BRIDESMAIDS Destination Dresses

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BRIDESMAIDS                                         Boosting profits
We report on this                                       made easy
steady market

                                      AUTUMN REVIEW
                                   Our report on this top trade show

                                    Destination Dresses
                             The best buys for overseas celebrations

                                     Visual Merchandising
                                    Top tips for styling your store

                                                  Industry News
                                                  Expert Advice
                                                  Retailer Interview

          9    Industry News
               Keep up-to-date with all the latest news
               from your industry in our regular
               round-up                                                                                     59

          24   Business Link
               Stephen Herman offers valuable tips
               on how to protect your business against
                                                           18   Destination Dresses
               the credit crunch
                                                                We take a look at the thriving market for
                                                                overseas celebrations
          55   Retailer Column
               Regular Columnist, Abi Neill, outlines
                                                           26   Beautiful Bridesmaids
               how winning an award can boost business
                                                                Leading suppliers highlight some recent
                                                                changes in consumer demand
          56   Q&A Special
68             Beth Scott and Jane Watson answer your
                                                           36   Bridal Fashion
               retail queries
                                                                Fabulous new designs from the spring/
                                                                summer 2009 collections
          59   Retailer Interview
               We speak to Lorraine Hoksas about her
                                                           46   Princess Bride
               stunning bridal boutique, Envisage Bridal
                                                                We talk to Kirstie Kelly, designer of the
                                                                very first range of Disney bridal gowns
          67   On your marks
               Jane Watson reveals how to prepare your
                                                           48   Net Gains
               boutique for an in-store event
                                                                How to develop a strong on-line presence

          68   Up and Coming
                                                           52   Wedding Retailer Awards
               We speak to Ruth Shaw about her
                                                                Find out who won big at this prestigious
               stunning independent shoe label
                                                                annual event
                                                           63   Sickness Costs
                                                                Peter Berry explains why it is important to
                                                                have the relevant insurance in place for
                                                                both employees and employers

                                                           64   Designer Profile
                                                                Emma Tindley recently exhibited for the
                                                                first time at the BBEH. We find out what’s
                                                                next for the talented designer
                                                           77   Visual Merchandising
                                                                How to display your stock to maximise
                                                                in-store sales

                                                           73   BBEH Review
                                                                We speak to visitors and exhibitors alike
                                                                to determine how they fared at the recent
                                                                British Bridal Exhibition in Harrogate

                                                                                                 ATTIRE 3


ATTIRE                                   Bridal
                                                                                                                         Cover image courtesy of
GROUP EDITOR                                                                                                             Ellis Bridals
Demelza Rayner

                                         On a winning streak
                                                                                                                         +44 (0)20 8888 8833
+44 (0)1376 535 609

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT                                                                                                      Industry News Page 9
Danielle Harvey                                                                                                          Bridesmaids Page 26
+44 (0)1376 535 611                                                                                                      Retailer Awards Page 52                                                                                               BBEH Review Page 73

SALES MANAGER                                                     Rather than getting downbeat about the current
Mark White
+44 (0)1376 514 000                                               economic situation, we thought we’d take a
                                                                  more positive approach this issue and celebrate
David Jenkins                                                     everything that’s good about the industry. A short
+44 (0)1376 535 612                                           time ago, we were delighted to attend the very
DESIGN MANAGER                                                    first Wedding Retailer Awards at Boreham House
Vicky Longman
+44 (0)1376 535 616
                                                                  in Essex, and were thrilled to present the coveted
                                                                  Bride’s Choice Award to Mariposa. So many
Sarah Barnes
                                                                  deserving companies were recognised in the
Sophie Farage                            awards, and we’re pleased to be able to give you a full run down of the
Laura Perry
Steve McKea                              evening on page 52.
+44 (0)1376 535 616
                                           Regular columnist, Abigail Neill, is no stranger to awards, having received
Stuart Weatherley                        the grand total of five over the past three years, in addition to one finalist
+44 (0)1376 535 616
                                         and one runner up place. She explains how every bridal retailer can boost
Scott Brothwell                          their business, simply by knowing which awards you are eligible to enter,
+44 (0)1376 514 000
                                         and how to give yourself the best possible chance of winning.
Kline Davis Limited
Broseley House                             Also in this issue we take a look at destination dresses, as the market for
Newlands Drive
Witham, Essex CM8 2UL
                                         overseas weddings continues to grow apace. We also showcase some
                                         sensational bridesmaids dresses and focus on one of next year’s top bridal
                                         fashion trend colours – gold.
Staff photographs courtesy of              Finally, we have some great advice from Alan Springall about making the
Ian Scott Photography
Tel: 01707 263 844
                                         most of an open-backed window display, while Beth Scott explains how to
                                         minimise your risk of credit card fraud if you sell stock online.
ISSN 1758-0072

Attire Bridal is solely owned,
published and designed by Kline
Davis Limited. Whilst every effort       Enjoy reading
was made to ensure the information
in this magazine was correct at the

time of going to press, the publishers
cannot accept legal responsibility
for any errors or omissions, nor
can they accept responsibility of
the standing of advertisers nor by
the editorial contributions. The
views expressed do not necessarily
reflect those of the publisher. Attire
Bridal is published six times a year.
Subscription rates for overseas          Demelza Rayner
readers are £40 per annum (incl.
p+p), Cheques should be made out         Group Editor
to Kline Davis Limited and sent to
Attire Bridal @ Broseley House,
Newlands Drive, Witham, Essex
CM8 2UL.
                                                                                                                                           ATTIRE 5
                    Vogue Fashions Ltd
        Cavell House, Stannard Place, St
        Crispins Road, Norwich NR3 1YE

                 Tel +44 (0) 1603 821170
                Fax +44 (0) 1603 821171

          To become a Tia Loren stockist in your
           area, please contact the above detail.

