pieces in each of its four occasionwear collections – Dressed Up, Dress Code, Veromia Occasions and Irresistible – and asks boutiques to order a minimum of 18 pieces to secure that all-important exclusivity. Ann Balon suggests an initial order of six to 12 ensembles in different colours and sizes and while Linea Raffaelli doesn’t impose minimums it expects boutiques to show their trust in its collection and invest in a choice. “When a boutique takes on a label, they have to represent it properly and show their customers that they believe in it,” says Kim Bosch. “Just having a few outfits will not accomplish that. We prefer to work with one good, steady partner in a region, instead of selling a few dresses in each small boutique.” That is a view shared by Ian Stuart London where qualifying stockists can expect exclusivity in a generous 30-mile radius.

Get social When it comes to getting the message across to mothers of the bride, it seems they are as socialmedia savvy as their daughters. “Brides getting married in 2020 are very active on social media and will naturally involve their mothers as well,” says Avril Forbes. “We are very proactive on social media, but a lot of our business comes from recommendations too.” From Kim Bosch comes the same message: “You can’t ignore social media – it has an important place in our marketing strategy – it is the fuel for our website.” “Most mums these days are active on social media… they are in their mid-50s and not old ladies!” adds Charlotte Fraine. Finally, what’s the big next thing for 2020? Avril Forbes sums it up: “Hopefully, we will see a return of glamour and elegance. Mums really want to look beautiful on their son or daughter’s big day.”

Address book Ann Balon +44 (0)161 428 0659 annbalon.com Ian Stuart 44 (0)1977 620532 Ianstuart-london.com John Charles 44 (0)20 8888 8833 Johncharles.co.uk Linea Raffaelli +32 (0)13 771476 Linearaffaelli.be Veni Infantino for Ronald Joyce +44 (0)1636 593490 ronaldjoyce.com Veromia +44 (0)20 8502 2257 Veromia.co.uk

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Do you know ™ your DMO ? Myrna Plaisir Daramy is the advisor who shops across the US listen to. In this issue she explains DMO™ and its importance to bridalwear retailers websites, share and browse on social Maximising opportunity media, and check out online reviews. The term ‘optimise’ has become a popular buzzword in tech and It’s important to meet them in those the modern landscape of digital spaces. marketing. According to dictionary. I know many of you have a lovecom, the word optimise means “to hate relationship with technology make the best or most effective use of which makes total sense since it is a resource.” constantly changing and somewhat When it comes to the internet, your overwhelming. But the reality is, in major goal is to make the best use order to make all the effort you put towards marketing your business the of the platforms you use when you upload any of your most effective, content. t’s no surprise that in order to have you need to Brides go to websites, share If your internal have a positive a successful business today, you approach and your team need to embrace and browse on social media systems are online or cloudwhen it comes technology. and check out online reviews. based, your to your digital Whether you have incorporated brand. technology applications like It is important to meet them data should be optimised to help You don’t Bridal Live or Everywhere Bridal to in those spaces streamline your need to do streamline your internal workflow, or workflow. Your #allthethings, you have included social media into website should be but you do your digital marketing strategy in optimised to relay the services you need to be intentional about what order to increase your visibility, you offer and your social media content you incorporate both internally and use technology in order to enhance should be optimised to engage your externally. The digital marketing your ability to meet and service your target audience. tactics that you implement into your customers. Some of you may be familiar overall marketing strategy should Specifically, in the bridal industry, with the phrase SEO (Search Engine be reviewed on a regular basis to businesses need to meet the clients determine whether they are effective. Optimisation), even if you aren’t where they are online – brides go to

I

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sure exactly what it means or how important it is for your business. To put it simply, SEO is the art or techniques used in order to obtain a high ranking position on search engine result webpages on your website for search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. It is all the tactics you use to get Google to place your website at the top of a search listing. For example, if a bride is searching for her local bridal salon and isn’t sure where to begin, she may enter the words, ‘bridal boutiques in London’ into her search bar. What appears in those top three spots below the advertisements are websites that have been optimized for those search words. SEO is one of the most effective ways to get your business in front of the people who need to see it. Although I won’t go too deep into SEO now (as I will save it for another article), I want you to at least get a high-level grasp of this type of optimisation. But have you heard of Digital Media Optimization (DMO)? DMO is my own coined phrase for what optimization has evolved to in today’s digital market space. Over the past decade, I have worked with and educated thousands of business owners on the topic of optimization. I created a holistic framework that makes digital marketing tactics more tangible and easier to understand. To break it down into layman’s terms, Digital Media Optimization is comprised of these four major elements: w SEO (Search Engine Optimization) what I described above regarding the optimization of your website w SMS (Social Media Strategy) - This refers to tactics you use on the profile accounts that you have on social media platforms w SEM (Search Engine Marketing) This refers to the paid advertisements that you create for the web w CMS (Content Management Strategy) - This refers to the strategy

channels which I consider as rented that you use to determine where you real estate rather than invest in place all the content you produce in establishing a solid digital blueprint order to promote and connect with of their digi-home (aka their website). your target audience. They think they have to do it because Now I know what you’re thinking... their competitors are doing it and those are a lot of acronyms! But appear to be killing it. But the reality don’t worry, there will not be a quiz is, what works for one business may later on these terms! Just know not necessarily work as effectively that it is important for all wedding for another. No business is the same professionals to have an overall understanding of these terms so that and I have never implemented the same exact digital marketing strategy. you feel confident about how you apply these elements in your business You have to assess what works best for your business and implement moving forward. accordingly. To boil it all down, this basically You cannot afford to ignore DMO means that optimisation is not just because the web is the media that about your website, it’s not just about social media, it’s not just about tech-savvy brides today use in order to engage with you. Chances are, paid ads, and it’s not just about they will research blogging. It is and check out a culmination Chances are today’s your entire digital of all of these blueprint before things while tech-savvy brides will they even try to having some connect with you. principles research and check out You want to make in place your entire digital blueprint sure that when whenever they encounter you choose before they even try to your brand – to upload any connect with you whether it be from content online. a Google search If you have or a tag on social an amazing media – it is easy for them to decide website, but no one gets to see it because you haven’t established any to reach out and contact you. SEO tactics, then it is not optimsed. The content you generate If you have an amazing social media online needs to be authentic to following but it doesn’t seem to your brand and engaging enough generate any customers who are in order to establish trust and paying you, then your social media convert prospective brides into real strategy is not optimised. customers. Just remember as you go about So why does DMO matter? Too often, I see my bridal professional your day... it all matters. The social media content. The blog content. clients feel the pressure to The search engine results and incorporate every digital marketing marketing tactics. tactic under the sun in the hopes of At first glance, the prospect of connecting with prospective brides without really knowing whether all of working on these four areas might seem intimidating but it doesn’t have their efforts are effective. to be! Tackle each area individually. They spend a lot of energy and put a lot of money towards increasing Bring it all to the table. Consider this their social media presence because to be an invitation into more growth, a better call-out to your ideal clients, they think that it will generate more and great profits within your own business. They would rather spend bridal business. more time trying to grow those

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T H E W E D D I N G T RA DER GUIDE TO

Beautiful Backs Okay, we’ve had V-backs, illusion backs, cowls and collars. Now we’re looking at the deeply daringly different ELBETH GILLIS Style: Vivian Silhouette: Ballgown Fabric: Mikado Colour: Ivory Size range: Made-to-measure RRP: £1,849 T: +27 (0)21 423 2220 E: info@elbethgillis.com W: elbethgillis.com

ANNA GEORGINA Style: Angelina Silhouette: Trumpet Fabric: Lace and satin Colour: Ivory, blush/ivory Size range: 8-18 and made-to-measure RRP: £2,155 T: 27(0) 21 423 7810 E: info@annageorgina.co.za W: info@annageorgina.co.za

MORILEE Style: Perdita 2033 Silhouette: Sheath Fabric: Tulle and Chantilly lace Colour: White, ivory, ivory/almond Size range: UK 4-28 RRP: POA T: +44 (0)1636 593483 E: ukmarketing@morilee.com W: morilee.co.uk

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BIANCO EVENTO Style: Tiffany ROMANTICA Fabric: Satin Style: Salome Colour: Ivory Silhouette: Mermaid Size range: 10-20 Fabric: Lace RRP: Collection between Colour: Ivory or ivory/nude £700 and £1,200 Size range: UK 6-32 RRP: £999 T: +49 30 330 060 59 10 T: +44 (0) 1823 674 412 E: contact@bianco-evento.com E: enquiries@romanticaofdevon.co.uk W: bianco-evento.com W: romanticaofdevon.co.uk


ART COUTURE Style: AC550 Silhouette: Fit and flare Fabric: Stretch crepe and lace Colour: Ivory or white Size range: 0-30 RRP: £899 T: +44 (0)8707 707670 E: info@eternitybridal.com W: eternitybridal.com

BERTA Style: 19-111 Silhouette: Mermaid Fabric: Netting, lace, sequins, embroidery Colour: As shown only Size range: 36-44 RRP: POA T: +972 73 7433 505 E: info@berta.com W: berta.com

MARK LESLEY Style: 7343 Silhouette: Fit and flare Fabric: Crepe and lace Colour: Ivory Size range: UK 8-30 RRP: POA T: +44 (0)1621 784784 E: info@marklesley.co.uk W: marklesley.co.uk

RONALD JOYCE Style: Carlotta Silhouette: Fit and flare fishtail Fabric: Jersey and lace Colour: Ivory/nude, ivory Size range: 6-30 RRP: POA T: +44 (0)1636 593483 E: enquiries@ronaldjoyce.com W: ronaldjoyce.com

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DANDO LONDON Style: Manhattan Silhouette: Column Fabric: Lace Colour: Ivory/nude Size range: US 2-28 RRP: £2,694 T: +44 (0)142 023490 E: sales@dandolondon.com W: dandolondon.com

DONNA SALADO Style: Kate Silhouette: Fit and flare Fabric: Mikado and tulle Colour: Baby pink/ivory or ivory/ivory Size range: 8-20 RRP: POA T: +44 (0)1604 792869 E: info@donnasalado.com W: donnasalado.com

TARIK EDIZ Style: G-50406 Silhouette: Trumpet Fabric: Lace, tulle and hand-made flower embroideries Colour: Ivory, powder, green Size range: UK 4-14 RRP: POA T: +90 212 2224532 E: tarikediz@tarikediz.com W: tarikediz.com

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IVORY & CO Style: Summer Nights Silhouette: Mermaid Fabric: 100% silk stretch georgette and hand beaded lace Colour: Ivory Size range: 0-38 RRP: £1,750 T: +44 (0) 1684 592030 E: info@ivoryandcobridal.co.uk W: ivoryandcobridal.co.uk


PAUL ZENI BRIDAL Style: Artemis Silhouette: Mermaid Fabric: Lace Colour: Various Size range: UK 8-20 and made-to-measure RRP: £2,095 T: +44 (0)20 7871 2299 E: info@paulzenibridal.com W: paulzenibridal.com PRONOVIAS Style: Bianca Silhouette: Fit and flare Fabric: Crepe Colour: White Size range: 34-46 RRP: POA T: +44 (0)20 7518 8470 W: pronovias.com

WINNIE COUTURE Style: Eowyn/3268 Silhouette: Trumpet Fabric: French Alencon and eyelet lace over a silk underlay Colour: Diamond white/cream, pearl/ crystal white Size range: Made-to-measure RRP: $4,189 T: +1 310 858 8868 E: info@winniecouture.com W: winniecouture.com

VICTORIA JANE Style: Inna 18322 Silhouette: A-line Fabric: Chiffon and crepe Colour: Ivory, white Size range: UK 6-30 RRP: £2,095 T: +44 (0)1636 593483 E: enquiries@ronaldjoyce.com W: ronaldjoyce.com

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Q&A

Mix and match then mix again The fabrics, colourways and detailing work together

W I TH We got chatting to Rosanna Garden who in just two years created R O SA N N A and launched an entirely new line, that went on to win the Best GAR D E N FR OM Bridesmaids Manufacturer title in MOTE E M AI D S the Bridal Buyer Awards

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How many accounts are you in now and how many more are your looking to reach? We have 30 stockists throughout the world currently. We’d like the brand to become more accessible as the customer wants to be able to shop with ease.

