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SEEING RED Our pick of the hot new numbers that everyone will want



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Doing something different RETAILERS MAKING THEIR MARK



A new multi-way transformative dress.

To order, visit or contact Michele O’Neill email: or call: 0845 838 1041

The Loop Dress Is US and foreign patent pending.


To find out more about our exciting new 2020 collections please contact us. Tel: 01823 674 412 Email :


GOING FOR GLAMOUR We love this gown by Tina Valerdi – check out page 84

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


19 I N MY OP INION Laura Daly on who needs to do what


20 L ET TER FROM AME R ICA What a retailer should focus on


22 TA L KING SH OP Retailers look back... and forward


26 G IRL TALK The latest on the bridesmaid market


30 EL L IE The need to protect yourself


32 S IX O F TH E BEST See red, and it’s looking pretty good


38 W HITE GALLERY A sneak peek in advance of the show


42 MYR NA Making a list of must-do’s


44 G OING D OTTY Creating a ‘concept’ boutique


48 PRI VATE i Making your Apple safe sailing



EXPERIENTIAL RETAIL ING Broadening the use of your premises


52 B RAND ING STRATEGY Making a success of your message


54 T IME TO CE LEBRAT E Adella Bridal one year on

102 AND FINALLY. . .

S INGING TH E B LE WS Why Ian Stuart’s salon picks up awards T WIA The independent awards scheme NOV E LT Y FACTO R S Why 2020 is looking good GU IDE TO.. . Capes with flourish OH OH OH The latest in James Bond kit BRIDESTALK Getting the year right... or not PO L IS H PRI ZES Brands that are setting trends DAY IN L IF E O F. . . Hayley Logan of Romantica RADIANT RUGS Pretty centrepieces for your floors NOT ES O N T H E G O The free apps that give you free hands FY DD What your brides are checking out

M O NE Y M AT T E R S Michael Cahill answers your questions Here’s what you have to say this month


T RAINING Are you a boss or a leader?


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.

01753622922 @jupon.petticoats




Ed’s Letter

Editor Susi Rogol

Okay, so we got over the festive season, we’ve made all sorts of new year resolutions (will those about dieting last for the whole of January?), we’ve sorted stock, thought about a bit of a revamp but, above all, we’ve got our brains and expectations into gear for what could well be an excellent season ahead with more wedding dates booked that in previous years. We asked brides about the reported ‘magic’ of a 2020 Big Day date and even those who would have happily said “I do” in 2019 have gone along with their partner’s wish for nuptials at the start of a new decade. Regardless of the reason, what is key will be the increased business on offer to astute retailers who know how to get noticed and attract potential customers. In this issue we have talked to a number of owners who are single-minded in their approach and directing their expertise and energy into growing their turnover and consolidating their business activities, delivering what today’s brides want. Together, this industry of ours will move forward, with confidence. EDITOR SUSI ROGOL-GOODKIND TEAM TALK Andy Allen Art Director “Taking on a listed building with all the complexities, is a real challenge but the results speak for themselves.” (p54, 58)

Jade Pepperell Love Our Wedding “Researching about changes in brides’ attitudes has been fascinating now they want something more special.” (p72)

CONTRIBUTORS Damian Bailey, Dominic Bliss, Sarah Bussey, Michael Cahill, Jo Chadwick, Brian Chen, Helena Cotter, Laura Daly, Catherine Deane, Jill Eckersley, Elbeth Gillis, Peter Grimes, Jane Hancock, Alan Hannah, Anna Hare, Scott Hilton, Amy King, Amy Mair, Shannon Martin, Savannah Miller, Tom Morton, Russell Newton, Chris Partridge, Jade Pepperell, Nilah Petschelt, Myrna Plaisir Daramy, Ellie Sanderson, Jess Seaman, Ian Stuart, Helen Williams

Menswear Editor Dominic Bliss

Art Director Andy Allen

Head of Advertising Martha Cooke Mobile: 07877 449122



SEEING RED Our pick of the hot new numbers that everyone will want

Martha Cooke Sales Executive “I am really enjoying the ‘day in the life of’ series and can’t believe how much people pack into a day.” (p88)



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Doing something different RETAILERS MAKING THEIR MARK


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Cover image: Beautiful by Enzoani goes for gorgeousness



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 magazine and, Wedding Trader is a new trade string to the otherwise consumer bow of Meant To Be Media Ltd.

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




TALKIN G POINT The latest news in the wedding world, right here, right now

SASSI STYLE Sassi Holford’s dramatic 2020 Enamour Collection is a striking combination of textures and tones. It is designed for the modern bride employing traditional tailoring but innovative in the use of fabrics, techniques and shades. Each piece is a work of art with hours of craftmanship dedicated to perfecting the flattering lines and the intricate detailing. Key elements for 2020 include diaphanous layered skirts, exaggerated puff sleeves, ombré organza and floral tulle.

SINGING THE BLUES Thinking of a revamp? Colour expert Pantone announced its Colour of the Year as number 194052, Classic Blue, which, they say, represents “a dependable and stable foundation to move forward into a new era.” They describe the shade, which is lighter than navy and more muted than cobalt as a “timeless and enduring hue elegant in its simplicity.” Bridesmaid collections like Dessy will certainly have something for that in its huge range. J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 13


Award-winning designer Veni Infantino never fails to delight. Her MOB collection for Ronald Joyce boasts over 60 styles that include jumpsuits, trouser suits, long and short dresses, capes and jackets. We love this vintage rose tailored dress with its pleatfront matching jacket. Very Veni and like her, very fabulous.


Another show worth pencilling into your schedule is BEA, the second edition of which is to be staged 8-10 March at the Novotel Amsterdam which is conveniently close to Schiphol Airport. What originally started as a Modeca event moved onto a bigger platform when others asked to join, including accessory labels Abrazi and Poirier (Jupon in the UK). Modeca, obviously, is there in all its glory – and glorious it is with the Modeca Collection, Le Papillon, Curves by Modeca and Jazz, while Herve Paris, Randy Fenoli Bridal and the new La Belvedere by Libelle each introduce their own special personality. This event is decidedly different to other big-scale production, with the organisers focused on a relaxed, pressure-free atmosphere, and an opportunity for exhibitors and visitors to mix and mingle, party and share experiences. And then, of course, there are all those great new collections to see! For more info, visit

Valmont Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week Will Host The 2020 Elle International Bridal Awards VBBFW will once again be the setting for the ELLE International Bridal Awards ceremony, the awards programme that recognise excellence in the bridal world. The jury is made up of the Editors-in-Chief of the 12 participating editions of ELLE in Australia, Arabia, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, along with VBBFW director, Estermaria Laruccia. The 12 award categories are Best Wedding Dress; Best Bridal Collection; Best Groom Collection; Best Jewellery Collection; Best Fashion Show; Best Honeymoon Resort; Best Wedding Planner; Best Promotional Campaign; Best New Talent; and the award for Lifetime Achievement. In addition, two new award categories will be included: the ‘Sustainability Award’ that will recognise the bridal fashion company that applies sustainability criteria throughout its value chain, and the ‘Best Bridal Boutique’ that offers the best workshop/point of sale in each country where participating ELLE editions are present. In its last edition, Spanish labels Rosa Clará and Yolancris, Italians Peter Langner and Antonio Riva, Elie Saab from Lebanon, American Tom Ford, English designer 14 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0

Stella McCartney, Tiffany & Co, Il Pellicano Hotel in Porto Ercole (Italy) and Italian wedding planner Anna Frascisco won the different awards. VBBFW, organised by Fira de Barcelona, will celebrate its 30th anniversary 20-26 April 2020. In addition to the famous fashion show, which will feature more than 30 brands, the event expects to surpass its 2019 numbers which hosted more than 430 brands from 34 countries, and over 23,000 visitors from a hundred countries.

HEAD FOR HARROGATE Already an essential on canny buyers’ calendars, Harrogate Fashion Week is leading the way as home to the best in great-looking, trend-setting collections. Regular supporters of the show include Latte, Personal Choice, Up Pants, Passioni, Pomodoro, Sahara, and Anna Montana, while the latest brands to sign up for the January show (26-27) include Apanage, Via Appia, Beaumont, and Nissa, all from the new agency, Karen B Collections. The latest shoes brands to commit are The Flexx and Blundstone who will be exhibiting alongside Caprice, Capollini, Lotus and Legero; Eliza Cavaletti will also be showing its footwear collection and Ashwood will have its great range of leather bags, jackets and smaller accessories. More finishing touches come from Dents, Gist Jewellery, Jayley Collections and John Charles Millinery. Visit to find out more.


YES PLEASE We are huge fans of allthings Sabina Motasem. The designer has launched her ‘Nouveau’ collection of beautifully-designed and skilfully-made understated wedding dresses that go from sexy little slip numbers to feminine silhouettes with touches of art-nouveau detailing. will get you excited.

Here’s the basics… Number of stockists 35 Personality of brand Classic contemporary and modern romantic Number of pieces in collection 50 Fabrics / colours / embellishments Pique, crepe, mikado, lace, bold flowers Key style features for 2020 Wide frills, layered skirts, statement sleeves, over-dresses RRP UK £1,000-£1,500 T: +44 (0)1322 537741 E: W: TROPHY WINNER Israeli designer Alon Livné, now based in New York, picked up two trophies in the prestigious ‘At Mag’ Awards programme – for Best Womenswear and Best Bridal designer, beating some of the biggest names in the business. The man who dresses A-list celebs including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez, has an amazing track record, having trained at Alexander McQueen in London and worked for Roberto Cavalli in Florence. His high-end bridal label, Livne White, sells in some of the world’s finest boutiques.

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WORTH CHECKING OUT This new and uber-cool dinner suit from masters of men’s formalwear, Wilvorst, comes in blue and green as well as blue and red as shown here, in a contemporary interpretation of classic blackwatch tartan. The fit is narrow – very narrow – a Drop8 fit in fact, hence the vital inclusion of elasthane in the cloth that ensures a streamlined look that also adds a casual dash to the cut. Not sure what Drop-fit is?

We consulted GQ who explains that it is simply the difference in inches between jacket size and the waist size of the suit trousers. So, for example, if a jacket size is a UK 40 and the waist size is 34in waist then it would be Drop6 - which is the standard suit drop. However, the gurus say, suits by European tailoring houses tend to have slimmer-cut jackets so will be cut to have a larger drop.

WOW FACTOR American designer Michael Fausto who trained in the ateliers of Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa and Badgley Mischka, is making a real impact on both the bridal and occasionwear markets since launching his debut collection in New York. Not for him the sweet and simple… he has a style of his own that puts statement first. Check out

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Thank your customers or risk losing them New research reveals that businesses who do not offer rewards and incentives to employees and customers are potentially losing out as they are failing to keep up with people’s expectations. A study of 1,253 UK consumers, carried out by workplace and incentives provider, One4all Rewards, and published in The Magic Word for Business Growth Report, revealed that 67% of consumers believe that they should be thanked more often for their custom. The vast majority (86%) of those surveyed said that they would be more likely to make a purchase if they were offered a reward or a simple ‘thank you’ in exchange. While 68% of consumers confessed that they would be inclined to switch provider if a competitor offered an incentive or reward. This highlights how easily consumers can be swayed, resulting in businesses losing out on custom by not offering rewards or incentives. Michael Dawson, CEO of One4all, said: “The Magic Word for Business Growth Report” has highlighted the ever-changing rewards culture and expectations of UK consumers. Those who were previously loyal to certain big name brands and suppliers are now easily being swayed to switch with the offer of rewards and incentives. Today’s

consumers understand their worth. “We can see from the research how important it is for UK businesses to say thank you in a bid to retain customers. It’s clear that businesses who do not recognise consumer demand for incentives and the power they have on influencing buying decisions are risking losing out to competitors.” One4all Rewards are industry experts in benefits and rewards. Working with over 6,000 businesses of all sizes nationwide, the company helps transform customer and employee relationships through successful incentive schemes. For more information and to read The Magic Word for Business Growth Report, visit one4allrewards.

PLAYING IT SAFE All too often, when business is busy, people leave things on one side to sort later when they should, in fact, be on the top of their priority list. Insurance is one of those things but without it you can run into serious problems. Having heard a few horror stories recently – ones that could have and should have been avoided – we talked to Hine, the UK’s leading insurance broker to the bridal industry. They quoted a particular situation: “A bridal shop customer of ours was prepared as much as they could be when unpredictable weather, specifically torrential rain, upset their business. It was one of only two days the retailer opened for fittings when water began pouring in affecting the

electricity supply, inflicting water damage to fixtures, fittings and precious stock. “Opening the shop was simply not an option, leaving many customers who’d been booked in for many months disappointed, and the shop owner despairing at the scale of the damage. With the smell of dirty water threatening to permeate the remaining undamaged dress stock, and concerns around electrical safety, it was an issue that needed sorting quickly. “This customer luckily had a comprehensive insurance policy ensuring that stock, furniture and business interruption were all covered for the correct amount. As their

insurance broker we arranged for a loss adjuster to be appointed and with them managed to organise a speedy clean up and drying out service. “A claim settlement of £34,733 meant that they were able to replace items, redecorate, rearrange appointments without financial loss, and make sure that their customers had the same safe and comfortable experience that they would have enjoyed before that day.” As insurance brokers to the RBA and a member of BBSA, Hine knows bridal inside out so we’d encourage you to get in contact and see what piece of mind they can arrange for you. Contact +44 (0)161 438 000 / /

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w w w. e nzoa m

In my opinion Laura Daly looks at the advantages of keeping – or trying to keep – all parts of the retail equation balanced...


nd, boom, there it is... another year gone and somehow we’ve found ourselves in the brave new world of 2020. Except that, as we all know, we will still be haunted by the same old bridal retailing problems of previous years unless we can agree to change things for the better. For me, the biggie this year has been quality control and what happens when there’s a problem with a dress. I’m delighted to say that the companies I deal with directly have taken on board my (admittedly, sometimes lengthy) feedback on this point, and have been forward-thinking enough to modify their policies to help us to help our brides. For this, I am extremely grateful. However, from my conversations with many other retailers, it’s clear that there are plenty of manufacturers who maybe need a gentle nudge and some convincing in this matter. It’s no secret we retailers have to put the bride first. Any self-respecting in-for-the-long-haul bridal retailer must have this mindset. To survive the onslaught of abuse thrown at us when supplier-related quality issues arise, we do whatever it takes to make our customer happy. We often have to sort out failed zips, missing buttons, broken button loops, missing appliqués, wobbly beads; all at our expense, while hoping that we will be able to persuade our supplier to pay the seamstress bill at some point in the future. There can be lengthy discussions with someone in customer service; these poor souls bear the brunt of our

frustration, but often can only quote us the party line of “you shouldn’t have touched it, we needed to see it first” or “she wore it, so it must have been okay”. Manufacturing faults can rear their heads, before or during fittings or even on the wedding day. When they do, believe me, time is of the essence. That problem needs to be dealt with swiftly and without argument. Don’t forget that this dress is of huge emotional importance for the customer and when a button pings off or a zip gives way, it isn’t a triviality to her. For us to keep our customer happy, we need support from the supplier in fixing these issues immediately. If we say the zip wasn’t too tight but gave way on the first try, please believe us. Help us resolve the problem; send us a new zip and pay our seamstress to replace it – or take the dress back and fix it yourself – swiftly. And, if you do this, please check it before you send it out again... don’t tell us it’s sorted and return it in a worse state than when we sent it to you. Unfortunately, this happens from time to time. The retailer is on the front line. It’s the retailer’s name that gets dragged through the social media mud when there’s a problem. It just shouldn’t happen when the problem stems from bad production. Having to tell an upset bride that we need to send the dress back to the manufacturer for them to decide whether or not something will be done simply doesn’t work. We just

need to be able to say with confidence that it will be rectified right away. Of course we understand that you may need to see the dress to feedback a quality issue to your factory, but the first priority must be a prompt resolution for the bride. Please believe us when we say your product has let us down. We aren’t making things up for the hell of it, and neither are our customers. We know the dress fitted properly, that the she didn’t put on weight and we’re sure she didn’t attempt to plank on the bar whilst drinking tequila shots. Admittedly, it’s up to us to ensure that we have limited liability written into our contracts of sale so as not put ourselves in the position of having to compensate any more than the retail price of the dress. But, if you have sold us faulty goods it is not unreasonable for us to expect you to foot the bill for any refund. Ask a retailer if, given the choice, they’d prefer a marketing course, a night in a hotel, a free dinner, branded dress bags and a poster for the window, or a speedy no-quibble resolution to any problem. I think you can guess what the answer may be. If you want to keep your good accounts and your retailer loyalty, please offer your support and back-up. Work with us, not against us... Fingers crossed for a good 2020 all round!

