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Catwalk stars



For moreFor information more information contact contact Michele O’Neill Michele O’Neill email: email: or call: 0845 or call: 838 0845 1041 838 1041

WWW.CATHERINEPARRYBRIDAL.COM Retailer areas available in many parts of the UK & ROI. Retail prices from £545 (SRP). Low minimums. For further details call +(0)1443 222600 or email

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BARCELONA CATWALKS, P45 These were not just catwalks… These were theatrical masterpieces!



TALKING P OINT All the latest headlines and developments within the wonderful world of bridal


Y PO S Andy Murray explains who does what when it comes to sales roles


I N MY OP INION 52 HE R E CO M ES SAV I N Lauren Daly looks at customer service, and Why is Andrey Savin regarded as one of the how suppliers play their part in this hottest properties in bridal design today?


WORLD TRAVELS Christelle de Wit examines the top bridal designers based in South Africa





T RAD E ASSOCIATIO NS Get the lowdown on three trade associations, the RBA, Luxe Bride and the BBSA – which is the right one for you?

WEBSITE TEMPLATE Thinking about updating your website?


GUIDE TO: HEADDRESSES 14 stunning names you must check out


BLOGGER’S BEST Blogging tips from Alison of Plans&Presents ELIZA JANE HOWELL

RETAILER TALK How do you deal with brides who come in after a dodgy online knock-off purchase?

GIL L HARV E Y We quiz the star designer behind the brand Eliza Jane Howell


S U P P LIER SP EAK 75 S HO P TAL K Expert suppliers explain their reasoning as Fatma Sofi’s tips for shops just starting up to why sub-lines come in at a cheaper price 76 GE T TO KNOW 40 I F I WERE A SUP P L IE R José Maria Peiró of Whiteday of Barcelona Ellie Sanderson switches sides is now in the UK, thanks to Andy Murray


I AM A RETAILE R Why ‘It Takes Two’ is vital for Creatiques




BAR CELONA CATWAL KS Theatrical shows of the highest quality

S IX O F T HE BEST V E I LS Veils are no longer ‘just an extra’… DIS PL AY PR OP S A N D T I P S Are you using the most of your store’s light?


Looking for stockists at this exciting time. Sale price range ÂŁ349- ÂŁ899

For more information contact: James McKenna T: 07551 006 995 Kirsty Voce T: 01765 570 040


Ed’s Letter

Editor Susi Rogol

Really exciting news! Nardene Smith, my advertising counterpart at Bridal Buyer for over a decade, has joined the team at Wedding Trader. Nardene will be working alongside Laura and Martha to get the best names in the business together on the pages of our fast-growing monthly title. As of this issue, we will now be dispatching 2,000 copies every month to the bricks and mortar retailers already receiving the consumer title Love Our Wedding to distribute to their brides. It is brilliant that in less than six months – and with no small thanks to those who have embraced the concept of speaking out and being heard – we have been able to add just over 50% to our circulation. If, for any reason, you have not had your copy yet (or want more of WT and/or LOW), give Tom a nudge at We’ve got lots of hard-hitting controversial stuff in this issue – do you agree or disagree with what’s been said? Your responses can shape the next issue, keeping debates lively and challenges fresh… EDITOR SUSI ROGOL-GOODKIND TEAM TALK Tom Harrod Production Editor “Getting to hear different designers’ approaches broadens the imagination. Our Andrey Savin feature (p52) is brilliant!” Andy Allen Art Director “I enjoyed reading Ellie Sanderson’s ‘If I Were A Supplier’ piece (p39). It’s always fascinating to hear views and opinions from a different perspective.”










Nardene Smith Advertising Sales Consultant Catwalk stars Associations “I am so thrilled to have arrived! It is great to have the freedom to work on a monthly, news-driven title that has an independent voice.” Cover image: José Maria Peiró WHICH ONE WORKS BEST FOR YOU?

Laura Lismore Fashion Sales Executive “I made a bee-line for the Barcelona Bridal Week reaction piece (p45). Those catwalks were out of this world!” CONTRIBUTORS Rebecca Baddeley, Nicola Ball, Christina Blanchette, Laura Daly, Christelle de Wit, Nicola Garton, Gill Harvey, Richard Lill, Natalie Lovett, Suzanne Lurie, Emma Meek, Andy Murray, Leigh-Ann Murray, Maria Musgrove, Andrew Pearce, Rob Pearce, José Maria Peiró, Ellie Sanderson, Andrey Savin, Fatma Sofi, Joanne Stott, Alison Tinlin, James Waddington


Production Editor Tom Harrod

Art Director Andy Allen

Advertising Sales Consultant Nardene Smith Mobile: 07957 372276

Fashion Sales Executive Laura Lismore Mobile: 07903 858078

Sales Executive Martha Cooke (maternity leave) Mobile: 07877 449122 @WeddingTraderUK @WeddingTraderMag @weddingtrader


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




Looking for stockists at this exciting time.

Sale price range ÂŁ129- ÂŁ599

For more information contact: James McKenna T: 07551 006 995 Kirsty Voce T: 01765 570 040

Pants The design team at Justin Alexander is breathing fresh air into classic styles with modern clean gowns, daring silhouettes, romantic and soft looks, subtle cut-outs, and hand-placed embellishments. Expect to see cool pant-suits and natty all-in-ones, which will look great for informal weddings and nuptials planned for events abroad. +44 (0)1908 615599

TA L K I N G POINT The latest news in bridal. Right here, right now!

TOP OF THE FORM Proportion London is the place to go for a big choice of mannequins that cover all ages – everything from adult male and female figures and a maternity form. An array of finishes and colours, plus optional

makeup and wigs, will provide you with personalisation opportunities for either a fabulous window display or interior décor. +44 (0)20 7749 1311 J U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 11

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Colour and cut will lead the way at style-driven Rome Fashion Week, 16-18 June, where the great occasionwear designers will present their 2019 collections. When it comes to fashion, we’re living in an age where statementmaking scores points over the traditional. There has to be a story, one that underpins the adventurous spirit of the designer and the confidence of the wearer, as well as bringing a unique personality and, above all, a hint of luxury to the mix. For three days, Rome Fashion Week will play host to leading designers who want to dress the self-assured woman, be she a red-carpet celebrity, an elegant party guest, or a bridesmaid who wants to stand out. At this chic, intimate event, you will see collections of quality; lavish fabrications, opulent embellishments and a breathtaking kaleidoscope of colour. From one of Italy’s favourite houses, Nicole, you will discover the colours of nature – sky and water blues, the yellow of the sun, and delicate rose. Inspired embroideries create a new dimension of textural detail, and there are soft ruffles of fringing that add movement. Gemy Maalouf, for her Gemy Beside collection, goes all out for asymmetric detail, glowing matte metallics and amazing beadwork that forms a print of its own. Other brands on show include: Anna Bella | Anna Cecere | Antopa | Baggatelle | Bella Rhapsody | Dessy | Dhantienne | Elena Conti | Gattinoni | Gemy Beside | Gia Mattiolo | Gruppo Colucci | Impero | Luigi Bruno | Luigi Auletta | Magie | Mikael | Nicole | Pepe Colucci | Pianura | Premier Vision | Radiosa | Saboroma | Silva Ernesti | Toi Spose To register, visit

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ALL NEW! GIRL TALK Katya Katya is launching a stunning line of bridesmaid dresses. Drawing on the brand’s signature boho style, the entire collection is hand-designed and made in London in the most beautiful fabric and colour combinations. Available in both midi and long length, there are three styles, featuring three different sleeve options. Available from this month, the RRP is £350. +44 (0) 20 7351 4359

D IS COV ER I N G S OMETH I N G D IFFER EN T Exploring designers from another country has its own set of perks and challenges. It’s fun and inspiring to see what designers from around the world are doing, and especially if it’s a big name – if only in their country – there can be significant benefits to retailers bringing them on board. If the designer is invested in their brand and willing and able to advertise abroad, then this bodes well. We asked Christelle de Wit for the lowdown on South African designers and she suggested interested retailers should look at the quality-to-pricepoint relationship, how versed the designer is in international trade (and things like dispatching and couriering gowns, navigating customs and EUR.1 forms); how quickly and easily they respond to your communications; how much support they provide for their stockists (such as supplying content for social media) and whether they have longevity, not just talent. For further reading on Christelle’s top choices, flick to page 20. She says that South Africa is home to many talented creatives and entrepreneurs. Most are focused on the local market, but an arm might be twisted – you never know! In addition to her key suggestions, she adds Biji – a two-woman couture design team, Stanley Baptiste – a must-see for the most exquisite, sumptuous ball gowns ever, and Danielle Margaux – for clean-lined, modern gowns.


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W W W. S U Z A N N E N E V I L L E . C O M

Float like a butterfly Th hugely-talented Aruna Seth is launching her new sneaker collection for autumn/winter 2018, which celebrates the rebirth of her famous butterfly as darker, edgier and more flirtatious. We reckon these gorgeous newcomers will fly out of the shops, even at an RRP of £575. +44 (0)8773 7859

BAB ES ON T H E B E AC H If you have a bride heading for the beach with little ones in tow making up the wedding party, take a look at the delectable dresses from Little Eglantine. This is aah-factor stuff, that flower girls will delight in. +44(0)20 3287 0648

FOOT SORE Don’t just worry about your bride’s tired toes, after doing the rounds of trade shows for several months, a retailer’s feet will certainly be suffering! It’s well worth treating yourself to the Well Heeled Foot Masque by Leighton Denny Expert Nails, a nourishing and exfoliating foot masque that leaves feet silky smooth. Ingredients include papaya and pineapple extracts to gently remove dead skin cells, glycerine to hydrate and soften the skin, and peppermint to cool and refresh. The pedicure socks are included for a more intensive treatment. £15. 16 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J U N E 2 0 1 8

Off-theshoulder Caroline Castigliano’s new collection is all about clean, classic lines and silhouettes – we love this stylish little number that shows off the shoulders. Take note: in the Big Wedding month, Caroline is trusted by the Royals for their event dressings, and she covered the Kate and William wedding. She will be commenting live for BBC and other notable outlets. +44 (0)20 7590 9123

HE LLO, SY DNEY She may look every inch the red-carpet celeb, but this is one clever young lady who chooses instead to dress those who want to get noticed. She is Sydney Watters, daughter of Vatana, and, as the future millennial face of Watters, she is already drumming up fresh and innovative branding initiatives – from streamlining a unique process to finding the perfect wedding dress, to reaching more alternative brides. And yes, she is still staying true to the brands’ signature aesthetics and to creating dresses at attainable price points. “Working alongside my mother is a special treat each day,” she says. “I like to joke that we would make the perfect person, marrying her immeasurable experience with my millennial point-of-view, and her classic taste with my favourite fashion trends.” We’re already on the look out for what this formidable duo are going to come up with next. +44 (0)1527 832373

A L L W H I TE LA designer Claire Pettibone launched her new collection named, aptly, The White Album at the Knot Show in New York. Introducing sensuous silhouettes and graceful details in an ode to the colour of purity, we espied Gypsy Moon, with sequins shimmering beneath layers of tulle, and a floral cape befitting the Moon Goddess, herself. A definite must-have. 07946 319035 / 07733 884501 J U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 17

In my opinion Customer service? We retailers do our best to deliver the best, says Laura Daly. But, she asks, do we get the back-up we so urgently need from suppliers when a sale goes pearshaped because a delivered dress is faulty?


ou need nerves of steel not to wince when opening the business emails on a Monday morning. The whole making a quick scan of the subjects to put your mind at rest that you haven’t got a ‘situation’ on your hands from a weekend wedding makes me shiver. Hands up those who haven’t felt physically sick at a fitting from hell? You’ve ordered the right size, the bride hasn’t changed shape, but she can’t get one leg in it. Or Mum loudly declares that the back, front and/or hem is wonky… You sigh, but then you realise, she’s right. Why do we feel sick? It’s because we care. Upon discovering a problem, we’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that we have a happy bride. It’s in our DNA. We also know, however, that at this point we may well have to fight with the supplier for support. It’s all very well knowing our legal rights and obligations, but an upset bride is not a ‘normal’ customer. Her hopes, dreams, aspirations and mental stability have just been shattered and, in her eyes, it is all our fault. Once the words ‘refund’ and ‘compensation’ have been uttered, it doesn’t matter who did what and it doesn’t help trying to shift the blame, either. We need to be able to feel confident that, from that moment on, we have the complete backing of the supplier in question.