Understated elegance Within any group there are countless style options

Are you granting stockists exclusivity and how does it work? We don’t offer exclusivity but it would not be in anyone’s interest to be in a boutique in the same town or with the same customer base. We treat each boutique individually as they may have very different target markets and, ultimately, we are about selling dresses not samples each season so we require each stockist to be able to sell our gowns and put the Motee brand in front of a good number of brides. At our amazing price points we do ask our boutiques to be able to hit some volumes.

What is in the collection now? As I said, the collection includes over 1,000 styles to choose from offering a You came from retail – Monsoon – What makes your offering different? vast choice. what prompted the move into design Motee Maids was launched with the In 2018, we added to our Motee and manufacturing, and particularly aim of giving brides a more creative Original Collection, extending its into the weddng arena? choice with two new flattering bodies, input when it comes to finding the Prior to setting up Motee Maids, I was perfect dresses for their bridesmaids. a new full tulle skirt and three new an occasionwear and bridal buyer colours – ivory, ice blue and burgundy. When I set up the business, the for Monsoon, so I knew the sector For a glamorous yet effortless look, key thrust was that I wanted to create well. With a strong belief that one we have the Sequin Sash Collection a concept that allowed brides to size or style doesn’t suit all, I started which is a charming choice of relaxed choose to have their bridesmaids in designing the first Motee Maids un-beaded styles with a flattering the same dress or create mix-andcollection just after my son Rowan was match options from a range of different blouson at the waist before falling into born in 2016 and launched it at White a full georgette skirt. All bodices are bodice shapes, skirts, colours and Gallery in 2017. from the Motee Original Collection and embellishment designs... all of which Although I loved what I was doing ooze simplicity and style. Each gown co-ordinate subtly together. on the high street, I always knew I comes complete with a shimmering We now have over 1,000 styles in wanted to work for myself, run my own the collection to choose from! The hand beaded sequin and pearl sash business and travel on my own terms. to perfectly match and which can be brand is accessible and appeals to My husband and I were planning a style-conscious bridal parties looking individually styled in a number of ways family and two parents who travelled – knotted at the waist, back or tied to for timeless but current gowns that a lot was going to be a logistical trail around the bouquet. offer an understated elegance and headache. That was a big catalyst for In contrast, the Full Beaded exceptional quality and fit. me to venture out alone and it gave Collection is a combination of all As a buyer previously, I was very Motee Bodices with a blouson at the conscious of the needs of boutiques. me the drive to succeed. waist on a Lyra skirt silhouette. The Certainly, having spoken to so many I also felt strongly that I wanted to be ultimate Motee Maids hand-beaded able to offer independent retailers female entrepreneurs over the past something unique, something that isn’t gown with a figure-hugging style, couple of years, family and the right each gown features intricate bead and easily replicated on the high street or balance, seems to be a big driving pearl embellishments on the bodice by internet businesses. force behind the decision. M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 9 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 51


Feeling formal The line up of styles includes classics with a twist

and skirt which is available in short, standard and long lengths. What do you personally love most about the collection? What I love is that all colours in the Motee palette co-ordinate and can be grouped to create a lovely look. The same applies to the necklines and embellishments of the bodices – it really is a pick n mix proposition! Retail prices start from just £180. The new collection is launching very soon and you can expect to see new colours, new bodices and embellishments to complement what we have already created and what is, I’m proud to say, doing phenomenally well. From where do you get your design and colour vision? Whilst working for Monsoon, I was fortunate enough to visit India more than ten times over a six-year period. It was these trips that made me fall in love with skilled artisan beading, embellishments and colour and it was my passion for these that really spurred me forward to start working on my own designs. With Motee meaning bead or

pearl in Hindi, the debut collection had these three elements – beading, embellishment, colour – as the focal point. When it comes to the Motee colour range, this is inspired by flowers and so our palette is all based on natural tones ensuring that flowers look amazing against them. Our dusky green shade is the perfect sage green that sits beautifully with foliage-based bouquets, our burgundy shade was developed with a pinkish tone from Hellebores and looks amazing with summer and winter bouquets, and our pink is a unique and gorgeous lilac tone taken from cherry blossom. Pretty in pink The new collection sees me This halter neck is take inspiration from the catwalk for right on trend and silhouettes that fit with the Motee the ribbon belt is a aesthetic of clean, simple silhouettes lovely feature that are easy to wear; for example, the halter neck and cowl have always been occasionwear staples but look current What do you see as the strengths, and modern again today. weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the current climate? Where are you manufacturing? Strengths: The huge choice and We work in partnership with an variations that bridal boutiques can incredible factory in India renowned offer with a made-to-order range - the for its occasionwear. Every gown we high street or online operations simply produce is hand beaded to order and cannot offer this. the quality and fit of each piece is our Weaknesses: Customers do have to number one priority. wait if they want a custom gown, some boutiques hold stock but customers Deep dark are beginning to appreciate shopping colours this way again. Opportunities: The rise of a You name a shade generation who are beginning to and Motee question their relationship with Maids has it clothing and are beginning to value quality, choice and ‘experience’ more than fast online fashion. Threats: There is no brand loyalty with millennial consumers, which is why we want to offer a concept that is unique and is not easily replicable.

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What is your own very favourite colour? Green, of every shade! Motee Maids +44 (0)7967 170774 info@moteemaids.co.uk moteemaids.co.uk


For more information contact Michele O’Neill. Email: michele@dessy.com or call: 0845 838 1041 Free samples for qualified accounts. Apply online: www.dessy.com/retailers


CA PES AN D CA PELETS Move over illusion neckline, bring on the capes and capelets! It seemed as if every designer incorporated his/ her interpretation of what an alternative to a veil could be. Designers like Ines Di Santo and Justin Alexander are just a few who added this beautiful accessory to their line up.

INTRICAT E BEA D IN G The first thing that I noticed was that beading was back and the designers seem to be exploring new methods on how to adorn fabrics. Reem Acra and Berta, are just two of the designers who chose to incorporate beading into their intricate designs.

REEM ACRA

Myrna Daramy sits front row at the twice-yearly New York designer shows, a feted guest who works behind the scenes with more that 50 bridal boutiques across the US. Here’s her take on the features that will stand out in 2020

BERTA

Trends from New York

SHO U L D ER NUM B ERS

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ROMONA KEVEZA

MARCHESA

JUSTIN ALEXANDER

Designers also seemed to play with shoulder treatments. Whether it was a capped sleeve, spaghetti straps adorned with embellishment, or a one-shoulder interpretation, there was quite a bit going on. And it all looked great.


AMSALE ANNE BARGE

OVER-THE-TO P SLEEVE TREATMENTS Designers definitely brought on the drama when it came to sleeve treatments! This appeared to be one of the freshest trends this season, which will provide brides with a great option if they are looking for arm coverage or just a little extra drama to add to their gown.

C L EAN AN D S T RUCTUR ED FA BRICS A trend that is timeless and never seems to go out of style is that of the clean, minimal, and structured look. There are many designers that do this well, but some standouts this season were Romona Keveža, Amsale and Anne Barge.

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Something else that was very exciting to see was the use of overcoats, which seemed to be the alternative to the cascading capes or cathedral-length veils. Overcoats were shown with various lengths and styles. New York Bridal Fashion Week has typically been a women’s fashion event but this season one designer offered a slight twist from the norm. Reem Acra not only surprised us with overcoats, but she also collaborated with menswear designer Joseph Abboud to create a collection of customtailored suits for grooms to complement her gown collection perfectly!

VIKTOR & ROLFE MARIAGE

OVE RCOATS AND M E N ’ S FASHI ON

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INES DI SANTO

Although jumpsuits have hit the bridal fashion runways for a few seasons now, it was good to see the variations of length and fabric selections that graced the runway. Although jumpsuits have become the perfect alternative for a modern or same-sex wedding, brides also seem to be looking for fresh options for their bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, and second outfits for receptions. Designers like Galia Lahav, Carolina Herrera, and Theia are just a few who chose to incorporate this trend into their latest collections.

THEIA

JUM P SUI TS


Glamour since 1991 Poirier is specialized in bridal bodywear and accessories for the contemporary bride. By focusing only on using the best designs and materials our mission is to make our brides glamorous and beautiful. Enjoy the best bridal accessories on your journey of love.

www.jupon.com

01753622922 gary@jupon.com @jupon.petticoats

@jupon_petticoats

@juponpetticoats


GIVE IT A SHOT When the boys at Creatiques decided to produce their own shoot, they planned every stage meticulously. Was it worth it? You bet! Andrew and Rob Pearce share the whole experience

T

he wedding industry is still a small community and recommendation from other suppliers is the best kind of advertising there is. That formed the basis of our platform – we wanted to bring the various bridal sectors together to create a stylised shoot from which we could all benefit. After many months of pinteresting, planning and negotiating, we had the

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ingredients for the perfect recipe. Where did we start? The venue is key – you want one that will include your images on their website as this will benefit all your shoot ‘partners’. We chose the Queens Hotel in Southsea. We recognised early on in the planning process that the suppliers you tend to work with and


TIMING Be cautious, that way no stage of the process will be rushed

THE DETAIL Plan in advance and to a structure to get the best results

recommend to your own clients should be your first choice as this will make the process flow and it is, without question, much better than introducing new people to the equation who do not necessarily know how you operate. Planning the shoot is one of the most crucial parts to the whole thing. It is imperative that everyone is on the same page and that one person is directing the styling. We created a Pinterest board of concepts, which all parties were included in so they could also add their ideas to the boards and styles. For example, we really wanted our flowers to be as ‘wild’ looking as possible, and through our sharing of the Pinterest board, Nia from Luvshifting Flowers knew exactly what we had in mind, and her flowers on the day were perfect. Time management Make a detailed plan of the day, and

outline what you would like to create within the allotted times; anyone who has produced a shoot accepts that it will always run over, but with a balanced time-scale in place you are better placed to control everything. It goes without saying that the clothes were picked in advance and accessorised and ready to go on the shoot day. Our plan went like this Walk the photographer around the venue showing them your mood boards and talking through what you would like to see happening where. They will then look at what lighting might be required, meter the light areas, and take test shots to see exactly what is required. Allow one hour for the photographer to set up in locations. If you have one person doing hair and makeup it will take longer than two separate artists.who can work

faster together, especially if you have several models on your shoot. Reckon on two hours for hair and make-up. Make a precise plan of the models and the clothing you want to shoot in each location and allow for changes of hair and makeup to create the best effect for each look. Allow 20 minutes to get your models dressed. Define your objectives Who wants what from the shoot? Many suppliers want a really good choice of images and that’s where your mood boards will help the decision-making process. When each ‘look’ is being shot, teamwork among suppliers taking part is vital so you can agree content and direction. Having a hive of creative people, all working to achieve the same objectives, does make things easier – though it can be frustrating, too – but

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THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS Pick the people, and the props, with the end result in mind

always remember who is in charge. Put a marker down on the floor using tape so you know exactly where the model will stand to maximise on the light – one of the images that we took was of the model coming through the Victorian doors, with natural sunshine behind her. The result was sensational. Sorting the all-important detail Collaborate with the venue in

advance. See what they want to include for their own portfolio update. For example, do they want to see particular features of the building and the grounds? And importantly, you need to know how long you will have at the venue on your shoot day. Think about the models – the right face can make the difference between average and excellent. How many models do you want? Will you pay for a professional model? How much do you want to spend? Our models were brides of Creatiques and both had worked with us on bridal fashion show events in the past. And when it comes to choosing the right photographer, you need to meet potential candidates, and look at their portfolios. Ask yourself if they are right for you. Who do you recommend to brides in your shop? We used a trusted, highly-soughtafter photographer, who we had already worked on many weddings so he knew our style and exactly what we wanted to create for the day. It was a perfect partnership. Pull in local talents – the hair and makeup artists you would suggest to your customers – or check out if there is someone in your area who is creating a buzz on social media. Work

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with them and you will benefit. You will want change from picture to picture and mood to mood. Our chosen makeup artist was a wellknown multi-award-winner and our hair stylist was Hampshire’s bridal hair stylist of the year; he changed the look for every shot, from sleek chignon to hair up in curls and added hair extensions for length and volume while our bridal makeup went from soft tones for a classic bridal gown to sheer drama for a dress in black. Even our flowers were changed to complement the look, from fresh and natural to dark and goth. And our cake was created from an outstanding local cake decorator. Knowing what you want to achieve and how images will be used is vital. Every picture tells a story and when we put story boards together we had a clear idea of the direction we wanted to take. We met our objectives of six shots. We had a huge amount of fun. Our business has had a great boost and sharing the story via social media will be great. And we formed new relationships and developed existing ones. All in all, a pretty good result.