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Letter from America Peter Grimes, publisher of VOWS, and Shannon Hurd, Editor, look at who the US bride is and how bridal salons should prepare


hen the impact of headlines screaming at us about politics, the day-to-day economy and life, the closing of retail chains, and the cost and effect of tariffs is added to the ongoing challenge of reaching and ‘entertaining’ today’s bride, it becomes too easy to be pulled away from what we do and who we are, unintentionally jeopardizing the sanctuary the bride critically needs and expects from us. As we so poignantly know, brides are already stressed, confused,

overwhelmed and worried. And recent headlines are not making it any better, but there are other subtle factors in her changing behavior outlined by recent statistics and studies detailing the state of US marriage and couples today. And while many of these details may be generally known, they are nonetheless important to keep in mind as we orchestrate the service our brides expect, including:

seriously. In order to win her business, you must up your level of service and expertise – not just for her, but also for her groom-to-be. Additionally, she has on average five bridesmaids, with approximately two maids either engaged or soon to be engaged.

She’s likely plus-size: According to Plunkett Research, 68 percent of US women wear size 14 or larger (that’s 18 in the UK). And according to The Knot’s 2019 Fashion Study for Size Today’s bride is older: The median Inclusivity, brides size 12+ are: age at first marriage for males and – Twice as likely to call a bridal salon females in the United States continues ahead of their appointment to ask to climb to its current all-time high. about available sizes. In 2018, men were 29.8 years old and – 50 percent of brides size 12+ were women 27.8 (up from 27.1 and 25.3 in self-conscious going into dress 2003, respectively), according to the shopping US Census Bureau. – She’s less likely to know what she An older bride means you’ll likely wants: 33 percent of size 12+ brides inherit a customer who knows what come into a boutique with inspiration she wants, is financially stable, has in hand, versus 49 percent of smaller an involved partner (97 percent of sizes. grooms are involved; 36 percent – She’s more likely to say “yes” quickly: very involved), and takes marriage 60 percent of size 12+ brides bought

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from the first boutique they visited, versus 51 percent of those under size 12. In addition, 60 percent of brides size 12+ tried on six or fewer dresses before finding ‘the one’ (compared to 49 percent of brides under size 12). – She’s diverse: Currently about one in ten LGBT Americans (10.2 percent) were married to a same-sex partner in 2017; and 58 percent marry outside their background (race, religion, ethnicity, regional background or otherwise). Spending is up: The average cost of a wedding ceremony and reception is approximately $30,000 nationally – a ten percent jump from 2017 figures (this figure soars as high as $44,000 when engagement ring, pre-wedding trips and honeymoon are factored in). This creates opportunities that go beyond the sale of the wedding gown to attire for complementary events, such as engagement parties (38 percent); engagement photos (80 percent); post-wedding brunch (41 percent), and a post-reception after-party (39 percent). This also applies to the wedding gown. The average cost of a wedding dress nationally ranges from $1,631 to $2,260 (average $1,946), which represents at least a five percent jump from 2017 figures. Spending has also increased for bridesmaids, grooms’ attire and mothers at about the same rate.

Three Key Takeaways Today’s bride is... tech savvy and expectant. As such, you should review and update: – Website: content, photos, FAQs, testimonials, About Us page and lines/collections. – Social media: update all sites with new photos and posts. Reply to any neglected customer comments or questions. – Reviews on all platforms: respond publicly, thanking the good reviewer for her time and addressing the negative reviewer’s concerns; – All points of contact (phone, email, text): verify they’re set up properly and staff knows how to handle requests for additional information or appointments; followup appointment confirmation and reminders; follow up after the sale; follow up for the ‘be-back’ bride. – Pre-appointment customer surveys: she is expecting a personalised experience. The more you know about her likes, the better you can serve her.



She is expecting (and has been promised) an experience. Review and update: – The physical appearance of your boutique from the parking lot: window displays, outdoor signage, lighting, landscaping, etc. – The interior of your store – smells, sights and sounds. Check for

burned-out lights, walls/floorboards/furniture that need touching up. Review signage. – Review from start to finish how to improve on the experience. – Internal policies/procedures for handling the bridal entourage. Everyone must be on the same page. – Staff appearance and boutique ‘uniform’. Does what you have work or should changes be made? – Extending the experience after the sale and asking for reviews. This is a great topic for brainstorming during a staff meeting.


She is stressed and overwhelmed. As such, you should review and update: – In-boutique initial conversation. She chose your salon... giving a quick tour is one thing, but subjecting her to a lengthy chat about your business isn’t necessary. She probably knows more about you than you do! Remember: she is interested in herself and her wedding! – Stylist and staff communication and listening skills. Brides drop major clues about who they are and what matters to them... you just have to know how to hear them! – Where the ‘speed bumps’ are in the selling process… and how to address them: This is an ongoing topic and worthy of many staff meetings. Do not assume that yesterday’s objections still ring true today.

Calling all boutique owners! LOV E OUR

Give this brilliant free wedding magazine as a gift to your brides!

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 LOVEOURWEDDINGMAG.COM





Allure Bridals







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07/01/2019 08:26








She’s the one



• MAY/JUNE 2019


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• NOV/DEC 2019

Top trends for 2020






We said yes! Perfect photos







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Start of a new year, start of what hopefully will be a busy wedding season, and start of another opinion series in which retailers compare notes and lessons learned


Where Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands The Bosses Melanie and Claire When opened 2007 Average spend on a dress in 2019 £1,500-£1,600 Main labels carried Maggie Sottero, Sottero & Midgley, Rebecca Ingram, Essense of Australia, Martina Liana. Lesson learned in the past year 2019 was a fabulous year for us and we have certainly learned a lot about ourselves and what we can do to help our business grow for 2020. Branding has been a main focus in the second half of 2019 and we feel that this is key to today’s bride as they

are looking for more engagement with businesses. We want our future brides to want to be a #WB bride before they even step in the door and we believe that this starts even before they are engaged! Advice to others We at Wedding Belles of Four Oaks will continue to innovate and build our brand... we have already launched some wonderful ideas into our boutique including merchandising and our own GIPHY hashtags on Instagram and we have some more exciting ideas in the pipeline... We are very excited for what this year and the start of a new decade will bring!

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ALEXANDRA ANNE Where Chatsworth Estate, Derbyshire The Boss Jess Seaman When opened Originally in 2014, we took it over in (taken over in 2018. Average spend on a dress in 2019 £1,600 Main labels carried Jesus Peiro, Charlie Brear, Rembo Styling, Eliza Jane Howell. Lesson learned in the past year That loving what you do – and what you sell – is so important in bridal. Only a few months after taking over the business, I made the difficult decision to drop one of our then five designer brands. It was a business risk, but ultimately the right call because I felt I couldn’t sell a brand that I didn’t think fitted with the bridal style and ethos we were going for. Advice to others Stick to your guns and be patient: it will pay off in the long run

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PURE BRIDES Where Norwich City Centre The Boss Anna Hare When opened 2005 Average spend on a dress in 2019 £1,300 Main labels carried Maggie Sottero, Essense of Australia, Sottero & Midgley, Rebecca Ingram, Eternity Bride. Lesson learned in the past year Learn to be what your brides want you to be! The millennial bride is a new breed and being quick to adapt to the ever-changing expectations and demands of the modern bride means thinking the way that she thinks and continuously evolving, fully embracing her mindset and the world she inhabits. It’s never been just about hanging dresses on my rails, but now, more than ever, it’s about the experience we create for her and this has been true

more in the past year than ever before. I’m confident in what I have to offer my brides and my passion never fades and keeping that as my focus is what gives me the energy to consistently move forward and continue to perfect our offer. Advice to others 2019 was our best ever year in terms of sales and coming off the back of 2018, our toughest ever trading year, and some not inconsiderable staffing challenges; it proves that hard work (in the right places), team work, dedication and having clear set goals, pays off. I will unquestionably be adopting the ‘more of the same’ approach for 2020 and just can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in the year ahead!

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For details on becoming a Dando London stockist contact Headquarters: DP World Logistics Centre, Ground Floor, North Sea Crossing, Stanford le Hope, Essex. SS17 9ER (+44) 1420 23490

Dando London


(or two or three or four…) Bridesmaids. Retailers and suppliers discuss what’s on offer and how best to serve those often-demanding friends of the bride. Jill Eckersley discovers they want more than a one-time dress...

will now include five or more maids, although two or three is still the most popular number. “The average number of maids in our bridal parties is four to six,” agrees Fiona from Olivia Cameron Bridal in Falkirk. “It’s rare for them to pay for their own dresses, it’s normally the bride or her parents who pay. We find that a bride usually chooses the theme, then each of the maids will pick a style that suits her figure, often all choosing the same colour. Our o what’s happening in the most popular fabric is still chiffon, bridesmaids’ market? The which complements most tulle, lace message coming through from retailers and suppliers is or chiffon bridal gowns, though we’ve that young millennials are increasingly also seen an increase in the sale of mikado satin to go with classic mikado looking for sustainability and favouring dresses that can be worn on wedding dresses. The average cost of a bridesmaid’s gown in our store is more than one occasion. £240, plus about £60 for alterations. Another trend is for more “With destination weddings, we bridesmaids – the Wedding Industry are stockists of Sorella Vita who Facts and Economics website says have outlets all over the world. If that almost one in ten weddings


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ON E FO R T H E G I R L S a girl arrives a week or so before the wedding we can offer a quick turnaround alteration service here, and for a non-local wedding we can ship the dress out for alterations nearer her home. “We don’t find that high street or online sales are affecting our business. Although our brides are price-conscious they are also qualityconscious and are prepared to pay for something different!” By contrast, Maria Musgrove from Pantiles Bride in Royal Tunbridge Wells is finding that more and more bridesmaids are choosing to buy online from ASOS or boohoo or in the high street from stores like Oasis and John Lewis. “We have about 20 bridal appointments a week and perhaps only two or three bridesmaids a month,” she says. “It seems more common these days for a bridal party





to include four bridesmaids. With the dresses we sell at £180-£300, that adds up, especially as we usually find it’s the bride who is paying. “We advise that brides come in with their chief bridesmaid only, though they don’t always listen! One popular trend is to order dresses in the same colour and fabric but different styles to suit maids who might be very different in size and looks. If a bride buys her dress from us we can offer a ten percent discount on her bridesmaids’ dresses, though I sometimes wonder if it’s worth it for us. We do sell more to brides who are just having perhaps one or two maids, bearing in mind the price of alterations, too. “We have even thought of changing our bridesmaids’ section to promwear. Trends in promwear seem to be more flashy and red-carpet, though, with a lot of low backs and

popular as they flatter any size or shape. Illusion necklines also sell well and are an elegant choice. For 2020 we shall be seeing cold-shoulder Supplier talk styles, jewel tones like our India gown, From the suppliers’ point of view, which is stunning in a rich peacock Hayley from Romantica of Devon hue. And straight off the red carpet, says that most of their retailers carry sexy thigh-high slits will be on-trend bridesmaids’ ranges as well. for 2020, too.” “That means their brides can find Grace from Kelsey Rose agrees their own dream dress and perfect that metallics are having a moment. dresses for their maids at the same “Soft metallic tones are the essence time,” she explains. “Stockists who don’t carry our bridesmaids’ collection of our 2020 collection – subtle shimmer and sparkle make for a very may carry our prom dresses, which glamorous bridal party. Traditional can be suitable for any occasion, chiffons or tulles have saturated the including a wedding. market and are covered by e-tailers “ As far as current silhouettes and features are concerned, glitter fabrics like ASOS. “We hear from our stockists that have caused quite a stir this season, dresses need to be suitable for especially as the fabric we use has a bit of stretch to make it comfortable to more than one event. We are also wear – like our brand new Beth gown. finding that fewer bridal stores carry Gowns with a subtle touch of draping bridesmaids, but we’re seeing a rise in bridesmaid stand-alone stores, or gathered details have also been slinky cut-outs, and how many brides want that sort of look for their maids?”

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which can give more of a specialised service.” Michele from Dessy is another expert who feels that today’s bridesmaids are looking for more than a single-use dress. “We offer more than 400 styles in multiple fabrications and more than 80 colour options, so Dessy gowns can also be worn as destination wedding dresses, occasion, and cruisewear. We recently introduced the Loop dress by Carlos Saavedra, which we believe is the ultimate ‘convertible’ dress and retails at £185. It has a double-layer eternity scarf to create individual necklines and sleeves. It’s machine washable and dryer-safe, so perfect for travelling. “Jumpsuits and pockets are also on-trend and are the perfect style for bridesmaids wanting to carry a tissue for their tears of joy or hide their phone! We shall be seeing more layers, ruffles and pleats in luxurious fabrics in the new season as well.”