When things go wrong with the dress, everyone looks to the retailer to fix it. Legally, the buck stops firmly with us. We have to take the strain and ultimately resolve the problem to the satisfaction of the customer. Knowing that we are not going to have to argue our case with the manufacturer but that we could simply return the dress for a replacement (or even refund) is the very least we should expect. We don’t want to lose time sending a gown back to be measured; we need one that fits and we need it within a timescale that’s

acknowledgment of her complaint would be appreciated, too. I believe that the majority of our customers’ issues can be resolved – with all parties happy – if the resolution is offered up immediately and without fuss. We can turn customer nightmares into positives if we have the right support from our suppliers. Everyone accepts that things can sometimes go wrong. The way that problems are handled makes all the difference in the world. I’m happy to say that there are some companies that totally understand the fine line we retailers tread and are aware of the type of assistance we We can turn customer require, taking full ownership when nightmares into positives, if things go pear-shaped. Sadly, there are many more who we have the right support simply won’t accept responsibility for supplying faulty goods. To those, from our suppliers I say: if you’re struggling to sell your acceptable to the customer. Similarly, designs, rather than just thinking of we shouldn’t have to prove that a bride a brand overhaul, you may want to reconsider your customer service and had a problem on her wedding day. store support policies, too. Once we’re satisfied that the issue is Retailers are voting with their genuine, we need our suppliers to money and placing orders with those support us. who not only give them the best When a bride contacts a supplier choice of designs but who are also directly, she needs confirmation of willing to accept responsibility for their what we have already told her – not products. We’re all in this together and a contradiction. Where appropriate, we need each other! we need a swift refund on the cost of the dress, so that we may offer Suppliers – want to respond? Email some compensation without being out of pocket. Flowers to the bride in

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South Africa: on 20 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J U N E 2 0 1 8

In the start of a new series, Wedding Trader looks at the top bridal design names and emerging talents across the world. We start the journey in South Africa, with Christelle de Wit as our very own tour guide



obus Dippenaar is one of South Africa’s most loved and well-established designers, best known for his couture evening and bridal gowns. With over 30 years in the industry, and gowns that make brides feel both sexy and beautiful, it’s no wonder he’s become an international contender. Kobus unwittingly launched himself into the world of fashion when he began designing high school dance dresses for classmates who couldn’t afford to buy them off the rack. His mother, a Home Economics teacher before she married, sewed the dresses he designed. That was the start of his career. Over the years, Kobus has created gowns for many South African celebrities, models and socialites. In 2012, he launched his Anna Georgina wedding gown range, a made-tomeasure service that has gained popularity in the UK and USA. A tribute to his mother, Anna Georgina grew out of his desire to take haute couture designs and make them accessible to every woman. Sensual and cosmopolitan, his gowns showcase juxtaposed opposites: masculinity and femininity, structure and fluidity, rich detail and striking minimalism. Deep necklines and backs plunge into bias-cut satin skirts and corseted bodices trail pearl buttons into layered skirts of lace, tulle and bejeweled satin. Illusion lace sleeves, lace tattoo elements, sparkling crystal pieces, hand embroidery, tiny belts and silk petals accent and soften bold lines. When asked for his views on today’s bridal trends, Kobus comments on the increasing divide in pricing and quality between top and

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entry-level brands. “The average bride doesn’t want to pay top dollar, but she wants to look like she has and she demands it, even though she doesn’t understand what’s involved in the construction of a top dollar gown,” he says. “We need to educate brides, especially when it comes to made-tomeasure services.” RRP £1,750 and £6,400



lbeth Gillis formed her ownname label in 1997 and is regarded as one of South Africa’s top bridal designers. Known for the sheer luxury and timeless sophistication of her madeto-measure collections, she is now stocked by several exclusive retailers. Elbeth grew up surrounded by fabrics, thread and patterns in a family where almost everyone sews. She studied fashion at a Cape Town university at a time when South African designers had little exposure to the rest of the world – which meant that competition amongst local designers was pretty fierce and establishing oneself was hard work. Now, over 20 years later, the reputation of the Elbeth Gillis brand is a testament to her talent. She combines her creativity with her strategic skills, which makes her an asset to any boutique owner. She offers the full package: gorgeous gowns plus services tailored to help stockists thrive. Elbeth’s love for clean lines and intricate details are right on trend. Hand beading, floral lace appliqués and bold guipure lace – these are all paired with the best fabrics from around the world, including Solstiss, the company that supplied lace for Princess Grace’s gown and for the Duchess of Cambridge. When asked about her favourite celebrity moments, she says: “I was asked to design the wedding dress for Imari du Plessis – the lovely wife of Faff du Plessis, the captain of our one-day cricket team. We loved working with her, but really, every time a bride is happy with her dress—that’s a memorable moment for me. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.” RRP £3,500 and £6,000.


or Hendrik Vermeulen, fashion is art. A regular on international catwalks, he is applauded for his ability to visualise an idea and then translate it – through the brilliant manipulation of fabric – into a fashion statement. Under the supervision of his mother, a skilled seamstress, Hendrik began sewing at the age of six. At 15, he sold his first evening dress, and that was all the affirmation he needed to start attending fashion workshops until he could formally study the craft. He obtained his diploma in haute couture from a school in Pretoria, where he won the Student of the Year award. After opening his own boutique in 2009, Hendrik began showcasing his

work at exhibitions around the world. Hendrik’s main talent lies in his attention to the structure and construction of his garments, as well as his manipulation of fabrics. From corsetry to hand-dyeing to lasercutting, from airbrushing to digital printing to hand embroidery,his gowns take on a life beyond themselves. Today’s avant garde bride is adventurous and choosing gowns that are glamorous and colourful. Offering a made-to-measure service for the bridal collections, as well as one-off couture gowns, brides who want to explore their unique identity will fall in love with his artistry. RRP £3,000 to £7,000 J U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 23


embellishments and white beading on nude backings add the finishing touches – all elements that dovetail with bridal trends that highlight individuality. Janita particularly likes the trends of sleeves and capes. She says: “How incredibly dramatic and beautiful is a cape? It also plays really well with the trend of transitional dresses where the bride has one look for the ceremony and a slightly different look for the reception.” While Janita gained attention because of her custom-made gowns, she has recently launched a ready-to-wear bridal range that is increasingly popular with boutiques. Her Valentina couture gown has recently been nominated by Elle South Africa for Best Wedding Dress of the Year in the Elle Sposa Awards. RRP From £1,500

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fter completing her Masters in Fashion and Textiles, Casey Jeanne rose quickly to become one of South Africa’s leading couture designers, At the age of 25, she founded Jeannelle l’Amour Bridal – a made-to-measure service. Known as the lady with the magic hands, Casey has a natural ability to express and enhance a client’s best features. Her gowns captivate with bold designs and quality craftsmanship. Her designs embody an appreciation for the female form and real-girl curves. Each of her looks speaks to a different bride and celebration, from a cosmopolitan's loft party in Cape Town’s city centre, to a low-key vow exchange on the beaches of Bali, to an elopement on the Amalfi coast. Whether a bride is the polished bohemian, sexy



anita Toerien specialises in wedding gowns that are a little off-beat, a little quirky, a little bit princess… In fact, a little bit whatever a bride wants to be. And if it’s a little bit nontraditional, then all the better. She completed her studies in fashion design at an academy in Stellenbosch, and moved to bridal after a season of menswear design in Amsterdam. For Janita, a wedding dress is any dress in which a bride feels beautiful. Her designs are aimed at helping the non-traditional bride find a dress that is true to her personality and style, and are characterised by the use of unusual colours, textures and draping. She loves working with dreamy tulle; other staples include raw silk, dupion silk and stretch fabrics for extra comfort. Metallics, gold

and sultry or on the side of something more refined, each gown is designed with unexpected fabrics, neverbefore-seen laces, textures, colour shades and delivers a fresh point of view to the bridal mix. Each dress is made by Casey and her small team of young, women-only staff, in a safe, friendly, supportive environment. One cannot beat the feeling of not only knowing that you have found your dream dress here, but also that you are changing the lives of other women around you. With a long list of accolades to her name, Casey was nominated in 2016 as one of the best bridal gown designers in South Africa. This year she won the Destination Weddings Top Bridal Designer South Africa. RRP from £2,600.

Retailer talk Bride arrives, tearful, nervous and verging on hysteria. She wants your help. The dream dress she thought would live up to the promise of the photo online is nasty and ill-fitting, the material scratches and the ‘crystals’ lack sparkle. We asked around to see how different retailers deal with the situation

Leigh-Ann Murray AVORIO BRIDAL FOCHABERS, MORAY, SCOTLAND We’ve all been here before. And, without malice, this situation presents a fantastic selling opportunity to turn a distressed bride with an upsetting story into an Avorio bride with a happy ending. Our aim? To turn her negative experience into our positive sale. So how do we achieve this? By being confident in our customer service, building a good relationship and by providing an unforgettable experience – do all of this, and the outcome should be a sample dress sold. 26 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J U N E 2 0 1 8

What was missing previously? Personal touch? A friendly face? Professional knowledge? A quality product? Samples? Relaxed surroundings? A reputation you can trust? Obvious I know, but with over 14 years’ experience, what we count as normal is indeed above expectations. This is something our brides tell us time and time again. As soon as a bride steps through our door, we will listen and engage on a one-to-one basis; every bride has a story to tell, wants to feel valued and make a connection. This circumstance is no different. Now is the perfect time to gain trust and navigate your sale. Cheap impersonal online sales failed, so offer her the exact opposite. A dedicated stylist, beautiful pristine samples, petticoats, accessories to compliment, large private changing rooms, favourable prices, stockist backup, after-sale services… The list goes on. Just showcase what a professional bridal studio offers, or certainly what comes as standard here at Avorio. If the above didn’t convert a sale then it’s not to be. At least you can feel assured you gave one hundred percent! Smile, hope for a happy review and remember we are all amazing independent bridal retailers. Passion and professionalism always prevails, even if this sale got away…

Joanne Stott YAP BRIDAL NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Firstly, we would listen to this lovely bride and weigh up her situation. In this stated example, she has an awful

gown that she’s purchased online, and she needs another replacement, pronto; or, alternatively, she needs this gown altered – if it is salvageable. We here at Y.A.P. Bridal would begin things with a pot of tea – depending on hysteria levels, of course. It’s important to then listen to everything the bride – now our customer – is going through by way of emotion, timings, budget and so on, and then offer her our expertise. It is our priority to make her incredible on her big day, regardless of her being a Y.A.P or not, so we would offer two options; one, that our partner seamstress works with her on the online gown, depending on its state and the agreement of all those concerned; or two, that she starts again and buys either a sample gown or full-priced gown from the boutique, depending on her budget and timescale. It really is as simple as that.

Nicola Garton THE WEDDING SHOP COLCHESTER, ESSEX Over the years I think most boutiques will have had at least one bride with an internet disaster dress story. We have found that the majority of these internet ‘bargains’ simply cannot be altered, so the hunt is then on to find the bride a new dress in time for her wedding day. Luckily, we have a large selection of gowns in a wide range of sizes available to purchase ‘off the peg’. Since these girls have already suffered one problem buying a dress, it’s great that they can choose from a range of sample gowns at a discount. And, at the same time, this also helps us to move on older stock. We have our own in-house workroom and can therefore turn sample alterations around very quickly to ensure the perfect fit. It makes the bride feel both secure and reassured that we can take care of everything. Otherwise,

she’d have the stress of trying to find a seamstress herself. It’s a lovely feeling to be able to turn what was a traumatic event into a special experience – and to be the shop that swooped in and saved the day! Those brides will often leave you the loveliest reviews, some might bring you flowers and chocolates to say thank you and be one of your best advocates to other brides.

obsessed millennial who, a zillion searches later, found her dream gown online at a fraction of the price in-store? Whichever it is, I need to be careful not to get drawn into the drama of ‘how can the delivered article be so different from the airbrushed rip-off image?’ that seduced her to click Buy Now in the first place. If she is still wanting the same dress and I have it then, if she has the budget and my supplier can deliver in time, I’ll gladly supply it and offer a sweetener of possibly a ten percent discount. If I have the gown and she fits the sample and I want to get rid of it, then we both get lucky – Maria Musgrove because I can reduce the price even further. PANTILE BRIDES ROYAL TONBRIDGE WELLS, KENT If she’s looking for me and my technical team to Resisting the temptation to quote the obvious: “If it sounds magically transform her cheap Chinese knock-off £200 dress into the £2,000 gown she originally tried on, then I too good to be true, then it probably is”, I would remind myself that this is a golden opportunity to promote buying will tell her that we only alter our own gowns. She would be throwing good money away, and what she needs to do from a bricks and mortar boutique. With my attitude in is bin the gown, put it down to experience, start all over check, I would firstly want to find out what motivated again and report it on so that other her to buy online: had she tried on the genuine article brides don’t get conned in the future. and couldn’t afford it? Or is she a research-and-bargainJ U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 27

Rebecca Baddeley THE DRESSING ROOMS HALESOWEN, WEST MIDLANDS Sadly, we are seeing this kind of situation more and more with brides believing that what they see on a screen is what they’re going to get in the post. The first thing we would do is ask the bride to come in and see us, so that we can get a feel for the dress and the bride’s position. It’s too easy to get caught up in the whys and hows of a situation, so we assess each case on its own merits. Sometimes, if we feel a bride is just trying then we would give the bride a full TDR consultation, to use and abuse our services, we have been known to trying on styles that she thinks she might like. say ‘sorry, we can’t help’. Though truthfully, this has only It’s at this stage that the bride happened on two occasions usually changes her dress style over the past 11 years. In my opinion, a little bit of A little bit of kindness goes a long completely and really falls in love with a dress for the first kindness goes a long way. Yes, way – we have a business to run, time, which is a beautiful place to we have a business to run, and a wonderful gift to give, we also – as do many in our but we come from a place where be because every bride should have industry – come from a kind place where love, care and love, care and understanding are that experience. We would then either call our supplier to see if understanding are the ethos of the ethos of our business we can get that gown in for her, our business. and then secondly (if that’s not an Once we get to talking to the option), we’d look at altering our sample to fit. Alterations bride we work hard to win her trust to take the worry off are not a problem for us, because we have three fantastic her. We let her know she is in safe, expert hands. There are a few options that we assess. Firstly, is the online dress seamstresses on site so we can turn things around quickly worth altering and is it alterable? If it is, then we will do our without causing too much disruption to our regular work. Ultimately, yes, we would (and we do) help any bride as very best (on this one occasion, we say) to alter the dress to how she wants it to be. If the dress is not worth altering much as we possibly can… It’s just the right thing to do!



ompassion and education are the best things you can provide to your customers in the fight against counterfeiters. After offering your sincere sympathy and understanding of her situation, offer a small discount on alterations or accessories for any new dress she purchases from you. Explain to the bride that she can get involved and help raise awareness of this major problem by sharing her story through your store’s social media accounts, website, emails, direct mail and your local newspaper. A detailed summary of what the bride went through – as well as side-by-side pictures of the dress she expected to receive and the fake dress she got – are very powerful tools to share with the public. Offer to work with the bride on writing her story and to take pictures on mannequins in your store. Her testimony will help other brides not become unknowing victims like her. The American Bridal and Prom Industry Association (ABPIA) works diligently to eliminate dress counterfeiting and with the help of retailers has been able to:

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• Remove over 22 million images illegally used from the internet • Take down over 1,600 illegal websites • Successfully win seven lawsuits in Federal Court • And have secured help from several powerful congressmen and senators Empower this bride to become the voice of many. Together you can spread counterfeit dress awareness to your customers through real life examples.