WINNER Best Supplier Customer Service 2018

WWW.CATHERINEPARRYBRIDAL.COM Retailer areas available in many parts of the UK & ROI. Suggested retail prices from £675. Low minimums. For further details call +(0)1443 222600 or email info@globalbridalbrands.com


Brilliant Barcelona

One of the biggest bridal events of the year, Valmont Barcelona Bridal Week pulls out all the stops, with four days of non-stop designer runway shows and three days of the big trade event. Peta Hunt, Editor at Large of You & Your Wedding was there for the duration

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ISABEL SANCHIS

CARLO PIGATELLI

Take a look at some of the stars of the show...

MARYLISE

I

love being sent to Barcelona, the ‘must-go-to’ destination, for Valmont Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week. And it is just that – a week full of fashion, the best shows that are always a delight to watch, fantastic models, stylish hair and makeup. They showcase the designers’ vision on the catwalk but the actual exhibition is easy to navigate and extensive, and there are plenty of UK and US as well as Spanish and European designers, from affordable to couture. It’s a relaxed and fun atmosphere; every night there is some event and a chance to meet retailers as well as designers… for me it’s great to catch up with my counterparts from all over the world. Barcelona makes what could be a tiring experience an exciting, invigorating and fun time.

POESIE SPOSA

THE PETA H UN T RE P ORT


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FLORA

PRONOVIAS

JESUS PEIRO

OLGA MACIA INMACULADA GARCIA

CYMBELINE BEBAS


VERSATILITY Jason is equally at home with design challenges and production management

A NEW DIRECTION Designer Jason Jennings, whose background covers both occasionwear and bridal, is now working with a number of companies, advising them on their design development

W

hen Jason Jennings graduated from Central Saint Martins he was lucky enough to land a dream job – working on David Fielden’s ready-to-wear collection for London Fashion Week. Invited to try his hand at bridal, he fell in love with it. ”The workload was immense and designing RTW, bridal, evening wear and bridesmaids honed my

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skills and capacity to design across the board working on several projects simultaneously,” he recalls. “Coming up with new concepts, techniques and silhouettes, I learned fast how to formulate ideas and translate them into finished pieces. As time went on, I began to specialise in bridal – it just felt right for me.” Always with a passion for passing on knowledge and sharing ideas,


ACROSS THE BOARD Sonsie plus-size collection and Irresistible are two leading Veromia brands

after his stint at David’s, Jason went on to teach at Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion. “I loved the raw and naive way students collate their ideas and how they translate them into designs. For me it’s a reminder, as a creative designer, of the true process of creating a collection from concept to reality.” Around that time, and while still lecturing regularly, Jason developed the JJennings Bridal Collection, his first introduction to the commercial bridal arena and a shift of focus from Paris and Milan RTW weeks to the Harrogate Bridal Show. Another big learning curve, but one that proved invaluable in his next chapter. Jason joined the Veromia Group in 2009 to develop his commercial bridal experience, never having worked with big production factories in the Far East. Soon he was designing most of the collections under the Veromia umbrella including Veromia Bridal and D’zage – along with their bridesmaids collections – Veromia Occasions and Irresistible. He also developed the award-winning plus-size bridal collection – Sonsie – from scratch with a focus on fit and construction, using elastic corsetry to manipulate plus size shapes (size 20+) to create beautiful silhouettes.

T

he next chapter Then, in 2018, with considerable experience and a great track record under his belt, Jason launched his own bridal label, Story Bridal, debuting with three contemporary collections - Boho, Retro and Glamour, drawing on classic silhouettes, all with their own modern twist. However, he fast came to the realisation that the set up he had put in place would not fulfill his personal goals – what he wanted to do was construct his own line, from start to finish. “I love personal fittings and made-to-order special gowns and you can’t do that working with the Far East and India. I want to produce out of the UK where I can be more creative with my fit and cut, so we’ve put the business on hold until 2020.” So now Jason is using his multi

talents, working with a number of businesses in a consultant capacity. “I’m currently enhancing one collection and working closely with others. Each project is completely specific to that client,” he explains. Unsurprisingly, Jason is being called in to advise on various areas, from brand identity and collection conception – which entails trend predictions, mood boards, styling and imagery – to design of individual pieces and complete collections, overseeing fit and construction with sample rooms, and relationship management with overseas manufacturers. This exciting stage in what is an exciting and exacting career path, gives him a new-found freedom to work with independent fashion houses, wholesalers, retailers and private clients. Want to know more about the man and what he has to offer… turn the page...

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How would you describe your signature style… what inspires you? My look is versatile with a feminine, pretty and ethereal look but also commercially aware. My own journey I would say is more dark and twisted but very artistic, drawing on old pictures, different cultures, nostalgia and contemporary interpretations. I see beauty in all things!

and personality back to brands.

Do you think operations like Wed2 are an ongoing threat and how can bridalwear retailers fend them off? Someone’s going to do it - if not them it will be someone else. There is a particular client for everything. The one thing I love about lecturing is enforcing the importance of individuality and getting one’s What are your preferred fabrics and personality to shine through. We all want to sell dresses and colours and trims? what will make the difference for I love to create all my beading and each brand is integrity, individualism embroidery from research to keep it original. For example, for Story Bridal, and personality. It’s very difficult for retailers because of the competition I designed the embellishment for also coming from surrounding our Boho collection using inspiration retailers with often three to four shops from peasants, gypsies and national per town competing for the few brides costumes, old coins, Iranian embroidered jackets, matador boleros in the surrounding areas. But there are some amazing retailers out there with and bikinis in Ibiza! Working with clients I’m comfortable with any fabric very strong drive and it shows in their choice of, and confidence in, their both couture and commercial; what designers and the way they service you do with it is the most important their clientele. thing. How involved have you been in the production process? No collection is complete at the sales stage, there are always modifications and requests from sales agents and retailers, so until it’s in the shops I like to be involved the whole way through so that the product is perfect and jumps off the rail. What are the biggest changes since you started in the market in design, and in brides’ tastes? I started in 1997 so there have been very many changes along the way! I do think social media and the younger generation generate hype and success in the way that advertising used to. The Far East is a juggernaut in terms of production which has been great for the industry, but I also think it can take away the individuality of a collection so working within those parameters, as a designer and consultant I can give that individuality

Since you have moved into design consultancy what have you discovered about today’s manufacturers – what are they looking for? Is it something different that puts them apart from the competition? Consultancy is such fun because no two brands want the same thing. It could be anything from styling, inspiration, colours and mood boards and illustrations for the upcoming season, embellishment and beading, fit and silhouettes. I want to give brands their own identity, that’s how you stand out, not chasing the same look and repeating what’s out there, or last season’s best seller. Every brand has its winning numbers which are safe, but then what’s new? What creates the interest and buzz? You will never sell 100% of

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a collection so some pieces need to serve a purpose, as showstoppers to draw attention to the brand through advertising, social media etc. Every time I did the fashion show at the Harrogate Bridal Show, my intention was to draw people to the stand to see the collection and attract new customers. Do you get involved in dealing with production for your clients? I’ve dealt with many production issues over the years so I can offer many solutions to complex problems. I’ve spent months at a time in China designing and creating multiple collections so I’ve addressed practically every problem that a factory could throw at you. While I was there I’d often be asked to help out with other collections that were to be viewed by other clients or just being a critical eye. What do you see as the next big thing – for brides, maids, MOB etc? I’m loving the clean lines I’m seeing in bridal at the moment. The younger designers are being bolder and more fashion forward. I’ve been doing a lot of fashion recently and I think MOB and occasionwear will get more adventurous and slightly younger. I’ve been to a lot of events recently and been inspired by what I’ve seen women wearing and how they want to feel as well as look. If I was a menswear designer I’d do more of a styled look. Men want to feel like they’re in Peaky Blinders. Describe your dream brief. I’m excited by people with a vision. I make that a reality by understanding them, their brand and what they want to portray. I’m like a chameleon; once I understand them then it’s my job to give them what they want, accompanied with lots of other options they have not considered. Want to talk to the man? You can reach Jason on +44 (0)7511 936 648 jjenningsdesigns@gmail.com


www.propress.co.uk

Bridal

Styled by Steam


GETTING OUT THERE Away from London and on the road gives a very different perspective

TEAM TIME At Ava Rose Hamilton, and a chance to put faces to names of the staff we always deal with

A DIFFERENT VIEW The industry is changing, the way of working is changing, and the end consumer is changing. How does that affect us? After White Gallery, Ian and Pete of Ian Stuart took to the road to meet customers face to face. How did it go, we asked? So you and Pete went off, with a van full of frocks, to see retailers in their shops. Why? We decided it was time to take the mountain to Mohammed – you simply cannot portray the love, enthusiasm and feeling for your brand unless you have the time to do it properly. We also have come to realise and

appreciate that so many of our retailers have hectic schedules running their businesses, attending meetings etc and for some, the opportunity to view a collection – particularly one with a story – is particularly attractive.

go and visit some of our key accounts, who had not been to London. Quite a number had been too busy in their shops to attend the show – in fact we struggled ourselves to be present as that meant we had to take time away from sales and fittings booked into our The retailers you visited, had they flagship Blewcoat store. been to White Gallery at London When we announced our ‘road trip‘ Bridal Fashion Week? we were welcomed with open arms. It For many of our retailers, White Gallery was me and Pete in a van! It reminded was too early, bearing in mind that me of 30 years ago and my first week in March is full swing for fittings and the bridal industry! selling. Most collections only hit the One of the nicest comments was stores last September and October, “We have been in business for years, so expecting shops to buy in March, but never had the actual designer when they have only had the collection visit our shop.” For me it was a nice in store for four to five months, simply bonding experience to meet and get to doesn’t suit the majority. know the sales girls and boys who are actually going to ‘pull’ our dresses to What was the reaction when you show to potential customers. phoned and said you were coming in Carrying the dresses out of the van, for cuppa and a sticky bun? preparing them on a rail and presenting After the ExCel show, we decided to them one by one to the store owner

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SMILES ALL ROUND Coffee and cake and time to talk - now that’s a rare treat!

un-pressured environment, the focus is more defined, the styles chosen are more correct, and the selected sizes and colourways are more studied. Is this the way forward in bridal – for designers and retailers alike? I’m not suggesting for one minute that bridal trade shows have had their day. For many manufacturers and retailers they are absolutely appropriate. What I am saying is that to be humble, get out there in a van with your collection in the back, head out of London and see your stores on their home ground, is a possible alternative . I’ve been in the bridal industry for 33 years; I’ve won 22 awards Stateside and in the UK. I have my own flagship store, a 25-episode Chanel 4 television series, so yes, I think I can say that I’ve been there and done it. And I have to say that getting on the road and pulling my dresses out of the back of a van was a real pleasure!

and sales staff… it’s a whole different thing. It’s more intimate and more focused so you can discuss and advise on sizes and colours. Overall, it is a brilliant way to work and results in a much more solid buy than one at a big event, when everyone is running from appointment to appointment. It’s more calm, more relaxed, more enjoyable.

see not only the owners and head buyers of the stores, but also the sales staff, the invaluable alterations ladies who work on our dresses, and the Saturday girls who are so full of enthusiasm. We could put faces to the names. And yes, we shared countless cups of tea!

How long were you at each shop? Each appointment lasted from between two and four hours, and every one achieved so much. Being able to give yourself totally to that appointment, with no distractions, is a smart way of working.

Did the sales staff ask lots of questions? Absolutely and some were fascinating. And it gave us the opportunity to teach them what can be achieved once you have the knowledge – how to cover a tattoo, how to lower or raise a neckline, how to reduce volume, even how to deal with a bride that is uncertain about what she wants. Having the chance to chat and exchange views and experiences puts relationships on a whole different plane.