                                                                                                                   News & Events

Read on to find out more about the exciting developments in the bridal industry

                 Flo & Percy release vintage-inspired designs

                 Flo & Percy have designed a special collection of vintage style accessories.
                 Each design is handmade to order and, where possible, can be altered to any
                 specification. Taking inspiration from various time periods through history, each
                 design is a limited piece. Shown here is a swirly diamanté and glass pearl vintage
                 style comb inspired by Norma Shearer, priced at £135 rrp. To find out more,
                 simply visit the website

                                                                                                      Disney dresses to bewitch UK brides
                                                                                                      Brides in search of a fairytale wedding can
                                                                                                      now wear gowns inspired by their favourite
                                                                                                      Disney Princess. Created by US-based
                                                                                                      couture designer, Kirstie Kelly, in association
                                                                                                      with Disney Consumer Products, the
                                                                                                      collection has recently launched in UK bridal
                                                                                                      boutiques nation-wide.
                  CHANDRIKA LAUNCHES NEW BRIDAL BRAND                                                    The collection features such fabrics
                  In response to growing demand from retailers and consumers, talented                as organza, chantilly, chiffon, satins
                  bridal designer, Chandrika Hillman, is launching a new label for brides             and tulle and is accented with stunning
                  who love the quality of her couture designs, but need it at a more affordable        embellishments including lace, ribbons,
                  price point. “I have had lots of feedback from retailers who say that               crystals, pearls and gorgeous embroidered
                  the brides adore my dresses, but do not have the budget to stretch to a             beading. “Every look takes its inspiration
                  couture purchase,” she says. “I am, therefore, launching a new line which           from the silhouette, palette and
                  contains six dresses specifically aimed at this target market. The quality           characteristics of each Disney Princess
                  of manufacture for the new label will be exactly the same, but rather than          story and interprets the spirit of each
                  using silks I will be using fabric mixes.” Where Chandrika Thomas Couture           young woman rather than being a direct
                  is priced up to £2000rrp per dress, the new brand (Chandrika Thomas,                representation of the character,” said Kirstie.
                  For The Bride) has dresses that will retail between £1350 and £1495. For               For further information, simply visit the
                  further information, simply visit the website             website at

                                                                                                                                           ATTIRE 9
New bridal jewellery lines from Crystabelle

Crystabelle Jewellery has recently released a number of new bridal designs, including this beautiful woven
floral bracelet, which retails at £150. The wide Swarovski crystal cuff features triple Swarovski crystal flower detail.
It can be made in any of Swarovski’s crystal colours as each bracelet is made to order. For further details visit or call +44 (0)161 485 6585.

 Wedding ring cushions make a great add-on
 purchase in store. In recognition of this,
 Cushion Couture, an online soft furnishing
 store, has recently launched a range of stylish
 wedding ring cushions. Available in four colours:
 black, cream, pink and duck egg, they are
 competitively priced at just £10 rrp. For further
 information visit

Image courtesy of Art Portraits by Mackenzie

                                                               Image courtesy of Stephanie Methven at

                                                     Introducing Naomi Neoh’s exquisite first bridal collection
                                                     Since launching her successful business in 2005, Naomi Neoh has previously
                                                     specialised in bridesmaid dresses, evening wear and bespoke wedding dresses.
                                                     For the 2009 season she has created her first bridal collection of beautifully
                                                     made, gloriously feminine gowns. Each dress is made from the finest of fabrics
                                                     and is hand-finished to a high standard in her London studio.
                                                        Taking inspiration from both vintage dresses and cutting-edge couture,
                                                     Naomi’s new collection utilises the corset to give the wearer a glamorous feel
                                                     and a stunning, waisted shape. This results in a signature look that is structured
                                                     yet not stiff; floaty and romantic without being fussy. The subtle detailing with
                                                     chantilly lace appliqué and silk flower corsages gives these gowns a unique
                                                     style all of their own.
                                                        This first collection from Naomi Neoh is truly enchanting and she is
                                                     seeking stockists to partner this exciting new venture. To find out more, visit
                                                     the website at

                                                                                             News & Events

  Suzanne Neville is expanding her
  operations and opening her third store
  in Cheshire. The store will be opening
  in early November and will stock the
  full range of the beautiful new bridal
  collection as well as her exquisite, couture
  evening wear.
     In keeping with her Knightsbridge
  and Guildford stores, the shop will be
  elegantly fitted with changing suites,
  dedicated to bridal or evening wear.
     Find out more by visiting the website at

                                                                                  KEEP CUSTOMERS HAPPY
                                                                                  TO SURVIVE TOUGH TIMES
                                                                                  Holding onto customers is eight times
                                                                                  cheaper than trying to win new ones, so
                                                                                  keeping them happy is a key survival strategy
                                                                                  in the current economic turmoil.
                                                                                    That’s according to the Institute of
                                                                                  Customer Service (ICS), which is urging
                                                                                  organisations to improve their customer
                                                                                  service to ensure the loyalty of consumers,
                                                                                  rather than spend precious resources trying to
                                                                                  attract new ones.
                                                                                    They say this means talking to customers
                                                                                  more, taking the time to understand a client’s
                                                                                  needs and doing pro-active little things that
                                                                                  “surprise and delight”, without waiting to be
Winners announced at wedding retailer awards                                      asked first.
                                                                                    Thousands of people from across the UK
                                                                                  and 16 countries abroad recently took part in
Congratulations to all the winners at the wedding retailer awards, which
                                                                                  fun days marking National Customer Service
took place at the prestigious Boreham House in Essex on 27th September.
                                                                                  Week, organised by the ICS, which started on
Among those rewarded for their excellent service to brides were Hugh
                                                                                  October 6th 2008.
Harris, who won the award for Groomswear Retailer, Ellie & Charlotte,
                                                                                    Paul Cooper, ICS director, said:
who won the Bridal Boutique 2008 award (and will be appearing in the
                                                                                  “Understanding how customers interact with
next issue of Attire Bridal), and our very own columnist, Abigail Neill, who
                                                                                  them and paying attention to improving the
won Bridal Retailer of the Year for Abigail’s Collection. Finally, well done to
                                                                                  service their customers receive, are the best
Mariposa, who received the Bride’s Choice Award. Information about the
                                                                                  ways for organisations to strengthen their
Wedding Retailer Awards 2009 will be posted on
                                                                                  foothold in the marketplace.”

                                                                                                                     ATTIRE 13
                                                       ONLINE SALES SOAR
                                                       More than 11 million Britons are now shopping online at least twice a week,
                                                       new research suggests.
                                                          The nationwide study of Britain’s online shopping habits by leading price
                                                       comparison site also shows that the British love affair with
                                                       online shopping now even outstrips that of the US with around nine out of 10
                                                       of us shopping online at least once a month compared with around seven out
                                                       of 10 Americans.
                                                          The poll of more than 3,000 Brits shows that being able to shop any time
                                                       of the day or night, price and convenience are the biggest motivations for
                                                       shopping online.
                                                          The study – commissioned to launch’s first ever UK Circle
                                                       of Excellence Awards, which will recognise the UK’s best online retailers as
                                                       voted for by consumers – also suggests that Britons are becoming increasingly
                                                       sophisticated in their online shopping habits with most of us willing to
                                                       spend time surfing around for the best deals and services. More than 39% of
                                                       those surveyed said they usually or always use price comparison sites to find
                                                       goods, while 53% reckoned feedback on retailers from other consumers was
                                                       influential (eight out of 10 score or above) in the final decision to purchase.