Our Editor, Susi, says: “Here in the UK, has been set up to fight counterfeiters and create awareness of the disasters that could result in dealing with them. Maria Musgrove’s use of the old adage ‘If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is’ could not be more appropriate.”


t @moncherieurope

in @moncherieurope



SO WH AT WI L L YOU D O FO R ME ? This is the number one FAQ raised by those thinking of joining a trade association… Why? It’s the motivating factor. In our industry, focusing solely on support for retailers is the long-standing RBA, the BBSA and the newer-thannew Luxe Bridal. We asked all three to put their case forward

Nicola Garton

The RBA aims are: • To set and maintain standards of quality, service, store presentation and professionalism for wedding retailers so that brides can buy with confidence. • To raise standards within the The Retail wedding industry as a whole by Bridalwear promoting liaison between retailers, Association was established in 1995 with the objective suppliers, media, government and consumers. of finding ways for retailers and suppliers alike to work alongside each • To inform and advise on concerns and issues that affect both the other, thus ensuring that levels of wedding trade and the buying public, service and choice within the bridal such as internet scams, illegal home industry were being upheld. The trading and shop or supplier failures. Association still stands by its original core values, but can now offer its Membership benefits members so much more. In addition to all the free advice Today, the RBA has approximately and support that shops receive as 100 members, and between us we part of their membership, we have represent the largest and most a comprehensive list of benefits professional, well-respected and designed to give every member a financially sound bridal stores, with helping hand. Our current benefits a combined annual turnover of include the following: over £35m. We offer a professional community and support our members • Free legal advice from DAS with ongoing help and advice, should • Brides Protection Scheme – an insurance policy that guarantees the they need it at any time. RBA CHAIR OWNER OF THE WEDDING SHOP, COLCHESTER

return of the bride’s deposit in the event of a member shop’s failure • A dedicated website that members can use to promote their businesses as a quality retail destination • A quarterly newsletter designed to keep members up to date with legislation and industry matters • Discounted PDQ rates • Discounted shop insurance • Discounted website design • Discounted printing with bridalprint • Discount on dress bags from Hoesh and Reldas • Discounted Payroll and PAYE • RBA email helpline • Each member’s shop is listed on the RBA website • RBA closed Facebook group for support and chat • Use of RBA logo (the Kitemark of the bridal industry) • RBA certificate to display in member’s shop • RBA members training days and conference • RBA awards do in London in March • Free use of the RBA members

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(Bride to Be), Michael Hanks, Treasurer (Bride to Be), Rebecca Baddeley (The Dressing Rooms, Halesowen), Sharon McPherson (Opus Couture), Laura Daly (Bellissima Weddings), and Christine Sinclair (Love You Forever).

lounge, with free lunch at Harrogate • RBA Terms & Conditions – for you to base your own on • Membership of the Retail ADR (formerly Retail Ombudsmen) Membership criteria Full members of the RBA are required to be independent bridalwear retailers who have been trading for a minimum of five years from dedicated retail premises that are subject to business rates; they must show a minimum turnover of £180,000, including VAT. We welcome membership applications from any bridalwear retailer who fulfils these criteria.

Mission statement To represent the UK’s best bridal shops, giving assurance on conduct, service and financial stability. Development strategy Our strategy is to engage and continue to support the very best bridal retailers through best practice in all aspects of bridal retailing. Support structure • All members of the Association have access to our DAS legal helpline, which offers free legal advice. If any of our bridal shops are unsure how to deal with a complaint or potential dispute, they can call the helpline quoting the RBA’s policy number and DAS will advise them on what their next step should be.

Cost of membership: £330 + VAT Executive Committee The Executive Committee are a team of bridal retailers aspiring to improve the quality of bridal shops in the UK, with a combined experience of over 100 years. Committee members are: Nicola Garton, Chair (The Wedding Shop), Stephanie Hanks, Secretary

Emma Meek CREATIVE DIRECTOR LUXE BRIDE MD OF MISS BUSH RIPLEY, SURREY In defining Luxe Bride, I would describe it as more like a membership club or network of luxury bridal retail specialists than a trade association. A Trade Association suggests bureaucracy; a mandate to serve, a regulatory body, rules and ethics. Hell, one is needed. If Luxe Bride thought the industry at large would accept our findings Ellie (Sanderson) would be drawing up standard contracts and an ethics handbook in a heartbeat. Independent retail runs through my veins; my family business on my father’s side is electrical retail and the company that still bears my grandfather’s name is a member of the Euronics network.

For those unfamiliar with the concept: “Euronics is formed by a network of ‘Euronics Agents’ who are Independent Electrical Specialists. These are, in many cases, familyrun businesses – many of which have been established for several generations and are part of many local communities and high streets.” A Euronics member is referred to as a ‘partnered specialist’ since not only do they sell products, but they offer clients “all the aftersales support you would expect from an independent retailer because we (Euronics) deliver, we install, but above all we care…” Emphatically, Luxe Bride is not a buying group at this point, but the Euronics model shows how retailers can work together to protect their independence and promote their businesses even if they are in competition with each other. The glamorous public face that Luxe Bride intends to show our clients is that buying a wedding dress from

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• Members have automatic membership to the RetailADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution for Retail), which is there to support them in their pursuit for first-class customer service. In the event that a dispute cannot be settled by an RBA member, they can contact the RetailADR for legal advice. • All members have access to a generic set of Terms & Conditions that have been written by the RetailADR in accordance with legislation and are part of the membership package, RetailADR will keep members up to date with any changes to trading legislation. RetailADR will also personalise RBA members’ terms and conditions from just £20 +VAT.

an independent retailer is cool, that the member shops are diverse, the staff empathetic experts and we, as a group, speak their language. A bride’s language is not simply something you learn from Wendy Riviera or adopt from the boho or girlboss vernacular of social media. The team • Leonie Lawmon, MD of Leonie Claire and Luxe Bride • Ellie Sanderson, MD of Ellie Sanderson, Commercial Director of Luxe Bride • Emma Meek, MD of Miss Bush, Creative Director of Luxe Bride • Katie Ruocco, Luxury Account Manager of Country Life, Sales Director of Luxe Bride Membership Criteria Any shop can apply to be a member of Luxe Bride if their average transaction price for a full price madeto-order dress is £1,800 and above, if

GETTING TOGETHER Luxe members learn together

they trade profitably from a business premises, and if they offer a full set of aftercare services (or access to them) for the bride. Cost of Membership Membership starts at £800 per annum Benefits Benefits fall into three major areas: • Advertising and media buying via our own website directory and our fastgrowing social media channels • Training and mentoring • Advocacy and campaigning Mission Statement To promote and protect independent bridal retail, and working towards becoming the UK’s most recognised trade voice for bridal fashion The Development Strategy Year One has been a blur. We launched during what has got to be one of the most challenging years for retail across the board, and on launch we had a sophisticated portfolio of digital marketing solutions ready to produce a collaborative media platform. After Luxe Bride’s launch, the team realised quickly that our sophisticated portfolio needed serious digital capability – our technical forum was hard to grasp and even some of the

things that can seem simple to some people – like uploading content into Dropbox or organising a MailChimp campaign – was akin to Advanced Physics to others. Plans have had to change. Now the Luxe Bride team is working with members to bring up their knowledge and skills set, because we recognise that the most valuable asset all retailers share is their privileged access to real-time data. In layman’s terms, we know our clients inside out; we know who they are, where they work, their financial status, their bra size, their anxieties, their sexuality, their religion. Bridal retailers make Cambridge Analytica look like beginners. Bridal retailers don’t need to set quizzes to find out who their client is; they don’t need data analysts to spot trends. This strength needs to be acknowledged in our supply chains to determine what products we need at what price and, crucially, when. This insight needs to be reflected in our supplier brands’ marketing and consumer media advertising. In a year when old methods of advertising are failing to drive footfall, bridal fairs are closing, trunk shows and designer days are failing to ignite sparks and even the closure of new media like Style Me Pretty is

announced, the serious questions that need to be asked to define our future are being asked by Luxe Bride. SOS services The great thing about Luxe Bride is the mix in membership of bright-eyed newbies and industry heavyweights. All of us have stared down the barrel of crisis – be it financial, legal, personal, or professional. From a casual takedown on social media, threats of court action, credit card terminal issues to just god-awful sales years, all of us have had business problems. I can’t guarantee that being in Luxe Bride will prevent financial failure but neither can being a member of any other trade organisation. What we do know is how to access the best advice, the best PR solutions and the ear of the industry. Problems can be aired and shared within the group or the Luxe Directors are available privately and confidentially to our members. I expect to address survival problems and I hope Luxe Bride will offer survival solutions.

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Richard Lill

social media and advertising, and free and that level of comfort can have a insurance for all brides buying from a positive impact on sales. Members also receive practical advice on how BBSA retail member. to push their business forward. Campaigning Helping sales One of the most important aspects The BBSA was In 2017, the BBSA introduced The that the BBSA funds is the presence born out of the Bridal Sale Week. This opportunity of the Brides Beware campaign. We amalgamation benefits BBSA retail members, giving show at every National Wedding of two supplier them an all-important platform to Show and have a continual presence Associations and is now it stands as dispose of any buying mistakes on social media. the only true Association. Our aim is to make sure that brides and discontinued stock. Because The BBSA strength grew as its it is advertised nationally, it gives a fully understand the consequences membership did – we represent a lot gravitas and momentum that could of the major players in bridal, together of their actions when naively buying not be achieved by the traditional online or from with small sale. This has positive benefits for and medium The Bridal Sale Week gives some other dubious source, members – the first being that they companies, thus free up space for new collections; the covering and BBSA retail members an all- not buying second that it gives a boost to cash from a quality representing all important platform to dispose independent flow. Bridal sale weeks 2018 will take aspects, points place 7-9 July and 24-26 November of view and of any buying mistakes and retailer, – check out for instead. This opinions of the discontinued stock more details. is never better bridal industry. As an Association, we truly care demonstrated Fundamentally about the success of all our members, than by our ‘real life’ disaster stories, there is no difference between which is why our committee (who supplier and retailer, together, we are shown not only to warn brides of the give their time for free) work on all in the industry to achieve the same dangers, but to keep our focus on introducing initiatives that are funded making our independent retailers four goals: by supplier membership fees and kind successful and profitable. • Sell dresses sponsorship – these push our industry The UK market can be a difficult • Make brides dreams come true forward and allow us to work so hard place; however, early signs show • Be profitable to continually address issues both that it is now on the up. The market • Secure our future success local and globally. is ever-changing and we – suppliers So, with the same goals it makes This is just a brief overview of the and retailers alike – have to adapt and perfect sense to work together! change to stay ahead. This is why the advantages of BBSA membership. There is, of course, the BBSA party BBSA is so important – we can only There to support you held on the Sunday evening of The prosper if we make these changes The BBSA offers support to all its Harrogate Bridal Show, which gives together, as a partnership. members, bringing them together suppliers, retailers, press and anyone not only to fight important issues like associated with the industry the Steering committee counterfeiting, but in the unfortunate chance to get together, have some event of a shop going out of business, This year, we are forming a steering fun and break down any barriers that ensuring that we help each and every and advisory committee of retailers stand in the way of success. Each to convey their needs directly to the bride to still realise her dream. retailer member gets one free ticket supplier division, addressing issues It seemed a natural progression for the party included in their £50 per and concerns and giving a balanced to launch the retailer division of the year retailer membership fee. view from both sides. By managing Association. It meant we could offer expectations and coming up with the same support if – as we have seen over the past couple of years – a solutions, we should successfully supplier goes out of business, leaving navigate through challenging times and come out stronger together. retailers in an impossible position. In their welcome pack, each The help, support and advice for retailer member receives a window retailers is far-reaching. We offer a decal – this gives brides peace of mediation service between retailer mind, knowing they are dealing with and supplier members, help and a retailer that is backed by the BBSA; advice on getting the most from BBSA, VICE CHAIR LIONHEART PORTFOLIO

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NE W DAWN amandaw yat t .com

Supplier Speak Increasingly, retailers are questioning why suppliers are introducing sub-lines that come in at a lower price. Is it in order to widen their distribution, and side-step existing exclusivity deals? Here, three top suppliers explain all…


Motivation is the key for me. If the desire to start new brands is to bypass exclusivity agreements through similar product lines or to increase the minimums required, then for those companies, the secondary brands are damaging to both retailers and suppliers alike. If, however, the point of secondary brands is that they are targeting different brides through different marketing channels, different designs and different price points, then surely it’s no different to another company being in the marketplace? Let’s take Romantica as an example. Our decision to bring out Opulence Bridal came about for two reasons: one, we had multiple designers inhouse who all needed their own range to play to their own abilities; and two, in order for us to produce the dresses we felt modern brides were looking for – we needed to access multiple price points, the spread of which would have been too wide to make sense under one label. The requirement for secondary brands has grown enormously over the past ten years. Brides are becoming more specific in what they are looking for in terms of branding, styling and company ethos, and it is only through multiple brands that companies are able to compete. Curvy Collections didn’t really exist a decade ago. However, our Silhouette

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ROMANTICA OF DEVON Romantica released Opulence as an additional collection of gowns

Collection was born directly as a result of customer feedback – it wasn’t a commercial decision designed to expand our stockist base. It was a response to overwhelming customer feedback – feedback we would have been unwise to ignore. Again, our Pure – Made in the UK label has not come from a place of trying to increase brands or renege on exclusivity agreements. This collection is being designed and made in our factory in Devon as a direct result of mine and my mother’s sincere ambition to bring production back to the UK. I grew up watching wedding dresses get made and I want to grow up knowing my kids will see the same – not watch the skills so hard-won die out forever. When a boutique makes the decision to work with our group of brands, we are able to assess which brand (or brands) will work best for their store and their brides. It is this flexibility and ability to meet demand that allows Romantica to remain a family-owned (and-run) company while staying relevant to the modern, 21st century bride. We welcome store feedback on any of our policies or brands, and I am always available at the end of a phone to discuss any specific concerns a retailer may have. James Waddington Romantica

LADYBIRD BRIDAL Ladybird have 12 different collections that span a range of price points

HOME SALE Many suppliers will do their homework, googling business addresses for their location