Did you feel new relationships were blossoming? On our road trip, it was so lovely to

Did you take lots of orders? The clients we visited on the road did order and, I truly believe, in an intimate,

“To be able to select a collection in this way meant I didn’t feel pressurised into buying something I might regret. I was able to place Ian’s gowns on the rails with my existing designers and see visibly how they sit in my boutique. Having Ian personally present the dresses to the sales team and talk about custom changes and alterations was invaluable.” Heather Harker – owner Alice Elizabeth Bridal Couture

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Show Business Here’s a snapshot view of this year’s key shows to date...

VA LMON T BA RCELON A BRIDA L WEEK When: 23-28 April Where: Montjuïc - Plaça Espanya barcelonabridalweek.com

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N AT ION A L B RIDA L MA RK ET When: 17-19 March Where: The Mart, Chicago nationalbridalmarket.com

EURO PEA N BRIDA L WEEK WHEN: 30 March-1 April Where: Messe Essen europeanbridalweek.com

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ROME BR I DAL W EEK When: 23-25 March Where: Fiera di Roma, Rome romebridalweek.com

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LON D ON B RIDA L FAS H ION WEEK When: 24-26 March Where: London ExCel londonbridalweek.com

ON E F IN E DAY When: 24-26 March Where: JJ Wimborne, London onefInedaybrIdalmarket.com

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Second opinion Emma Meek of Surrey boutique Miss Bush is a driving force behind Luxe Bride, as the creative director of this vibrant retailer association. Here she delivers sound advice to all would-be bridal boutique owners How not to start a bridal shop… A few weeks ago, I found my business, Miss Bush, being tagged on Instagram by one of my retail friends in the north. Helen, owner of Lulu Browns, was rightly aghast and shocked that a start-up bridal boutique had “secretly shopped” her store. This geographically close competitor was not only wasting her time and that of her staff, but

also started a peer relationship based on mistrust, deceit and downright hostility. Bad form on its own, but it was also followed by said ‘start-up’ approaching one of Helen’s staff members on a night out, offering Champagne in exchange for privileged business information. Helen tagged me in an Insta story for moral support. I made no secret that the very same thing happened

THE RIGHT CHOICES Retail success is about a lot more than a rail of pretty dresses

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to me. After being secretly shopped for several hours I ran into the same would-be boutique owners on one of my supplier’s stands at a trade show the very next day. There may be those among you that think that this is harmless, inevitable or sensible. It is none of the above. I have never secretly shopped a competitor, because the essence of good retail at our level is not learned from pretending to be a client. Good boutique retail requires a singular, personal vision. One needs to know the trials and errors, the challenges and achievements that a particular store has faced to know why it has evolved as it has. The poor outcome of secret shopping, of copying, would be to become a pale imitation of a competitor. Worse still, however pretty a boutique may look, however lovely the staff, it could be smoke and mirrors. A recipe for disaster not success. I loved my dress Many business start-ups in bridal retail are recent brides who loved the experience of wedding dress


shopping or loathed it and want to create a new, better offer. The retail performance of any given boutique should be an inspired experience for the bride, delivering the exact blend of product and service that targets a very specific, niche client base. Enjoying or not enjoying this experience from client-side, demonstrates huge ability or huge lacuna in the skillset of the specific boutique. The business is your baby Decorating the nursery, choosing names, buying clothes, maternity leave… all the cute stuff you dream about wrapped round an adoring, grateful bundle of joy… Isn’t this how most of us view our first child? Well I certainly did. No one stops having kids when the reality of cracked nipples, fertility issues, sleep deprivation and a lifetime of anxiety are discovered. The idea that you are also birthing a surly, spotty ingrate of a money-pit is far from the rose-tinted preparent’s mind. The cute, enticing and adorable qualities of babies and bridalwear are what stop the human race and our businesses dying out. Before conception, through gestation, during delivery and beyond the early years, the parent and the business owner need support, hand-holding and advice. However beleaguered the NHS and the social care system are, they should meet your basic needs as a parent. But where do you go when you want to have a business? In recent conversations with retailers it has become more and more evident that there is a need for clearly signposted options for business advice, sales and marketing training, mentoring and a care support network for pre start-ups, for people buying a business, for the early years.

buying an existing business? Luxe Bride is the first company, run by current and former bridal experts who can give you no nonsense, unbiased advice. Rather than being treated like a bride in a secret shopping scenario, a new or potential retailer can be supported and coached as they need to be; as an entrepreneur preparing to invest. Seeking advice from the wholesale supply chain can be a lottery. I know very many supply chain account managers answer calls daily from start ups with ivory stars in their eyes and give sensible and cautious advice. However, I also know many who will gladly take an order, sell sky high minimums, and, rightly so. It is their job to sell, not to give business advice. Similarly, a business owner selling up will have one of many reasons for wanting to retire from retail. When the decision has been made to leave, the business becomes a commodity to be disposed of as fast as possible for the best possible price. The lack of adequate due diligence I have heard about caused by the enthusiasm of the buyer and the marketing of the business is staggering. I have been told of stockroom finds that indicate clinical hoarding; overvalued sample stock running into near six figure sums. The lists go on…

The Luxe Bride offer If you are thinking about opening a bridal shop or have been trading less than a year you can benefit from a one-off mentorship package of Luxe Bride. If your needs are more specific or you want ongoing support and training on a one-to-one basis plus membership of the Luxe Bride community, there is a Trade Membership option. There are also options to create a bespoke package of support and services. Through the growing Luxe Bride network, we can recommend specific service-providing partners whether it is for help with marketing and branding, sales, business planning and accounts, social media or basic day to day processes for ordering, stock control and production. Sometimes we even talk about dresses and fashion… Get in touch Email hello@luxebride.co.uk for an informal chat; all information, all worries and all bright ideas are treated in the strictest confidence. For more information about all levels of membership https://issuu.com/ luxebrideuk/docs/membership For more information about Luxe Bride, training and to read our magazine visit luxebride.co.uk

BE AN EXPERT Learn from others who have been there, done it, and got it right

You need to talk to retailers… How then does one garner information ahead of starting a bridal shop or

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CAREER PATH A natural curiosity, enthusiasm and experience produce a valuable member of the team

L E AR N I N G FR O M TH E B EST Charlotte Fraine, at age 19, joined Ian Stuart as his personal assistant. It was her first ‘proper’ job. Six years later she has become teacher’s pet as well as a TV star thanks to Channel 4’s The Posh Frock Shop. We asked her what the years have taught her

The bridal industry… how it works, from sketch to toiles to fabrics to sampling to final production. When I joined Ian I had no idea about the bridal industry, about wedding gowns, occasionwear or how a designer company operated. Working at head office, I learned the basics and the processes of how an Ian Stuart dress is made, starting with seeing his incredible sketches, being part of meetings with fabric suppliers, seeing toiles come in, then the samples, selecting the collection and then selling the collection at bridal shows and at instore presentations.

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Behind the scenes… customer service, fabric and construction. I learned how to help our stockists with any questions they had; when I first started I was terrified of answering the phone. I had to get over that fast! Head office was where I developed an understanding of fabric types and construction. Retail… discovering how to sell dresses, deciding which dresses to pull for certain customers. Listening to what they wanted. Being thrown in at the deep end. Dealing with difficult customers with patience and understanding. When I started at the Blewcoat I had no retail experience and working in a shop is a completely different ballgame to working in an office. It was a huge learning curve for me. I had to master how to listen and talk to the customers, and find out more about them and their event, so I could understand what they were looking for and know which dresses to suggest they try. I recognised early on that I couldn’t put a bride having a very small city wedding in a huge theatrical princess ball


gown! Equally, I wouldn’t put a bride getting married in a castle in a simple T-length dress. I realised fast that the importance of understanding the mindset of a customer is paramount. At first I found it quite hard to muster up the confidence to be strong with difficult clients – often I’d be left in tears. I took everything so personally thinking that I wasn’t good enough to help them… looking back, I was being silly, but this was all new to me then. So I had to acquire the skill to resolve a problematic situation before it escalates, and this led me to another vital thing I have learned… psychology. Confidence and social skills… understanding the psychology of clients. Knowing when to stand back and step in. Understanding body shapes. Building client confidence. Being strong. Knowing how to end an appointment. I have learned how to understand customers by listening to them and their own worries, whether they have body hang ups or need their

confidence bolstered or need calming down if they start to get overwhelmed. And it’s so important to recognise when a bride has tried too many dresses on and is getting confused. Working as a team… tag team. The pros and cons of my age. At the Blewcoat we are a very tight-fit team, like a small dysfunctional family. During appointments we work almost like a tag team! When you have a long appointment or if a customer has brought too many opinions with them, team members have to support each other. Learning to work as a team makes a real difference in sales. Because of my age, I am sometimes not regarded as a serious player, and team support helps here, too. Even though I am young, I have learned so much about the industry, about women’s body shapes and how to build customer confidence. Photoshoots… learning the allimportant major organisational skills required.

At Ian Stuart I have organised and put together numerous photoshoots and events despite the fact that, to be honest, I am not the most organised person. But I did accept very quickly that organisation is key. When I was younger I used to think that going to a photoshoot would be just like it is in the movies – ultraglamorous. Once involved though, you realise fast about the amount of work that goes into creating that final image. The planning and logistics of what goes into a shoot, from sourcing the location to finding the right photographer, choosing the models, and organising lunches for everyone is anything but glamorous! Bridal shows…fashion shows. Switching from wholesale to retail. I feel really lucky because I have learnt about the bridal industry from both sides; the wholesale side and the retail side. My experience in both arenas has boosted my confidence and I love chatting to our stockists at bridal

LOOKING THE PART Give Charlotte the chance to dress up and she’ll pick an Ian number!

SHOWING OFF Displays at Blewcoat are dramatic and instantly noticeable

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ways. It boosted my confidence even more, and helped with my still-underlying shyness. It was hard work and stressful at times but it was also so much fun. I had to learn how to cope with the pressure of filming when combined with day-to-day work, but I did it. I also learned – the Line reviews… listening to feedback, hard way – to turn my working with an agent. When creating a new collection there is microphone off when a line review, where the new collection going to the powder room (sound engineers hear gets refined and finalised. During this process I have learned how important it everything!). is to listen to feedback from customers. Not just the customers we meet at the Alterations… managing a schedule. Deadlines. Blewcoat, but our stockists and our Prioritising. agents. Working for Ian has brought out my own creative streak and I love every TV show The Posh Frock Shop… opportunity to customise a dress, or overcoming shyness, being positive, create a bespoke hat for a Blewcoat feeling honoured. customer. I have learned all about It was an absolute honour to be a alterations and how to do fittings part of the cast of the award-winning Channel 4 show, The Posh Frock Shop. It with both brides and mothers. I have was an amazing experience in so many learnt how to manage an alterations shows, telling them what works for us at the Blewcoat and also listening to what works for them! Working at the Blewcoat has made me more understanding when I’m talking to stockists on the phone at head office. I completely understand what it is like when a bride is having a melt down!

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schedule and how to make sure we are prioritising with deadlines. And summing it all up... I have been so lucky with my career – it’s been very very good indeed.