                                                       Forum launches for UK Retailers

                                                       There’s now an easy way to
                                                       share information with other
                                                       bridal retailers, thanks to a
                                                       brand new forum set up by
                                                       Kevin Ward. “My wife had a
Ian Stuart designs one-off gown                        lot of trouble when starting
made from Chocolate                                    out in bridal retail and she
In celebration of Chocolate Week (which took           would have found a resource
place from 13th -19th October 2008) award winning      such as this invaluable,” he
bridalwear designer, Ian Stuart, created a chocolate   says. “I couldn’t believe that
wedding dress with opulent chocolatiers Rococo.        there wasn’t already a forum
Rococo Chocolates have produced exquisitely            for bridal retailers to discuss issues that directly affect their businesses, so I
tasting chocolates for over 25 years and Chantal       decided to set one up.”
Coady, the founder and owner has won numerous             The forum is only for bridal shops in the UK that have a bricks and mortar
awards. Of her latest adventure in chocolate           shop premises and there is no charge to join, although each membership is
she says: “Ian and I have long talked about this       verified to keep the forum trade only. Once registered, no one in the forum can
crazy idea of making a chocolate wedding dress.        be identified, although members are encouraged to list the region they are in,
Chocolate Week seemed the perfect moment to            to give everyone a better idea of what is happening in the industry in various
combine Ian Stuart’s design talents with Rococo’s      areas of the country.
creativity in chocolate.”                                 The more members that sign up, the more beneficial this resource will be. To
   Describing his latest creation, Ian Stuart said     find out more, or to sign up, visit the forum at
“I believe chocolate is synonymous with romance
and I have created a wedding dress design in           EASY ALTERATIONS
conjunction with the best chocolatiers in London. ”    New bridal retailers, and those with little experience of alterations,
   Both Ian Stuart and Chantal Coady agreed            may benefit from some brand new courses being run by Shelagh M,
that although this dress will only be worn for         a bridal gown designer with 30 years of experience. Her courses in
a short while (due to temperature reasons) the         wedding gown construction, fitting and alterations will come with the
train of thought, research, design and technical       benefit of a help-line for her students. In the first instance, students
aspect behind it was immense, and it was really        have the opportunity to visit Shelagh’s studio in North Wales, where
interesting for both parties (chocolate makers and     she has the necessary machinery and materials to hand. The second
wedding dress designers) to learn more about each      part of the course can be conducted at the student’s shop and
others capabilities and limitations.                   alteration room. Don’t miss the next issue of Attire Bridal, where we
   Visit the websites or       will be running an exclusive competition in association with Shelagh. to find out more.              For further information telephone +44 (0)1490 412 273.

                                 Mark Lesley
                                  Glamour at its best....

For further information please call +44 (0) 1621 784784
The stunning ICON Collection is now available.
  Please contact us to make an appointment.

   UK Sales Executive: Mr Robert Wilson
             07783 476 408

                                                                                               With more and more brides getting
                                                                                               married abroad than ever before, isn’t it
                                                                                               time you introduced a destination line?

According to the September 2008 Mintel report,         Reena Popat, MD of Bespoke Weddings Abroad        advantages of marrying abroad. Couples tend
while UK marriage rates fall to their lowest level   (, comments:          to have a smaller number of guests leading to a
since records began, weddings abroad now account     “We have seen a 50% increase in couples booking     smaller and more personal reception party, creating
for an estimated 16% of all UK marriages, up         weddings abroad in the past six months. Initially   some cost saving. A further saving arises for many
from 10% in 2003. Top destinations for overseas      we were quite concerned about the changing          as fantastic honeymoon destinations are literally
weddings include Mauritius, Antigua, Sri Lanka,      economic climate; however, we have noticed that     on the couple’s doorstep at the conclusion of the
Mexico, Cyprus and South Africa.                     an increasing number of couples are realising the   wedding celebration.”

                                                                                                                  Destination Dresses

                                                                                            Ben de Lisi’s top tips
                                                                                            Advising brides on appropriate dressing for a wedding abroad is
                                                                                            key. Around 40% of couture fashion designer Ben de Lisi’s brides
                                                                                            are now marrying abroad. He recently designed the ultimate beach
                                                                                            wedding dress in association with The Cayman Islands, to be given
                                                                                            away to one lucky reader of You and Your Wedding magazine. Here,
                                                                                            he gives his top tips for you to pass onto your brides if they ask any
                                                                                            of the following questions about an overseas celebration.

                                                       What sort of fabric do you recommend?                    pretty or full length with a split that has a sheer
                                                                                                                floaty godet (panel) that will show the leg while
                                                       Avoid silk chiffon, often a popular choice, as the        veiling it.
                                                       humidity of a hot climate in somewhere like the
                                                       Cayman Islands plays havoc with the fabric leaving       What colour works well in bright sunshine?
                                                       it lifeless and limp and a tropical downpour or sea
                                                       spray will make it pucker up like seersucker. Silk       Choose your fabric on a sunny day, and try fabrics
                                                       crepe or georgette would be perfect as its twisted       in ivory, taupe, butter, honey, and sand white next
                                                       yarn always looks fluid and sleek, with the fly-away       to your skin in daylight until you find one that
                                                       feel that is perfect for the beach. A light, chic lace   brings out the warmth in your natural skin tone.
                                                       would be a very modern touch. Ridged fabrics             I was inspired by the colour of the sand on Seven
                                                       such as heavy duchess satins and organzas are a          Mile Beach on Grand Cayman. Your designer will
                                                       definite no-no.                                           give you objective advice but don’t be swayed by
                                                                                                                your mother just because she wants you to wear
                                                       How do you avoid looking like a beached                  virginal white!
                                                                                                                How can I avoid showing my bingo wings without
                                                       A fluid bias column with floaty dreamy trains and          obviously covering up?
                                                       swathes is ideal. Choose a neckline that shows the
                                                       skin or a strapless style. I love to use a very subtle   A sheer sleeve or yards and yards of silk tuile as
                                                       detail at the hem with a captivating back detail.        a wrap work well. This is good suggestion for the
                                                       Big over-the-top dresses belong in the city not a        mother of the bride too, if she is going.
                                                       paradise island wedding.
                                                                                                                I know what to wear now, but what should my
                                                       What about wearing a traditional veil?                   fiancé wear to compliment my dress?