There are two very different reasons for secondary brands. The first being that a designer wants to offer a different collection to their main one. The brief for this can be based on price or design. If it is design, then there is a validity to this, because it targets a different bride. At Ladybird, we don’t hold with this; I believe that if you are a Ladybird stockist then you should be able to buy what is right for you from across all 12 of our collections. Our ranges cover many different looks and trends and all the important price points; however, that is a personal choice that works for us. If a retailer is taking on a secondary collection for price, then provided it is to hit their target market (for

and discontinued stock – can kill the example, they can only sell up to chance to move those products on. £1,200), the secondary brand can be the solution. But, if it is purely to chase After all, it takes retailers as much time to sell a cheap the discount or outlet bride, it can Taking on a secondary dress as it does an expensive one. If be a dangerous collection to purely chase the result of selling strategy. a sample is freeing Independent the discount or outlet up cash, this has a retailers differ from the outlets bride can be a dangerous positive effect on the business. But no on the service and strategy for retailers one wants to be a the experience busy fool. Business they offer, so chasing the low end – which could be is all about the profit. Retailers should look at secondary serviced with a sale rail, containing brands like taking on an additional the unavoidable buying mistakes J U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 37

supplier, assessing the validity and suitability for their shop. If their motivation to buy a secondary collection is to stop other retailers in their area getting it (because it has the look and feel of the main collection but comes with a cheaper price tag), then they need to voice their concerns with the supplier. The problem is that cheap is never good, and good is never cheap. Retailers carry multiple brands, so it is understandable that suppliers are looking to maximise sales. The need for a secondary collection may be borne out of lack of commitment by its retailers. If a supplier has offered exclusivity and the retailer is not committing fully, then suppliers have a responsibility to ensure their product is readily available to brides, especially after spending thousands of pounds on advertising, marketing and generating footfall. The success of a secondary brand is in how it is marketed. The research I have carried out demonstrates that multiple collections – main and secondary labels – shown on the same (or a linked) website is confusing for brides. It leads them to believe that their local stockist will carry the collection or dresses they are interested in, leaving the retailer in an awkward situation if in fact they do not carry the multiple collections shown online. Separate collections with their own websites are better for brides and retailers alike. Richard Lill UK Business Development Manager, Ladybird UK


The issue of affordable priced labels or ‘secondary brands’ is highly relevant to our retailers. This is because modern brides may turn to fast-fashion or high street products under the assumption that the ‘boutique experience’ is either superfluous or out of their budget. It is important for traditional bridal shops to outmanouevre these assumptions through elegant products and marketing. Brides should know early on in their shopping process that you offer 38 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J U N E 2 0 1 8

MAGGIE SOTTERO The Rebecca Ingram Collection is designed for the budget-savvy bride

stylish and high-quality gowns to fit their price point – as well as a personalised boutique service that is worth their time, money, and effort. Maggie Sottero Designs seeks to cater to a diverse range of budgets and aesthetics, so our labels are optimised for three key market segments. Our core line, Maggie Sottero, features elegant styles at popular price points; Sottero and Midgley offers couture styles at a slightly higher range; and Rebecca Ingram is designed for the budgetsavvy bride with an eye for the classics. This budget-friendly label, Rebecca Ingram, is especially optimised to compete with lowerpriced products in the market, since it fits many brides’ price ranges without sacrificing style or quality. A

traditional boutique can effectively outshine the competition from high-street or secondary labels in the same geographic location – by combining these types of products with clear messaging to brides who are searching for affordable dresses. To summarise, rather than bypassing boutique’s sales, certain lower-priced labels can expand a boutique’s market opportunity— allowing you to offer romantic and premium gowns and tailor-made service at the perfect price. Christina Blanchette VP Sales and Marketing, Maggie Sottero Designs Got a view you want to share, whether you’re a retailer or supplier? Email

If I was a supplier... Suppliers have been telling us what they would do if they were on the other side of the sales counter. Now award-winning boutique owner Ellie Sanderson turns the tables


or over 15 years I worked on the supplier chain side of retail, so I feel that I have some level of qualification when writing this piece! While that was a multi-national corporate retailer, we could all learn from them and the way they operate their business. If I were a supplier, one of the most important things for me would be to

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develop a business partnership with my retailers; partnerships that can be developed and built upon over the years ahead. A partnership where we agree a contract. A partnership where we discuss an exit-plan, in case it doesn’t work out for either of us. In many ways, being independent is a bit like a franchisee business model. Key agreements should be:

u An agreed area of exclusivity I don’t mean the usual ‘chuck away’ 20-mile rule. How on earth can that be appropriate given the variables? Key considerations such as population density needs to be explored, road and motorway networks, public transport links, local demographics, shopping districts and journey time to the nearest competitor.

A franchisee who agrees to a Bizarrely, I used to believe that, contract with their chosen supplier myself. I doubted my own sanity. But is given a clear plan of marketing the reality is that it is hard for any of us support in advance of purchasing, to accept failure. It’s hard for a retailer they are told what collateral they will to accept that they bought a bad receive, what online support, what dress, and hard for a supplier to admit social media support. they made a bad dress. I currently buy my product, but I But we have to learn from these have no idea if the imagery will be mistakes and change them fast. £1,300 powerful, no idea if all products will tied up in a dead sample for me is be photographed. I don’t have an £1,300 that should be buying a better agreement on promoting designer one. It is that simple. days or any other Most of all, if I was a supplier u Annual sales local events. right now I would be looking to see target in order I totally support and It’s kind-of agreed how I could create a responsive and to maintain that customer-focused supply chain. exclusivity thoroughly understand that and those who shout the loudest Not a supply chain that works to I totally support a retailer needs to invest get the most. Surely deadlines of media shows, but a and thoroughly supply chain that has the end user in understand into a collection in order to in today’s market we need to be more mind… The bride. A supply chain that is that a retailer have a deal on exclusivity sophisticated responsive to those end users’ buying needs to invest behaviors; and one that can deliver into a collection than this? product quickly as soon as a new in order to have the previously If I were a supplier, I would hold trend emerges. mentioned deal on exclusivity. focus groups with my main stockists I am very aware in writing this However, there is more than one way at key points in the year. I would want honest view that some suppliers will to skin a cat and, with times changing, to know how the year is going, what read it and think I am deluded. Those, maybe we could consider agreeing the customers are asking for, liking, I believe, will be suppliers whose sales targets that include stock disliking. I would want to know what own business purchasing. For example, If I only buy the most searched models rely six dresses from one season for one dress on their It’s hard for a retailer to solely on selling reason or another and agree to sell website is, the a minimum of 40 dresses per year – most watched accept that they bought a samples, rather than focusing on including those samples – then the video, most loved bad dress, just as it’s hard selling repeats. onus is on me. That will encourage me and engaged It was a clear to track sales, promote product Instagram post. for a supplier to admit they decision on my I would want to and review throughout the year. If I part ten years suck up every bit am falling short, then I may need to made a bad dress ago to work of commercial re-invest in more samples to achieve with labels that understand the need information to keep me the target. for partnerships and understand the So what happens if I don’t deliver tight to the end customer. need for transparency. I am lucky to my agreed target? Exclusivity is work with some of the world’s finest reviewed, I am asked to buy more u Product support designers and quality brands, and I am samples and so on. If I were a supplier, I would want to proud that those relationships go back I had done this with one of my make sure every dress in every store suppliers already and it worked a was working. If not, then I would want a decade with most of them. I worry at the moment that our treat for both of us, and really helped to know why not. We cannot afford to develop their brand name. have dresses hanging on our valuable suppliers are being driven by trade The shame was that the same rail space taking no money and having shows and not customers. Frankly, that is one big mess… supplier then went on to divide its no interest from our brides. Let’s be range into three sub-labels and, as a honest, it does happen. We are expecting a flood of views – result, destroy the business. Exchanging, re-modeling or those shared from other retailers and refunding is something that should those opposing from suppliers. Email u Marketing support be considered. There are too many This is a huge area these days, examples of suppliers telling stores us on; because it covers advertising, that they are the only one that can’t if you’d prefer to be ‘anonymous’ in imagery, websites and social media. sell a particular style. print, we’ll respect that.

This has to be managed at source by the supplier, the same supplier who has a road map of the UK with target locations on it that have been considered for all the above reasons. I firmly believe the ‘let me check my map for your area’ is a thing of the past – that map simply does not contain any of the above. And, of course, product must always remain rare and exclusive.

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SUCCESS FACTORS According to Rob and Andrew Pearce of Creatiques Bridal Boutique, forging the right relationships, and treating them with care and respect, is more vital than ever in today’s tough climate. Have trust in your suppliers, they say, and always ask questions when you need answers


By then, we had built a very strong bond with all our hen they say it takes two, it certainly does! suppliers. Going back to the ‘it takes two’ ethos, that bond Having a bridal store is not just about the is vital in business – a well-affirmed connection does take bride and the sale – where would you be time to develop, but it has to be a priority, based on trust. without the support from suppliers and And you have to have trust in that label and the supplier industry professionals? Building a relationship with ‘them’ is for it to succeed in your store. You have to find the gowns something that takes time. You need to plant the seed and that work for you and your bride (it takes two, again… The watch it grow; some will wither and die. Others will flourish. brides need to trust you). After all, you are only as good An award-winning business has longevity, but it as the dresses you are selling, and without that special does not happen overnight. When we very first went to connection with a label, where would you be? Harrogate we were designing and making our own label We feel now that the designers are listening to their (and not just bridal dresses, but also costume, ballroom stockists’ needs and requirements, but we want to know and theatre gowns), so for us it was an inspiration to view, about suppliers’ social media activity. What they are choose and speak to so many suppliers about their labels. doing to drive their label into to your store? How much We did meet with some negativity; there were those advertising is being put behind the collection? What who questioned our very presence, asking what we knew interaction exists between the designer and your store? We about retail. But we had a good background – Rob had can all have budgets for social media, been a store manager for Next and without interaction from both sides, also a section manager for John Lewis, We want to know about but how will this work? And looking at the so he knew more than most. other side of the coin, designers know We researched many brands before suppliers’ social media how tough it is out there for us retailers… we attended the exhibition, diligently activity. What they are But has anyone considered how tough checking out who was represented in the surrounding areas and who was doing to drive their label it is for them, too? The investment that they are making for us as stockists is already well-established. The first label into to our store? also huge. we bought into was Justin Alexander. There are now the big boys and the Ten years ago we placed it in our new ‘pop up’ stores happening, as well as the brides out there retail store in Southsea. Based on our business projection, who believe that they can do what you do, because the it performed well, and we were soon ready to consider experience they had with you was amazing. How many further additions. With care, we chose three labels. brides who you delighted with your service have gone on We flowered and grew the business to the next level; to open their own shop in your area? within three years we moved to a larger store, taking Justin Strengths and weaknesses also help to build that brand Alexander with us and adding more labels to our offering, we are constantly talking about. We all ask ourselves what including Mark Lesley. 42 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J U N E 2 0 1 8

else can we do to promote our shop, to bring more brides in? What events can we hold to show that what we do is really different from other stores around us? How can we be more interactive with brides? How many hashtags can you actually add to each Instagram picture? And should you plan Facebook posts for the entire week – is this itself a full-time job? But the FOMO (the ‘fear of missing out’) becomes stronger – and none of want to miss out. Since social media has become the key promotional arm to any business, everyone is looking at what other stores post and trying to be quirky in filtering their own images to make their post stand out. We think that this is an incredible route to successful interaction, without your having to be in your store 24 hours a day. But how many stores interact with their brides? What is your response rate to answering your brides back on social media? Ours is a maximum of ten minutes! We can remember back to years ago when no one spoke about their business, no one asked about which gown was your best seller. Today it is different. We have made very good and close friends in the industry by talking ‘shop’, and engaging with other retailers, exchanging ideas and, where needed, giving advice. Yet again, it takes two! In our area, we have very good relationships with other stores – something that would not have happened in the past; support has shown its value time and time again. Supplier to boutique to client to bride to recommendation

– without all of these, where would you be? It takes two. We have been in business now for 27 years, through the good times and the tough times. Today, these are definitely the tough times. But we’ve stayed strong, and feel that we are working with the best in the business. It’s a two-way thing. We’ll bang this drum again… It takes two. We here at Wedding Trader are always interested in your own business’ ethos or mantra. What is your business approach to the industry? Email us at

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Barcelona Big Time Sensational setting with more top brands on show than ever before. An incredible flow of visitors in buying mode. It’s confirmed: BBFW is the international benchmark for the bridal sector


arcelona Bridal Fashion Week has long been regarded by influencers as the place to be to witness first-hand the new directions in bridal. That the 2018 edition topped expectations – those of exhibitors as well as visiting retailers – is testament to the sheer investment of time and expertise that goes into planning and staging this vast event. Leading up to the weekend trade buying expo at the end of April is the world-famous fiveday programme of individual

catwalk shows. This year, the party started with Pronovias at the city’s prestigious Fira Montjuïc, where some 1,500 guests – celebrities from the world of fashion and film, international socialites, press and key buyers – saw the unveiling of sensational ‘In Bloom’ collection for 2019. And what a way to set the stage, the atmosphere and the mounting expectation for the following days’ designer shows… Jesus Peiro was first up, then Cristina Tamborero, Jordi Dalmau and Rosa Clara. Remember, these are not your glide-down-the

catwalk presentations that are the norm at other shows; rather, they are your full-on production numbers directed by top talents in the field and designed to stun. This is about theatre as much as it is about fashion. The sets change; models are accompanied by dance troupes, singers, or musicians, and lighting is a masterpiece of technical ingenuity. As you can imagine, the competition to surprise, delight and amaze is considerable. On day two there were no less than six performances – starting

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Missed out on Barcelona this year? You must plan to be there in 2019. If you did attend last month, we’d love to hear about your impressions and, of course, your best buys. Email 46 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J U N E 2 0 1 8


at 10am with a showcase for new talents and ending at 9pm with this year’s Barcelona Bridal Night, where a hand-picked audience enjoy the catwalk of a long-awaited collection from an internationallyrenowned designer. This year it was Reem Acra, at Les Drassanes Reials, the medieval shipyards of Barcelona that now house the Barcelona Maritime Museum, and the applause was loud. In between the day’s first presentation and the fabulous Reem event came sleek shows from Sophie et Voila, menswear house Carlo Pignatelli, the very fabulous Isabel Sanchis, and Immaculada Garcia. The bank of photographers and film makers that work tirelessly at one end of the great catwalk heighten the pulse and set the tempo; by this point in the proceedings, audiences are on a real style-high and cannot wait for more. Bring on Marylise, Rembo Styling, Ana Torres, Isabel Zapardiez, Cymbeline, Marco & Maria, Matilde Cano, Ester Noriega, and Barcelona’s own YolanCris. Then come the international names, including Maggie Sottero, Carla Ruiz, and Demetrios. Champagne flows in between each show, and a never-ending offering of canapés is served – beautiful to look at and wonderful to sample – while conversation and exchange of impressions formed raises the sound levels by several pitches in the lavishly dressed lounges around the catwalk theatre. You have to bear in mind that the sensational numbers on the Barcelona catwalk are there to make an impression and enhance a reputation, as well as reinforce a position of influencer. Again, they are theatre, and as the stars of the stage, they have to stand up and stand out. That is what show business is all about, and what this event promotes so well. But trend messages were delivered loud and clear: that regal lace still reigns, that sleeves are important, that silhouettes are best on the straight and narrow, that flow is the way to go and that detail is big and bold, or defined and discreet. In occasionwear, it is all about colour – strong shades in combined plains, or swirls of colour in exotic prints. Those who missed the catwalk programme this year but attended the three-day buying event will have breathed in the heady air of excitement set by the previous days’ events. And they will have been delighted in what was on offer in the central buying halls – names loved and admired, collections that promise success. This is the way to spend your budget, when you have incredible choice in an atmosphere that harbours a sense of the good things to come in the seasons ahead.