Elizabeth Dickens

DESIGNERS & MANUFACTURERS OF BRIDAL VEILS D E S I G N E R S &GETMINA TOUCH N U F AWITH C T UELIZABETH R E R S ODICKENS F BRIDAL VEILS GET IN TOUCH WITH ELIZABETH Phone: +44 (0)1353 723675DICKENS

Phone: +44 (0)1353 723675 Email: enquiries@elizabethdickensveils.co.uk | Web: www.elizabethdickensveils.co.uk Email: enquiries@elizabethdickensveils.co.uk | Web: www.elizabethdickensveils.co.uk


WILVORST

ACS

Menswear O U R MA R K ET R E PO RT

Have grooms changed in their taste and sense of style? That’s a yes, says Dominic Bliss, who talked to the trend-setting labels

I

t’s hard to believe but it’s 25 years since Four Weddings and a Funeral hit British cinemas. Twenty-five years since Hugh Gant and his jolly band of chaps reminded us just how great classic wedding suits were. Twenty-five years since we fell back in love with tailcoats, top hats, gaudy waistcoats and buttonholes. But, a quarter of a century on, are

morning suits and traditional wedding wear for men falling out of favour? Speak to the major tailors, retailers and hire shops in the British wedding market, and you get a mixed message, and one with distinct regional variations. Stephen Bishop runs a successful showroom in the Surrey town of Woking, offering suit tailoring, retail and hire. He believes the appetite for morning suits had been declining in recent years but that Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018 gave it a sizeable boost. And Jake Allen, co-founder of a bespoke tailors called King & Allen, with showrooms in London, Surrey

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and Cheshire, says there’s a waning demand for morning suits, and that the vast majority of his customers buy lounge suits that they can wear beyond their wedding day. Gemma Black works for ACS Clothing, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of men’s wedding wear. She has noticed an increase in classic wedding suits, especially a hire jacket they offer called the Slim Fit Tailcoat. Colour and cut Everyone in the wedding suit business agrees that blue will still be a very popular colour this year and next. Jake Allen suggests the electric blues we saw last year will be replaced by “lighter, more subtle” hues of blue. “Blue is top of the chart,” adds Gemma at ACS Clothing. Suit trousers are still very slim in their fit, and few see this changing any time soon, despite the increasingly wider trouser silhouettes we’re seeing on the fashion catwalks. “Catwalk fashion is going baggier, with more relaxed, wide-fit pleated trousers,” says Jake Allen. “But on the high


TORRE

N KING & ALLE

street no one’s biting. Millennials are very body conscious and socialmedia savvy, posting on Instagram all the time. Younger males look after themselves physically, going to the gym. This all lends itself to showing off a good physique with fitted jackets which nip in at the waist and tapered trousers.” Jake Allen says many cloth merchants are reacting to this body consciousness by producing suit material with small amounts of Lycra in the weave. “It hugs your body but has a lot more give,” he adds. Marc Wallace is a menswear designer and tailor based in Bath, but due to open a new showroom in London next year. His suits have been spotted on the likes of Mark Ronson, Ronan Keating, Danny Dyer and Andrew Flintoff. Marc believes that the “super-baggy, anti-skinny” trousers we’re seeing on the catwalks will be popular among really trendy men with slim figures but that they won’t trickle down to suit fashion in high street stores. Stephen Bishop always warns his customers off trousers that are too

(and is looking for wedding trade tight. “Last summer it was so hot for accounts), has noticed an upsurge in such a long period. With elastene material in the trousers, you can wear demand for darker woolen colours in them tighter and they will stretch. But wedding suits. He is offering what he calls an earth-tone brown and a sea a proper wool suit in a very slim fit doesn’t do that. It rucks up, it creases, green, both in textured wools. Stephen Bishop, it looks like on the other hand, a mess after Catwalk fashion is going has chosen to steer an hour or so. Really snug baggier, with wide-fit pleated away from that woolen Celtic look, suits are not thanks in a huge practical for trousers. But on the high part to the warmer a ten-hour summers we’re wedding day street no one’s biting experiencing. “I in the heat.” haven’t gone down the tweed route to protect my customers,” he says. And the fabric? “During a hot summer, I wouldn’t wish What about the clamour in recent tweed on my worst enemy. Plus, when years for tweed wedding suits? Jake it comes to hiring out tweed suits, Allen is convinced the new TV series after a few dry cleans they tend to of Peaky Blinders (due to start in the summer), and its perennially cool star look like flannels. And I don’t want to actor Cillian Murphy, will only increase be lumbered with loads of tweed suits when the trend disappears.” all things tweedy. “That three-piece Although, interestingly, in January tweed suit with pocket watch and flat this year the producers of Peaky cap… we get people calling up all the Blinders embarked on a collaboration time asking for that look,” he says. with menswear brand Kent & Curwen, Marc Wallace, who is launching a which is part-owned by David new groom collection this summer

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MAGNANI

STEPHEN BISHOP

BARRUTI

Beckham. So it might be a little hasty to signal the demise of tweed just yet. When it’s £150 to hire a suit, or you can Woolen fabrics notwithstanding, buy one for £75 off the peg, well, what there has been an interesting can I say?” change in neckwear strategy over the past couple of summers. In the Hire up? old days, grooms always bowed to Not everyone agrees. Graham Phebey pressure from their brides, agreeing is the UK distributor of leading brands to ties and handkerchiefs (as well as buttonholes, of course) that matched Barutti and Benetti. He admits suit sales are healthier but that “the hire the bridesmaids’ dresses. However, business can still survive if it offers the men are gaining a bit of sartorial right products.” And Stephen Bishop independence now, choosing their reports good figures in suit hire. When own colour scheme for ties and it comes to morning suits he says 99 hankies. per cent of customers still hire rather Marc Wallace has some bought than buy. in some brightlyOverall, coloured 2019 isn’t going to be the economic floral-print ties, a good year, but 2020 is outlook for men’s for example, wedding wear is perfect for more absolutely going to fairly uninspiring. flamboyant go loopy The uncertainty grooms. of Brexit has, With the of course, had an effect, causing lower end of the retail market selling men to organise their wedding such bargain-basement-priced suits wear much closer to the big day – even morning suits – it must be than they normally would. But getting trickier for hire shops to ply most stakeholders in the industry their trade. As Marc Wallace states: agree that the future beyond Brexit “Suit hire used to be very popular, (whenever that proves to be) does before the rise of the very cheap look promising. polyester suit, and before the trend “ There’s no denying it’s a tough for wearing morning suits died out.

market,” says Gemma at ACS. “But 2020 is expected to be a big year. Stephen Bishop shares the view: “2019 isn’t going to be a good year, but 2020 is absolutely going to go loopy”. Jake Allen is optimistic too. “Men are really enjoying the experience of buying a wedding suit,” he says. “They’re thinking about their suits, researching them, and coming to me with images of celebrities whose suits they particulary admire.” The way it seems to be Twenty-five years on from Four Weddings and a Funeral, one celebrity they won’t be carrying images of is Hugh Grant. Although, intriguingly, his film character Charles (and much of the original movie cast) made a comeback earlier this year, starring in a BBC Comic Relief short film called One Red Nose Day and a Wedding. Only this time, it was two women tying the knot, and there was only a smattering of morning suits among the guests. Most of the cast, including Charles, sported lounge suits. A sign of how much times have changed, perhaps?


“The boutique I chose was suggested to me by my fiance’s sister. She had shopped there as a bridesmaid and said the staff were charming. You hear so many stories from brides-to-be who say that it was the staff who put them off a particular shop and spoiled the whole shopping experience.”

“I went the obvious route and spent hours and hours online checking out the views of other brides on social media, and from there I visited website after website. I honestly think I would have been better off checking out various collections and then seeing where they were sold – it probably would have saved loads of time - and I mean loads – and cut down on my frustration levels. Being the first one of my group of friends to get engaged, meant I didn’t get first-hand recommendations.”

Out of the Mouths of (Bridal) Babes... We asked a selection of brides what made them choose one boutique over another when they started the dress search and if the experience lived up to expectations “I think I would have rather a website showed more of a shop’s interior and the staff themselves than just a bunch of dresses; that way I’d know immediately if it appealed to me. Also, I’d like to know about prices – even a loose price range – before I made an appointment so I was not wasting my time. I had appointments at four 86 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 9

shops. One had a naked lightbulb in the changing room and dirty cups on the counter; another asked me to hurry up as they wanted to close early because it had been a quiet day; the third had just a few dresses from each designer so there wasn’t the choice. The fourth was perfect – helpful, sweet, unpushy – and I loved the shabby-chic décor.”


“I went through magazines and looked online at different designers’ collection, so I then had a rough idea of what I liked. Then I checked out the shops within a 50 mile radius who had that collection and phoned around to see how many styles they had. The biggest turn off is waiting for someone to call you back. Why don’t all shops have email addresses and phone numbers on their websites? I switch off when I have to complete a form. I actually went to a local dressmaker in the end, who treated me like I was the only bride in the world!”

“Okay, so I picked a really well-known shop first but I really didn’t feel comfortable because it was a bit on the grand side and I found myself almost being apologetic for not knowing what I wanted. I think the sales people could have recognised that and gone out of their way to make me feel at home. This shop didn’t deliver. My second choice was the opposite: it was smaller, intimate and the ‘team’ made me feel I was one of them and shared funny stories. They seemed genuinely interested in my plans and that did it for me.”

“I opened the door and walked into a wonderland, with beautiful lighting, squashy sofas, a coffee table piled high with magazines, and a sales person who welcomed me by name, smiled, and sat down for a chat for a good half hour. I felt like I had a new best friend. When I started trying dresses on, she was the first to shake her head, so I never felt pressurised. I didn’t go anywhere else because I knew she would look after me. And she made me mint tea with fresh mint! She is on my guest list for my wedding next year.”

“My ‘experience’? It was wonderful – just a shame the shop that made me feel special didn’t have a dress that I loved. But they were brilliant and suggested a couple of other boutiques that were more specialist in destination dresses. I would happily recommend them to anyone – provided they were not planning a beach wedding in Greece!” M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 9 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 87


White Gallery Faves At the close of White Gallery at London Bridal Fashion Week, we checked with a number of houses what sold best for them

DANDO LONDON The Poppy was an out and out winner for designer Christine Dando. It comes in lace and tulle with highlights of gorgeous glitter. In ivory and Champagne, it will retail at £2,436. Retailer comment: “This is the best Dando London collection to date. The fit and beading is exquisite.” dandolondon.com

B R I AN CHEN Taiwanese design house Brian Chen launched in 2016 and boasts a growing stockist network. Encanto, this bigskirted lace and tulle number was a clear winner. The range retails between £1,000 and £4,500. Retailer comment: “Encanto looks like it should cost far more, which will impress my brides.” brianchenbridal.com

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EL IZA JANE HOWEL L With more than a touch of silver screen glamour, The Ritz, in renaissance gold, exemplifies designer Gill Harvey’s approach to occasionwear – make it WOW. The Roaring Twenties collection retails at £1,200 to £3,300. Retailer comment: “What can I say? This is as good as it gets for special occasionwear. It never surprises me that the stand is always jampacked.” elizajanehowell.com


ST E PH A N I E B R OW N E This Australian jewellery superstar yet again delivers style with sparkle. The Venus comb features quartz crystals on a rhodium plated base and shows off Stephanie’s innovative style. £80 to £1,000. Retailer comment: “Loving the stars... something for the new generation of brides.” stephaniebrowne.com

M I RANDA TEM PL ETON The colours and textures here are amazing. Fenwick, from the Stargazer collection is incredibly detailed and in Champagne gold with pearl accents,it works with so many gowns. From Melanie: “Both collections – Mixed Metals and Stargazer were so well received and we were delighted to pick up new stockists despite the current difficult retail climate.” mirandatempleton.co.uk

G O D D ES S BY N AT U R E

B OWEN DRY DEN

Another Oz winner, where fabrics stand out and silhouettes are feminine in the coolest and most contemporary way. Pearls, sequins and beadwork dress up great-looking laces. £500 to £2,300. Retailer comment: “How great to see something new. I love the way the fabrics are used, and that boho has finally gone romantic.” goddessbynature.com

It is no surprise that Rose Garden picked up the prize as best seller, with its flowing skirt of fine layers of pale mauve tulle, and embroidered lace bodice with 3-d flowers. The range is priced from £1,750 to £3,750. Retailer comment: “Fabulous is the only word for this collection and it gets more fabulous every year. I adore the mistymauve colouring.” bowendryden.co.uk

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D EB B I E CA R L I S L E Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, this house is known for its design excellence and fine production qualities. The Star is a whole collection of Swarovski crystal stay-shaped hairpins and hairvines. Retailer comment: “I know I will always find something special in this range and the new pieces definitely deliver what I want.” debbiecarlisle.com

C HARLOTTE BAL B IER Tabatha Lee’s new line up for the Charlotte Balbier label saw Lullaby win hearts. A classic ballgown in embroidered tulle, it introduces the softest pastels as a highlight.The collection ranges from £1,000 to £2,100. Says Tabby: “We had a very good reaction to ‘Ethereal Beauty’ with new stockists in Germany which is exciting for the future of the brand.” charlottebalbier.com

A DI GROM AN Timeless elegance and a flawless bohemian vibe are the personality of this Israeli designer collection, which translates the best of vintage features for the thoroughly modern bride. Chloe is something special. Retailer comment: “The 1920s ruffles and layers and 1970s individuality and freedom are encapsulated in this collection. I am so delighted I found it.” adigroman.com