Rooms in the West Midlands has a cautionary tale! “We had a huge extension here last year, which doubled our floor size, to accommodate our bridesmaids and menswear shop. However we didn’t find that selling bridesmaids dresses was cost effective so we removed that department, retrained our staff, and switched over to doing more bridal appointments. “We can now have six bridal appointments running simultaneously instead of three and we’re planning to introduce a seventh. I feel liberated! No more problem bridesmaids, who are pregnant, planning on getting pregnant, wanting to wear platform shoes to make their dresses too short, Another retailer view not happy with the style, wanting If you’re a retailer thinking of to upstage the bride, thinking they introducing a bridesmaids’ range, are more important than the bride, think carefully. Some bridal parties denying that they’ve gained three appreciate the convenience of being able to order all their dresses from the stones, denying that they’ve lost three same boutique, but it doesn’t work for stones, the list just goes on and on everyone. Rebecca from The Dressing and on… it’s not for me, I’m afraid!” Chrissy at Morilee feels that demand for bridesmaids hasn’t changed. “Our customer base placed their orders at Harrogate where we had our samples and colours on display,” she says. “Popular colours look to be purples – eggplant in our range – a pale green we call sea grass, pinks such as peony and desert rose, and dark red Claret and Bordeaux. We have also introduced new earthy red and brown tones, cinnamon and spice. “Stretch velvets, flutter sleeves and the ever-popular boho look are still with us and popular silhouettes continue to be A-line and fit and flare.”

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CH A R G E BAC K WO R R I ES It’s fair to say that today’s consumer is a whole new breed. I recently had a situation with a customer that I really want to share with you as it meant I have had to change a working process in order to protect myself and my business...


Given the ridiculous drama over nothing and being in peak, I decided to refund her for the dress… some battles are just not worth the fight and I knew this was one of them. My refund for the dress was a good-will gesture and done on the basis I believed she no longer loved the dress. I got her to sign a document to cover myself so that there would be no comeback. She agreed and was thankful for the refund. I did not agree to refund the veil. I wrote to her twice asking her to collect the veil and twice she came back and asked for a refund. I declined. Feeling I had more than compromised. Then, out of the blue, she wrote and demanded we post the veil that day or she would like her money back for non-delivery of goods. I was unable to make this happen, one because we were insanely busy and two because we don’t have a What happened then post office near the fitting atelier. I I went back within ten hours and did however post it the next day on a informed her that I had a new dress ‘signed for’ service. and asked when we could fit it. She She then refused to accept the refused and said she would sue the delivery saying I was late with it. It designer and me for anxiety due to was returned to me. I wrote to her the first dress being faulty. Let’s not forget she had also gone off the dress and asked her why on earth she had done that and she replied that I had so this was just a perfect scenario. n March 2019 I sold a dress and a veil to a customer who paid by credit card. In July she came into her first fitting and decided she didn’t like her dress. It was a simple dress but she had gone off it. She then found a flaw and delightedly demanded a full refund as she was “within her rights to reject faulty goods and obtain a refund”. I refused and said I would have a replacement dress within a week and that I was within MY RIGHTS to do this. She decided to up and leave in a rage. She left the dress and her veil. The next day she wrote and demanded a full refund. Again I refused.

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missed the deadline and that she was therefore due a refund! I refused. I felt I had been beyond reasonable but that was the last straw. It was her deadline and she was clearly just looking for trouble. The veil was worth £395. Trust me it gets better… Two months later when I had calmed down and assumed she was married and moved on, I got a letter from the company that processes my card transactions. They decided to refund her and chargeback the amount to my account; they gave me seven days to dispute this and prove my case. I was dumbfounded and totally furious. Needless to say I disputed this and provided the following evidence. w A signed copy of her terms and conditions for the veil and dress, stating that the items were made to order and non-refundable. w Several letters of correspondence stating that I would not refund her as she chose to leave the veil and it was a non-refundable item. w A copy of the ‘signed for’ proof of postage to her before her wedding day. w A copy of the returned package saying she had rejected delivery.

collects her dress and accessories, the reductions I was offered in my I explained the entire scenario she signs a further document stating above and concluded that I had made costs to stay, or emails asking me to she is collecting it, is happy with all every effort to return her item and she contact them and re-consider. I just told them I didn’t want them to handle the work undertaken, that she knows rejected it. how to get it on, and is warned of I got a standard no-name delicate parts. letter from the processor I felt I was covered, but I don’t stating that I had not provided I have reviewed all my processes get my customers to sign and say sufficient evidence and they yet again to ensure that the tiniest they are happy for us to keep it for were refunding her. Not only refunding her, but also of loop-holes are covered. I urge alterations and that it is insured by us and they now own it as charging me an admin fee to you to do the same they have paid for it and they will do so. I went into battle mode collect it on the agreed date. with them. Even as I type that it seems I disputed it once more and my money and I referred them to this totally farcical and I want to get back asked for them to re-open the case on the phone to those processors charge-back issue. and contact me supplying someone and say: “Are you kidding me?” Sadly, I could speak to. They did and they they are not. Bottom line, ladies and Think very carefully still refused to give me the money gentlemen, if you have items in your You wonder why I got so bothered back. All they would say was that possession that a client has also paid but, you see, this opened up a whole within their terms and conditions the for in full you may be at risk of them customer was due a refund. It took me new area of concern for me. What claiming their money back. Signed would happen if mid-fitting a bride hours of my time to finally get their terms or not. customer service manager to explain changed her mind? I would have her Clearly, different card processing dress in-house being altered and I why they considered a refund was companies may handle it differently would also have her money. due and here it is... And I quote: but in talking to other retailers they I posed this question to the “At the point your customer asked too have had similar situations mid processors and whilst they saw my for her money back from us she had order. Check check check those concern they said: “that would never no goods and you have her money happen”. But we all know that it might. terms. It’s a new year and a new dawn and that gives us reasonable right to for me and I have reviewed all my Are we covered in such cases? refund.” No discussion, no sense to processes yet again to ensure that When a bride buys her dress from check with me – nothing. me she signs a very detailed contract the tiniest of loop-holes are covered. I They then said it was now a civil urge you to do the same. basically covering my ass for case and that I should get a lawyer everything. to obtain my monies back. I told PS I just bought an Aston Martin on When she has her dress fitted them that they were complicit in her my credit card for this week. Will take she signs a further contract with the obtaining an unlawful refund. They it back Sunday and drop the keys dressmaker making them accountthen referred me to their terms – 40 through the door of the car showroom able for the work undertaken and pages of double-Dutch. then get my money back – wish me stating that she is responsible to I decided there and then to move good luck with it! x pay them directly. Finally, when she my business. I won’t bore you with

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Seeing Red The new season promises to be hot hot hot – certainly when it comes to occasionwear. The brighter-the-better trend goes for accessories, too, hence it is seven of the best this issue!

E T E R NIT Y B R IDE JOAN LEE Style: Wrap Fabric: Ostrich, marabou and coq feathers Colours: Scarlet Size range: Plus sizes now available, too RRP: Approx £125 T: +44 (0)161 456 2211 E: W:

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Style: D5221 Silhouette: Ballgown Fabric: Satin Colours: Red/silver, also ivory/silver, white/silver Special features: Pleated bodice Size range: US 0-30 RRP: Approx £750 T: +44 (0)8707 707 670 E: W:

SPECIA L DAY Style: 16505 Silhouette: Trumpet skirt Fabric: Lace and tulle Colours: Bordeaux red, and 21 more Special features: 1950s classic style Size range: UK 6-36 RRP: £200-£300 across range T: +353 1866 5882 E: W:

I N V ITAT IO NS BY RONA L D JOYC E Style: 29415 Silhouette: Asymmetric fit & flare Fabric: Crepe Colours: Red Special features: Hi-low skirt, high split, one-sleeve Size range: UK 6-30 RRP: POA T: +44 (0)1636 593483 E: W: J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 33



Style: 8193 Silhouette: Trumpet skirt Fabric: Lux chiffon Colours: Red, of course, and another 84! Special features: Pleated criss-cross bodice, sash tie at the back, off the shoulder accents Size range: US 00-30 RRP: £240-£250 T: +44 (0)845 838 1041 E: W:

Style: IR5014 Silhouette: Column Fabric: Soft stretch matt satin Colours: Various reds, and cobalt and navy Special features: Off the shoulders, three-quarter length sleeves Size range: UK 80-20 RRP: From £530 T: +44 (0)20 8502 2257 E: W:

F R E YA ROS E Style: Suri Colours: Red Special features: Iconic heels featuring mother of pearl, brass and sterling silver RRP: £195-£1,595 across range T: +44 (0)8453 714466 E: W:

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Modern, glamorous and unforgettable... View our stunning 2020 collection here:

To find out more about our exciting new 2020 collection, please contact us. Tel: 01823 674 412 Email:

White Gallery London WHAT TO E X P ECT White Gallery will again be housed alongside London Bridal Fashion Week at ExCel in East London and will run for three days, 22-24 March. There will be names you know, and some exhibiting in the UK for the first time. We’ve done a little homework so you’ll know what is waiting to be discovered B R I A N CH E N Country: Taiwan Number of stockists: 37 Number of pieces in collection: 25 Fabrics: Tulle, organza, mikado Colours: Ivory, light Champagne, nude, skin Need-to-knows: 3D sculptural silhouettes, 3D petals RRP: £750-£3,800 E: W:

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ALAN H A NNAH Country: UK Number of stockists: 30 Number of pieces in collection: 20 Fabrics: Japanese mikado, silk taffeta Colours: Ivory, blush, gold Need-to-knows: Beautiful bespoke fabrics; classic shapes made in striking and intricate organza and silks RRP: £1,200-£2,500 Tel: +44 (0)20 8804 1444 E: W:



Country: UK Number of stockists: 80 Number of pieces in collection: 130 Fabrics: Silk tulle and chiffon, heavy satin, lace, embroidery Colours: Ivory, oyster, nude, pale Champagne Need-to-knows: The perfect space between maximalist and minimalist by balancing the ornamental features with simple and classic silhouettes. More subtle sultriness than traditional sweetness. RRP: £1,000-£2,000 Tel: +44 (0)20 7702 2064 E: W:

Country: South Africa Number of stockists: 10 Number of pieces in collection: 15 Fabrics: Tulles, iridescent fabrics and delicate laces and beadwork and bold appliqués Colours: Ivory, blush, nude Need-to-knows: Off-shoulder gowns, plunging necklines, a mix of strong architectural shapes and delicately flowing silhouettes RRP: £1,500-£4,000 Tel: +2721 423 2220 E: W:

I VO RY & CO Country: UK Number of stockists: 40 Number of pieces in collection: 23 dresses, 17 capes and boleros Fabrics: Silk stretch jersey, silk crepe, silk mikado, silk twill, soft luxury Italian lace, hand embellished beading, Guipure lace, contemporary pattern lace Colours: Ivory, blush, Champagne, porcelain Need-to-knows: Both deconstructed patterns for sheer comfort, and support with corsetry for enhanced body shape. Flesh tulle with appliquéd lace, low backs, long feature lace trains, pockets in A-line skirts RRP: £795-£1,950 Tel: +44 (0)1684 592030 E: W:

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N I L AH AN D CO M PAN Y Country: USA Number of stockists: 8 Number of pieces in collection: 12-18 Fabrics: Tulle, Swarovski crystal elements, French and Italian laces Colours: Ivory, blush, Champagne, porcelain Need-to-knows: Drop veils and cathedral veils for a touch of drama RRP: $150-$850 USD Tel: +1 610 853 9822 E: W:

F R E DA BENNET Country: UK Number of stockists: 35 Number of pieces in collection: 50 Fabrics: Pique, crepe, mikado, lace Colours: Ivory, blush, Champagne, porcelain Need-to-knows: Wide frills, layered skirts, statement sleeves, over dresses, bold flowers RRP: £1,000-£1,500 Tel: +44 (0)1322 537741 E: W:

W HIT E JAS MIN E ACC ES S O R I ES Country: Poland Number of stockists: 10 Number of pieces in collection: 20 Materials: Swarovski crystals Need-to-knows: Modern circle forms, flowers and leaves motifs, boho-style chains RRP: €75-€250 Tel: +48 607 676 676 E: W: / 40 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0



Country: Wales Number of stockists: 7 Number of pieces in collection: 10 Fabrics: High shine satin, silk velvet, heavy embellishments in antique gold Colours: Old silver, rusty gold, creamy ivory, fresh clean pale ivory. sage and blush embroidery flower print Need-to-knows: Billowy sleeves, frothy trains, angelic features, textures and layers of heavy embroidery/appliqués on delicate fabric, sensual and figure-forming silhouettes. RRP: £1,500-£3,000 Tel: +44 (0)7531520158 E: W:

Country: USA Number of stockists: 45 Number of pieces in collection: 14 for F/W2020; 25 S/S2021 Fabrics: Silk; crepe; silk charmuese; crepe back satin, touches of beading, embroider lace Colours: Ivory, white Need-to-knows: Texture, cool simplicity, sleek silhouettes and glamorous detail. Alternative solutions to the traditional and a new interpretation – in billowing crepe de chine – of the velvet cape she wore to her own wedding RRP: £1,500-£2,900 Tel: +1 845 369 631, ext 128 E: W:

MIA MIA Country: UK Number of stockists: 30 Number of pieces in collection: 20 Fabrics: Mikado. Beaded lace, silk satin Colours: Blush, two-tone gold, silver Need-to-knows: Detachable trains, delicate beading, embellished fabrics RRP: £1,000-£1,800 Tel: +44 (0)20 8804 1444 E: W:

White Gallery Opening Hours Sunday 22 March, 9.30am-6.30pm Monday 23 March, 9.30am-6.00pm Tuesday 24 March, 9.30am-4.00pm Visit for more information

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Get ready for the start of a new season Myrna Plaisir Daramy from the US gives her five ‘musts’ designed to help retailers make the most of the busy season, which is starting now services. The reality is that brides will promoting these events by having it already know a lot about your store listed on their website and promoting before they contact you or make on social as well. an appointment. So you want to be One tip that I tell my clients is to sure that you are also be sure to post providing them these events on Ask your staff to keep with the right their Google My information that tabs on what questions Business pages. will entice them to Posting events brides are asking during there will increase email you or call to schedule a date. visibility – their appointments so you their Here are the these posts can top five things t’s officially bridal season, so I can keep your FAQ list even appear in that I advise all of a search result know that you and your staff relevant and up to date listing. my bridal salon are busy working to handle the clients to do at the elevated amount of foot traffic beginning of every bridal season: Review the profile descriptions on you are experiencing in your store. all of your digital touchpoints. I often Although this may be a good problem Post about your upcoming advise my clients to create what I to have, you’ll want to be sure that events. Make sure that you have call a digitally cohesive front when you are leveraging these in-store updated your upcoming trunk shows it comes to their digi-home (their experiences in order to expand your or promotional information on your business website) as well as their outreach, create new connections website and any other platforms business social profiles. with prospective customers, and where your business is listed. What I mean by this is that you continue to build trust with your Because you never know where should create an overall cohesive existing brides. your prospective brides might aesthetic for every profile that you are With the increasing power of learn about your store, you want to currently active on. For example, if the internet and social media be sure that you are providing the you use your logo as the avatar in your helping consumers to make buying most relevant information about the Instagram profile, then you should use decisions, you can’t afford to ignore happenings that will be occurring in that same logo in your avatar of your the importance of your digital the future. You even want to make Facebook profile, too. footprint during this time when there sure that your designers are properly It is also very important to only is a heightened awareness of your