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YO U R P R O B L EM S O U R S O LU T I ON S The ‘P’ needn’t be a real problem – it could be a question that’s been seeking an answer from an expert in a particular field. We took this one, about who does what in sales, to Andy Murray of Murray Agencies, who has sat in all camps in bridal and loves being where he is right now… Having been involved in sales within the bridal industry for the best part of 30 years, Andy has often been asked by his retailers to explain the differences between the following routes to market – the manufacturer selling their own brand with the help of their sales reps, the distributor/agent, and the sole agent. “I’ve been there and done them all,” he says, so who better to explain the various roles and the responsibilities that go with each?

The manufacturer selling their own brand “I started my journey in sales,” explains Andy, “in the early 1980s. I was drafted into the family business by my older brother, Mike Murray, who – despite my lack of experience – took a huge leap of faith and employed me as a sales rep to help generate business and establish new accounts for Cupid Bridal Gowns. 48 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J U N E 2 0 1 8

“That was where my journey began. Cupid was a UK manufacturer and, like many other domestic companies, preferred to employ its own sales team. This provides the manufacturer with a dedicated sales force that is, usually, remunerated with a salary and a small commission and (/or) bonus package achievable against sales targets.”

While the arrangement may be very beneficial to the manufacturer, Andy personally found it limiting in terms of his personal growth, development and earning potential. However, to many, the stability of a regular salary is often more appealing because it appears to offer greater financial security. “I guess it is horses for courses,” he says.

sell to, how they service the territory and the hours they work, which means that they are principally their own boss, That, Andy explains, also benefits the retailer because: “as a selfemployed agent, you have to go the extra mile for your customers as they are your primary source of income.” Andy first became an agent in the late 1990s, when he left his family business and went down the self-employed route, contracted first to Dutch company Modeca – then a new name to the UK. Andy successfully got the brand off the ground. “Backing the wrong business can be damaging Sole Agent to your reputation, as I This is what Andy has found out later with a found to be the most company called Intuzuri,” he interesting sales channel: says. “But as a result of the the sole agent. “I found it success I met with Modeca, to be enjoyable and more I was head-hunted by rewarding, with benefits to Pronovias. The four years I both agent and retailer. spent as an agent with them “In a nutshell, a sole was a fantastic experience, agent is appointed by a company to exclusively sell and one that still stands me products on their behalf in a in good stead today. “For me the bridal defined territory. industry is one of the most “Working on a set creative industries within percentage of sales, the the fashion sector. Needless agent receives payments from the principal company to say, I still have the same boundless enthusiasm and by way of commission, passion for bridalwear as I usually ranging from 10 did when I first started.” percent to 15 percent. Twenty years on, Andy The agent does not have is still a self-employed the responsibilities of agent and now represents distribution, invoicing or what he believes are two debt collection, and is only of the most exciting brands involved with sales and account management within to enter the UK market in recent years – Whiteday the designated territory.” by José Maria Peiró from In general, sales agents Barcelona and Nicole Spose have the potential to earn from Italy. “I believe that more money – usually earnings are uncapped and whatever your role in sales, relate to how hard the agent always remember that people buy from people works. Agents have more – and always endeavor to autonomy and can make meet your clients’ needs.” decisions about who they Distributor/Agent A distributor is essentially an independent sales contractor who enters into a distributor agreement, and buys products in bulk at a reduced margin from a manufacturer (usually overseas). Then they will sell them on to their own customers in their domestic market. This can involve the distributor in considerable expense – in stock-holding, product dispatch, paperwork and credit control, but the reduced purchasing price enables them to add their own margin to cover costs and make a profit.

Andy’s excitement about the two new collections he is representing got us keen to know more. The resulting Wedding Trader Exclusive with José Maria Peiró (see page 76) provides insight into this beautiful Barcelona brand that Andy handles across the UK and Ireland. We’ll also be in conversation shortly with the team behind Italy’s famous Nicole Sposa collection of collections, which Andy represents in the south of England. Contact Andy on: +44 (0)7540 323418 J U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 49





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!



Clap hands... comes Savin Andrey Savin of Savin London is regarded as one of the hottest properties in bridal design today. Why is that?


t White Gallery in March, the Savin catwalk show brought the house down. Thunderous applause met every single outfit as models sashayed down the catwalk, introducing surprise after surprise. There was nothing ordinary, or sensible, or safe to be seen – instead, each gown had something special to say. When Savin does simple, he makes a statement; when he does detail he piles on the style. This is a man who sets his own standards and then goes all out to surpass them. “Well, thank you for a lovely compliment,” is his reaction to the praise and admiration showered in his direction. “It is always nice to feel appreciated. I do think there are many reasons why we stand out. We are fashion-forward for the bridal industry, yet respectful to the values of marriage and certain codes within the ceremony. We have also been working hard towards building a solid supply chain structure that allows us flexibility, a guaranteed high quality due to our in-house production and the freedom to develop design.” Andrey has a career history that allows him to understand every viewpoint, and from every side. “I have always worked in fashion and I

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absolutely love it,” he says. “My first ever job was as a sales assistant at the Lanvin flagship store in Paris, selling menswear. I then worked my way through various departments within the fashion industry, from buying to merchandising, ending up managing the manufacturing facility for a small couture brand in London.” Moving on to design and producing his own-name collection was a natural progression. By the time he took this step, Andrey had already worked in every sector of the fashion industry.

When he does simple, he makes a statement; when he does detail, he piles on the style. This is a man who sets his own standards But we want to know about the planning that goes into each season’s collection, and whether there is a structure behind it. “The honest answer is no,” he tells us. “Our collections grow organically. I travel between stockists, listening to the brides and their comments. I also fit our brides within our flagship store in Greenwich, London. I also

continuously source fabrics, patterns and laces, and experiment with different techniques. So there isn’t a starting point, per se. I do not try to tie a collection to a specific theme, but I find the inspiration in our brides, their lives and their needs. I think this what makes our brand really popular.” While still in the process of confirming new stockists that the Savin team met – and obviously hugely impressed – at White Gallery, Andrey says there will be some exciting announcements coming up in the near future. “The brand is growing quickly,” he confirms. Does he set a criteria before adding a new name to his retail network? “A passion for bridal, desire and excitement for the brand, and an easy and professional approach to brides is key,” he says. “I work closely with all our stockists on a personal level and it is vital that we all speak the same language. All of our current and future stockists are smart, strong, brilliant women who are passionate about their stores and their brides. It is a pleasure sharing this journey.” Having his own flagship store in London is of a great advantage to his stockists. It is not designed to compete, and brides who travel from other cities and countries are always

KEEP AN EYE OUT There will be lots to see at Barcelona – over 300 companies will be showcasing their wares

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encouraged to go to their local retailer. “Working with our retailers, stimulating their sales and encouraging reorders is absolutely vital for us,” he confirms. “All I would say to retailers everywhere is ‘Be yourself. Be unique. Be attentive, professional and passionate’. That is a recipe for success.” Andrey always goes for wow-factor. “The runway allows us to push the boundaries, to create press pieces and showcase our vision. Although the initial sample gowns are normally ordered without modifications, it is only natural that designs are slightly adjusted to suit individual requests,”

he explains. “Our collections are very eclectic and fit different occasions, different weddings and ultimately different brides. For the runway, we love working with feathers; on the White Gallery catwalk, we showed a short beaded, jumpsuit with a long tulle robe that had a feathered Chantilly lace trim – my new love and obsession... Until the next runway!” For the stores, his beautiful Amelia gown, with 3D multi-coloured lace and pearl embroidery is a real star. Retail prices of Savin London range from £2,400 up to £5,000. “They reflect the work, the production process,

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the design, the raw materials, and all the hours that go into creating our gowns in the heart of London,” Andrey says. “They’re in line with expectations and most brides feel we offer value for money within that price bracket. Of course, you’ll have to see the our gowns for yourself and form your own opinion!” If you haven’t seen Andrey’s new collection, we urge you to do so. You’ll be clapping for joy. +44 (0)20 3581 6626


Gill Harvey At every show, in every location, the Eliza Jane Howell stand is busy from the time the doors open. There’s always a queue waiting to see the latest collection. Why? Because it is something truly special, epitomising the elegance associated by bygone eras. Gill Harvey is the brand’s star… Yet again, you got a fanfare of applause on your stand at White Gallery. What makes your brand really stand out? Thank you! We enjoy the theatrical ambience of the catwalk, so we all put a huge effort into making our appearance as spectacular as possible. I believe that a catwalk has to have an element of fantasy about it to really shine, and with our glamorous approach to bridal gowns, we hope to leave the audience wanting to see more.

the event she is dressing for. I want her to experience a spectacular entrance when she wears one of my gowns.

How did Eliza Jane Howell come into being as a label? My mother told me that Eliza Jane Howell was established in 1890. My maternal grandmother started her eponymous business which was described as ‘Wool Merchant and stockings knitted to order’ with her aunt. They used hand knitting machines from home, which Where did you learn your We took two dozen of our still fill the attic of my mother’s house in design skills? Swansea, South Wales, to this day. I came to London when I was The knitwear was sold from most glamorous evening 18, where I studied at Central St. Swansea and Neath markets, where gowns and re-made them they gained a loyal clientele – including Martins and then at The Royal College of Art several football teams! This was in an in ivory to show at the for my MA in Fashion. age before tech fabrics became the Harrogate Bridal Show My first love and speciality was clothing for sport. A warm wool sweater knitwear, but my collections were and matching long socks were the always inspired by vintage evening gowns and were often uniform of yesterday’s football players! worn to weddings and evening events. My knits were Just over five years ago, when Andrea Cutts and I sold at stores such as Harrods in London and Bergdorf started working together, we wanted to create a stunning Goodman in New York. new bridal collection. I had known Andrea for many years and had always admired her individual style and Who have you worked for in the past? marketing skills in the fashion business. We both felt that My life as a designer started with my Italian Medici bridal dresses were not catering for the modern bride, knitwear collections. It wasn’t long before beaded evening who is far more aware of fashion trends and has also gowns were added to the collection which also covered developed a personal style long before she is ready to mother of the bride outfits. choose her wedding gown. My approach to designing the collections has always So, we took two dozen of our most glamorous been to make a woman look as gorgeous as possible for evening gowns and re-made them in ivory to show at 56 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J U N E 2 0 1 8

the Harrogate Bridal Fair. All the dresses were handbeaded and were made in less than five weeks. Our stand was mobbed and like that, Eliza Jane Howell was reborn. What’s the relationship in terms of product type and distribution with the Gill Harvey label? The Gill Harvey collection often reflects and compliments what I have designed for Eliza Jane Howell. I feel that mother and daughter frequently have a similar taste in clothes – I certainly gained my passion for fashion from my mother, who loved dressing up for grand evenings out and friends’ weddings. I always admired her sense of style on these occasions. How many retailers do you have in the UK? And how many of them are abroad – and if so, where? Currently, we have 65 retailers in the UK and over 40 retailers overseas – including Kleinfeld in New York – and accounts in most European cities including Paris, Geneva, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Brussels, and Madrid. Last year we opened our first account in Perth, Australia, and we know this will lead to others in the future, which is very exciting.

How do you promote the label… And your stockists? We do this by advertising both in magazines and online. We are extremely active on social media, especially on Instagram, which our stockists love. We also exhibit at Brides the Show and Bride Luxe consumer shows, which support our stockists. In your opinion, what do you think is the most flattering of all silhouettes? A gown cut on the bias and then beaded is a hard shape to beat whatever your body shape. You can add beaded and flared inserts to the skirt, which give drama and movement for a softer, more romantic feel. Oh, and a dramatic tulle train with a scattering of beads is a must! Do you design with a particular size or shape in mind? People sometimes look at my gowns and think you need to be tall and skinny to look good in them. The opposite is often true. In our London shop, I have met many brides who prove that a woman with curves can look sensational in Eliza Jane Howell. Size is only a number. We have successfully dressed many plus size brides. A beaded gown is one of the most flattering looks for a curvy bride. All that is needed,

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irrespective of size, is good underwear, a beautiful dress and the confidence to wear it. Our Instagram account is full of our real brides, covering of all ages and sizes. What about your retail operation in London? What kind of customer shops there? We have built up a loyal clientele, including bespoke customers, since we opened our boutique almost five years ago. I have met so many interesting, international women who are amazed when they discover us. Beautiful, hand-made evening dresses are hard to find in London these days. Also, our mother of the bride collection does not follow the ‘uniform’ of the ruched dress and bolero that is on offer in other MOTB collections. We aim to be different and this is why mothers of the bride hunt us down and are delighted when they find us! What can you tell us about the new collection? We have named the new collection Grand Voyage, after the 17th- and 18th-century custom of the grand tours undertaken by noble gentry of the day. They visited the great cities of Europe as an educational rite of passage of culture and sophistication, often returning with great works of art to decorate their family estates. The new collection has been inspired to include a softer, more romantic look, but with all of the glamour, sophistication and drama you would expect from Eliza Jane Howell. The emphasis of every dress is to produce an heirloom for future generations to marvel over. Hand beading mixed with subtle appliqué and touches of hand embroidery blend together on the finest background of tulle or pure silk, to make the perfect bridal gown. What is proving to be a best seller thus far? Pompeii looks like being a real winner. The hand beading is so tiny and intricate that it looks like thread. Where do you source your fabrics? The finest tulles and silks are sent to our beaders from Europe and the Far East. Retail price range? £1,200 to £3,250 What are your plans for the future? Future plans include international growth. We showcased in Barcelona again this season, and were thrilled with the response. We are ready to spread our wings and take Eliza Jane Howell across the globe. Our collection is going down a storm in Australia, and that’s just the start… Eliza Jane Howell +44 (0)20 7436 2992

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H OW TO: WEB T EMPLATES Does your website feel stuck in the noughties? Needs a bit of TLC? In this introductory run-through, we’ll discuss why using a web template might be the right step for you DON’T PANIC This image of ‘intimidating’ coding is not what web templates are all about!


isiting a website is a lot like hiring a car. When everything just works, it all goes by unnoticed, often under-appreciated. You take it all for granted. The steering wheel is easy to move, the dashboard is illuminated and easy to digest… Everything is where it should be, in order for you to drive it from A to B. Most of the time, you don’t even a need to think about what you’re doing. It’s when things are slightly off that you realise, ‘Hang on… Something’s not quite right

here.’ It took you ages to even locate the ignition – not a good start. You scan the dashboard, checking everything is where it should be, but the writing and iconography are hard to read. No doubt the petrol gauge is on there somewhere, but you’ve given up trying to find it. You put your foot down, but the accelerator pedal is sticky and you’re kangaroo-ing down the street like a clichéd learner driver. And the air-con is stuck on freezing cold and you can’t seem to turn it off… An extreme analogy, perhaps.