SH I KO BA B R ID E Becca George and Fi Cooper are the design talents behind this one-year old label, where relaxed bohemiam styling is the story. Two gowns did especially well at White Gallery, the full lace Eden, and silk-skirted Carrie. The collection retails from £1,500 to £2,500. The duo’s comment: “We were delighted with the response, particularly from the European boutiques who were looking for exactly what we do!” shikobabride.com

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RAC H E L S I M P S O N Always with a hint of retro, this is the shoe-fan’s favourite brand. Cecelia, in pearlised ivory and metallic gold leather, walked off with the applause, as does the collection price range, £205 to £295. Said Rachel: “What was encouraging was that White Gallery had a real buzz about it; a positive, busy vibe like a good old trade show used to have.” rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk

L I L LY A N D C H AR L ES This label from Central St Martins graduate Carolina Turner, offers a black label occasionwear collection which retails from £1,200 to £3,880 and white label –bridal – £3,000 to £15,000, with a signature appliqué. Retailer comment: “I was enchanted by the custom humming bird that features on many of the gowns… I loved the whole concept behind the brand.” lillyandcharles.com

LUNA WIL LOW B RIDAL A newcomer that is attracting notice, this free-spirited Australian label has opened some prestigious accounts. The collection sells from £1,000 to £2,300 and features some extraordinary fabrics. Bali is a perfect example. Luna Willow’s Yvonne said: “We were blown away by the great interest and positive reaction we’ve received from retailers at White Gallery.” lunawillowbridal.com

C HARL IE B REAR Amine, a gathered halterneck dress in crepe de chine with twisted straps, low back and full circle skirt was a star, in this vintageinspired collection that is coolly contemporary. £2,195 and gorgeous gorgeous. Message from Charlie: “The show this year was extremely positive and upbeat and we secured some amazing new accounts and saw all of our current stockists.” charliebrear.com

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The new FYDD website is live! O

nly a few weeks ago, the stunning new Find Your Dream Dress website was launched by Meant To Be Media Ltd. Featuring lots of exciting new features, this useful website is already receiving fantastic traffic, and it’s easy to see why. Previously, Find Your Dream Dress was heavily

focused on bridal only, but now the website is branching out into the occasionwear arena, with a more equal focus across the two. With new features like Get The Look, and new subsections that include more accessories, Find Your Dream Dress is appealing to a broader market. New stockists have been added to the

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thousands of UK, Irish and US shops already listed on the site, broadening the already extensive directory, and, excitingly, Meant To Be Media Ltd has announced that they will be adding European stockists to the website later this year. Take a look at the new website now at findyourdreamdress.co.uk.


F IND YOUR

DREAM DRESS NEW FEATURE: GET THE LOOK This great new feature showcases a different look every week, from bridal and bridesmaids to partywear and prom. The Editors choose a dress and accessories to match, with links to the websites of every item featured. A great tool for advertisers to use, and useful for the website visitors, too!

“We’re extremely excited about our new-look website, and all its great new features. It’s much more user friendly across different devices, too”...... Jade Pepperell, Meant To Be Media Ltd

MORE STOCKISTS Find Your Dream Dress already has thousands of stockists listed on its website and directory, but scores of new boutiques have been added, including occasionwear and prom stockists, to bulk up the impressive lists. Meant To Be Media has announced that it will be adding over 1,000 European boutiques to the dress search tool and directory later this year.

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F IND YOUR

DREAM DRESS

MOST VIEWED… BRIDAL DRESS PAMELA BY ROMANTICA The new collections from Romantica of Devon appear to have everyone swooning, with loads of traffic towards them since the new-look website launched. Beautiful Pamela has caught the most attention!

Most searched for... WHAT YOU R BRI DES A R E SHOPPING FOR O N LI N E We look at what trends brides are searching for this month on findyourdreamdress.co.uk MOST READ… BLOG FEATURE PRETTY PASTEL HEELS FOR EVERY OCCASION Visitors to the FYDD website have been loving this blog post, featuring lots of beautiful pastelcoloured heels. This is possibly due to more women visiting the site as wedding guests as we approach the wedding season.

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WHAT IS FIND YOUR DREAM DRESS? Brides-to-be can use this super-helpful website that allows them to filter various categories in order to find their dream dress in among FYDD’s database. Then, the site tells the brides where the nearest boutique is to them that stocks their dress of choice. If you’re a designer and you’d like to see your collection of gowns featured here, or if you’re a boutique owner who would love to have your business included in the search results, then visit findyourdreamdress.co.uk to discover more. Alternatively, drop Martha an email at martha@meanttobemedia.com.


MOST SEARCHEDFOR… DESIGNER ENZOANI Still one of the hottest bridal brands around, brides just can’t get enough of Enzoani. With such a variety of styles on offer, brides really can find the dress of their dreams in the latest collections.

MOST SEARCHED-FOR… DRESS SHAPE FIT & FLARE Brides have been choosing fitted designs this month rather than full skirts and empire lines.

MOST VIEWED… PLUS-SIZE DRESS BB18708 BY SPECIAL DAY Since the relaunch, this stunning plussize collection has been getting some much-deserved love, especially this design with its cute capped sleeves.

MOST VIEWED… BRIDESMAID DRESS STYLE 1602 BY ALLURE BRIDALS This stunning floorlength dress has been a big hit this month. The rich blue colour and shape of the dress are both very traditional, and perfect for an autumn wedding.

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Waking Hours In March, we asked Tracie Williams, Enzoani’s Marketing and Global Digital Marketing Manager, to make a note of what gets packed into a typical day. This was her timetable, before the show season

everyone else arrives at 8.30 is to check emails and make my plan for the day (which is usually a work of fiction).

6.30am The adorable sound of Joshua‘s whispered chatting has now turned into demanding shouts for “Maaama”. I go in to the biggest smiles and Joshua hanging on the side of the cot desperate to get out. We get washed and dressed and go have breakfast. Breakfast is usually interrupted by the daddy show. I use this distraction to get ready myself.

9am Have a sit down with the team to discuss Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week. We go over last year’s event and what improvements we can make to the stand layout/design. We decide on an action plan and split off to work on our relevant tasks. My priority job for today is get the floor plan laid out and sent to the organisers. It’s always a juggling act fitting everything in, getting enough seats and tables but also space to browse. Also planning staging, graphics and finishing touches. There are a lot of different elements to consider. As a global organisation we have staff from all offices attending the show and have to try and accommodate everyone and please everyone. However, they all have different ideas what they would like. My role at this point is a master negotiator.

7.15am I give everyone a kiss goodbye and head to work, leaving daddy to take Ziggy for a walk and drop Joshua off at nursery. I get to the office, open up and make tea. 7.30am First job of the day before

10am STOP EVERYTHING! I receive a phone call that the graphics for London Bridal Fashion Week are the wrong size. With only three days to go before the event and the creative team based in the US and all at Chicago Bridal Show, I

6am Alarm goes off. I convince myself it’s a mistake and that all the clocks are wrong. After one quick snooze I crawl downstairs to make a much-needed cup of tea. Feed Ziggy (my handsome Cavalier King Charles) and make the breakfast bottle for my one-year-old, Joshua. By now I can hear the best sound in the world of Joshua talking to his toys in his cot. I make my lunch and pack Joshua’s bag for nursery.

MULTI-TASKING A mountain of responsibilities means a day full of challenges

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have to dust off my graphics designer skills to edit the images to resend to the printers. 11am Pick back-up planning for Barcelona Bridal Show – I’ve finalised the ideal stand layout and design. Now the fun part, trying to make it succeed within the budget. After working some magic and changing some things around, I have a plan I’m happy with which I send to Thomas (EU Sales director) and Jeanette (our MD) to double check they are happy before sending it to VBBFW. 11.50am Next job of the day is to check in on our Platinum and Elite Partners. We have a number of stores in the UK and EU who are participating in our Partnership programme which provides our top stores with added benefits and support to strengthen our relationship


THE CLOCK TICKS There’s not a minute of the day that’s not accounted for in Tracie’s hectic life

and build our businesses. Part of this is providing them with additional marketing support and incentives. I personally oversee this programme and try to check everything is on track daily. Today’s task is ordering the certificates and awards for each partner store. This involves quadruple checking of the spelling of the EU store names. Not speaking the language makes you more careful. with the courier and won’t arrive in time for a bride’s appointment. Adam 12.30pm Quick check and reply to (UK Assistant Marketing Manager) emails that have come in this morning. is working on finding a solution. We manage to rearrange some things, 1.15pm Grab some lunch and solve all borrow the dress from Alice (EU of life’s problems over my sandwich. Marketing Co-ordinator) and send it to the store for next day delivery Phew! 1.50pm Meet with Mark (UK Sales Director) to go over the final prep for 3pm Back to digital… the London show. 4pm As usual, I’m frantically running 2.10pm Switch focus to digital and out the office to pick up Joshua from add the new resources to our portal. my parents’ house. Have a quick chat We’ve been working on updating the with them and gather all of Joshua’s structure of the retailer resources to things. How does someone so small make it easier to navigate. Since its have so much stuff?! launch in 2013, we’ve added a lot of features, most recently the product 4.45pm Get home and get out ALL the specifications and Enzoani sales kit. toys. Play time is my favourite part of Now, with the variations in place the day. It doesn’t matter how busy or it should be easy for stores to find stressful my day has been, I forget it all everything they need more readily. hearing that intoxicating giggle. 2.35pm STOP EVERYTHING! Dresses going to a customer are lost in transit

Hearing the excitement from both Joshua and Ziggy when they see daddy makes my heart melt every time. Quick hello to Neil (aka Daddy), leave instructions for dinner and sneak upstairs for my weekly call with Justin, our VP marketing. 5.30pm After a quick catch up we move onto our main project – the relaunch of our resource portal –moving it to the next level. The Hub will be the go-to place for all information about our company and products for stores, press and staff. It will be a work of art…but I’m biased… and very geeky. We wrap up the call and I fill Neil in on the latest plans; Neil is not only my husband but also our web development partner (User Fusion). 6.30pm Sit down for dinner and dodge the flying food (weaning is fun!). Once dinner is done it’s time for a bath and bedtime stories. Go downstairs to the disaster zone which was my living room and tidy up ALL the toys. 8pm Finally sit down with a cuppa with enough time to watch some TV (this evening is re-watching Season 7 of Game of Thrones before the start of season 8!.) Then bed… another phew!

5.15pm Daddy comes home and everyone forgets about mammy.