                                                       I recommend avoiding anything over done. If you          An ivory suit, beautiful pastel shirt, no tie and flip
                                                       are fortunate enough to have heirloom diamonds,          flops. Never let him wear a tux, it looks daft.
                                                       then absolutely wear them! Local flowers woven in
                                                       the hair always look beautiful, and a really lovely,     How should I transport my dress to our wedding
                                                       simple touch is to pin your mother’s pearl necklace      destination?
                                                       in your hair – that way, you are wearing something
                                                       borrowed and something old!                              It must go as hand luggage. Ask your designer to
                                                                                                                show you how to pack it in tissue in a lightweight
                                                       What about on your feet? Flip flops seems a bit           box or in a cotton bag, and don’t let it out of your
                                                       low key.                                                 sight. If you have chosen the right designer, it will
                                                                                                                arrive looking like it has never been on the plane.
                                                       Comfortable, bare and strappy. Sparkly flip flops
For bridal retailers, the overseas market is           are perfect and inexpensive.                             I would love to wear my dress again for glamorous
significant, and it is important to know how to                                                                  evenings. Can I dye it?
advise brides who are going futher afield for their     What is the ideal length given than full length
nuptials. Top designer, Ben de Lisi, is well versed    seems a bit daft on the beach but most people don’t      No, it will never be the same again. But a beautiful
in designing gowns for overseas brides, so read on     have the legs of a super-model?                          dress will always be a beautiful dress. Sometimes
for his top tips. We also showcase a selection of                                                               just adding a second colour silk corsage or sash
dresses, perfectly suited for overseas celebrations.   I either recommend ankle length which is very            does the trick if it is a simple design. A

                                                                                                                                                         ATTIRE 19
      Disney Consumer Products             Marylise              Complice

            Jonathan James              Augusta Jones              Weise



934 & 932


                                                        Are you prepared
                            Stephen Herman
                            is a business adviser
                            at Business Link in
                            the East of England.
                                                        for ‘the crunch’?
                            He has many
                            years of practical
                            experience, running         Stephen Herman, Business Adviser at Business Link, answers your
                            and advising all            questions and offers valuable tips on how to protect your business
                            types and sizes of
                            business.                   against the credit crunch.

With so much talk of a credit crunch right now, is      What other factors are behind the credit crunch in     Business Link’s top 10 tips to protect your business
there genuinely a crunch, or is this a situation that   your opinion?                                          against ‘the Crunch’.
has been exaggerated by the media?                      There are probably several structural factors          According to the British Chambers of Commerce,
There’s no doubt it’s now much harder for               behind the crunch in the UK. We have had a             75 per cent of small businesses are concerned
businesses to extend their lines of credit due to       very low household savings rate and a very high        about the economy, but few have plans in place to
the banking “crisis” and some businesses are being      level of mortgage debt. The Government has been        protect their business. If you haven’t already started
asked by their bank to reduce their overdrafts          spending more than it has been saving despite the      thinking about how you will get through the
and pay back loans, especially in sectors such          years of economic growth and the economy has a         spending slump, get the ball rolling with Business
as property or construction, where a bank is            large financial sector. When the banking crisis hit,    Link’s top 10 tips.
“over-borrowed”.                                        these factors, together with rising food and energy
                                                                                                                            Mind your cashflow

   In addition, consumer businesses are starting        prices, combined to magnify its effect, as seen in
to see some consumer belt tightening with the           rapidly falling house prices due to a shortage of                    Issue invoices promptly and chase up
rise of food, petrol and energy prices reducing         mortgage funds.                                                      debtors; don’t buy more stock than
discretionary disposable income.                                                                                             you need; negotiate longer credit
   For business to business trade, the squeeze is       How much are the problems with the foreign                           terms with suppliers, shorter ones for
coming from rising raw material and energy inputs,      economies, such as the sharp downfall in house                       customers; fill up gaps in your forward
and a general reluctance to raise prices to match.      prices in the USA, to blame? Are we paying the         order book; and keep in touch with your bank.
                                                        price for too much borrowing and irresponsible           In addition, you can impose late payment
Just how bad do you feel the current economic           stock market trading? Is it a case of consumer         charges on any customer that does not pay on time.
situation is in general? Where do you see things        irresponsibility or are banks and businesses pushing   This will not only encourage prompt payment, but
going from here?                                        services too aggressively?                             will cover costs incurred by late payment. Legally,
We are not professional economic forecasters            There’s no doubt that the tipping point was the        you are allowed to apply late payment charges eight
and can only reflect the current debate. There is a      crash in U.S. house prices, where too much credit      per cent above the Bank of England base rate on
general consensus that the economy will show very       led to an over-supply.                                 unpaid bills.
low or no growth for the next year or so. There is         The problem, as we now all know, was the
                                                                                                                            Cut your costs

some chance of a recession in newspaper headline        “securitisation” of such mortgage debt, where
terms of a decline in the Gross Domestic Product        housing loans of various qualities were bundled up                  Look for savings in every part of your
(GDP) for two or more consecutive quarters. A           into tradable securities.                                           business. Do you turn equipment off
better definition for business is that a recession is       When the U.S. house prices started to fall, the                  at night? Is every business journey
when business activity has reached its peak and         banks perceived a significant decline in the value of                necessary? Are you taking full
starts to fall until the time when business activity    the collateral used by the banks when issuing loans                 advantage of your tax allowances?
bottoms out. When business activity starts to           based on holding these mortgage-backed securities      You can also try and negotiate new terms and
rise again, this is an expansionary period and the      and an increased perception of risk regarding the      conditions with your suppliers. The credit crunch
average recession by this definition lasts about a       solvency of the other banks.                           is affecting the majority of businesses and they
year in total.                                                                                                 may be willing to provide you with much longer

                                                                                                                                 Business Link

payment terms or a reduction in price, in order to      Efficient service, fast delivery, flexible payment          have secured the best possible deal, by investigating
keep your business.                                     terms and so on, can persuade people to spend with       a number of different options and carefully
                                                        you rather than a competitor.                            negotiating the terms.
             Credit check new customers