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But in this scenario, there’s no way you’d ever hire a car from that company or use that manufacturer of vehicles ever again. Visiting a website is a similar experience. When it’s easy to navigate your way around, where links to further pages are in the right places – logical places – you can gather the information you needed from that page on autopilot, even if it’s your first time viewing that site. If, on the other hand, it’s a hard trek to find that one piece of simple data, it feels like you’re wading through a quagmire, wasting time. And hell hath no fury like a customer irritated by poor web design. So let’s not irritate our customers. Instead, let’s make it super-easy for them to find the information they want from our website. Heck… We could even make it an enjoyable experience for them. What is a web template? Having a good website can start by picking the right website template. A web template is a generic webpage that has been pre-designed to a certain degree. This means that all the HTML or CSS coding required to build these pages has already been done for you, so you can ‘plug-in’ your own content and images into this smart layout. Sounds great? It is. The beauty of a web template is that while it may start out as a generic, bland design, you can add plenty of flavour and character to


Unique design very opposite of what you need. it, making it very much your own. We mentioned two key words You don’t want to be so unique You’re not starting with a blank there – ‘unique’ and ‘prepared’. that your site is too ‘busy’, too canvas, which is often a scary illogical to navigate because thought. Here, the blueprints have Let’s tackle the first one: a unique nothing is where you’d expect been written for you. All they need design. We’re going to assume you’ve browsed the internet a it. We’re back at the car analogy is that bit of polish. – if you can’t find the The other bonus is a You don’t need to go for flashing lights speedometer on the financial one – a web dashboard, you start to template means you don’t and wacky designs to be unique. In have major doubts. need to hire a professional Instead, by unique, we web developer, someone fact, these are terrible ideas; you don’t simply mean it should who knows the computer want to make your site ‘too busy’… or be represent you. A colour coding required to build scheme married with a site. In fact, when different for different’s sake your business philosophy. developers are hired, fair amount in your time. Like it If you can successfully dovetail they often use web templates or not, we live in a world now those two things together, your themselves, when building sites where our lives are dictated by site will begin to gain your own for their clients. Why? Because the world wide web – the way we voice, your own personality. That templates are proven to work. communicate, the way we bank, is how you want to make it unique Now, you can’t always get a the way we shop (for wedding – not by having everything backpre-built template for free. But if dresses?) – so you know that every to-front, aching to be different you’re confident enough and you for different’s sake. don’t want to spend the money on site you visit has its own flavour, labour, paying for a template and its own voice. Market research filling in the final bits yourself can Talking of banking, Halifax, for The second thing we mentioned be satisfying both economically example, feels like a different was being prepared. You would and from a pride point of view. It website to Barclays. But they are never make any business will be something that you built. both doing the same thing; they are both helping you manage your decisions without solid market research, so why would you be Can I really do this? finances. In order to be unique any different when it comes to You might have paused, here. from Halifax, Barclays does not redesigning your website? Perhaps you’ve been hit with need to think flashing lights or Visit a bunch of other boutique a sudden lack of confidence. wacky design to stand out. In fact, ‘What am I thinking? I can’t build those are both terrible ideas – the websites. Get out your pen a website! ’ But the truth is that actually, you can. You don’t need OUR OWN TEMPLATE Wedding Trader’s website anywhere near the amount of – – technical know-how you might follows a web template, too think is required to build the website you’ve envisioned. It’s in every web template designers’ interest to be easy-to-use and not alienate us, their potential BRIDALBAY clientele. The best website Lucy’s new venture builders will have been prehas been driven by the designed to a gorgeous level, and realisation that the market they’ll be categorised, meaning and brides’ shopping you can whittle down the right habits have changed design for you by theme or industry. At the same time, they will be customisable, not too rigid, so you can relax knowing that your website will be unique. If you go into the process fully prepared, this could take you a matter of hours – not days or weeks. J U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 63

them landscape, one above and paper and write down what the other. Imagine that the top you like and what you don’t like sheet of paper is the first thing about each one. Are the colours that the customers see on their easy on the eye, or garish? Is the choice of font easy to read, or are computer screen when they visit your website. Look at the list you you squinting? Is it text-heavy, have just written. What do you or is there not enough text or think should be on that screen? information present? How have What is the most important, the these websites used images to most valuable good effect? Have they used video at Think of your landing and useful thing to them? How can all, and if so, what page as if a customer you make their have they filmed? Where have they had just entered your lives easy? Sketch this onto positioned the menu shop. If your landing the piece of paper, bars and is the site the second easy to navigate? page is too garish or with piece being Can you find what you want with the too bland, what does when they scroll down (so still minimal amount of that say about your very important clicks (or taps, if you’re viewing it on business in general? things, but not the immediate thing a phone or tablet)? that they see). Similarly, do this Talking of tablets, does the site in portrait, because a fair number translate well to mobile? of your customers will be viewing If you do this with a decent your site on their mobile phone. number of sites, you will quickly This first page is vitally discover which sites have the best templates, layouts or design, and important. This is called the which ones don’t. Now you should ‘landing page’ and it is the very first impression a customer has have a great list of things you of you and your website. Think of know that work (and what things don’t) for the kind of site you want your landing page as if a customer has just entered your boutique for to offer to your customers. the first time. If your landing page is bland or too garish, what does Get the sketchpad out It might be worthwhile taking two that say about your business in general? We all know anyone can sheets of A4 paper and placing TAKE YOUR PICK Template specialists Wix ( offer you lots of pre-made layouts

lose a customer like that. Now you should have a rough sketch of how you’d like your website to look. You have a rough sort of layout in mind. You have a colour scheme that’s neither headache-inducing nor dull as ditchwater. After viewing other sites, you know what sort of images you need, so you can get snapping. Maybe you want a video to feature on your site too; in which case, you’ll need to plan and then film it. If you want to include a blog feature on your site, you can write a couple of pieces in advance, so you have content to publish straight away. Done all of that? Sounds like you’re fully prepared to be in a position to get your hands on an actual web template and start building this thing. Then the real fun begins… What’s next? That’s it for Part 1, where we hope you’re in a better position to approach picking the right web template to suit your needs. Next issue in Part 2 we’ll delve a little deeper into web templates – we’ll talk you through the steps of inputting all your personal touches and we’ll even touch on learning some of the basics to HTML and CSS coding. Don’t panic, it’s not as difficult as you might fear!


Once you’ve taken a look at a range of websites and have gathered some thoughts about how you want your approximate template to look, it’s time to find the right template for you. We’ve listed our Top Five websites that will help you on your own web template journey… • • • • •

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Clothes to treasure for your memorable day 020 7821 9499


Top note Headdresses Flower power and delicate detailing have replaced yesteryear’s formal tiara. Hairvines and halos that can twist to create their own shape are key to the latest crop of finishing touches accessories. There’s jewellery to match, too, from all the leading names

BIANCO EVENTO Products: Tiaras, combs, headpieces, clips, vines, fascinators, mini-hats, headbands Materials: Lace, Organza, Crystals, Pearls, Glass beads Colours: White, ivory, powder pink Number of pieces: 70 Delivery: 3-5 working days Retail price range: £40-£110 T: +49 30 330 060 5945 E: W:

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ARIANNA Products: Tiaras, headbands, hair vines, halos, combs, pins, Materials: Pearls, crystals, filigrees, chains Colours: Lots including ivory, white, blush, silver, gold, rose gold and rhodium Number of pieces: 75 Delivery: 3-4 weeks Retail price range: £60-£360 T: +44 (0)1254 665104 E: W:

HALO & CO Products: Headbands, vines, combs, side pieces Materials: White opal with dark muted metals Colours: Dark and sultry Number of pieces: 45 Delivery: 12 weeks Retail price range: From £200 T: +44 (0)1745 403137 E: W:

IVORY & CO Products: Tiaras, hairvines, clips, combs, side headpieces, Materials: Rose gold, hand-painted enamels, blush pearls Colours: Bronze, mocha, pale blush, Grecian gold Number of pieces: 700 Delivery: Same day despatch Retail price range: £30-£265 T: +44 (0)1684 592030 E: W:

LILY BELLA Products: Hair vines Materials: Freshwater pearls Colours: Ivory and silver Number of pieces: 25 vines Delivery: 7-14 days Retail price range: €59-£160 T: +44 (0)1494 670 620 E: W:

LINZI JAY Products: Vines, clips, floral garlands, bridal band, tiaras Materials: Opal stones, pearls, diamantés, silk and painted flowers Colours: Pastels rose gold, silver, gold and rhodium Number of pieces: 122 Delivery: From summer, 1-3 days if in stock Retail price range: £30-£140 T: +44 (0)1254 665104 E: W:

MORILEE Products: Tiaras, clips, bands, vines, halos, combs Materials: Crystal, pearl, rhinestone Colours: Silver, rose gold, gold, Champagne Number of pieces: 16 Retail price range: £250-£995 T: +44 (0)1636 700889 E: W:

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NOVIA BLANCA Products: Tiaras, vines, combs Materials: Freshwater pearls, high grade zirconia stones Colours: Silver, gold, peach Number of pieces: 150 Delivery: 3 days Retail price range: €30-€150 T: +48 888 799 766 E: W:

TWILIGHT DESIGNS Products: Tiaras, vines, hair pins, clips, birdcages Materials: Freshwater pearls and Swarovski elements Colours: Silver, light gold, rose gold Number of pieces: 200+ Delivery: 5-7 days T: +44 (0)1827 55444 E: W:

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RICHARD DESIGNS Products: Hair vines, hair combs, hairbands, tiaras, circlets, birdcage veils, hair pins Materials: Pearl, crystal, Colours: Rose gold, gold, silver Number of pieces: 200+ Retail price range: £40-£320 T: 01353 661600 E: W:

JUPON/POIRIER Products: Tiaras, hair vines, flowers, combs, bandanas, birdcage Materials: Rose gold, silver gold, pearls and crystals from Swarovski, fabric flowers Colours: Many, from pastels to brights Number of pieces: 400+ Delivery: 1-2 weeks Retail price range: £30-200 T: +44 (0)1753 622922 E: W:

MIRANDA TEMPLETON Products: Vines, pins, combs, headbands, sidebands, tiaras Materials: Shimmering leaves, diamanté blooms and a scattering of white opal and blush crystal Colours: Silver, gold, heritage gold and rose gold Number of pieces: 60 Delivery: 3-6 weeks Retail price range: £65-£195 T: +44 (0)7962 226543 E: W:

POLLY & BELLA Products: Tiaras, hair vines, hair combs, hair pins and side tiaras Materials: Large Swarovski fancy stones in geometric shapes Colours: Rose gold, denim blue, jet, clear, gold and green Number of pieces: 15 Delivery: 4-6 weeks Retail price range: £250-£995 T: +44 (0)7515 549061 E: W:

CYNTHIER Products: Head chains, headbands, hair clips, hair combs, hair wreath Materials: Crystal rhinestones, Swarovski crystals and pearls Colours: Rose gold, ivory, gold, off white, silver, white opal Number of pieces: 76 Delivery: 14-16 working days Retail price range: £40-£120 T: +61 416 291 318 E: W:

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Blogger’s Best Alison, a.k.a. @mrspandp, is not only a successful blogger, she’s also a champion of social media, too

Blog name Plans and Presents When the blog launched November 2011 Visitor stats and awards • 20,000 monthly visitors • 19,400 Twitter Followers • 3,200 Facebook Followers • 1,200 Instagram Followers • Listed as No.1 UK Wedding Tweeter for over four years • Shortlisted three times for UK Wedding Blog Award – Wedding Blog Category, and Best Newcomer at Wedding Magazine Blog Awards People obsess over stats, and they can be important, but I measure my success when someone says my advice has had an impact on them.