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01 www.riverisland.com £45 02 www.artwow.co £27 03 www.very.co.uk £14.99 04 www.johnlewis.com £12 05 www.mineheart.com £72 06 www.primark.com £9 07 www.oliverbonas.com £30 08 www.harveynorman.com.au £15 09 www.dunelm.com £11.20 10 www.lauraashley.com £38 11 www.gettingpersonal.co.uk £19.99 12 www.lauraashley.com £52 13 www. artwow.co £27 14 www.homesense.com £12.99 15 www.mandco.com £12 16 www.homesense.com £12.99 17 www.cathkidston.com £25 18 www.dunelm.com £12 19 www.bhf.org.uk £9.99 20 www.homesense.com £16.99

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CITY SLICKERS The Huawei X4; below, the X=3

And It Makes Calls, Too Today’s mobiles are rated by their ability to take top-notch shots says our techno man, Chris Partridge. Here’s his pick of the newest breed of cameras – err – phones. You’ll see them flashing at just about every catwalk show

arty portraits. The camera app even features an amazing 50x zoom but that is created digitally and the results can be mixed (but hey - if it is the only way of zooming in to wildlife then it must be good.) The cameras also have optical image stabilisation to reduce camera shake at long zooms. The results can be spectacular even in low light, but experts are warning that the level of digital tidal wave of new massaging of the images to get smartphones is heading for this performance can give artificialthe shops right now, from looking images, particularly odd everyone except, oddly, Apple, which is not expected to unveil colour distortions. For average users its next model, rumoured to be called however, the results are better than most compact cameras. the iPhone 11, until the autumn. Nokia phones (now made under Smartphone action is firmly licence by the Chinese company concentrated on the cameras, with a huge range of technologies vying for HMD) have recently focused on photography with its PureView range. attention. The latest, the Nokia 9 PureView, The Huawei P30 Pro seems to be has no fewer than five 12MP lenses all the cameras you will ever need, with four Leica-branded lenses on the making a star pattern on the back with the flash and time-of-flight imaging back in addition to the selfie camera sensor. on the front. There is a standard lens The Nokia 9 is based on a with a distinctly non-standard 40MP completely different philosophy than sensor; a super-wide angle lens; other smartphones, using the various a 5x zoom lens and ‘time of flight’ sensors to pull in both monochrome lens that measures depth to create

A

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SHADES OF TRENDS Huawei P30 goes for the brights

JUMP FOR JOY The Nokia 9 offers something different

standard, 2x zoom and ultra-wideand colour at various wavelengths to angle lenses. Despite the relative capture the full spectrum of light. All the data is combined to create images paucity of lenses, however, the results are superb with low noise, exceptional of amazing clarity and colour depth. detail and accurate colours. It is as However, the levels of software good as most people will ever need. needed to combine all the data means that some images can look a Chris Partridge has been writing about bit artificial, though enthusiasts can technology since the days of wireless mitigate this by exploiting the sets with real mahogany cases with feature allowing direct loading of glowing valves inside, mainly for the images into Adobe Lightroom newspapers such as The Times, the editing software (a free version is Daily Telegraph, the Observer and the included) to create images to your Sunday Times. His personal choice of own high standards. phone? His personal choice of phone? Samsung’s new flagship, the The Samsung Galaxy Note, because of Galaxy S10+, sports a relatively modest number of lenses – just three the stylus and handwriting recognition. on the back, though not many other SAMSUNG phones have two selfie lenses. FOLD UP The main camera trio includes

ROYOLE The Flexpai 2 folds like a ring binder

This is the Galaxy newcomer

Foldables The other big new thing in smartphones is folding screens, which have got the digerati very excited indeed. First out of the trap was an obscure company called Royole, with its FlexPai phone which folds back like a ring-binder, leaving the screen on the outside. It cleverly changes the screen to put all the icons on the front when folded, but using the whole screen when unfolded into a tablet. Next off was the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which folds like a book to keep the screen on the inside. A smaller outside screen is used when it is folded. Then came Huawei’s Mate X, an outside screen folder with a clever sidebar carrying the rearfacing cameras. The idea is to create a phone that is a tablet as well, so you can play games and watch videos on a device that pops in your pocket. However... all the foldable phones currently coming onto the market have several big drawbacks. The main one is the price – from €2,000 which is a gigantic sum of money. If you bought an iPhone X plus Apple’s brand new iPad Mini you could get change out of a grand. Tech journalists say that folding phones will come down in price but don’t hold your breath – a folding phone has twice the screen, twice the battery and a complex mechanical hinge, so they will always be twice the price of a similar size smartphone. And that is before you consider they are twice as thick and twice as heavy, making them far less pocketable than regular, nonfolding smartphones. They will, however, make you the centre of attention while they are still novel.

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E: admin@michaelsbridalfabrics.co.uk • T: 01322380480 • W: www.michaelsbridalfabrics.co.uk

We provide a fast, friendly and reliable service on our increasing range of products such as…. Plains • Laces • Embroidered Beaded •Tulles • Edgings • Motifs • Buttons • Accessories COME & SEE US AT: Bridal Roadshow, Bristol, UK 18th - 19th August 2019 Bridal Wholesale Showing, Melbourne, Australia 25th - 26th August 2019 Bridal Wholesale Showing, Sydney, Australia 1st – 2nd September 2019 Harrogate Bridal Roadshow, Harrogate, UK 8th – 10th September 2019 Textile Forum, London, UK 16th -17th October 2019

Michael's Bridal Fabrics

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A LL ABOUT IN STAGRAM Gary Wilkins gets the message out there on one of his favourite social media platforms

I

nstagram was founded in October 2010 and by 2012 its popularity was so big that Facebook bought out the app. Let’s look at the stats: 1bn people use Instagram – only Facebook and Youtube have more users – and 59% of users are aged 18-29. There are 8m business profiles and 86% of users follow a business. Instagram is photo and hashtag (#) based – seven out of ten hashtags are branded, and you can use 30 hashtags per post to get noticed. Take a picture or screenshot an image, open the app on your phone, hit the plus sign and the picture is ready, although you don’t want to fully upload it until you have added those key hashtags – they help categorise your message and make your picture more searchable for the end user... the customer. Google can be your friend here: simply type in ‘hashtags for wedding dresses’ and a whole host will pop up and the top ten will be the most used – #weddingdresses is an example; you may even want to hashtag the dress supplier or tag them in the post. Once this is done you can upload your post and now you become searchable. Brides search hashtags and if they like your feed they will follow you and see everything you post, so it is

have for Instagram is Regram. The biggest let-down to me with Instagram is its inability to share. Whereas with Facebook you can click the share button and add anything to your wall that is public, you simply cannot do this within Instagram, This is where Regram comes in. A lot of businesses use Instagram and they want to guarantee that the media they create is solely theirs. Regram will allow you to copy a video but when you repost this it will show at the bottom of the video where or who it came from. Let’s look at the paid side of things now. While I believe that you can do without the paid-for aspects of social media to cut down on costs, if you have a really beautiful item to showcase then promotion is what’s needed. The costs are not too high to promote your item to a targeted Instagram is photo and hashtag (#) audience and it will increase your following based – seven out of ten hashtags depending on how many days you promote for. are branded, and you can use 30 Instagram is a brilliant social media platform hashtags per post to get noticed and for my business it’s and there are options; Instagram has a the best way to showcase and share our accessories with shops and to feature where you can transform your the bride. I would like to see it have a image by tilting it, or focusing on an area within the photo, or you can make Messenger, like Facebook’s service, so a giant picture. Instagram also has mini you can interact more with retailers and those vital customers. downloadable apps so you create a collage of smaller images if you want For the next edition we are going to look to showcase a few products together. into where it all boomed... the famous And there is Boomerang, a video app which is free to use with the Instagram Twitter! Most people don’t understand or get Twitter but hopefully I can explain app and will help you create a standit to you to make it another addition to out image or bit of film. your growing social media bow. Another free app which is a mustessential to post regularly – preferably at least once a day. The more followers you have and the better your posts, the more you will get noticed. Try and engage with your audience more and encourage them to like your posts. What I personally like about Instagram is the ease of use; once you know what you’re doing and the hashtags to use to best effect, it is quick and easy to upload a post. You can also share the post on Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler – that’s four platforms in one click. Just like Facebook, you have the option to do live feeds on Instagram which is handy if you are doing shows, filming a catwalk or simply parading round the shop advertising a new wedding dress. The uploading of pictures is great;

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Money Talks...

items are wholly and necessarily incurred for the trade of that business. If, however, the same business was to pay for the owner’s work clothing, and it does not carry any form of advertising, it is unlikely to qualify as allowable expenditure when calculating the taxable profits as there is a duality of purpose in that the clothing also offers warmth and decency. It is perfectly acceptable for the business to incur some costs which won’t benefit from tax relief. Client entertaining is a good example of this as it is acceptable for the business to incur the expenditure but the VAT can not be reclaimed and the expense is not an allowable deduction when calculating the business taxable profits. VAT can, however, be reclaimed on staff entertaining costs, such as a Christmas party, and these are also an allowable deduction when calculating business profits. The business will be required to maintain accounting records and retain copies of source documentation to support the entries made. Examples of the source documentation that will need to be retained include bank statements for business accounts, VAT returns if you are VAT registered, sales and purchase invoices, payroll records, statements for any funding and details of stock valuations. This list is not by any means exhaustive and other records may be required depending on your specific circumstances. Records can be kept in a digital format rather than a physical paper format but all data must be kept securely, which is a taxpayer’s responsibility, for a period of six years from the end of the trading period. If a digital copy is kept we recommend regular backups are taken for this and stored securely away from the original documents. The accounting and tax world is one that is constantly changing and there is a lot of press currently regarding the first part of HM Revenue & Customs’ Making Tax Digital (MTD) legislation. MTD is HMRC’s drive to close the ‘tax gap’ and to make the UK the most digitally-advanced tax authority in the world. It will mean significant changes on how and when we deal with our tax affairs. The first businesses affected by MTD will be VATregistered businesses with a turnover over £85k. These businesses will be required to maintain digital accounting

GOING LEGAL

Michael Cahill listens, analyses and then passes a view in response to your questions about financial matters. This time round, he explains some of the essential need-to-knows that newcomers to business should be aware of I am just starting up what is my first business venture ever. I need lots of advice regarding monies in and out and the sort of records I should be keeping and also what is allowable as a business expense and therefore marked off against tax. I just need a quick reference to essentials please. Starting up in business is very exciting but it is also very stressful. Getting advice early in the process is extremely important and we would recommend that advice is sought before starting your business venture so that it is structured in a tax efficient manner. It is crucial that any funding / cash flow requirements can be properly considered, that an appropriate system for maintaining books and records can be decided upon, and that there is a clear understanding of what expenses can be claimed in order to minimise any tax liabilities. Business expenditure and the availability of tax relief needs to be reviewed individually for each business to see if a claim can be made and the position could be different depending on whether you are trading through an unincorporated (eg sole trade or partnership) or incorporated (eg private limited company) business structure. In general terms, an expense will be allowable for tax purposes on the basis that it is ‘wholly and necessarily’ for business purposes. An example of this would be if a business was to purchase items for resale, such as wedding dresses for a bridal boutique. This would be wholly allowable as these 104 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 9


Get connected with the UK’s most exciting, passionate, new wedding industry magazine records and use compliant software to file their VAT returns, from the first VAT period that started on or after 1 April 2019. Digital accounting records can include cloud accounting packages and spreadsheets but in the case of spreadsheets, third-party bridging software to ensure a seamless flow of data between the business and HMRC. Maintaining your books and records in paper format (eg handwritten cashbook) will not be acceptable. MTD for Income Tax and Corporation Tax was due to commence from 1 April 2020 but this has been delayed for a further 12 months to 1 April 2021 at the earliest.

Trader Trader Trader WEDDING

WEDDINGTRADERMAG.COM

£5,000 from each parent if it is to a child £2,500 if it is to a grandchild or great grandchild £1,000 to anyone else The above amounts are in addition to the £3,000 worth of gifts an individual can give each year, known as the annual exemption. Any unused part of the annual exemption can be carried forward to the next tax year. Email your business finance questions to susi@ meanttobemedia.com for inclusion in the first available issue of Wedding Trader. If you would like to consult directly with Michael Cahill email michael.cahill@albertgoodman.co.uk

Justin & Savannah INTRODUCING THE PERFECT COUPLE

WELL, WHAT’S IT TO BE?

WE CANVAS OPINION ON THE FUTURE OF INDEPENDENT RETAILING

VIVA ESPAÑA

SAY HOLA TO THE BRANDS THAT MEAN BIG BUSINESS

LY PROUDTING SUPPOR BRITISH AR WE BRIDAL ERS RETAIL

WINNERS! WHAT IT FELT LIKE ON THE BIG NIGHT

SAME SEX WEDDINGS SOMETHING TO SERIOUSLY CELEBRATE

SOLE MATES

A member of my staff, who has been with me for many years and is a dear friend as well as a trusted employee, is getting married for the second time in the autumn. I would like to offer to pay towards the cost of the wedding but would like to know if I can then put that against tax next year? I am looking at around £8,000. Weddings are a time when people can become very generous and make grand gestures such as large gifts or contributions towards the cost of the wedding. Gifts such as paying for amounts towards the wedding or cash gifts cannot unfortunately be set off against income tax or corporation tax as they are not a cost of the business. Wedding gifts can, however, be a good planning tool for Inheritance Tax purposes for individuals, depending on their relationship to the person that they are gifting the amount to. The gift will be exempted from IHT providing it is made shortly before the date of the wedding or civil partnership ceremony and the couple are UK resident. The amount exempt from IHT depends on the relationship between the donor and recipient and are:

WEDDINGTRADERMAG.COM

THE NEXT BIG THING

The High Street debate continues

STEPPING OUT IN STYLE WITH THE LOVELY RACHEL SIMPSON

WEDDING

WEDDING

ISSUE NINE • OCTOBER ’18

GROOM SERVICE

WEDDINGTRADERMAG.COM

Changing the game plan

ADDING EXTRAS TO YOUR OFFERING THAT WILL PULL IN NEW BUSINESS

PROUDL SUPPOR Y TING BRITISH BRIDALW RETAILE EAR RS

Get togethers

ENTER THE NEW-AGE BOYS’ ZONE

SLEEVES

ISSUE TEN • NOVEMBER ’18

WORKING WITH OTHER SERVICE SUPPLIERS

UK Bridal Week A NEW SHOW SCHEDULED FOR 2019 PROMISES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

WORKING TOGETHER TO WIN BATTLES

LONGEVITY HOW TO BE

LY PROUDTING SUPPOR BRITISH AR WE BRIDAL ERS RETAIL

DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING MANY YEARS FROM NOW

A BIT OF BESPOKE GIVING YOUR PLACE A WHOLE NEW LOOK

SUSTAINABILITY IS THE BUZZWORD OF THE MOMENT – GET IT?