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Keep a log of the most frequently asked questions. Over the past few years, FAQs have become very valuable as an information source to share with potential brides wanting to learn more about your store and what to expect during their appointment. Consumers have become very accustomed to asking questions online in order to get a better idea about the products you carry and what additional services you provide. By regularly uploading on your website a list of the most popular questions that you get asked, you 4 Who you are can save time and refer this page as a 4 What you do valuable resource to potential brides 4 Where you do it before they make an appointment. 4 Who you do it for Be sure to ask your staff to keep tabs on what questions brides are Having a concise tagline for your asking during their appointments so business that states who you are you can ensure that your FAQs list is and what you do is not only sending always relevant and up-to-date. a clear message to your customers, Having a FAQs page or section but it is also making it easier for search engines to decipher what your on your website achieves two major objectives: firstly, it provides a quick business is about. reference for brides to learn more about your salon and secondly, it Collect as much visual content as possible to use as collateral for your gives you another way to leverage search engine optimization (SEO). In social feeds. Although you and your staff may be busy with appointments, addition, it serves in instill confidence in your business and that will make an this is the perfect time to capture as many BTS (behind the scene) images enquiring bride feel comfortable. With the rise of voice-activated and videos of what goes on in your devices, Google has invested a lot bridal salon. of energy towards understanding This type of visual material could be very useful as social media content how people use natural language in the future and will serve to provide to collect information. As a result, the more content that you provide in insight to prospective brides looking question/answer format, the faster to schedule appointments with you. search engines can interpret the context of your content and the faster Don’t forget to ask brides for the they can connect your information social media handle that they are with the people who are looking for it. most active on. Engagement is During this busy time in your the name of the game so the more store, it’s important to make sure engaging you can be with your that you are not forgetting that your customers, the better. digital footprint is most likely the first Having the ability to connect directly with your target audience is a engagement your brides are having valuable marketing strategy because with you. By using the five tips given here and strategically thinking of ways it helps you establish trust and build that you can leverage this busy time, brand loyalty. the better you will be in the future in In addition to emailing your attracting the right customers and potential customer, consider direct expanding your outreach. messaging her about her visit. promote the social platforms that you are active in. If you haven’t tweeted in the past nine months, it really doesn’t make sense to send any prospective customers to your Twitter profile, right? The lack of activity speaks volumes and may deter them from learning more about your store. In addition to having a similar look and feel, it is important to make sure that you include the following on the home page of your website as well as your profile descriptions:


We Love... This gorgeous gown caught our eye this month. It’s got every trend combined in one – from transparency to ruffles to back detail. It is from the new Tina Valerdi collection.

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ALL TOGETHER NOW Dotty and team love every minute of their working day and their new surroundings

Going Dotty We talked to Shannon Martin, owner of award-winning Dotty Bridal in Holmfirth who has turned her store into a ‘concept boutique’ – and her brides are loving it First some background. What were you doing before bridal? Before I opened Dotty Bridal I worked in retail as a flagship store manager. I had been a store manager since the age of 18 where I started my career with Miss Selfridge, moving on to work for White Stuff, Cath Kidston and Victoria’s Secret.

September 2015 and have expanded three times since then. Firstly in December 2016 when we took on the upstairs part of our building and then managed to purchase the building as a whole. We then opened our sister boutique, Evelyn Bridal & Prom in April 2018. We have now expanded the boutique into the building next door.

When did the original shop open and What labels do you carry? We are thrilled with our choices: when did it grow? Pronovias, Pronovias Atelier, Madi We opened the boutique in

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Lane, Justin Alexander, Jesus Peiro and Willowby. Madi Lane is our newest and very lovely addition. How many weddings a year do you dress the brides for? It is now between 90 and 100. Value of average sale of bridal gowns across the past year? £1,800. How do you reach your brides? We spend a lot of time on our marketing strategy and planning. We are always thinking up new ideas to push the boundaries of bridal. Being a normal bridal shop is not for us and I think this is one of the main reasons why we attract so many brides. We spread the message through our social media channels. We also use google ads and have lots of brides who come to us through word of mouth due to the exceptional service we deliver.

survey monkey questionnaire to our So how much time do you spend on up to ten guests. purchasing brides asking them lots of your website and on social media? They are greeted with a glass of different questions to qualify exactly We have a dedicated marketing fizz and some branded sweet treats manager, Anna, who works three days who they are. and during the appointment they will a week; a big chunk of our day all be offered a Dotty cocktail. If is spent on social media, with the bride says “I do in Dotty” she stories showing the day-to-day Being a ‘normal’ bridal shop is will be able to take part in our running of the boutique and super-cute balloon pop where she not for us; I think that’s one of the will win a prize from one of our postings on Pinterest. My phone never stops! main reasons why we attract so recommended suppliers. These include things like free wedding many brides Do you have a distinct target make up, half-price flowers etc. audience? The bride and her tribe can then We certainly do, our bride is an insta have their photos taken for our selfie queen! She’s a girl who loves the finer Now about the new Dotty… tell all wall and will receive our Dotty Bride After recently extending our boutique gifts which include our sought-after things in life and taking a good selfie we have now opened a completely in the insta-worthy places she visits. ‘I’m a Dotty Bride’ mugs and Estella unique and quirky concept store. The Bartlett pouches. She’s aged 24-35 has a degree-level boutique houses our very own Dotty qualification, and a professional/ Gin bar, Dotty sweet shop and a wool Why the decision to change management career. She shops at selfie wall. Zara, ASOS and H&M as well everything? A major thing that I feel makes as others. I really wanted to propel Dotty and us stand out is our Luxury Bridal take the boutique to another level. I Experience; this gives the bride and How did you define her? didn’t just want a bridal boutique... I up to four guests an appointment in After being in business for three wanted to offer a different experience our private fitting room which can seat altogether and launch a concept years we decided to send out a

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IT’S ALL ABOUT ATMOSPHERE The design style is individual and with a personality

store, where we are innovative with our ideas, industry leaders and trend setters! I want us to stand out from the crowd as the best bridal shop around, the one to visit and not just for the brilliant selection of dresses but for our exceptional level of service. What inspired you? I wouldn’t say there was anything or anyone in particular that inspired me

but I would say I want to be the best at what I do. I’m so passionate about the bridal industry and customer experience in general that I wanted to make this part of the wedding journey one to remember. Did you have a pro interior designer or was it all gut reaction? Nope it was all us! And a little bit of Pinterest inspiration of course.

Will this allow you to take on more labels, more stock? We already have – Aussie brand Madi Lane and Madison James. Will your opening hours etc be different with all the change? We already open six days a week, Tuesday to Sunday, and on Thursdays we are open until until 8pm. T: +44 (0)1484 950700 W:

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Malware Viruses, trojans, worms, and ransomware are pieces of software designed with the malicious intent of accessing your information, extracting money, or causing other trouble. However, the only way to get software onto your iPhone is to get it from the App Store – and Apple don’t let malware in there. In other words, because you cannot accidentally run software from a website, email or infected file, iOS and iPadOS are not compatible with malware! The Mac is a little different as it has a more open file structure and allows the installation of software from various sources. Therefore the macOS engineers have devised incredibly effective ways to prevent here’s no denying it - we which data and hardware. the installation and activation of live in a digital era. Modern Don’t want Facebook to access undesirable apps. technology enables us to your iPhone microphone? Then go One of these features is called book flights, make bank to Settings > Privacy > Microphone > transactions, watch videos, listen Facebook, and slide the switch to the Gate Keeper. Gate Keeper prevents the Mac from running applications to music, and do hundreds of other off position. that were not downloaded from the things in an instant with just a few Don’t want the Ryanair website to Mac App Store or from a registered taps, clicks, or spoken words. Tasks know where you and your Mac are software developer. that used to take hours can now be located? Go to System Preferences > Code Signing is another process completed in minutes or seconds. Security & Privacy > Privacy > Location that protects your Mac as it doesn’t However, this modern technology Services and remove the tick next to allow software to run if it has been also creates opportunities for those Safari. To put it simply, these Privacy damaged or tampered with in some who have less respect for our privacy settings put you in control of what way. File Quarantining forces you and security. gets to access what, and there’s no to check and double-check that We’ve all heard stories of overriding your choices. any software you have downloaded intercepted phone messages, stolen is trustworthy by warning you, photos, and webcams being activated Security without the user’s knowledge. But just Basic functionality of your device can reminding you of the website it was originally downloaded from, and how big a threat is this, really? Apple be protected by a ‘user password’ or asking for your password before it will products such as iPhone, iPad, and an ‘unlock passcode’. Using a simple Mac computers have famously robust easy-to-guess password or passcode run it. Finally, Malware Detection software known as iOS, iPadOS, and makes it easier for somebody else maintains an up-to-date list of all macOS respectively. These operating to unlock the device, see your known malicious software for macOS systems are designed, from the information or wipe the device clean and simply does not allow it to run. core out, to be safe and secure. But and make it their own; simply using There are many other features built in security features only work if put a longer, more complex password or that protect your Mac from malware, to use. Let’s explore how to protect passcode dramatically reduces the but in short the Mac Operating System ourselves: chances of an unauthorised person behaves – at all levels – like antivirus gaining access. software. Privacy More recent Apple devices also All three of the aforementioned include Touch ID and Face ID which Hacking operating systems have privacy conveniently allow the device to be The term ‘hacker’ is often used to features which can be activated in unlocked by reading your fingerprint refer to an individual who attempts System Preferences on a Mac or or face. This does not remove the to gain access to your computer by Settings on iPhone or iPad. Here you need for a password or passcode various stealthy means. Some of get to activate and deactivate which though; it just reduces the number these methods require the hacker to software and service can access of times you need to enter them.

Worried about your digital security? MacMan Russell Newton explains what you can do to stay safe simply by following the built-in settings


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be sitting in front of your computer, others can be done remotely. iPhones and iPads are not really vulnerable to such attacks, particularly if they have a long and complex passcode. Mac computers, however, include a few extra features to help protect you and your data. FileVault can be activated in the Security & Privacy pane in System Preferences. It encrypts your Mac’s storage so that the data cannot be read under any circumstances without the correct password. FileVault is so effective that if you forget your password and lose your recovery code even you will never access your data again! Also found in the Security & Privacy preferences is Personal FireWall. Activating the Mac’s built-in firewall is like closing and locking all the doors in your house; it prevents unauthorised access – in or out – without your express permission. Phishing As its name implies, phishing is when an unsuspecting individual is presented with bait in the form of an email or website offering (or threatening something). The idea is to get you to bite by clicking a link and giving away personal information such as passwords. They often present

themselves as being from your bank or some other service provider. It works in the same way as a traditional con artist in that you believe they are legitimate and hand over something of value. One of the simplest countermeasures against phishing is never to click a link in an email that purports to be from a trusted source until you have absolutely confirmed that it is genuine. One way to do this is to check the actual email address it was sent from and confirming it is correct. Activating two-factor authentication is another method to protects yourself from phishing scams. It mean that you need more than a username/password combination access services; you also need a second factor in the shape of an SMS message or code sent in some other way before being able to access services.

feature in the iCloud settings on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

FindMy Apple devices have a feature now known as FindMy which allows you to tracks the whereabouts of your devices, or even consenting friends and family. If your lose a device you can locate it on a map, trigger a loud alarm, lock the device or even remotely wipe it. You can activate the FindMy

Russell Newton is an International Apple Trainer who works all over the planet training Apple Technicians and Support Professionals. He is also one of only four AppleCare Mentor Trainers in the world, and the only one outside of the USA. He feels completely secure with private data on his Apple devices and services. You can email him at me@

Backup All Apple devices have inbuilt methods for backing up your data, which means keeping an up to date second working copy somewhere. Mobile devices do this through iCloud, and Mac computers also have the Time Machine software installed. Make sure that these features are activated and are performing regular backups. Finally, always take advice from someone who knows – not someone who thinks they know. Do not be like the lady who took backup advice from the window cleaner. He may well know how to get the perfect shine but unfortunately he also inadvertently guided her through a careful process of deleting all of her photos and her life’s work! If in doubt, call an expert.

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Experiential Retailing

training conditions, the tenant will be insulated to the extent that it only has to pay a turnover rent where this amount exceeds the base rent (offering a degree of certainty and fixed costs). But, given omni-channel retailing factors such as the proportion of base rent and turnover rent, the mechanism by which this is recorded, and the revenue streams that are incorporated within the definition, take on greater significance in balancing the respective interests of landlords and retailers. For example, should ‘click and collect’ orders made online and fulfilled in store be included in the definition of turnover rent? In circumstances where much of the physical store is utilised as a showroom driving online sales, the revenue generated instore will inevitably be lower as a result. This exemplifies the way in which the online channel has skewed the traditional inter-relationship between footfall and revenue and how, depending on the lease terms governing the turnover rent, either the landlord or tenant may be proposed experiential and servicerelated uses. Permitted opening hours disadvantaged as result. Recently, H&M has been pushing may also require extension in retail landlords to agree that any returns leases to adequately cater for the that come into store, including online diverse range of uses. purchase, are deducted from the The use of physical stores as turnover rent calculation. This again showrooms, offering unique and highlights how the relationship immersive experiences which have the effect of driving online sales, also between online and instore retail is raises questions around the turnover- driving change within the industry. The trend appears to be towards a rent model widely adopted in retail changing dynamic in the landlord and leases and, in particular, how such retailer relationship, with give and take turnover rents are defined. on both sides. A turnover rent is one in which One example of this can be seen in the whole or part of the rent payable H&M’s reported offer to landlords under the lease is determined of ‘total occupational deals’ by which in accordance with the turnover the landlord receives a sum linked generated at the premises. Such a to the amount of sales the store model may be adopted instead of generates (in keeping with the above open market rents as a means to turnover rent model), to be divided enable both landlords and tenants between service charge, rent, and to share in the potential risks and business rates. rewards of the tenant’s business: But how in turn this will play out where trade is good and revenues with HM Revenue and Customs and high, the landlord will receive local authorities remains to be seen! an increased rent and in difficult


Is experiential retail the way forward for landlords and tenants alike given the inexorable power of the online channel? If you fancy the idea of a second or even third string to your bow, you need to look at the legal issues. Scott Hilton and Tom Morton, specialist property associates at Fox Williams LLP, explain


n a bid to get consumers in store, Selfridges now offers the Bowl led by some of the leading skaters in the UK and sells skatewear alongside it; Primark has its interactive flagship megastore in Birmingham, and Adidas a new high-tech Oxford Street, London flagship store. Meanwhile, John Lewis has announced plans to launch a customer experience-centric shop in Southampton offering a range of cookery lessons, wine tasting and ‘stay and play’ gadget areas. This shift towards experiential retailing requires the terms of retail leases to evolve in tandem. For fashion retailers this will include, for example, negotiating the permitted use as defined in the lease in sufficiently wide terms to include those ‘experiential’ retail offerings. Similarly, landlords and tenants alike must consider the extent to which the retail planning permission sufficiently encompasses the

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THE RIGHT BRANDING STRATEGY Where do they hang out? What car do they drive? You literally need to pick apart every aspect of their life, so you really get to know them. Do you want to attract a bride who wants a traditional English country garden wedding, or do you want to attract brides who might want Getting the balance right something more bohemian? Branding basics for any bridal Creating your ideal client should boutique is realising not every bride take time, effort and thought. Look is your bride, not every bride is the at your records to gauge what size same and there is nothing wrong gowns you are selling, what type, with not having ‘The Dress’. What you which designer, fabric, silhouette etc have to do is figure out is who your to create a picture of the client you bride is and who you are targeting… want in your store. Use as many tools and that’s not simply someone who is as you can to really get to know her. getting married. If you don’t know who your ideal Basically, you need to get into their client is how can you attract them in? head. Who is she/he? Simply knowing Without creating an ideal client you’re a name, wedding date and budget not targeting anyone; your brand isn’t isn’t enough. Where do they shop? targeting anyone; all you are is just Which online blogs do they read? another boutique out there. No bride Which websites do they use use? will have a reason to visit your store

If you think branding is just about a new logo, you are missing out on an opportunity says Helen Williams, boss of Bridal Branding and owner of Willow Bridal


ou run a bridal boutique and get asked who your ideal client is. The answer is simple isn’t it? Brides, easy. All women who are getting married soon are your ideal client. They want a wedding dress, and you provide said item. Simple. Well I’m afraid you are wrong. Very wrong. What if I told you that not every bride is your bride? Not every bride wants to buy from you, and you don’t have a wedding dress for every bride? What you should have done is create your ideal client, that specific client who you wish to work with.