I wrote an informative and educational blog to counteract misconceptions of the industry being one that ‘rips people off’

What has been your bestperforming blog post? I really challenged society in its perception of the wedding industry. There had been lots of negative press with the widespread notion that the wedding industry was ripping people off, inflating prices and playing with peoples’ emotions. In any industry there will be unscrupulous suppliers, Tell us about Plans and Presents… but most wedding suppliers are The blog is diverse and eclectic, honest, hard-working and small because a blog doesn’t need to fit a tick box. Brides, grooms, and couples business owners with families, mortgages and bills to pay. don’t come in a one-size-fits-all. I wrote an informative and Everyone’s story is personal to them, educational piece to counteract whether they got proposed in their the misconceptions and to give my living room or in an extravagant support to those amazing individuals gesture or location. The resources that inspire me every day. I wanted to provide covers a wide across all sorts of wedding genres, with advice that adapts to the advice/dear-society-please-givewedding-suppliers-a-break individual’s needs. J U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 71

feel what they feel. Weddings can be big, emotional rollercoasters in a person’s life. The tears, frustrations, the happiness, joy and the drama all play out, and that’s what’s captivating. Every wedding is unique in that no other person can reflect themselves like they do. When their personalities shine out to create their special day, it always amazes me. All weddings have their own allure – where there is love, there is magic! What makes a great photograph? The photographer. As artists, they see beauty in everything, but capturing it as it’s seen is something of a technical skill. There’s visualisation, framing, the composition, lighting and editing… The creative process is not a straightforward one. I believe that experience in photography can elevate something from ordinary to extraordinary. That’s a beautiful thing, and something I look out for in photos. Personally I love a great expression of colour in images, but similarly I’ll admit to having a soft spot for a stunning monochrome image that evokes ‘old Hollywood’ – if done right, it can be really stirring stuff! Should bridal boutiques run blogs on their own website? Yes. Any business knows themselves best and what they have to offer, and businesses across the UK, so it’s my How do you use social media? I think that blogging is a great tool to I use it a lot! I Facebook and Instagram focus to connect my readers with showcase that. Boutiques and their these amazing individuals who can but my heart has always been with consultants have years of experience inspire and create the day they have Twitter. I think everyone finds a platform where they work best – and envisioned. Ultimately, if I wouldn’t be of working with brides, and the advice they can offer both in person and happy to use the product or service through Twitter I connected with so online is invaluable. many people in the wedding industry myself, then I wouldn’t feature it. While social media is a big focus for that I would never have done in real brands because of how it connects What makes a good story? life. That list is rather large! quickly, evergreen content (that’s I schedule a lot to keep a pleasant Its always about the people. Human theirs and is always available to connection is everything. Whenever work/life balance, but I’m still very you read a book or watch a movie, you brides) makes more sense in the active and love to chat – that’s the grander scheme of things. fundamental basis of social media. Do you come straight out if you regard something as second-rate and advise retailers, consumers against it? As a blogger, I always aim to spotlight on trusted suppliers and brands. I’ve always been an advocate for small 72 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J U N E 2 0 1 8

I have a soft spot for a stunning monochrome images that evokes ‘old Hollywood’ – if done right, they can be stirring stuff

Head over to to read more of Alison’s brilliant blogs, and follow her on Twitter @mrspandp. Thinking of starting a blog on your own website? Got questions for blogging gurus that you’d like to ask? Email them to

Shop talk Fatma Sofi could always be found at Harrogate – not as a buyer, but as an exhibitor with her jewellery collection. Today, her retail business, Sofi Designs Bridal, carries many of the labels that showed alongside her


atma Sofi, having been a supplier for many years, knows only too well what retailers need, want and what they should expect. Here are her tips for shops starting up, and her own journey on the learning curve… When buying and stocking certain designers, you need to concentrate and make sure you have enough variety, so there is plenty for the customer to look at and try on. It is also good to research your designer thoroughly – are they reliable? Are they able to modify dresses (to, say, change the back from corset to zip or vice versa)? Make sure that they can deliver on time and are not constantly discontinuing styles and changing prices. They must be good communicators – you need to know early if a dress will be discontinued. You can’t afford to have a disappointed bride. A big thing for us is exclusivity. You need to make sure, where possible, that the designer in question will give you an exclusive area so that you are not competing with another bridal shop just two miles down the road. Customer Service is what makes it for a retailer’s reputation – give your brides an amazing experience,

even if they do not buy. It’s about making them feel confident, happy and believing in themselves. It’s about working with your client and discovering what she wants – as soon as you have an idea of her thinking, you can suggest certain styles and show her specific dresses. It is always good to find out where they are getting married, what season or if the occasion will be indoors or outdoors. We’re not about hard selling, but we are about delivering quality service. We want to help and enjoy

Make sure new suppliers are not constantly discontinuing styles and changing prices the moment with them; the bride will know when it is the right dress. Before going into bridal retail, we were an exclusive designer jewellery house, using the finest crystals. Every bridal magazine called our products in for their photo shoots. At the time, there was just a handful of companies in England producing collections with crystals of that calibre, and we enjoyed a great reputation for design style and product quality. The market changed when the Far Eastern bulk manufacturers started

copying our designs, flooding the market with lookalike products in cheap glass. At the time we were being asked by the locals if we did bridal dresses, and increasing requests got us thinking… After long and hard discussions, we decided to move into bridal retail and to take it further by making it a happy family experience, offering motherof-the-bride/-groom outfits, hats and bridesmaid dresses. Today, for bridal, we stock Ronald Joyce, Victoria Jane, Kenneth Winston, Ella Rosa, Gallery, Veromia, Sonsie, and Mark Lesley. As of White Gallery in March, we will be adding Ian Stuart to our beautiful selection. For mothers, we carry all the top occasionwear names, including Ian Stuart London, Condici, Veni Infantino, Cabotine, Zeila,and Rosa Clara. London Bridal Week was brilliant. It was good to see what was out there, and to find that we could choose something different. It was a very enjoyable experience and such a great setting. The highlight for us was Ian Stuart Bridal – we wanted something special and he fulfilled that. His new collection is just stunning. Got advice or well-learned experience to share with fellow retailers? Tell all. Drop us an email us at

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ou may recognise the name – it was José Maria Peiró who orginally founded the stunning Jesús Peiró brand in early ’90s, together with Jesús Díez, who still owns the company today. You’ll certainly recognise the talent to please. With a delicate touch for detail, a passion for fine fabrics, and desire to make every bride beautiful, this design master has his own ateliers in Barcelona and Madrid and an ever-growing network of luxury label stockists elsewhere in Spain and across Europe. One of the secrets of his success in his new venture, Whiteday, is his understanding of today’s brides and their wish to be involved in the whole process. And that is not just searching for the right look, but taking an active part in creating it and making it their own. Everything that carries the name of this exclusive label is bespoke, everything is the result of consultation and shared vision, everything speaks of hand-crafting. “I have simply returned to the essence and philosophy of my beginnings,” he says with a mix of pride and sheer delight. “At our studio, we aim to create the design that best suits the look, the figure and the personality of the bride as well as a style befitting the place and atmosphere where the celebration is to take place. 76 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J U N E 2 0 1 8

SPOILED FOR CHOICE Fabrics in the new José Maria Peiró for Whiteday collection incude silk bamboo, guipure laces, Chantilly laces, the finest crepes and plumeti bamboo stretch silk. RRP is £2,700-£3,900

Andy Murray is bringing Barcelona-based label, José Maria Peiró for Whiteday, to the UK and Ireland for the first time. There is reason to celebrate: the collection is one where design innovation, originality, and luxury come together to deliver that bridal dream “Utmost importance is given to our made-to-measure, bespoke creations. But the brides visiting our stockists have individual attention too, when it comes to the design of their gown. Once we know their personal taste, and the dream they have in their mind, we can select the most appropriate styles that meet the brief, and many details can be modified. Our sumptuous fabrics include the finest laces and silks from Como, Italy; they are the result of our continued search for the very best in quality and choice.” As we all know – often only too well – today’s discerning bride has put in time to develop her own sense of taste; unlike her sister of a few years ago, she knows what she wants and she is prepared to search until she finds it. “I believe that our strengths lie in engaging closely with both our retailers and our brides,” says José. “Through creative marketing on social media platforms, we have built a following of clients who are prepared to travel to acquire the dress of their dreams; and, in many cases, we’ve been able to match brides up with one of our exclusive stockists in their region”. And exclusivity is something agent Andy Murray is promising rolls the brand out. He sees his new label sitting alongside keydesigner names in the top bridal boutiques where luxury is a key ingredient.

“Creating the bridal house Jesús Peiró was an enriching experience, and I have very fond memories of that time,” says José. “After a while, I decided that I had to blaze my own trail; José María Peiró for Whiteday marked my return to customised and exclusive designs. “Going forward I believe that accepting change in an inherent factor in this profession of ours; you must adapt to the style and preferences of the brides of the time. and we must reflect that in our designs.” As well as his work being a feast for the eyes, José’s views are music to many a retailer’s ears: “I believe that a José María Peiró bride is a woman of our time who has a distinct personality and taste, one who doesn’t like to go unnoticed or be the centre of attention. I’m immensely proud of all the designs I produce. Each and every one of them becomes a challenge and an artwork and I still try to meet as many brides as possible, while at the same time maintaining a close working relationship with our valued and exclusive stockists.” +44 (0)7540 323418 J U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 77

WWW.CATHERINEPARRYBRIDAL.COM Visit the website to view the full collection and to find your nearest stockist. Follow us on facebook at or twitter @CParryBridal


The Whitewed Directory The Whitewed Directory was started in 2014 by Natalie Lovett to create a community for wedding suppliers and engaged couples, and as a brand to promote and build the company’s Wedding Show organisation services. Membership can be of benefit to bridalwear retailers – and here’s why… Who is your target audience and where you find them? Couples who want quality wedding suppliers, wedding inspiration and advice. We find them via our wedding shows, via our website and social media, and word of mouth via our Whitewed Directory-approved members.

real weddings, contribute to our Planning Hub and, importantly, become a member of our community where social media sharing plays a key role. All of this enables them to network and develop working relationships with fellow local and professional wedding suppliers.

How does GDPR affect what you do? The advantage is that it forces you to clean up your data and ultimately present yourself to those who actually want to engage with you. This will lead to better working relationships and more interest and sales of our services.

How can you help retailers convert interest to sales? Retailers can attend our invaluable training workshops, which provide a professional platform through which to encourage their target audience to make contact, by inviting them to attend our wedding shows and offering them opportunities such as catwalk show involvement, hair and makeup demos, and planning advice. We also offer a unique business review by our ‘Couples Panel’, where suppliers are assessed by their target audience. What better way to examine how your brides regard you!

How do you communicate with your audience? As well as in person at our wedding shows, we reach our engaged couples via our Whitewed wedding news and views newsletters (which include our approved wedding suppliers, real weddings for inspiration and our Planning Hub, offering great wedding advice across all subjects). We reach our supplier members in person via our informal get-togethers, which create an excellent environment to meet and engage with other local professionals. Also, through our supplier training workshops and our wedding shows, where we provide a platform for our suppliers to advertise to prospective couples in person. Finally, we have a closed Facebook group for news, tips, training and services information. How can bridalwear retailers work with you? They can apply to become a Whitewed approved member, which will give them access to our wedding platform and community and the opportunity to be showcased on The Whitewed Directory, submit their

Can you give us three pieces of advice for retailers? • Don’t just rely on your shopfront. Ensure that your online presence is professional, updated and enticing. • Your brand should be consistent across all platforms. • Always showcase your cost and your worth. What are your immediate objectives? To increase our Whitewed Directory approved members from 150 to 300 by this time next year across the southwest of England, and we’re aiming to increase our wedding shows from 25 per year up to 40 per year. +44 (0)1793 238921 J U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 79


Veils are no longer an extra. Now they are an essential item that can change a simple look into a sumptuous one. Edged in intricate lace, a flurry of feathers, or a sprinkling of sparkle, veils are the finishing touch that can help close a sale, and add to its value

POIRIER / J UP O N RRP £30-£500 +44 (0)1753 622922 Elbow- to queen-length and both single and double layers. Huge choice in the 100-strong line-up from plain and pretty to heavily decorated styles

C HA R LOT T E BA L B IE R RRP £95-£200 +44 (0)333 234 6420 A small, beautifully wrought group of veils in various weights of soft tulle, with lace trims, hackle fringe feathers, beading and pearls

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NY M PHI RRP £200-£1,000 +30 210 801 0306 This ravishing made-to-order designer collection from Greece includes gowns and accessories – these veils and headdresses are nothing short of sensational

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R AIN B OW C LUB RRP from £49 +44 (0)1392 207030 Exclusive Italian tulle is the special ingredient here. There are 25 veils in the collection, many with delicate lace motifs. Stock is held too, so delivery is super-fast

JOYC E JAC K SO N RRP from £18o +44 (0)1392 207030 Made to order – allow three to four weeks – and with a range of colours to choose from including ivory, rum, blush, nude, white, gold and black

MALIS H EN DERS ON RRP $49-$500 +1 514 344 2254 Why be conventional when you get be wildly different? The Malis Henderson trademark look is flamboyant – perfect for the thoroughly modern bride

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OfficialMonCheriEurope @moncherieurope @moncherieurope

CAST NO SHADOW Are you hiding things away in the dark corners of your store? Lights and lamps can be practical as well as pretty

TOP DISPLAY TIPS FROM NICOLA BALL Nicola Ball of Halo & Co says that merchandising is an art form, and one that can increase sales and therefore your bottom line. Her team works internationally, assisting boutiques and department stores in the presentation of its collections


eing able to get inside the head of your customer to subconsciously attract them and focus their interest on your products is a real talent – and a business tool. Walk around your own store as if you were that customer and take everything in. Seeing your offer through your customers’ eyes will give you food for thought. Read on to follow these easy methods to attract your customer to your products…

It’s important to remember if you just put accessories in a dark corner at the back of the shop or low down on a coffee table you are making the unintentional message that those items are less important to look at. Bring accessories forwards. Maybe stack a few tables on top of each other and paint them lilac to display your headdresses and jewellery at the front of the store; all of a sudden, you’ve got yourself an intriguing feature.

you as the store carrying our brand.

Get creative Making a killer display does not have to cost you a fortune. Get creative – use an upside-down crate screwed to the wall as a shelf. The key is to make sure you design your display and don’t forget how important it is. It’s hard being a bridal boutique in this day and age when consumers are used to high street stores that spend vast amounts of money displaying their goods. In Lighting If you just put accessories in a dark addition to running your shop, Light an area or product directly or use the light to corner at the back of the shop, or low you have appointments, sales, accounts, website and social create ‘zones’ in store. A spot down on a coffee table, you are giving media on your ever-growing light or lamp can add that attention-grabbing highlight. the unintentional message that these to-do list. But you must not sacrifice sales because your items are less important to look at accessories are left unviting, Colour waiting quietly in a forgotten Don’t be afraid to use a corner. Get your display right, and Most importantly, talk to your seasonal colour or pattern in small watch as yours sales start to soar. supplier and ask for help and advice – areas to draw the eye. Interior décor no one knows how to sell their brand does this all the time with the important feature wall, so why not try like they do. Use their stories to sell 44 (0) 1745 403137 wallpapering a shelf or using coloured to your customers – we have found that brides love a human story. For us, card to zone a display? it’s the fact we are a family business – mother and two daughters – who Are you a master of visual The visual triangle merchandising? Or does your boutique Display in tiers, so that the eye follows handcraft all our pieces. Coupled with a 25-year history and celebrity clients, lack a certain feng shui presence? If through a display. The best place this gives us a face and a personality you have burning questions that you to look at this concept is a jewellers want the experts to answer, email window. Height in the middle is always of our own. And that makes our consumers feel confident in us, and in a good place to start. J U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 85





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FRESH FURNITURE Even retailers need some retail therapy from time to time!


hinking of a store revamp? Need to replace that creaking sofa and coffee table with something jazzy and fresh? Here we’ve included some in-store furniture and props that will get your interior design juices flowing. However, this only touches the very tip of the iceberg. While yes, you can shop away to your heart’s content filling your boutique with all the finishing touches, whether they be quaint, avant-garde, Scandinavian or antique, there’s the other side of props that your shop will need – the practicalities.