3             It might only take one major customer
              to go bust to jeopardise your business.
              Protect yourself by conducting
              rigorous credit checks on new
              customers and agreeing clear credit
terms up front. Using credit reference agencies
will provide extra protection against bad debtors,
                                                                     Increase your marketing
                                                                     When competing for a smaller pot of
                                                                     money, it becomes more important
                                                                     than ever to tell people why they
                                                                     should come to you. You don’t have to
                                                                     break the bank, but be sure to shout
                                                        about your business. However, it is vital that this
                                                                                                                              Streamline your operation
                                                                                                                              Consider moving to smaller
                                                                                                                              premises, or even subletting some of
                                                                                                                              your existing space. Sell off excess
                                                                                                                              equipment and look at your staffing
                                                                                                                 – are your people concentrated in the right areas?
                                                                                                                 Will flexible working be more cost-efficient? If
although this must be balanced against the cost of      is done efficiently and effectively. Consider what          you are considering making staff redundant be sure
using their services.                                   method is best suited to your business, such as          you take into account the adverse impact this can
                                                        telemarketing; online advertising; trade magazines,      have on the remaining staff and the time and cost

             Retain customers                           mail shots; or radio/TV. Monitor any marketing           involved in recruiting replacements when business
              When finances are uncertain,               you carry out, to measure its success and to             picks up.
              consumers cut their discretionary         determine whether it is worth continuing.

              spending – so do all you can to keep                                                                                       Sell online

              your customers coming through your                     Concentrate on products                                               An online sales or
doors. Loyalty schemes, small discounts and regular                  and services that sell                                                marketing channel will
communication are just three ways of letting your                     Don’t put your efforts into trying to                                 expose you to a larger
customers know you value them.                                        sell things that are untried or that few                             marketplace for minimal
   As corporate social responsibility becomes an                      people will buy; stick to profitable        cost. Be sure to plan and resource online selling
increasingly important issue for many consumers,        favourites. Don’t be tempted to slash prices either      properly, including providing payment security,
this could provide a new way of attracting and          – if demand for your offer is not price sensitive, you    attracting visitors and meeting orders swiftly.
retaining new customers. By taking steps, such as       will be giving your profits away.                            The credit crunch will lead to a difficult
supporting local initiatives and becoming more                                                                   environment for all businesses, but by following

environmentally friendly, you may be able to                        Avoid borrowing                              our top tips, you will increase the chances of your
differentiate yourself from the competition.                         Bear in mind loans may be more               business surviving. A
                                                                    difficult to obtain and more expensive

             Provide outstanding                                    in a slump. Alternatives include invoice      Further information
             customer service                                       financing, which releases up to 85 per         Visit to
             Consumers appreciate businesses            cent of cash tied up in unpaid invoices. Better still,    find out about a variety of workshops or telephone
             that give them more for their money,       save money by cutting costs.                              +44 (0)8457 171 615 with any question you may
             especially when times are tough.             If you are forced to borrow money, ensure you           have about running your business.

                                                                                                                                                         ATTIRE 25


 We speak to some of the industry’s leading
 bridesmaid dress suppliers to track recent
 changes in consumer demand
 Women today are demanding much more of the humble bridesmaid
 dress. Indeed, with so many cost-conscious brides asking their maids to
 buy, or contribute to, their own gowns, it’s no wonder that the maids are
 demanding a greater say in what they wear. As a result, funky, wear-again
 styles are very much in vogue. Furthermore, as one type of dress may not
 suit everyone, more and more brides are dictating colour, but then allowing
 their maids to choose the style. We talk to some of the industry’s leading
 bridesmaid dress suppliers to find out more…

                                                                                     Katia Charalambou, Director
                                                                                     DESCRIBE YOUR NEW BRIDESMAIDS COLLECTION
                                                                                     Our new bridesmaids collection is easy to wear, versatile, and comes
                                                                                     in assorted fabrics and colours, so most dresses can be worn as both
                                                                                     bridesmaids and party/prom dresses. Our two-piece gowns are even more
                                                                                     versatile, as the bodices can be worn with jeans to nightclubs!
                                                                                        We also design the collection to suit all sizes, so whether you are a size
                                                                                     eight, or a size 30, you have the whole collection to choose from, not just a
                                                                                     few “specially designed” styles.

                                                                                     W HAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BRIDESMAID DRESS FROM THE NEW
                                                                                     COLLECTION AND WHY?
                                                                                     My favourite bridesmaid gown from the new collection is our style number
                                                                                     1443 (shown below). It is sophisticated, beautifully cut and styled, and is a
                                                                                     throwback to the Golden Age of Hollywood, but with a “High Street Twist”.

                                                                                     W HAT COLOURS/FABRIC/STYLES DO YOU FEEL WILL BE POPULAR
                                                                                     OVER THE COMING YEAR?
                                                                                     We are selling more taffeta, chiffon, and slinky satin fabrics. As for colours,
                                                                                     reds and eggplants are very popular, and of the new colours we have
                                                                                     introduced this season, Victorian lilac, mocha and olive green are selling
                                                                                     well. As last year, short bridesmaid dresses are again very popular.

                                                                                     HAS THE MARKET FOR BRIDESMAID DRESSES CHANGED IN
                                                                                     RECENT TIMES? IF SO, HOW?
                                                                                     The market has changed in as much as the girls are now looking for value-
                                                                                     for-money gowns, i.e. dresses which can worn to more than one occasion.
                                                                                     Another change is that whereas before, a bride may have had four, five, or
                                                                                     more bridesmiads, which she herself would be paying for, she is now, on
                                                                                     average, having two-three. A factor of this may be that more and more
                                                                                     bridesmaids are paying for their own gowns, and the brides may not feel

                                                                                     comfortable having more bridesmaids under these circumstances.

                                                                                     HOW CAN BRIDAL RETAILERS BOOST SALES OF THEIR
                                                              BRIDESMAID DRESSES?
                                                                                     Bridal retailers could offer a variety of incentives, for example, special offers
                                                                                     if a number of gowns are bought together.
                                                                                        Designer days are also important for encouraging brides to visit the
Michele O’Neil, Dessy Uk Distributor                                                 shops. The retailer can then take the opportunity to show the bridesmaid
DESCRIBE YOUR NEW BRIDESMAIDS COLLECTION                                             dresses to the bride. If possible, retailers should try to keep alteration costs to
Our new bridesmaids collection is funky and upbeat and definitely on trend.           a minimum.
We are using fashion forward styling, dresses with pockets, bright florals, black
and white prints and rainbow-dyed chiffons.