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over another. Knowing the type of clients you wish to attract is key to your brand’s success as with that knowledge you can target your advertising and other marketing materials at specific areas she would be interested in rather than just something generalised. Creating your ideal client isn’t something you can do in five minutes. It takes time to really get into their head and know them inside out. And once you have discovered them, the work doesn’t stop there. You must constantly be re-evaluating that ideal client as change in markets, wedding styles, perceptions and budgets alter the picture. In fact, the only constant is change. Were brides looking online to find their wedding gown style ten years ago? If they weren’t then they certainly are now. It’s up to the boutique to ensure they are in touch with current trends – in this case an up-to-date website and good social media visibility. If you don’t know who your selling to then you’re making things much more difficult for yourself and your brand. For example, brides with a higher budget are most likely to use Instagram while brides with a lower budget use Facebook. Professional help When looking to brand my shop I found that there was very little on offer in terms of brand support for bridal boutiques, suppliers or even the wider wedding industry. How many of you have had your website, and brand identity developed by agencies who have no knowledge of the industry or what happens in a bridal boutique, let alone seeing your vision for your brand? Yes, the agencies can develop a brand that has generic bridal look and feel to it, but is that really your brand? It took me a long time to create a brand I was happy with that made my business feel how I wanted it to feel. Just two years later I refreshed my brand style and colouring to reflect the changes in my business and the updated knowledge of my ideal client

and what they were looking for when looking to rebrand to something new searching a location to try on and buy and refreshing, I can work with you to their wedding gowns. create that new image, stripping back I’m sure you’re all asking what I the basics and creating a brand that know about branding, brand strategy you want to promote and be proud of. and all that malarkey. Despite the We would then work through your fact I run my own bridal boutique business with fine detail, developing my background is in this very field a strategy, brand values, revisiting – marketing. I have completed a and refreshing your ideal client to BA(hons) in Marketing Management ensure the new brand we are creating and obtained Chartered Institute of appeals to them, creating colour Marketing qualifications before my palettes that both sell your brand and previous roles, which I have utilised to attract the clients you want, going on create Bridal Branding. to create mood boards to get a vision Bridal Branding offers branding of your brand, your logos and sub and brand logos. support Once we have for bridal Branding has moved forward built the new and boutiques exciting brand, who we then move from just basic advertising. want to on to creating an work with Today, it’s everything you do SEO-responsive someone (search engine who is in optimised) the industry, who understands the website that appeals to the ideal complexities of the bridal world and client you have created. has a deep knowledge of marketing, No more waiting for days for a brand awareness and strategy, developer to update your website… I website development, and more. will teach you how to add blogs and People think branding is just a logo content. If you’re not comfortable I but it is far from that. It is everything can maintain websites for you; if you you do, it’s everything you put out on need help with integrations such as social media, it’s your website, your Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, customer interaction… your entire Social Media templates I can do business. all of this reflecting your brand in My bridal boutique’s last rebrand everything you do. I will arm you with resulted in the boutique’s website the tools, logos, fonts – everything being nominated for the 2019 Bridal you need to succeed. Buyer Awards Retailer Website of The Once we have created your brand, Year, ranking #1 on Google search we need to create an amazing rewithout the help of a developer or launch strategy that brings everything paying for Google advertising. Can together, whilst getting people your website developer do that? This talking. Why be an average business is all down to knowing my brand, my when you can be you at your most keywords and what appeals to my fabulous? Brides buy from people ideal client. they can relate to, real business owners, real bridal gowns and, most What I can do for you importantly, real life. I can create brands from full logos, Branding has moved forward a brand strategy that works for your from just basic advertising. Today, business, work with you to create your it’s everything you do. ideal client – that bride or groom you want to work with – and define your Want to know more about what Helen brand ensuring your message makes can do for you? you stand out from the crowd. E: If you already have a brand and are W:

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It’s A First! Amy King of Adella Bridal picked up the trophy for New Bridalwear Retailer of the Year in the Bridal Buyer Awards. Her stunning showroom is set in the listed Ketteringham Hall in Norfolk. And her first anniversary in the business was celebrated in style


my King came into bridal from the best possible background. With a degree in fashion design and nine years in the high street fashion industry in London – designing, supplying and buying – she also

produced bridal accessories such as hair pieces and belts, which she still does now when bespoke is a bride’s requirement. She opened her shop just over a year ago and it is distinctively different to most, “I never wanted to be a

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typical shop,” she told us. “I wanted something that was calming and felt like a real luxury experience and a treat to go to. I wanted to offer something completely different. There are bridal shops shop in my area; I never planned to

A WONDERFUL SETTING Meeting the demands of a listed building took time and dedication. It paid off

Adella’s doors. compete… it was not about that. “I knew exactly who my ideal “I wanted to create a destination customer was, and needed to and catch the brides who were not shopping here in the first place. It had ascertain where they were buying to be easily reachable from all parts of their dresses from and how far they the country. I viewed so many out-of- would travel. I found that they would the-box locations and was about to give up until I found this one. I wanted something that was As soon as we drove through the gates I knew it was right; I still feel calming and felt like a real like that every time I drive to work. “The premises were offices luxury experience and a when I first saw them. It took quite treat to go to a lot of imagination to see past the dark green walls, green carpet, journey across the country to find mahogany wood and strip lighting. It designers that were a little bit different was a huge project to take on and I and to get more of a higher-end also had to get planning permission experience than the norm. I also did to change the use to retail. Everyone a couple of consultancy courses with I took there thought I was mad. It’s other bridal shop owners, which were incredible to look back and see what really helpful.” we achieved.” We asked Amy if she had been concerned about entering a market The perfect balance that is less than stable because Amy spent 18 months planning and researching before she finally opened of online offerings and high street

operations like WED2B. “I think any new business is risky especially with such a big investment,” she says. “I went through every risk I could think of and looked at what I could do to eliminate them. I believe there will always be brides who buy online or from high street chains but by the same token there will always be those who want that bridal experience and quality, too. They are not the same customer. I don’t try to compete with WED2B, instead I look at what I can offer that they can’t.” Amy put considerable time and effort into deciding which labels she wanted to carry and she chose those which would give her valuable area exclusivity. “I don’t see how it helps anyone if two local shops have the same the labels, it only creates price wars and unhealthy competition, which I would never want to get into.” Her choice? Hayley Paige, Jesus Peiro, Dando London and Theia

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KEEPING IT LOCAL Working with hand-picked local wedding suppliers has really paid off

Couture, which she tends to buy in Barcelona and at London Bridal Fashion Week, topping up when necessary at Harrogate. “Initially I added in a couple of more commercial designers that had some lovely dresses but were not right for my brides. I took them on at the last last minute as a lower price point option so I would have something to appeal to everyone. That was a mistake that I rectified. “In the past year I’ve also learnt where to advertise – I initially wasted time and money being in the wrong places. It is important not to worry

two-tier wedding cake by Beth Haxby as well as a doughnut wall. “We transformed our entrance space with flower walls by Prestige events and put in a cocktail bar by Globe Trotters Bars, with cocktails and mocktails named after all of our designers, “We filled the showroom with beautiful flowers from Fox & Fern About that party Florist and asked a local photographer “I wanted to celebrate our first year to come out and take some pics for as a way to thank everyone who had us. For entertainment we had selfie helped us get here, including the brides who brought their dresses from pod photo booth and a magician.” So into year two. And that us and local wedding suppliers and inevitable question, would she do it all businesses who have supported us. over again, knowing what she knows “We had lux gold foil now? “Absolutely,” says Amy. “It’s been invitations designed by a local supplier, Racheal Bull, hard work, much harder than I could have dreamed of but I love what I do to match our branding – and I can’t imagine doing anything there is something so nice else. That said, with hindsight there about receiving a physical are a definitely things I would do invitation! For food we had differently.” an amazing grazing table Watch this space... by Dust with Cocoa and a about what anyone else is doing and to focus on what works for you. I don’t have people walking or driving past our windows so it is imperative to let people know where we are and what we offer,” says Amy who puts social media and wedding fairs as top communications priorities.

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CONSIDERED STYLING One of Ladybird’s great strengths is its on-trend design versatiity

SINGING THE BLEWS Ian Stuart’s plush London showroom picked up the Best Instore Design trophy in the recent Bridal Buyer Awards but it was no surprise to anyone who has visited this most elegant of stores, or seen it as the background in the TV show The Posh Frock Shop. Here Ian explains why the building itself is so very special, and what he has been able to do to make it his own 58 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0

CONSIDERED STYLING One of Ladybird’s great strengths is its on-trend design versatiity


he Blewcoat School House, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was built in 1709 on a site leased from the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey; the aim was to provide charitable education to underprivileged children. The detached building of the English Baroque style comprised one room 13m x 10m with a ceiling height of 6m, together with an underground basement. The original interior included a gallery, carried by four Corinthian columns, a coved ceiling, nine recessed windows with seating and panelled wood walls and balustrades. Over the years the building has had various usages, including an artillery base for the US army in the First World War, and later as a café

using specific paints; we had to use lambs’ wool as insulation, the new floor with underfloor heating had to replicate the original floor. In fact, the stipulation was that whatever we Getting going Noticing that the building was vacant, did in this room, we had to keep the Ian and Pete approached the National original interior shell and features as Trust in 2012, to ask them if they would they were in 1709. “I have always been inspired by consider them as the ‘caretaker’ of Christian Dior and wanted to replicate Blewcoat and allow them to create a salon-inspired central London flagship a 1950s salon-style mood into the Blewcoat. boutique. We were very lucky to have such “The Trust’s initial response was a beautiful interior, which had already quite negative but, after tireless existed for over 300 years (something meetings with them, and countless we certainly can’t take the credit presentations with our architect for!) but it was in need of much love involved and numerous storyboards, and attention as well as extensive they finally saw the vision we had restoration.” and allowed us to proceed,” explains Ian. However, there were rules and Deciding on the décor regulations... lots of them! Ian and team chose four different “We had to restore the interior and gift shop. Owned by the National Trust, the building carries a grade 1 listing.

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viewing area.” The majority of the display budget was spent on the mannequins, which are a main feature in the boutique. “We researched and visited Rootstein – the oldest and most famous of mannequin designers, and chose the mood and position of our shades of grey for the walls. “Grey is seven bespoke ladies, who all have such a soothing neutral colour; it is season-less and sits well behind ever- pale grey porcelain skin, glamorous grey hair styles and fierce smoky changing collections and colours,” makeup. I think the expression on says Ian. “We sketched out silk curtains and their faces epitomise everything that is Ian Stuart!” lavish swags and had them made to Because of the history of the our specific design and, to soften the building, rails fixed to the walls were room, also to be a silver grey. When not allowed and bespoke cabinets the time came, I climbed up a ladder that had to be built on site because and personally hung and draped all of their sheer size, were the design ten of them (it nearly bloody killed solution. Being both detached and me!). The recessed window seating movable, this has provided so many pads and cushions are a mixture of velvet and silk. The oak floor is simple styling options. “The National Trust restrictions and we added luxurious pale grey wool rugs in the changing rooms and actually allowed us to use the building

in different ways, and for other kinds of events,” says Ian. “We have been able to flip the cabinets around, move the mannequins and furniture and create fashion shows, workshops, presentations and photo shoots.” Atmosphere is everything Ambiance is paramount to creating an award-winning interior. The moment a client enters Blewcoat, they are welcomed into a lavish and stylish environment. “I think the key to successful shop interior design is to keep things simple, and by not using many elements, finishes and colours, we kept the concept simple – grey walls, mirrored cabinets to create the illusion of space, glass, wood floors and silk curtains,” Ian confirms. “We don’t decorate the shop for Christmas and other holidays... instead we dress the mannequins with seasonal colours and the flower displays, scent and music reflect the season we are in. “A beautiful interior inspires me and my colleagues to give a good service, and we enjoy working in such elegant surroundings.

Top Ten Tips




Create different playlists of music that can be tailored to the season.


Powder room – make sure the bathroom is as beautiful and welcoming as the interior of the boutique itself.

Don’t over crowd your display cabinets – items look more expensive when they are spaced out. You don’t need to display everything you’ve got... customers sometimes feel more important and cherished when you bring them a ‘special’ piece from downstairs, be it a gown or a piece of jewellery.




Establish a clever use of spot lighting, which can be switched on and off to show the clients how their dresses will look at different times of day.

Scenting – we have scent boxes in our store. Scent is memorable and returning customers immediately feel welcome and at home.


Candles – everywhere, adding ambiance to any room (we use Prices’ 8-hour tea lights, in crystal tea light holders).

Move your stock around frequently and create new looks with existing stock just by placing it in different areas of the store.


Make sure to prepare the changing rooms for each new client... plump the cushions, swag the curtains and make sure all the shoes, clamps and modesty panels are neat and tidy.


Flowers – fresh flowers are always a beautiful touch to any interior. They are a must in our books.

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Client Privacy – the client, their friends and family need to feel welcome and special, even if there are others browsing in the store. A clever layout should be able to accommodate two or three different groups of people at the same time by providing them with their own designated seating area, which has a private feel.