Yes, we’re talking about shelving, display cabinets, gondolas, footwear displays… Where do you shop for those industrial pieces? We have a couple of answers for you. Morplan ( is the number one supplier to the UK’s retail and fashion industry and have a whole range of products that can give your store that professional edge. They sell everything you could think of using, from padded

coat hangers and size cubes, cash registers, mannequins to every kind of counter top you could think of having in your boutique. Meanwhile, the Shop and Display Equipment Association (SDEA – are specialists in retail display and can connect you to suppliers in the blink of an eye. Looking to fit your shop with snazzy props, point of sale, security equipment and much, much more? Get in touch with them via email on enquiries@sdea.



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TAKING THE PLUNGE part 2 Ready to set up shop? Suzanne Lurie of Affinity Resolutions has advised others over the years who are planning to set up in business and is now in there, doing it for herself. Who better, then, to pass on the necessary know-how?


ast month I talked about the decisions I had to make when setting up my own business – the structure, premises, intellectual property and insurance. The next step? Creating a website. A friend helped me do this. He was concerned about images, and my message. Being a retired solicitor, I was anxious to ensure that the legal elements on my website were correct - my terms and conditions of business (T&Cs) and the Privacy Notice. While it is very easy to be carried away at the start because you have your first order and customer, it is important to ensure that both you and your customer understand the terms on which you are doing business. Clarity always reduces the risk of issues later on and this applies whether you are selling goods or services. Terms & Conditions T&Cs protect both you and your customer. I did not want to be in a situation where I had worked for a client and they did not pay me for several months because

T&Cs might state that delivery by them cannot be guaranteed. A privacy notice is the legal document that tells your customers what you intend to do with their personal information (data). Under the Data Protection Act this was a legal requirement, but under the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which comes into effect on 25 May, the regulations are more stringent.

The new rules A privacy notice has to be more detailed and should explain in clear terms such matters as the length of time you are going to hold the information, the rights the individual has over their data this would affect not only my cash and your lawful reason for taking flow, but equally would require me that data. It is important that your to spend valuable time chasing up Privacy Notice is transparent and the payment. In my T&Cs, I include in language that is easy for all clauses that cover the time period to understand. GDPR is a huge subject, but, in required for settling my invoice, brief, all processing of personal and how quickly the client can information must comply with expect me to do the work. six general principles and must If you are supplying goods, you satisfy a lawful reason for taking may wish to consider including a the data. The new regulations ‘retention of title clause’, which provide for greater transparency means that you still own your and gives the individual more goods until they have been rights over what happens to their paid for. It is important to think personal information. carefully about your T&Cs and, A major change is that there will if necessary, take advice. be more accountability for those T&Cs not only apply to you and taking and recording data and your customers, but also to you bigger penalties for any breaches. and your suppliers. If you are If you plan to market directly expecting a delivery of something so you can complete an order, you to your customers there are don’t want to get caught out if that regulations called Privacy and delivery is late. You might have no Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which apply redress because your supplier’s to any business or to an individual that markets by phone, email, text A ‘retention of title’ clause or fax, or one that uses cookies or similar technology on their in your T&Cs means that website to gather data. To be compliant with PECR, you still own your goods you need the specific consent of until they are paid for the individual to send unsolicited

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direct marketing material. This will apply to special offers, unless it is to a customer who bought (or negotiated to buy) a similar product or service from you in the past, and you gave them a simple way to opt out (both when you first collected their details and in every message you sent). So it is important to ensure that you have a very clear unsubscribe option on all your communications. Invoicing There are legal rules that govern what must be included on your invoices. An invoice must set out the business name and address and if it is a limited company, the company name and number and the registered office. If you are registered for VAT (as I am), then the VAT registration number should be included, too. VAT is also something to consider. If your business is likely to have a taxable turnover of more than £85,000, then this is compulsory. There are some benefits to being VAT registered – you can reclaim any VAT your business pays. It is important to keep good records, retain receipts and, take accounting advice.

If you are employing someone for more than a month, then they must have a written statement of employment that includes details such as their job description, how much and how often they will be paid, their hours of work, and holiday entitlement. This is not an employment contract, although it can be included in one. I would always suggest that every employee is given a detailed contract of employment. In my experience as a solicitor, employers often believed that they were in a stronger position if their staff did not have an employment contract, and so often this was not the case. An employment contract can protect Employing staff both the employer and employee Since there are just two of us working in my business, I am doing on issues such as notice periods. The contract I have drawn up a lot of admin when I could be out meeting clients. We have now also includes a clause that my employee must adhere to GDPR, decided to employ someone to and I have insisted that they also help with the paperwork. attend one of my training sessions If your business is expanding and you are considering taking on on this subject. Last issue I discussed different employees, there are a number of points to consider: the prospective types of insurance. If you become an employer then you will need employee must have the legal employers’ liability insurance. right to work in the UK, they must Insurance will help you pay be paid at least the national compensation if, for example, an minimum wage per hour (if they are under 25) or the national living employee is injured during the course of their work – although wage (if over 25).

you may not require it if you are employing a family member. However, it’s best to take advice, since the fines for not being correctly insured can be huge. It is also important to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that you have an employee by registering as an employer. You may also need to enroll your employee into a workplace pension scheme.

VAT is compulsory If your business is likely to have a taxable turnover of more than £85,000 When I decided to start a business, I had not appreciated how much I would have to do behind the scenes. What I have found is that professional advice has been invaluable and, hopefully, has ensured that I am now able to do the work that I enjoy, in the knowledge that I am legally and financially compliant and protected. You can contact Suzanne on: 07377 710875

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MOST VIEWED… BRIDAL DRESS KATERINA BY BLUE BY ENZOANI This full-length mermaid gown has a romantic scalloped neckline. Sparkles and guaranteed to show off silhouettes.

Digital snapshot



WHAT YOUR 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 BUYING YOUR WEDDING DRESS – FAQS Knowing where to start in their search can be overwhelming for some. How do you approach fresh first-timers when they enter your store?

MOST SEARCHEDFOR… DRESS SHAPE PRINCESS It seems that princess gowns are popular right now – anything to do with a certain Meghan, perhaps?

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

MOST SEARCHEDFOR… DESIGNER STELLA YORK Brides know what they’re getting with Stella York gowns – beautiful, feminine dresses at affordable prices. That’s why they’re the most searched for designer this month.

MOST VIEWED… MOTHER OF THE BRIDES DRESS STYLE 991077 BY RONALD JOYCE This dress is starting to set records! That’s an incredible third month in a row in which it’s won the MOTB category…

MOST VIEWED… PLUS-SIZE DRESS LOS ANGELES BY CALLISTA Perhaps it’s the versatility of adding sheer lace sleeves to this gown that makes it hottest of the bunch at the moment…

MOST VIEWED… BRIDESMAID DRESS B193006 BY JASMINE B2 A sweetheart poly chiffon dress, beautiful lace on the back of the bodice and a high-low skirt, all wrapped up in misty pink… Brides are loving this stunning gown for their ’maids.

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DO US A FAVOUR, LIFESAVER DO US US A A FAVOUR, FAVOUR, DO DO US A FAVOUR, LIFESAVER LIFESAVER LIFESAVER Anthony Nolan saves the lives of people with blood cancer – and by choosing from the charity’s new range of wedding favours, youNolan can help lifesaving Anthony savessupport the livestheir of people with work. blood cancer Anthony Nolan saves the lives of people with blood cancer – and by choosing from the charity’s new range of wedding – and by choosing from the charity’s new range of wedding favours,Nolan you can helpthe support their lifesaving Anthony saves lives of people with work. blood cancer favours, you can help their lifesaving work. – and by choosing fromsupport the charity’s new range of wedding favours, you can help support their lifesaving work.


“Following my leukaemia diagnosis, I was unsure “Following my leukaemia diagnosis, I was unsure I’d live to see my wedding day. Without Anthony “Following mymy leukaemia I was unsure I’d live to see weddingdiagnosis, day. Without Anthony Nolan mymy stem cell donor I wouldn’t be here I’d liveand to see wedding day.IWithout Nolan and my stem cell donor wouldn’tAnthony be here today. They’ve given me an opportunity to live.” Nolan my stem cell I wouldn’tto be here today. and They’ve medonor andiagnosis, opportunity “Following my given leukaemia I was live.” unsure today. They’ve given me an opportunity to live.” Ruth and her husband, Peter, I’d live to see my wedding day. Without Anthony Ruth and her husband, Peter, celebrated their long-awaitedwedding weddingininMay May 2017. celebrated their long-awaited 2017. Ruth and her husband, Peter, Nolan and my stem cell donor I wouldn’t be here celebrated their long-awaited wedding in May 2017. today. They’ve given me an opportunity to live.” Ruth and her husband, Peter, celebrated their long-awaited wedding in May 2017.

Visit Visitthe theshop shopat:at: Visit the shop at:


BUYIN G AGEN DA Source the big names and the bright newcomers at the forthcoming events

5th-8th May 2018

9th-11th September



16th-18th June 2018

7th-9th October


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July issue

• Round the world – Israel’s top names • Stocking up – who has what for fast delivery? • Harrogate – it’s going to be a goodie


• More raves, more rants, more opinions… More of everything!

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I N T R O D U C I N G O U R 201 8 CO L L E C T I O N

Each pair of our shoes are handmade using the finest fabrics and materials, from our exclusive dyeable satins to our super sparkly fine shimmer - we spend time ensuring that our shoes are comfortable, leaving you free to enjoy your special day. All our shoes can be couture colour matched so if you would like to co-ordinate your shoes to a dress, a hat or a bag we’ll create the match.






Classified From job vacancies to new closures or relocations, you’ll get the lowdown on opportunities and announcements here


and this has not been helped by recent fiascos across social media, such as the Facebook incident H OW ’ S S TAT involving political misinformation. Concept inspired British online While we live in a digital era, print marketplace,, have discovered some interesting answers remains the most trusted medium in comparison to the internet and social in their recent survey. According media, radio and television. to their results, 39% of couples will Print cannot compete on an spend over-budget on their wedding – and they will overspend by as much environmental level to online – despite the possibilities of recycled as 30%. The Independent stated in September 2017 that the average cost paper and copious efforts to plant of a UK wedding is at an all-time high trees – something that is highly regarded in millennials (a large of £27,161, and 30% of this is £8,148 percentage of your consumers, (making a total spend of £35,309). aged 18-34). But it also appears Alternatively, if we think of £27,161 as the total sum including the added- that millennials also consume a lot of their content via print. Johnnie on 30% over budget, then the initial Boden, founder of Boden, a catalogue average budget would have instead been approximately £20,900 (with 30% clothing company, said, “Two-thirds overspend being an additional £6,250). of shoppers peruse our catalogue pages before placing an order online. It goes to show that you should As soon as an item is removed from always ask a bride early on what her budget is, and while you should never the printed brochure, sales for that push them into overspending, quite a product fall by 60%.” Are you considered creating a print few brides will splash the extra cash if product to give to your customers, they find The One. informing them about your stock? Additionally, also discovered that 5% of brides now opt for buying vintage or second-hand wedding dresses. S PECIAL O CCAS ION S N O FA K E N E WS H E R E Perhaps in some part thanks to President Trump, ‘fake news’ was Collins’ 2017 Word of the Year. Trust across various mediums is waning, is a bridge between a traditional bricks-andmortar retailer that offers incredible service, and an online marketplace, dedicated to weddings. Best of luck with this exciting new venture, Lucy!

STOC K IST S E A R C H CATHERINE PARRY Catherine Parry are looking for more retailers around the UK to stock their stunning designs. Contact George Efstratiou on 07834 606229 or Customer Service on 01443 222600. LOVE OUR WEDDING The UK’s favourite free monthly consumer magazine, Love Our Wedding, is looking for more boutiques across the UK to stock their magazines free of charge. These handbag-sized magazines are perfect for you to gift to brides that come in store or for goody bags at special events. To become a stockist now, email We’ll send it in the same delivery as your copy of Wedding Trader!


Do you have news of your own that you want to share with the rest of the bridal world? Just celebrated an anniversary of your store opening? Have you closed a store, or perhaps moved to a bigger, shiny new premises? Maybe you’ve won THE DOORS ARE OPEN! a snazzy award and you can’t stop We’d like to congratulate Lucy Ball, smiling? This is the place to be heard! an ex-bridal retailer herself, on celebrating BridalBay’s doors opening Send us your news by emailing for business on May 1st. J U N E 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 97

“Reading about other boutiques and especially the finds that they really rated at the London Bridal Show was fascinating – especially when those shops carry similar collections to your own. There was plenty of food for thought in the feature you ran, and there was one label I had discarded at the show that I am now going back to re-visit as a result…”

“I’ve never really considered stocking menswear because I have always thought it to be very traditional – and my bridal ranges absolutely aren’t. I’d love to hear from others how they have managed their mens’ business!”

“My sincere congrats to Lucy Ball for taking the brave decision of moving away from mainstream bridal. She is obviously a sharp thinker and her new business will benefit those of us still in retail.”

“Your legal pages are so informative, but more than that, they are in a language that us non-legal eagles can easily understand – none of that pro-talk/lecturing you come across elsewhere. Thank you so much… I for one, have learned a lot..”

“Have you got shops queuing up to have a rave or a rant? I am finding some of your reads valuable, honest and outspoken. Can I join the line up? I promise to behave!”

“It is good to see more suppliers coming forward and explaining how they work. I know it is easy for us retailers to gripe about them and their ways of doing business, but hearing their views does give you a different perspective.”

...and finally Got a view? Share it with us. We’re here, every day, every week, every month, to help make your working life better

“I’d love to hear Wedding Trader’s views on the various exhibitions – and to know which ones you felt were of real value to us buyers?”

“Is it odd that I get satisfaction out of reading the ‘Your Problems, Our Solutions’ page each month? Not because I’m sneering at the problems others are facing; it’s quite the opposite, in fact – it’s because I recognise a lot of said problems within my own business. It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in the struggle.”

“Laura Daly hits the nail on the head every month and doesn’t hide behind traditional thinking. I want to give her a rousing cheer of approval for covering territory most of us would never dare to tread. Laura – your attitude and opinion really makes me think... And get angry at the status quo. You are building my confidence to speak out.” 98 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ J U N E 2 0 1 8

“If Wedding Trader is there to share information, then I think you should consider producing a directory of some sort that will introduce us to the lesser-known labels that come on the market. Getting inside knowledge is so important – can you can provide that, please?”

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Wedding Trader - issue 5  

Wedding Trader - issue 5