I love our new ‘Melrose’ printed satin styles, because they are so fashionable
that they will be able to be worn again for other occasions.

Bright yellow, orange and green in floaty chiffons and organzas.

   I think due to popular TV series and films, brides are choosing more girl
friends to be their bridesmaids. Indeed, they are making more of an outing of
it and have not just one hen night but whole hen week holidays away.
   Bridesmaids are purchasing their own dresses and, in more and more cases,
the brides are asking their maids to buy their own dress in a particular colour
– so many girls, same colour, different styles!

                                                                                         The House
Retailers need to sell dresses that can be worn for other events, like prom,
party, evening, to the races, mother of the bride etc. They need to look at events
outside of just a bridesmaid dress and market it that way in order to make

                                                                                         of Nicholas
more of their stock. That’s where the Dessy Collection comes into its own: it                                           
has so many uses. As long as the retailer can use some imagination in the way
they sell, they should see healthy returns.

                                                                                                                                                            ATTIRE 27

                                                                                  Jonathan James                                                            W HEN DID YOU FIRST LAUNCH A BRIDESMAIDS COLLECTION?
                                                                                   The “DEVA” bridesmaid collection was launched in September 2008 for
                                                                                  the 2009 season. I wanted to create a stylish range of gowns that would tie
                                                                                  in with my bridal collection and also appeal to more contemporary brides. I
                                                                                  also felt that by allowing brides and retailers to customise gowns to their own
                                                                                  specifications gave both brides and retailers a greater market for my gowns.

                                                                                  DESCRIBE YOUR NEW BRIDESMAIDS COLLECTION
                                                                                  The “DEVA” collection is a range of elegant, stylish gowns that will enhance
                                                                                  any designer bridal party.

                                                                                  W HAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BRIDESMAID DRESS FROM THE NEW
                                                                                  COLLECTION AND WHY?
                                                                                  Style B07-031 (shown below) has to be my favourite. I’m a great fan of French
                                                                                  taffeta, and the shape of this gown is extremely flattering in an array of sizes.

                                                                                  W HAT COLOURS/FABRIC/STYLES DO YOU FEEL WILL BE POPULAR
                                                                                  OVER THE COMING YEAR?
Victoria Woodley, Office & Sales Manager                                          French taffeta is a very popular fabric. Brides like the structured feel to the
DESCRIBE YOUR NEW BRIDESMAIDS COLLECTION                                          fabric and it creates clean lines on most shapes. Plum and purple colours are
The new Alvena Valenta (AV) collection is elegant and sophisticated with a        becoming increasingly popular.
fashion forward element showing. The collection is a mixture of tea and full-
length dresses made using different fabrics. We use duet satin, satin, tissue      HAS THE MARKET FOR BRIDESMAID DRESSES CHANCED IN RECENT
taffeta and chiffon to create different looks.                                       TIMES? IF SO, HOW?
                                                                                  I feel that brides like to have a designer look to their bridal party and they
W HAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BRIDESMAID DRESS FROM THE NEW                             want their bridesmaids to look as elegant and stylish as they do. This also
                                                                                  extends to the men of the bridal party. For this reason we offer retailers the
My favourite dress is probably 9879 from this collection (shown above).           option of having men’s accessories made to match the bridesmaid gowns in
I love the colours together and the stand up pleated frill is an elegant look     the same fabric. This is a great add on service for retailers and only requires
that I am sure will be popular in the coming seasons.                             one measurement.

                                                                                  BRIDESMAID DRESSES?
I think that over the next year, while there will be some girls who want to       Bridesmaids can sometimes take a back seat and retailers can simply use
be adventurous with their colour choice, our classic colours will remain.         them as an add on sale. This can be a greatly missed sales opportunity. Your
Bordeaux, eggplant and chocolate will be popular while black becomes an           bridesmaid collection needs to be marketed at the same level as your bridal
ever increasing trend following the black tie themed weddings in the USA.         instore. Gowns should be arranged in colour with matching accessories in
I have noticed a real trend for chiffon and duet satin recently but again          close proximity. I would always suggest taking a larger bridesmaid collection
traditional satin seems to be making a bit of a comeback.                         from one or two suppliers rather than one or two gowns from lots of suppliers.
                                                                                  This will create the look of having a collection rather than a jumble of
                                                                                  mismatched gowns.
The bridesmaid market has changed recently due to girls wanting their
dresses to be able to be used for more than just the wedding. We have noticed
that bridesmaids are wanting quality dresses and don’t mind helping towards
the costs as long as they have a say in the chosen dress and feel they can wear
it again. We have also noticed that bridesmaids having the same colour and
fabric dress but in different styles is increasingly popular.

• Sales can be boosted by stocking more than just a few dresses. Girls want to
feel that they have tried on lots of dresses before they make their choice.
• Advertise locally and choose bridesmaid dresses from suppliers that are
supportive with their national advertising.
• Make sure you have room for the bridesmaids party. Having room for
the girls to be together means the girls will have more fun, enjoy the
appointment and want to purchase from your store.

• Don’t look at bridesmaids as a hassle, they can bring in a lot of revenue
from the purchase of the dress to jewellery, shoes, accessories etc. Allow time

for them.
• Do special events within the store such as designer days.
• Stock bridesmaid dresses that compliment bridal collections within your
store, think of the price you achieve with your bridal and make sure that your
bridesmaid dresses fit within this price range.                            




Rebekah Roberts, Designer
This season we really wanted to inject some new exciting bridesmaid stories
into our collection. Each story consists of different shapes and necklines, as
well as dresses for different ages. We have used different fabrics to keep the
pieces young and exciting. We still offer our bridesmaids in a huge range of
different colours and fabrics, now in satin, taffeta, organza, chiffon and tulle.

My favorite bridesmaid story is the one which combines satin skirts with cut
out organza bodices (shown below). I adore the tiny flower girl dress which
has a full tulle skirt with cut out daisies appliquéd all over.

I think more unusual fabrics will be popular, such as the cut out organza and
soft tulle, which hangs so beautifully. Colours are hard to predict, our most
popular shade is always burgundy.

I think there is a huge demand for the bridesmaid stories we do. For example,
having a party of girls all wearing very similar styles, but with just a different
neckline or skirt shape. It makes a lot of sense since you very rarely see four
bridesmaids all the same shape, everyone gets to choose the style they want.