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TWIA – BY IN DEPEND E NT S, FOR IN DEPE NDE NT S With close to 20 award categories, more than 100 judges, and eight competing regions across the country, Damian Bailey, founder of The Wedding Industry Awards, has his work cut out for him. Jo Chadwick went to meet the man behind the highly-successful platform that celebrates achievement


rom bridalwear retailers to wedding planners and celebrants to cake designers, Damian Bailey has it covered. The annual awards programme that wedding photographer Damian, together with wife Anna, founded eight years ago, goes from strength to strength and, because it has no ties within the industry, it can claim to be in a class of its

own. So how and where did it all begin? What prompted the couple to get involved is so complex and challenging an arena? “In 2007 I entered an industry award myself and won Wedding Photographer of the Year,” Damian explains. “As a direct result, my business took off amazingly. The following year I entered again and even though I was only a finalist, the demand for my time and services continued to flourish

because of that involvement.” With a previous career in events, Damian and Anna soon realised that there was a deep correlation between the award wins and business growth and when the company running that particular awards scheme went bust, the couple recognised that a gap had been left in the market. Together, they began two years of research and planning, culminating in the

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THAT TROPHY Laura Daly of Bellissima Weddings picked up a 2019 regional finalist trophy

creation of The Wedding Industry Awards. Their vision was clear – to create a rigorous and credible awards programme for the industry. As our headline says, awards run by independents, for independents. Saluting success “My role as a wedding photographer gives me access to pretty much every aspect of a wedding. I get to work alongside a huge range of suppliers and it still amazes me as to how great the difference is between them. Not only in terms of what they deliver but also in how good they are. “It was that original insight that made me realise that the very best professionals really need some form of recognition and differentiation, in what is such a competitive market. We were also keen for the awards to become an information source to help those organising a wedding make better-educated decisions when choosing their suppliers. TWIA was born out of these needs and they continue to drive everything we do.”

Even with their existing knowledge of the market, it took Damian and Anna those two years to land on how TWIA would work, and what would make it fly. And with the broad supplier base that makes up the industry, the duo saw the need to make a clear and simple structure on which to build their awards platform.

example, we recently added a category for Celebrants and this now looks like it will be a regular fixture on our list. “Key to our success is having a separate judging panel for each category. When we started, we had a team of 11 judges covering them all; now we have more than 100 split into separate panels. This is the only way to run a credible The planning stages award scheme involving so many different “The categories were pretty simple really. I disciplines. went through the list of supplier categories “Our judging panel members are that I worked with on a regular basis and amazing, and we do ask a lot of them. It’s this formed the core. Over the years we important to note that they volunteer, so have added others to ensure as many we have to make sure we strike a balance wedding suppliers can be recognised in what we require from them in terms as possible,” Damian says. He goes on to of time, and how we empower them to explain that while they can’t have separate produce credible results. I like to think we categories for every niche of the industry, get that balance right and our panellist in general their categories cover the vast retention rate backs this up. All judging majority of suppliers. is done online, remotely and without “Each year we review TWIA categories conference. This means that each judge and sometimes add, remove or adjust has equal weight throughout the process.” them as the wedding industry itself shifts According to Damian, one of the and changes. We also listen to feedback priorities right from the start was to run from other wedding professionals. As an TWIA on a regional basis first, with a

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announced at the big Awards presentation in London each January. It is a long, detailed process, unquestionably, but one that is open and transparent and therefore reassuring to all involved. Damian shares some last words of advice to anyone considering entering the 2020 programme. “In the content-hungry world of social media, TWIA can provide all entrants with an engaging and stimulating narrative for their audience. Whether you win or not, putting your journey through TWIA to good use via social media platforms or email/newsletter updates can have incredibly positive effects. Similarly, telling local press about your success in TWIA really works well. Use your TWIA logos on your website, printed goods and social media. Put your hand up as one of the best in the business. It’s not arrogance, it’s self-confidence and that breeds belief in your brand which, in turn, brings in business.” THEIR WAY Damian and Anna areb constantly adding to the TWIA offering

national final at the end. “Most wedding suppliers work within a relatively small area so local recognition is vital to them,” he says. “Having this twotiered system also allows us to recognise more amazing wedding professionals across the country and enables us to hit the road each November and party with everyone as we announce the regional award winners.” TWIA sends its message out on social media, by email and via word of mouth; communicating with wedding suppliers as a whole can be challenging as they cross into more than 20 separate sectors. Awards entrants pay a nominal fee of £75+ VAT, a rate that’s achievable for all, no matter how big or small their business. The fee covers entry into the competition, a free listing on the TWIA-only directory and grants value to the entrant through access to TWIA branding, voter and judging feedback and that chance to win both a regional and national award for their skill and hard work. For those who haven’t already been

there and done it, here are the need-toknows about the process: w Wedding suppliers enter into the awards in one of (currently) 22 main categories. Their TWIA region is determined by their trading address. They are able to upload photos and videos and need to answer category-specific questions about their business. They are encouraged to contact recent clients and ask them to cast a vote. Only verified clients can vote which means TWIA is firmly based on user-experience; in the 2019 programme they received more than 23,000 votes. w When entries and voting close at the beginning of October the panels get to work. The regional finalists are selected based on a combination of a bit of maths involving average client voter scores and judging panel ‘wild cards’. Regional finalists are made known at the end of October. w The panel then decides on the winner in each category and they are announced at one of the eight regional awards events. w Those winners then go through to the national finals, the winners of which are

TWIA 2021 opens in Spring 2020, full details are available on the

THE 2020 CATEGORIES Band Bridalwear Designer /dressmaker Bridalwear Retailer Cake Designer Caterer Celebrant DJ Event Team Florist Hair stylist Makeup artist Marquee provider Musical act Photographer Planner Special Touch Stationery Transport Supplier Venue (countrywide) Venue (town or city) Venue stylist Videographer

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TH E N OV E LT Y O F WE D D IN G S Why 2020 promises more

The past five years or so has seen a struggle in the bridal industry, particularly in the fashion sector, but are attitudes towards weddings set to change for this special new decade? Jade Pepperell investigates... The industry suffered across the board. Bricks and mortar shops were getting a much lower footfall, national print magazines were dropping like flies on the newsstand, and manufacturers had never endured such tough competition to gain stockists. However, after five or so years of social media and the internet being such a big part of daily life for everyone, it appears that the tables are beginning to turn back to the original roots for buying a wedding dress, and finding information about the big day. Why? Because the novelty and ‘specialness’ of the occasion has become lost in this modern world and brides are wising up to it. “It’s sad to admit this, but I am on my phone a lot every single day,” explains one bride. “I buy

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en years ago, the bridal industry looked very different; 90% of brides would buy their wedding dresses from bricks and mortar boutiques, they would get all their information and advice from print magazines, and the high street and online purchasing were almost snubbed for not being special enough for them. Roll forward five years, and things changed. People in general life were using the internet more than ever, and social media became the biggest communicative tool out there. As a result, brides-to-be were able to access wedding planning tips for free via online blogs, and whilst shopping for a new party dress online, they would realise that high street stores were now offering bridal collections, for a snip of the price. The temptation to buy counterfeit designs became more prevalent as adverts and websites would pop up all over the internet and social media, through clever campaigns that made these sales just too good to be true.


my clothes online and communicate with my friends on social media mostly. When I do this every day, I don’t want to be looking at wedding dresses online too, or buying online. It makes the whole occasion feel less special, just like any other day.” Another bride explains: “I started looking at dresses online, and I did see some nice dresses on there, but then realised if I ordered online then I would completely miss out on the dress shopping experience with family. I really wanted to feel that emotionally in the build-up to the wedding.” Print media has also had a recent surge as a result of this change of attitude, again, because brides want to have something different to their norm of scrolling through their phones. Now they want something tangible that is exciting and new. A complete reverse of ten years ago when print was the norm and online was the exciting new way to shop. People get bored quickly, and now that online is the regular, brides want to get that exciting element of their

THE SURROUNDINGS Brides want the ‘experience’ now more than at any other time in the past decade

appointments and sales in 2020, and the answer was a resounding “yes!”. Great news all round. Returning to past trends isn’t something new or unheard of, but quite the opposite; there’s no denying that technology has become part of Print media has had a recent the very fabric of this modern age, but surge; brides want something that doesn’t mean it’s our only route to entertainment and communication. different to their norm of For example, recent reports have shown a 35% increase in board game scrolling through their phones sales in the last year, whereas digital games have slumped by 5%. Printed book sales have increased by 18% in wedding day and I want to enjoy the past 12 months, but digital ebooks flicking through the pages, folding have dropped by 4%. over the corners, and cutting bits out Footfall into cinemas has risen for a scrapbook. It’s not the same by 5% since January 2019, as people looking online, there’s something special about having a magazine and wish to make an occasion of going to see a movie as opposed to just those images in your hands.” watching Netflix at home (and Netflix, Good news, indeed, for everyone incidentally, was reported as showing involved. And to complete this a 4% drop in February 2019). positivity, it appears that the New Could these be small signs that Year and its special ring of 2020 to it people are getting bored of staring is set to be one of the most popular years to wed in over a decade, closely at a screen all day? Could they be returning to tangible objects and followed by an anticipated influx of fully enjoying special experiences? It engagements. certainly appears that way; let’s hope Last issue, we asked retailers if that’s the case. they are expecting an increase in big-day build-up back. “I picked up a few magazines this month, I can’t remember the last time I bought a magazine!” says another bride we spoke to. “But this is my

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The great esCAPE They are everywhere, flowing and floating, dressed with cut-out florals or lace motifs, or sprinkled with sequins. Capes are serious statement makers CASABLANCA BRIDAL Style: 2323, Haven, dress with cape Fabric: Lace and satin Special features: Beading Size range: US 2-32 RRP: $1,619 T: +1 714 758 8888 E: W:

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ELYSEE Style: Victoire Fabric: Embroidered lace, stretch georgette, tulle Special features: Sequin highlights Size range: UK 4-22 RRP: £1,100-£1,300 T: +44 (0)1792 586615 E: W:

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No Time To Die. That’s the name of the new Bond film, the 25th in the franchise, which hits UK cinemas in April this year. According to Dominic Bliss, it is certain to set new trends in men’s formalwear

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Forging a bond

Oh OhCOOL Oh RATHER For 2020 heroes, men’s formalwear specialist Wilvorst, Therelike is something left, and Torre, above, have their own interpretation of the distinctly elegant latest Bond look – Torre has evenabout named one 007 thethis tweedy look Smoking Hot! Fabrics are chic, cuts are narrow and ready to do business; it’s a look James would approve of


mostly in Brioni suits of linen or super worsted wool. s well as gravity-defying stunts, seat-of-yourpants car chases, deadly gadgets and seductive Four of them were dark blue, one was light grey. women, there’s one other key Bond element you can guarantee will make an appearance: Daniel Film extras But what stood out most of all was the stunningly cool Craig’s achingly cool suits. This man’s sartorial choices black dinner suit (also Brioni) that he wore in the casino arguably impact men’s formalwear more than that of any scenes. It had a button-one front, jetted pockets and other British actor. grosgrain silk-trimmed lapels. Accessories included So what will the world’s best-dressed spy be wearing white braces, S.T. Dupont cufflinks, a black shantung this time round? The costume designer for the film is silk bowtie and black derby shoes, but crucially no American Suttirat, Anne Larlarb. Rumours are that, for cummerbund or waistcoat. some of the film’s scenes, she has put “There are dinner jackets… and 007 in a grey Prince of Wales check Trousers? The Tom Ford dinner jackets. This is the latter,” said suit designed by Tom Ford. Craig has the leading female character Vesper been spotted wearing it during filming. suit pants are mid-rise, Lynd who, in the film, dresses Bond It has notched lapels, lightly-structured shoulders, roped sleeve heads, a curved flat-fronted, with straight for his poker game. “And I need you looking like a man who belongs at breast pocket, four-button cuffs and a legs and turn ups that table.” single vent at the rear. The trousers are The film’s producer, Barbara mid-rise, flat-fronted, with straight legs and turn-ups. Interestingly, Craig chose to finish it off with Broccoli, called him “a tough guy in a dinner jacket”. And when you later see him attempt to apply a defibrillator to a navy blue repp tie and a tie clip. his own chest, you understand why. It’s not a massive departure from suits worn in his But not nearly as tough as he looks in the final previous four outings as James Bond. In his first film, 2006’s Casino Royale, he was dressed by Lindy Hemming, scenes of the film when he stalks around menacingly J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 79

ALL ABOUT ELEGANCE Pierce Brosnan played it cool throughout his Bond reign with suits by Brioni

in a three-piece navy striped Brioni suit, brandishing a Heckler & Koch machine gun. In years to come, this might well be the image of Daniel Craig’s James Bond that we remember best. In 2008’s Quantum of Solace, it was British costume designer Louise Frogley who took over, with Tom Ford providing the suits. Many were cut from a blend of mohair, wool and cashmere, giving them a distinctive sheen, reminiscent of 1960s suits. They were all dark in shade, ranging from midnight blue through to charcoal and brown. While the cloth was mainly sourced from Italian mills, the midnight blue Tom Ford dinner suit apparently came from Huddersfield mill Taylor & Lodge. Bold play Tom Ford again supplied the suits for Bond’s next two 80 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0

outings in Skyfall and Spectre, guided both times by Franco-Dutch costume designer Jany Temime, better known for the Harry Potter films. The suit patterns were fairly adventurous – sharkskin, striped, checked and herringbone. In Skyfall the cloth was 100 per cent wool, while in Spectre two of the suits mixed wool with silk and mohair blend. But the most dramatic formal wear statement of both films was the ivory Windsor-style Tom Ford dinner jacket that Craig wore in the Morocco scenes of Spectre. A blend of silk and viscose, it was light and breathable, and perfect for the North African heat; not to mention the fight scenes. “I thought Morocco deserved that colonial touch,” Temime said of her styling. “I took my inspiration from Humphrey Bogart in the film Casablanca. Daniel added the red carnation buttonhole and it looked absolutely sublime.” All the way back to Sean Connery, James Bond’s evening wear has been exemplary. But what about his wedding suits? As every Bond fan knows, 007 has only ever married once, and that was in the 1969 movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, with George Lazenby playing 007 and his wife Tracy played by Diana Rigg. (Yes, technically he married Kissy Suzuki in the film You Only Live Twice, but that was just a mock ceremony and part of an undercover ploy to sort the good guys from the baddies. James and Tracy’s wedding day ended tragically, though, with the bride shot dead by Blofeld, shortly after they had headed off on their honeymoon. For the wedding ceremony, Bond sported morning dress, of course, with dove grey tropical wool trousers and waistcoat, a white poplin shirt, a silver satin tie and a bright white carnation. Unusually, though, for such a traditional British gent, he completed the outfit with a black lounge coat rather than a morning coat. For headgear, he chose a black trilby. The entire outfit, as well as the film’s other suits, was designed by London tailor Dimi Major. You don’t see lounge coats very often these days. Back in the 1960s they were considered more formal than a business suit, but less formal than a morning suit. Lazenby’s Bond got away with it was because he married in Portugal. Had he got hitched back in Blighty, a morning jacket would have been compulsory. This was the 1960s, after all. Fast forward to the 2020s and it turns out James Bond is getting married again. Yes, in No Time To Die, he ties the knot with gangster’s daughter played by Madeleine Swann. The movie producers are understandably very secretive about the film, so few details have emerged, let alone the attire 007 chooses for his wedding day. One thing is for sure, though. Whatever suit Bond does get married in, there will be plenty of real-life British grooms looking to emulate his look come spring 2020. Wedding wear stockists must be ready to style them appropriately. You have been warned!