Have a ball

OH KNICKERS! WHAT GOES UNDER THAT BEAUTIFUL DRESS

GOING TO NEW LENGTHS, AND ANYTHING BUT PLAIN

ISSUE EIGHT • SEPTEMBER ’18

HIGH STREET DEBATE

WE PICK THE BEST OF THE GOWNS

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04/09/2018 15:54

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WEDDINGTRADERMAG.COM

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? OPINIONS, ADVICE AND HARD-HITTING FACTS

ISSUE ELEVEN • DECEMBER ’18

WEDDINGTRADERMAG.COM

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LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION MAKING THE MOST OF WHERE YOU ARE

THE STARS AND THE SHOW STOPPERS

06/11/2018 09:56

DOING IT ABROAD THE DESTNATIONS THAT ARE IN DEMAND

More winners

BEST SELLERS CHOSEN BY THE BEST

WHAT THE LATEST BUDGET MEANS TO YOUR BUSINESS

New York

WEDDINGTRADERMAG.COM

IS IT TIME TO RETHINK YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY?

SAYING “I DO” AGAIN AND AGAIN

OUR GUIDE TO THE PRETTIEST PROM FROCKS

DISCUSSION: SHOULD YOU SHOW PRICES ON YOUR WEBSITE?

ISSUE TWELVE • JANUARY ’19

MEET ANNY LIN AND HER UNIQUE MIX OF FASHION FLAVOURS

Repeat performance

FAMOUS FACES

07/08/2018 16:21

WEDDING

Dressing Assessment with dash

PROUDL SUPPOR Y TING BRITISH BRIDALW RETAILE EAR RS

JEWELLED HEELS... SIX OF THE ABSOLUTE SPARKLING BEST

THE VALUE OF HAVING BIG NAMES ON BOARD

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WEDDING

WEDDING

Survivial of the fittest

09/10/2018 13:40

HAT TRICKS OUR PICK OF CROWNING GLORIES

ISSUE THIRTEEN • FEBRUARY ’19

VALENTINE’S DAY WILL IT DELIVER A WAVE OF NEW BRIDES?

Show business GET READY TO BUY THE BEST – WE TELL YOU WHERE AND WHEN

PROUDL SUPPOR Y TING BRITISH BRIDALW RETAILE EAR RS

HAIR VINES CHECK OUT OUR FAVOURITES

BLOG IT LEARN FROM THE ABSOLUTE BEST

Letter from America

PETER GRIMES FROM VOWS JOINS THE WT TEAM

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04/12/2018 10:33

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07/01/2019 21:39

TO WORK W I TH US , CONTACT: Sales Executive Martha Cooke martha@meanttobemedia.com Mobile: 07877 449122

Editor Susi Rogol susi@meanttobemedia.com

Finally, it feels that the gap has been bridged and suppliers and retailers are all on the same page, working and talking together. Susi and the fabulous team have recognised this in abundance and created a monthly handbag explosion of fascinating insight, constructive opinions, hints, tips and captivating reads. Truly inspirational! Jeanette Stevens, Managing Director, Enzoani Europe

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Shop front It goes without saying that a shop front should always be kept clean and free of traffic dirt, cigarette butts and general detritus. This includes cleaning window panes. Thankfully, bridal retailers are a cut above, and it’s a shame that other retailers on our high streets don’t pay too much attention to the external appearance of their businesses. It is so important because up to 50% of customers will choose not to go into a shop if the outside appears unloved and uncared for – you and I included, I am sure. And, how about this statistic: 95% of the customers’ journey happens outside your shop. Better then to get it right... consistently.

Getting Down To Basics Helena Cotter has visited and worked with many a bridal shop over the years and can pinpoint what is so easily overlooked

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Customers will probably want – and need, direction. They don’t necessarily want to be left to their own devices; they definitely don’t want to arrive at point A and be herded immediately to point B – the till. Sales isn’t always a straight line. The path meanders. It is vitally important therefore, that you are there to guide them. After all, you know where everything is and they don’t. They will feel looked after and cared for if you are on hand to walk them through the physical premises. What is on your so-called ‘Dynamic wall?’ This area is key to determining what you will sell the 106 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 9

Shop layout Independent bridal boutiques, in the main, have what are called free flow floor layouts. It helps maximise creativity and can easily be changed and updated. That first few square feet of space on your shop floor is crucial in determining that the best impression is made from the word-go. Make it open and inviting. And, without too many distracting signs and clutter. When a customer walks into your boutique, they will make their mind up within seconds about whether or not they want to buy something from you; and whether or not they are going to get on with you. They will have crossed from the threshold of the physical outside world into your world. They are at the start of their journey and their own personal experience of you and your premises.

most of, as 90% of customers tend to turn to the left (In the UK and Ireland) when entering a shop of any kind. You will want to expose your customers to all the products you sell – subtly. Impulse buying at the door on the way out of your boutique is a design concept called ‘ego depletion’. We know how that works don’t we, when queueing at the till in a supermarket where all the chocolate is kept! Our self-control is limited, and actually depletes over a period of time... for instance, over the duration of a bridal appointment. You may then want to consider having items for sale (accessories?) behind your reception desk/till space.


SLOW DOWN, SPEED BUMPS AHEAD! “Where the eyes go, the feet will follow”. Have you the space to create some speed bumps? These are areas in your premises which have the effect of slowing the customer down. They can also become areas where you can place any impulse purchases. How you influence customer behaviour is simply a case of making it easy for customers to buy from you. How they are treated and how valued they feel is key. The last thing we are going to be is manipulative or pushy.

Colour Wedding dress shops by their very nature tend to have variations of ivory/white/nude on display. Recent retail studies show that colour has a very positive impact on our well-being, and particularly when we go shopping, and honing in when we enter a shop. Consider putting colour to the front of your boutique. Be it bridesmaids’ dresses or other products, flowers, furnishings, carpet etc. When a customer enters your shop, they will immediately feel happier! That’s a good start isn’t it? They will also leave on a high and be feeling positive about the next time they visit. You may even have the opportunity of selling an add-on before they leave.

Going with the flow

Staff training

When I work with my clients, I always advise – and we discuss at length – the importance of creating a clear path or customer flow as I call it. I liken it to a freeflowing river; design zones throughout your premises which will enhance a customer journey as you walk them through. Does your space work for your customers? It may work brilliantly for you – however, the customer must always be at the forefront of all you do, including when making decisions about where to put stock, and how to lay out everything in general. Put yourselves in your customers’ shoes. See it from their angle. There should be clearly-defined areas so the customer knows (and you know) where they are at any stage of their shopping experience, ensuring there are no log jams, and to maximise the ebb and flow of customers through any given day. There is nothing worse than an overcrowded, messy and confusing shop floor. Where customers are butting up against each other, scientific analysis shows that women in particular will not buy a product if they feel crowded out. Focus on creating just the right amount of white space to fit your own environment. Often when not in purpose-built premises, it can be seen as difficult to achieve. It is actually quite straightforward, irrespective of the space and physical barriers – such as the walls and differing room sizes – your premises may have. Some questions to ask yourselves: 1. Do you have different textures/looks in your floor coverings? 2. Does each area of your boutique differ from the next? 3. Have you created a clearly defined path or route?

It goes without saying that staff should be trained in all areas of your business. They should be able to wear different hats in different parts of the boutique, whether selling bridal gowns, bridesmaids’ dresses, accessories, shoes, underwear. Nothing infuriates a customer more than being told by a staff member: “That’s not my department”. And, of course, the “Do you know what you want?” question that means “I can help you then” never fails to irritate. In a well-known national department store here in my home town, this is the norm, and it is so off-putting. Your team need to be knowledgeable, confident and willing to guide your customers throughout this whole journey – from start to finish. Customers like to experience consistency and good communication skills when shopping in this niche environment. That’s’ what we all want isn’t it? To feel looked after and valued.

Music to your ears Do you play music in your premises? It’s well-known that music has therapeutic qualities. My tips to you are: Play songs which are slower in tempo – slower than a heartbeat will create a sense of calm. And, importantly, an unrushed, personal, guided experience in your boutique; bearing in mind they will only have an hour or so with you during their appointment. Customers will feel more inclined to spend a little more time (and money – up to 29% more) with you if music is played. M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 9 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 107


HELENA

COTTER

T H E B R I D A L I N D U S T R Y T R A I N E R Est. 2003 AU T H O R , T H E W O W FA C TO R • Increase your sales by 25 - 40%.

• Multiple Retailer Training days.

• Discover how to work smarter not harder.

• Director Training.

• Industry specific in-house Training Courses.

• Management Training, and more.

If you want to be the best, come to the best.

01582 451 238 / 07896 944 759 info@helenacotter.co.uk www.helenacotter.co.uk

T: @HCSalesTraining Insta: hccoaching LinkedIn: Helena Cotter


COMING IN THE NEXT ISSUE... • We find the experts to answer your questions... • A life in the day of... and it could be you • Working with wedding venues – is it worth the effort? • Designer-speak – a team of top names exchange views • Fabulous frocks – we get the media to choose their favourites

SAVANNAH MILLER

• And yes, more raves, rants, and opinions worth taking on board

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“I’d like to ask other retailers views on opening hours. Have you tried staying closed till lunchtime and working then till 8pm or even 9pm every day? I am beginning to think that would be more interesting for customers (virtually all of them work anyway) and attract more brides in. Any thoughts? Can you email via susi@meanttobemedia. com and mark attn: Owl.” “I, too, have started to use your brides-talk feature in our regular team-training sessions. It is amazing how staff attitudes change when they pick up on what customers might think... and discuss with each other.”

“Does anyone have any brilliant ideas for how best to display veils without them taking up a huge amount of space – something I don’t have – and looking awful when they have been tried on and carelessly put back. This is a serious need-to-know, please.” “Okay, so the key shows are over and most of us will have visited at least one this season. In talking to colleagues, it does seem that lots of us feel concerned about the forthcoming year, especially with Brexit rearing its head and I think suppliers themselves should be talking to us about the way they see the market going right now because it affects them as much as it does us. What we need to know is that deliveries can be processed so we get a steady flow of orders in across the year thereby spreading our expenditure so it can be better managed. Cash flow is a huge worry.” YOLANCRIS

“That Brexit article in the March-April issue was the first I have seen anywhere that actually looks at some of the positives that may result when we finally get round to leaving the EU. It is getting tedious, and frustrating, hearing nothing but bad news on the television and reading doom and gloom in the papers, but your article has made me start looking at the other side of things. Thank you to the sensible person who has put a bit of hope into the equation.”

...and finally What’s the word on the street? We’ve rounded up who’s been saying what, whether it’s about Wedding Trader or the industry in general

“A message to Gary of Jupon, who I would count as one of the most straight-forward people in this business. Thank you for your articles on social media and for understanding that not all of us actually know how things work. A young member of staff looked after Facebook etc for me and now she’s left, I am lost. Reading your advice is helping me come to terms with what needs to be done.” 110 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 9

“I think the David’s Bridal situation in America, reported by Peter Grimes is disgracceful. How did that happen?”

“I like your shopprop suggestions, especially the mirror story in the last issue. The seven-mirror set is a great price and is now installed in my changing rooms and getting noticed.”


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Wedding Trader - issue 15  

Wedding Trader - issue 15