BRIDESMAID DRESSES?                                                                 DESCRIBE YOUR NEW BRIDESMAID COLLECTIONS
In my opinion, this would be by stocking a sample of each style within a            D’Alene Bridesmaids are affordable, modern and stylish. It’s a simple, stylish
bridesmaid story. This gives the customers three or four different options.          collection at a good price point.
                                                                                      Veromia Bridesmaids are pretty with delicate embroidery and beading in a
                                                                                    fantastic range of colours and styles with realistic prices.

                                                                                    W HAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BRIDESMAIDS DRESS FROM THE NEW
                                                                                    COLLECTION AND WHY?
                                                                                    On D’Zage, my favourite bridesmaids dress is ref: DAB6821 which has
                                                                                    a matching teen and baby dress. On Veromia, my favourite style is ref:
                                                                                    VRB3757 (shown above) which also has a matching teen and baby dress. I
                                                                                    like both of these as I love satin and on D’Zage the style is just so flattering,
                                                                                    while on Veromia the dress just looks so great for the money and I just love
                                                                                    the delicate beading.

                                                                                    What colours/fabric/styles do you feel will be
                                                                                    popular over the coming year?
                                                                                    I feel that rich jewel colors will be popular over the coming year like the
                                                                                    purples and the jades and the ever-popular reds, not forgetting the rich pinks.
                                                                                    Satin and taffeta are the most popular fabrics. We try to keep up with the
                                                                                    trends and introduce new colours every season.

                                                                                    Has the market for bridesmaid dresses chanced in
                                                                                    recent times? If so, how?
                                                                                    The market has changed in the way that brides are looking for simpler
                                                                                    dresses for their maids that is why in this cost-conscious market Veromia and
                                                                                    D’Zage sell so well.

                                                                                    How can bridal retailers boost sales of their
                                                                                    bridesmaid dresses?
                                                                                    Our dresses sell so well that if retailers want to boast their sales they need to
                                                                                    buy our dresses; as far as quality, customer service and delivery, Veromia and
                                                                                    D’Zage come first every time.

                                                                               Jane Watson, Designer
                                                                               DESCRIBE YOUR NEW BRIDESMAIDS COLLECTION
                                                                               This year has proved to be a very good year for our bridesmaids collection. The
                                                                               collection comprises of good quality fabrics whilst offering a competitive price,
                                                                               enabling the retailer to offer bridesmaid dresses at realistic prices. We offer
                                                                               good quality dresses at realistic prices; we do not want to compete with cheap
                                                                               dresses at cheap prices.

                                                                               W HAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BRIDESMAID DRESS FROM THE NEW
                                                                               COLLECTION AND WHY?
                                                                               My favourite bridemaid from the new 2009 collection is a strapless gown
                                                                               with a full pinched skirt trimmed with a waist belt effect, complimenting the
                                                                               current fashion. Retailers who ordered early have already recieved an excellent
                                                                               response from brides.

                                                                               W HAT COLOURS/FABRIC/STYLES DO YOU FEEL WILL BE POPULAR
                                                                               OVER THE COMING YEAR?
                                                                               Satin is the most popular fabric as usual, followed by taffeta. Cinnamon,
                                                                               bronze, chocolate, golds and tans are in demand followed by soft pinks, and
                                                                               reds. So far the top-selling colour for us is electric blue.

                                                                               HAS THE MARKET FOR BRIDESMAID DRESSES CHANGED IN RECENT
                                                                               TIMES? IF SO, HOW?
                                                                               Trends have changed over the years and currently we are being asked for
                                                                               dresses with shoulder detail giving a more mature look to the designs.
                                                                               Therefore we have incorporated these requests into the new collections and
                                                                               received a very good response.

                                                 Kelsey                        HOW CAN BRIDAL RETAILERS BOOST SALES OF THEIR

                                                                               BRIDESMAID DRESSES?
                                                                               To boost the sales of bridesmaids and proms we suggest you show as many
                                                                               colours as possible with a good mixed price range. Brides will assume that if
                                                                               a dress in your showroom is red, this is the only colour it is available in. It is
                                                                               so important that every customer is made aware that every design will be
                                                                               available in all the colours.
                                                                                  I have just attended a designer day at one of our clients showrooms and by
Josie O’Riley, Brand Manager                                                   explaining the way to order etc. we received good orders on the day.
The evening wear look is a trend coming forward for bridesmaids, with
fashionable shapes, styles, colours and two-tone colour options.
   Our new bridesmaid collection has become more versatile, allowing
the wearer to have more than one use. For example, our black and white
story encourages brides to adopt a more modern and stylish look, showing
them they all don’t need to wear the same style and that they can choose a
different dress to suit every shape and size of their bridesmaids.

My favourite bridesmaids dress is style 14684 because its elegant, evening
wear look is very flattering, with just enough detail. It is floaty, very
feminine and can be worn again.

Silk will be a popular fabric over the coming year with black and white,
earthy tones and muted colours to bring back more of a sophisticated
look. The shapes will depend on the theme of the wedding but slim line
sillouettes and short, flirty and fun styles will be popular

The market for bridesmaids dresses has changed; they’re becoming more
fashion featured as there’s a lot more competition on the high street.

                                                                                Samantha Jane

Bridal retailers can boost their sales by marketing our bridesmaids for prom
dresses. We sell al ot of our dresses as prom because of the fashionable                                                   
styling and affordable prices.

                                                                                                                                                     ATTIRE 31
            One emerging trend for 2009 is
            the chic silhouette of an empire
            line gown…

             +44 (0)1909 774 471

                       +44 (0)7783 476 408
                                                                                  Fashion Trends

                                 LUSAN MON
                                              92                                      JESUS PE
                                 +852 2815 45                                                     IRO
                                                                  +34 (0) 902
                                 www.lusanman                                                      200 490

                        DESIGN                                   THEODOROU
LUCC  A SCAND                                                   +357 223 81856
           9 33444
+45 (0) 98                                        

                                                                                                  ATTIRE 37
  Big Beautiful Brides gowns have been
  specially designed for size 22 plus.

  The internal construction of each gown
  gives the larger lady a shape again without
  having to go out and spend a fortune on
  expensive under garments.

  This is achieved with extra
  boning in each gown to give
  fantastic structure. Plus all
  the gowns in the collection
  are reasonably priced and
  there is no surcharge for
  larger sizes.