UK agent Andrew Roberts Agencies Ltd Tel: 0117 932 7905 • #hochzeitsliebe

“Quite honestly, I hadn’t given it any thought when we decided to finally tie the knot. We’d talked about it for years on and off but after eight years and two children together, it wasn’t top of my priorities. But it was so exciting when he actually popped the question and I felt like a giddy teenager! It was Dave’s mates who said we should leave it until 2020 because that was more memorable. Like I might forget my wedding date in the years ahead! But it’s been this long so a few more months won’t make a difference to me.”

Out of the Mouths of (Bridal) Babes... Many shops felt quiet business in 2019 was due to brides planning ahead and wanting their big day with the 2020 date line. Is that true? “I think getting married in the first year of a new decade is so romantic. It’s like you are poised on the start of something special. I know that will sound silly to many but to me, and Tom, it made perfect sense. We did try to

work out a date that would be the same backwards as forwards, but 20/6/20 looks like being a very busy day and we were concerned prices would go up etc. So, we settled on April 2020, which does have a certain ring about it.”

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“My mother always said that after a while she couldn’t remember the year she got married unless it was a milestone anniversary, like a Silver or Ruby. And my dad always says it was something he’d rather forget! But that’s his sense of humour for you. We actually decided to wait for 2020 simply because of all the Brexit uncertainty. I had my heart set on an old-fashioned formal wedding in Florence, a city I adore, but it was hard to make plans not knowing if travel or venue costs would be subject to change. So, we agreed on early 2020 here in Manchester but will be delaying honeymoon plans until we have a clear picture. Then it will definitely be to Florence for us.”

“We’ve already exchanged bracelets with ‘2020’ as the central detail and I am seriously thinking about having the same as a cut-out on the back of my

“As an LGBT couple, and having been together for a good few years – since uni in fact – our concern was more over what we would wear than the year we chose. Originally we both fell in love with the same dress but don’t want to look like the Bobbsey twins, so we are thinking of checking out what’s on offer in the 2020 collections separately.”

wedding ring, which I want to be wide. We found a local jeweller who loved the idea and has already done some sketches for us. There’s

“2020... is this just commercialising sales opportunities in the bridal market? Sorry to sound cynical but isn’t a wedding about the commitment between two people, not the date their plan to tie the knot.”

something so exciting about it all. And both of my favourite bridal boutiques so far already have their new collections in, so we’ll be 2020 on every count. And apart from anything else, won’t 2019 always be remembered as a year of doom and gloom!”

“Talking to friends, this date thing seems to be a bloke thing! I wouldn’t mind where or when we formalise our relatonship – I just can’t wait to get that ring on my finger. But the general concensus of opinion amongst our friends – we are the first to get married – is that 2020 is something special. We have opted for the late summer and an outdoors event set up like a country fair. I can’t wait – just wish I wasn’t having to wait so long.” J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 83





In bridal today, Poland is a key player on the world stage, with dazzling brands that continue to wow the industry season after season. We introduce you to just a few – see them and hundreds of other special names from across the globe at European Bridal Week, 4-6 April, Essen

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quality and include some pretty ritzy sparkly tulle and glitter fabrics. The boho designs are particularly good, incorporating bands of intricate lace. Also with a real feel for boho is Szczecin-based Sedinum Bridal, which has introduced a stunning collection where the emphasis is on vintage detailing and fine cotton lace – that boho essential. A 30-day delivery promise is another reason for this company’s success. The mix and Match offering is especially good, with floating skirts, slit thigh high and cropped-short tops – perfect for a destination wedding on the beach. To see more of what promises to make European Bridal Week 2020, the best yet, visit Get busy googling




a passionate following from stockists who appreciate the fine make – every gown is hand-stitched from start to grand finale and the attention to detail is impressive. There’s a real design delicacy here, too, which adds to a romantic fairytale quality to the brand personality. Another long-established brand from Poland is MS Moda, from Marbo SC, which has been making a name for itself for close to three decades and among the first to set the trends with ground-breaking silhouettes, the introduction of colour and a brilliant range of fabrics. Everything here is made to order but much is delivered within three months. Some 90 new designs are launched each year, which leads to new stories that stockists can share on their social media platforms. One of the many houses that has fast recognised the value of a dedicated plus-size label is Afrodyta, which marries superior structure and elegant cut with the latest style trends in its glamorous line for girls with curves. The fabrics, which carry into the main collection, are high



irectional, dramatic and always different, Tina Valerdi layers detail on detail, boldly mixing fabrics and creating statement-making silhouettes. Launched in 2014, this label never fails to surprise with its sheer inventiveness and glorious results. Annais is another big name with a decidedly adventurous portfolio that includes the eponymous label, as well as the charmingly-named Ola La, and chic Pepe Linea. With some 70 new designs a year across the three ranges, there are always new and special fabrics – for 2020/2021 there are geometric prints and morphic patterns (a real change from flowers and leaves!) We love Amy Love and its sister label White Code by Amy Love; the first fuses classic craftsmanship with romantic top notes; the second, equally timeless, focuses on simple cuts and light fabrics that the contemporary bride loves. Jola-Moda, meanwhile, established back in 1993, sells across Europe, including in the UK, and has

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Waking Hours Hayley Logan, Marketing Coordinator across the multibrand award-winning Romantica portfolio, travels more than two hours a day and says it is absolutely worth it 6.30am My alarm goes off and my husband and I rush to get ready for a new day’s work, with our cat Misty following us around until she is fed. Once she’s content with her bowl of food, we have a quick cup of tea, grab our lunches from the fridge and hit the road. 7.30am My commute to work is not the quickest, as we live in the countryside. A standard drive for me is one hour and 15 minutes – a shock to most people as a standard commute is much shorter. But the journey is worth it to live in such a wonderful place. The drive is also a great time for me to organise my thoughts and to make a rough to-do list for the day. 8:45am I arrive at the office. Top priority is to put the kettle on and make everyone a drink to start off the day. We have a general catch and any meetings are scheduled. 9am Once I have caught up with the team, my first job is to check my emails. As I manage all brand marketing and websites for the company, I can receive emails from a range of different people. With all questions, queries and requests answered, I can then tackle the day’s to-do list. My role is so

varied – there really isn’t a typical day for a marketing manager – which is why I love my job. There are lots of challenges, creative projects and events to plan so I can use my organisational skills and creativity to the max every day. 10am Once all of my emails are answered, I work on our social media platforms. Answering any questions, helping brides find their nearest stockist, sharing content, scheduling posts, working alongside our designers, taking photos of brand new gowns hot off the cutting-room table and designing post layouts. Social media is such a big part of our digital marketing and it’s essential for us to keep up to date. Once this is all under control and organised for the week, I go into a meeting with the Creative Director and design team to discuss exciting developments for our brands that need to be shared and/or developed into a marketing campaign over the next few months. 11.30am This is the perfect time for a quick cuppa before I move on to the next project for the day. Our designers have been busy developing our new 2020 A/W collections and it is my job to arrange the photoshoots. This is one

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of my favourite tasks, as I love creating the imagery for each brand in our portfolio. It gives me the opportunity to bring our designs to life with a beautiful model and in a stunning location. Our new collections will be photographed shortly, but as I like to be organised, I started planning the shoots back in September laying the ground work, researching locations, sourcing the perfect models and creating mood boards for each brand. As we move closer to the deadline, I finalise dates with our chosen locations, arrange castings, option models and start to source props for the shoots – which includes jewellery, flowers and shoes. Alongside this I also liaise with our photographer, make up artist and hairstylist to ensure everything is on track for each shoot. Organisation is key. There are always several projects on the go to keep me super busy and always next season to think about as well as shows and events. If I have any time before lunch, I start to layout a few blog posts for our website. There are lots of topics to write about in the bridal industry, which keeps me busy, but my favourite topic is trends. As the seasons change and

new and exciting trends are forecast, I work alongside our design team to write about the hottest looks and it is the perfect opportunity to shout about our new gowns. 1pm Time for lunch, usually soup, salad or a sandwich, which is completely dependant on the time of year and if I have time to make a healthy salad! 2pm By now, I have had lunch, caught up on emails, scheduled social media posts, written a blog or two, caught up with the design team, had a meeting with the Directors to discuss new collection photoshoots and liaised with the Sales Director to ensure our sales team have everything they need to promote our brands. The next job is to update our websites, with the launch of our 2020 S/S collections in September new imagery needed to be added to our websites. Our Media Bank website was updated before the launch in September so all of our stockists and media contacts can download the imagery for their marketing needs, editorial posts or blogs. For the main website we don’t add the new imagery until around four weeks before deliveries start to go into the stores so brides can get excited and contact their nearest boutique for more details. Working with our latest editorial imagery, I go through them and pick out the best pictures for each page of the website. Once I have selected the images, they need to be resized and formatted to go on the website. Then they are uploaded to the back end of the website and each page is checked and reviewed. I usually change the layouts a few times before I am happy; I am a perfectionist after all! 4pm Once I am satisfied with the website updates, I check my emails again to see if anything needs to be responded to urgently and move on to designing artwork for new brochures and magazine layouts. The brochure for our new Olivia Rose Bridal collection is currently in the design stages and I have been working on the layout, writing content and arranging the images to get it ready

to go to print. Alongside this, a new magazine double-page spread is due and it is a great opportunity to promote our award-winning Symphony gown, which picked up the ‘Wedding Dress Of The Year’ title at The Bridal Buyer Awards 2019 in September and we are so proud! I usually draft the layout and then revisit it with fresh eyes in the morning, if I am not happy I will tweak the design until it is perfect. 5pm Time to go home. Everything is finished for the day and the office closes down for the evening. 6.30pm Once I get home, and if my husband doesn’t have fire training, we will catch up about our day and decide what to make for dinner. The kettle goes on, Misty has a cuddle and then we crack on with cooking. We try to make dinner together but for the majority of the week my husband is home first so he organises a delicious meal for us, which is great! In the summer months we love to go for a walk after dinner. We are

surrounded by beautiful countryside and a stunning coastline so we like to make the most of it. Our favourite walk is around the Valley Of Rocks, which is a stone’s throw from my front door. Sometimes we meet up with my mum and take her dogs around with us before the sunset. As the nights close in and the temperature drops, we tend to curl up on the sofa and watch a movie, that is if my husband hasn’t got a run scheduled as part of his marathon training. Meanwhile, I periodically check social media platforms to make sure the posts for the day have been successful, glance to see if there are any pressing emails that need my attention, have a quick half an hour of yoga and our cat has her mad five minutes running around the house before falling asleep on the radiator. 10.30pm Lights out and some sleep before it all starts again with a totally different work day ahead to look forward to!

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Radiant rugs


The perfect addition to any shop, we select our top 20 buys right now... 02









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01 £169.99 02 £34.99 03 £40 04 £45 05 £80 06 £89.99 07 £99 08 £149 09 £149 10 £160 11 £39 12 £89 13 £519 14 £169.99 15 £199 16 £199 17 £224.99 18 £249 19 £60 20 £34.99




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Note taking made easy

sharing. It also includes a handwriting recognition engine so you can scribble additions and it will replace your scrawl with proper text (as long as your hand is better than the average doctor’s, of course) and also transcribe scanned documents. Adding photos, audio and videos from the device’s camera and microphone is simple to do. OneNote is free but the data is stored on Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service, and you only get 5GB. While this might be enough for personal use, a business will probably need more, and the best value option is to Evernote enables you to store go the whole hog and subscribe to notes in ‘notebooks’ and the Office 365 Business for about a tenner notebooks in ‘stacks’, for easy a month per user. organisation. You can put anything in If you just want to take notes for a notebook – text, voice notes, photos, writing up almost immediately, take video clips, stuff found on the web a look at Google Keep. It is simplicity and scans of physical documents itself – a ‘noticeboard’ with all your such as brochures and receipts recent notes stuck on it. Just click on (particularly useful for keeping track the one you want and it enlarges to of expenses at exhibitions!). fill the screen. There are virtually no The notes themselves are distracting formatting buttons. minimalist, with nothing to distract You can type text, add voice you from the moment. If you want to create more finished documents, you recordings, photos and videos. Easy have to export the material to a proper peasy. And free. Available on Android and iOS – Windows users must access word processor. Keep through a browser, sadly. A very useful feature is that Dedicated Apple users will have everything is searchable, so if you the easy-to-use Notes app built-in on have forgotten where a note is you their devices, but this is Apple-only so can enter a keyword and quickly appily, smartphone apps can business users with a mix of devices locate it. Evernote even analyses make life a lot simpler today are out of luck. scanned documents for text, so you by enabling you to create can find a relevant note even if the notes on screen, illustrated with Write on words are not in computer form. photos taken on the phone’s camera. Now a word about how you create Evernote is free for the basic You can even avoid typing by dictation your notes. Typing on a smartphone is personal version, but almost all or handwriting, using a stylus. fairly quick but can be wearing on the business users will need the greater Best of all, many of the really thumbs, and today’s handwriting and power offered by premium services good note-taking apps are free, but audio recognition software is powerful and they are not expensive. choosing the right one for you can and much more accurate than they be complicated. Compatibility is used to be. Soft options key. Note-taking apps store notes in Every smartphone and tablet Microsoft’s OneNote app is also free the cloud, so you can view and edit comes with voice recognition built-in for the basic version and it, too, is them from any of your devices, such these days, accessible through a available on all platforms. It is highly as your Windows PC, your iPad or regarded and its tight integration with microphone icon on the keyboard. your Android phone, so it is really Office 365 makes it an obvious choice The Google and Apple systems work important you can access your notes offline but best results are obtained for Office users. from all of them. if you are connected. Microsoft voice OneNote notes have most of the The first note taking software to do won’t work unless online. formatting options you would expect this properly was Evernote, and as a You writers may need to install a in a word processor so you can create result it gained a huge and loyal user handwriting recognition app, the best base. It will run on just about anything. documents with impact, ready for

You seem to need at least three hands when visiting an exhibition, to hold your notebook, pen and camera. Not to mention those big bags of brochures and handouts. There is a solution, says Chris Partridge


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EASY DOES IT You can draw pictures, add notes and combine words with photographs

being MyScript. It places a writing pad on the screen as an alternative keyboard. When you bring it up you can write with your finger or a stylus and (if your writing is clear enough) the words will be instantly converted into text. It is free. A wide range of styluses are available but the best one comes with Samsung’s Galaxy Note range, which slides into the phone casing so it is always ready for action. This transforms the Galaxy Note into the ultimate note-taking machine, capable of taking notes by handwriting, by dictation and by typing. And the multi-lens camera takes brilliant photos and scans even in the sometimes gloomy atmosphere of an exhibition hall. The drawback is the cost – around the £1,000 mark, so it is a considered purchase. Another option is an iPad with Pencil. Of course, any iPhone will do dictation but an iPad gives you much more screen to play with if you like to doodle as well as write. The new iPad Mini is a particularly attractive device for exhibition goers, being light and handy enough to use on the move while large enough for emailing, editing photos and light word processing. The cost is modest too – an iPad Mini and Pencil combo costs about £470.

Traditionalists can also go for the Livescribe 3 digital pen, a real pen which writes in real ink on real paper, while recording speech on your smartphone. The writing and spoken words are linked, so you can easily identify the sections you need when listening to the audio. And the app can transcribe the writing into text. The smartphone app is available on iOS or Android.

The stylish new Livescribe Aegir smartpen costs around £100 and the special notebooks start at about £5. Chris Partridge has been writing about technology since the days of wireless sets with real mahogany cases with glowing valves inside, mainly for newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Observer and the Sunday Times.

SAY SOMETHING Voice recognition translates your speech to written words, easy peasy

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MOST VIEWED… BRIDAL DRESS FRANCOISE by ELYSEE The stunning new Elysee collection from Enzoani has landed on the site and made an instant impact. This figure-hugging design has been top choice, with loads of traffic to it over the last few weeks in particular.

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 MOST READ… BLOG FEATURE WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING TIPS FOR NEWLY-ENGAGED BRIDES! With a reported record number of engagements over the festive period, this is reflected in the most-read blog feature on the site right now. We think 2020 is going to be one hell of a year for bridal in general!

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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 that stocks the dress of their 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 to discover more. Alternatively, drop Martha an email at

MOST SEARCHEDFOR… DESIGNER CASABLANCA BRIDAL Casablanca is one of the biggest names in bridal so it’s no real surprise that they’ve been heavily searched for. Brides have been loving the signature collection as well as Beloved and Amare.

MOST SEARCHED-FOR… DRESS SHAPE BOHO Still top choice in terms of styling, the boho trend seems to be going strong. Olivia Rose by Romantica is getting a lot of attention right now – experts at this style!

MOST VIEWED… PLUS-SIZE DRESS W440 by ALLURE WOMAN This one repeatedly make an appearance as the top hit! With stunning detailing, it’s easy to see why it is a winner.

MOST VIEWED… BRIDESMAID DRESS DAKOTA from THREAD BRIDAL by DESSY Another major drive towards the Dessy collections right now, and in particular to this gorgeous dress with cut-out shoulders and floaty sleeves. J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 95

SAVE THE DATES ...Lots of them! Here’s a month-by-month guide to the major bridal expos in 2020... HARROGATE FASHION WEEK 26-27 January Harrogate Convention Centre

THE BRIDAL ROADSHOW 1-2 March Birmingham 8-9 March Harrogate

PURE LONDON 9-11 February Olympia

TEXTILE FORUM 11-12 March One Marylebone London W1

MODA 23-25 February NEC Birmingham

ROME BRIDAL WEEK 14-16 March Fiera di Roma

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NATiONAL BRIDAL MARKET 15-17 March 25-27 August The Mart Chicago WHITE GALLERY LONDON 22-24 March ExCel, London LONDON BRIDAL FASHION WEEK 22-24 March ExCel, London

ONE FINE DAY 22-24 March JJ Wimborne Studios London N1 6TA PARIS BRIDAL FAIR 29-30 March Porte de Versailles Pavilion 2.1 EUROPEAN BRIDAL WEEK 4-6 April Messe Essen

SI SPOSA ITALIA 17-20 April Fiera Milano City VALMONT BARCELONA BRIDAL WEEK 20-26 April 2020 Fira de Barcelona Barcelona, Spain

THE KNOT COUTURE SHOW 18-20 April 4-6 October Metropolitan Pavilion New York INTERBRIDE 24-26 May Messe Dusseldorf ROME FASHION WEEK 6-8 June Fiera di Roma

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How Would You Describe Yourself? Are you a natural boss and an influential leader? It’s important to understand that ‘boss’ and ‘leader’ have different connotations, says trainer Helena Cotter 1. Build a bond of trust The most important part of being a boss and a natural leader is to ensure that you consistently work to build a bond of trust with your team. The advantages of this are that you have more effective communication, enhanced employee engagement, and an overall improved performance.

confidence. Let them know how what they have achieved will help the business overall. This is great for motivation – and helping staff negotiate their own path. Think of a reward – be it a gift voucher or dinner, for instance, – that you can offer periodically for targets met or exceeded.

How to build trust? Always be honest; 3. Inspiring your employees Your be fair, avoid gossip; be a team player; commitment and passion will help be reliable; be empathic. inspire your team. Be the spark that ignites their flame, because, when eing a boss means that 2. Praise your employees 16% of employees love what they do and feel you’re in charge of a team employees left their previous job due valued, they only need a little help and responsible for the whole company. A boss will to a lack of recognition. And, primarily, from you to grow and take ownership they leave their boss rather than the of their position. delegate tasks, have control over job itself; 35% of employees claim their employees, and make crucial lack of recognition is the biggest How to lead and inspire your decisions for the greater good of the hindrance to their productivity; 78% employees? Share your vision. Your business. of employees say being recognised team will love being part of something Being a leader means being and appreciated motivates them in important. Discuss the meaning able to influence and inspire others, behind your ideas and goals. Tell making the best of them. It’s a person their job. Employee recognition then is them why, as well as how, these who leads by example, has vision, and essential when working towards a may be achieved. By sharing your stays committed to their short- and well-motivated, efficient team. Why? professional knowledge you will long-term goals. Staff absenteeism will be reduced. encourage a well-rounded team. So, boss and leader are in fact You will have more loyalty and job two sides of the same coin. And, satisfaction is guaranteed. 4. Let your employees be themselves in a business environment, magic I remember a prominent position I happens when you demonstrate a How to acknowledge employee applied for back in the day (not bridal). healthy mix; a balance of the two. If achievements? Being a good boss At interview, the person I would be you want to be a good boss, you first and an influential leader means that working for said to me: “We want to need to be a good, influential leader. something as simple as saying thank offer you this job. There is just one you will go a long way. Highlighting thing”. I was thrown; I had no idea what Here are some top tips to help specific task(s) or performance they the thing could be. She said :“You will you and your team enjoy the best are being thanked for will help instill need to tie your hair back”. of both worlds:


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LEADING THE WAY It is vital that every member of the team feels valued and that their opinions count

Let me assure you, this position would not have required that. It felt like a personal attack; I wouldn’t be allowed to be myself, but would need to ‘fit in’ in that corporate environment and become a robot. This has always stuck with me, and why I believe it is so important for us all to be able to be ourselves in life – and work. After all, in your day-to-day work environment, that is what your customers buy into. YOU! No two people are the same. We should accept and respect employees, and each other for who we are, and what we believe in as individuals. Thankfully, times have changed for the better and diverse personalities make for a vibrant workplace. No more robots!! So, as a boss and a leader, it is your job to ensure all your staff’s individual comfort at work are being met. How to let staff be themselves? A wellrounded and experienced boss and leader encourages staff to talk about their passions, hobbies and interests.

would you change if you were me?” or “what do you like or dislike in your job?” or “Is there anything you’d like to change in our team?” – these are good examples. If you don’t want to speak in person, you can ask your employees to fill a survey (it can be anonymous). Tell them honestly that if there is any feedback they would like to share with you, you’re happy to hear it. I always say that staff are at the coal face so to speak. They are right in the thick of it all and will often think of improved ways of doing things because of that 5. Value feedback A good boss and leader works hard to encourage open, position. When you open up for debate, honest communications. Make it easy you will be amazed at just how small for your staff to give feedback. All changes can inspire a team – and knowledge is good and it will help yourself as the business owner. Which you develop your business to its full in turn will improve your chances of potential, and create the perfect long-term success. working environment. Research shows that people who better handle Helena Cotter negative feedback tend to be more T: +44 (0)1582 451238 / +44 (0)7896 successful! 944759 E: How to encourage employees to give W: feedback? Ask questions like: “What By leading them, and allowing them to flourish as individuals, you will be a positive force in how they decide to achieve their goals. A good boss gives staff responsibilities and encourages them to take the ownership of their work. Bring some joy to your workplace. It feels great when you are spending time in an environment that you are allowed to grow and flourish in with the backing of a fantastic leader – and influencer.

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Money Talks...


In this, the first issue of the new year, our accountancy expert, Michael Cahill of Albert Goodman, answers your questions about staff bonuses and selfassessment, which has to be filed with HMRC by the end of this month I want to give my staff New Year bonuses to get them all keen to get 2020 off with a bang. How best do I do this? Can I give them cash? Should I buy them gift vouchers? What’s the most cost-effective and tax efficient way? It is perfectly acceptable to give employees their bonus in cash, however the amounts given would need to be processed through your payroll and grossed up to ensure that the appropriate amount of PAYE/NI is paid in order to leave the employee with additional net pay equivalent to the bonus amount. If you are happy to consider alternatives to cash and the amount does not exceed £50 per employee, a tax exemption is available which should give employers certainty that the benefits provided are exempt and do not result in a reportable employee benefit in kind. In order for the benefit to be exempt it must satisfy the following conditions: w the cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50 per employee (or on average when gifts are made to multiple employees) w the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher w the employee is not entitled to the voucher as part of a contractual arrangement (including salary sacrifice) w the benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services performed by the employee as part of their employment duties w where the employer is a ‘close’ company and the 100 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0

benefit is provided to an individual who is a director, an office holder or a member of their household or their family, then the exemption is capped at a total cost of £300 in a tax year. If any of these conditions are not met then the benefit will be taxed in the normal way, subject to any other exemptions or allowable deductions. One of the main conditions is that the cost of the benefit does not exceed £50. If the cost is above £50 the full amount is taxable, not just the excess over £50. Items below £50 which might be suitable include bottle(s) of wine, hampers, and vouchers (which can only be exchanged for goods or services).

Okay, so I haven’t sort my selfassessment stuff but I know I have till the end of January. Can you explain, in baby-language please, what I have to do and what I can ignore? Also, I plan to buy a much-needed new laptop, so do I include that as a business purchase? If you are self employed and haven’t registered with HMRC for self assessment previously you can do so at register-if-youre-self-employed It is possible using the link above to register for self assessment either online or by printing off a form and sending it to HMRC in the post. If you commenced trading prior to 5 April 2019, you will need to file your tax return for the year ending 5 April 2019 with HMRC by 31 January 2020. Any tax due must also be paid to HMRC by that date. Depending on the profit generated from your self employment you may be liable for income tax, Class 2 National Insurance, and Class 4 National Insurance. For 2018/19 Class 2 National Insurance is payable at a flat rate of £2.95 per week (if earnings are above £6,205) and Class 4 is payable at 9% on profits between £8,424 and £46,350, and 2% on profits above that amount. On your self assessment tax return you will need to declare your income and gains from all sources (ie not just your self assessment income). This may include employment income, income from land and property, self employment income, investment income (eg interest and dividends received). You should also declare expenditure which might benefit from additional tax relief such as gift aid payments to charity and personal pension contributions.

Get connected with the UK’s most exciting, passionate, new wedding industry magazine It is likely that your self employment profit / loss for accounting purposes will not be the same as the profit / loss for tax purposes. This could be because some items of expenditure included in your accounts are not allowed for tax purposes (eg client entertaining or fines), or it could be where you have purchased capital equipment (eg computers, fixtures and fittings, van etc) which have been depreciated in your accounts. The depreciation charge must be added back to profits, but HMRC allows capital allowances to be claimed instead. One form of capital allowance is the annual investment allowance, which will mean that for many capital items you will be able to claim the full cost of your asset against profits in the year of acquisition but care must be taken as not all assets will qualify for this relief (eg cars). In addition, if there is some private use of the asset, the capital allowance claim may need to be restricted. I would encourage you to seek the advice of an accountant for help with your first tax return. I say this partly to ensure you complete the return correctly, but more so, because there may be some tax planning opportunities to take advantage of. For example, if a loss can be created, you may be able to generate a tax refund by offsetting the loss against other income in the tax year, or by carrying it back to offset against income in the previous year. Email your business finance questions to susi@meanttobemedia. com for inclusion in the first available issue of Wedding Trader. If you’d like to consult directly with Michael Cahill for professional advice, then you can email michael.

Trader Trader Trader Trader WEDDINGTRADERMAG.COM



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TO WORK W ITH US, CO NTACT: Sales Executive Martha Cooke Mobile: 07877 449122

Sales Executive Laura Lismore Mobile: 07903 858078

Editor Susi Rogol

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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“So here we are in 2020 – finally. I am feeling really positive – having not for the past two seasons – and that new-found ‘up’ feeling, I have to say, has been very much due to fellow retailers like Ellie and Laura who constantly talk about making the most of all opportunities through the pages of Wedding Trader. Your magazine has become a real pep up pill for me. Thank you for that... and my wishes for a geat year to everyone in the bridal business.”

“I totally agree with the retailer who commented on separates - that remark could have come from me! My brides are buying them as ‘extras’, most recently for a bridal breakfast the day after the wedding. I have found those mix and match pieces a great way to boost the value of a sale and will be looking for more in the months to come. Any brand recommendations?”

“Whilst I fully recognise the growth and importance of social media, I want to be MIX & MATCH BY LILLY

able to read and re-read the pages of a magazine of my choice. I find it gives me a different perspective.” “It seems like the Harrogate Bridal Show was only yesterday and here we are again, planning our show visits for 2020. I for one am starting to think that a single UK show each year would have certain advantages – if Barcelona can do it, why can’t we? I’d love to know what other retailers think of this subject. Let’s exchange views through Wedding Trader.”

“Mentoring services? Yes, coming from those with bridal retailing experience makes all the difference. Who better to understand the problems we shop owners have to deal with? Sometimes the solution is so simple and straightforward it takes someone else to spell it out. I am budgeting for more in house training this year without question. And my girls love it!”

...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

“The shoes have it! But I haven’t worked out the best way to stock samples and sizes and explain to brides and mums what is and isn’t possible. Any ideas would be so appreciated.”

“I’d just like to congratulate everyone in your team for producing a magazine that has no bias whatsoever and no connection with products that have to be promoted. I find most of the editorial comment of value and I respect the voices behind it. And I think you are very brave to tell it like it is without fear of come-back. Keep it up please.

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DREAM DRESS Use our handy tool to search through 1000’s of dresses online for all the bridal party, then click to find your nearest stockist!

Th we e ne bs w ite FY is DD liv e!

Find your en dream dress th r track down yout nearest stockis

Profile for Love Our Wedding

Wedding Trader - issue 19  

Wedding Trader - issue 19