For further information please contact Big Beautiful Brides, Special Day, Unit 231, Blanchardstown Corporate Park 2, Ballycoolin Road, Dublin, Ireland
Phone: 00 353 1 866 5882 / 5883 • Email:
                                     +32 3260
                                                                              Fashion Trends

                                     NOVIA D’ART
                                    +34 932 378015

+49 7962 891 12

 +44 (0)160 3 409 315

                          SARAH HOUSTON BR
                          +1 (0) 1 800 221 6617

                                                           +44 (0)207 75
                                                                         1 4155

                                                                                       ATTIRE 39
+44 (0)1843 582 036

                          In Your
                       Maximise in-store sales by stocking
                       a selection of gorgeous gold gowns

                                                ALICE JAME
                                                +44 (0)1254 27
                                                                                               Fashion Trends
                                                               9 766

                                                                         EDEN BRIDALS
                                                                         +353 917 38101

                           ART COUTURE
                      +44 (0)8707 707 670

ELLIS BRIDALS                                                                                        +44 (0)1621 85
                    33                                                                                               5 653
+44 (0)20 8888 88                                                                                  www.estes-cou

                                                                                                               ATTIRE 41
             OOD DRE
   +44 (0)20            AMS                                           KOSIBAH CREATIONS
             8 801 979
   www.holly           7                                              +44 (0)20 7424 8832

                                                   JADE DANIELS
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                                                                                            ROMY COLL
                                                                                            +972 505 61 6778

                                 +32 3260 60 70

       Alisha K .
       by Christina Rossi





                           Princess Bride
                           Talented US bridal designer, Kirstie Kelly, talks to Attire Bridal about her exciting
                           collaboration with Disney Consumer Products

Every bride wants to be a princess on her big day, and who better to make her     I have been designing bridal now for about 13 years as I have always felt
dreams come true than Disney? Since 2006, Designer, Kirstie Kelly, has been     passionate about the fabrications and draping that could be done for bridal.
working with Disney Consumer Products to fulfil every little girls fantasy       Creating a bridal gown is very special, you have an opportunity to connect
wedding. We speak to Kirstie to find out more…                                   with your client that you don’t have when doing ready to wear.

What is your background in bridal design?                                       How did the collaboration between yourself and Disney Consumer Products
To begin with I designed eveningwear and suiting and it eventually evolved      come about?
into bridal.                                                                    Disney approached me in 2006 and asked if I would partner with them to
                                                                                create a line of bridal gowns inspired by the Disney Princesses. I was inspired
                                                                                by the idea and thought that it would lend itself well to the bridal industry,
                                                                                so I developed modern day personalities around the princesses and created
                                                                                mini-collections for each one. Each mini-collection delves into the modern
                                                                                woman, and explores the personality of each princess, all coming together in
                                                                                one full line of bridal gowns. The collection is very diverse because you have
                                                                                six different moods/personalities. There’s something for everyone, whether it
                                                                                is a cathedral wedding (sleeping beauty/Cinderella) or a destination wedding
                                                                                (Ariel/Jasmine), outdoor/garden wedding (Belle/Snow White). We create two
                                                                                collections a year representing all six princesses.

                                                                                Did you feel any pressure knowing that there would be tremendous
                                                                                world-wide attention on the collection?
                                                                                I think you have to keep a sense of humour and stay focused on your objective.
                                                                                For me the objective is to continue to create collections each season that
                                                                                our clients love and that represent the princesses. There is always pressure,
                                                                                regardless of the industry you are in, it’s just a matter of managing all the
                                                                                different aspects.

                                                                                How long did it take you to create the collection and what were the
                                                                                associated challenges?
                                                                                I spent months researching the princesses in the first year in my relationship
                                                                                with Disney; the challenge was to make women today relate to the different
                                                                                princesses by updating the personality of each one.

                                                                                How did you decide which fabrics you were going to use and where did you
                                                                                source them?
                                                                                It became apparent while I was developing the collections which fabrics would
                                                                                suit which princess. For instance Belle is a very non-fussy princess, as is the
                                                                                bride that would wear a Belle-inspired gown. The bride that relates to Belle
                                                                                generally likes lace, taffeta and organza more than a duchess satin. However,
                                                                                a Cinderella-inspired bride wouldn’t really wear anything but a duchess satin
                                                                                with a high shine.

                                                                                What type of bridal retailer are the dresses suited to?
                                                                                We are fortunate to work with many wonderful retailers across the world.
                                                                                We have both small salons and large salons. The gowns do well in both, but I
                                                                                measure success in the quality of service a bride receives from the retailer. So

                                                                                    B r i d a l
                                                                                    Setting up costs-Commercial Property Lease-
                                                                                    Business Plan-Vat-Accounts-
                                                                                    Fixtures-Fittings Advertising-Sales Stationary
                                                                                    -Purchasing stock-Fitting garments etc…

                                                                                    Increase sales-Stock control-Showroom design
                                                                                    -Staff training-Advertising-
                                                                                    Stationary with Terms’ conditions-
                                                                                    Disposal of discontinued dresses etc…

                                                                                    Valuation of existing business
                                                                                    Current stock and sales value- Business Plan –
                                                                                    Employment- Managing a successful business

                                                                                    Supply to the Bridal Industry
                                                                                    Importing from Far East -
                                                                                    Business Plan-Financial Cost
                                                                                    Trade Exhibitions etc…

                                                                                    30 Years experience in the Bridal & Fashion Industry
                                                                                    Consultancy from £350 per day

                                                                                    Visit the web site for additional information
                                                                                    Telephone 01256 766 744

I would say that the salons that have the top level of customer service are the
salons we do the best in.

What is your favourite dress from the collection and why?
Every season I have a different favourite! Today my favourite is a gown that
will be launched in October, it is an Ariel gown that has layers of tulle and
is very playful. But who knows, tomorrow it could be a stunning Cinderella
gown. There is always one gown that holds a special place in my heart. This is
our Platinum gown we create each season. The Platinum gown is very special
because we donate a percentage of the proceeds of the sale of the gown to the
Make-A-Wish foundation.

How have British retailers responded to the collection?
Incredibly well! In June we had an event in London and the retailers were
thrilled with the line and the wonderful sales opportunity. Because there are
stories and personalities around each gown, it is different from any other
bridal gown company. There is always a wonderful story that can be told while
selling the gown, the bride connects on a different level with these gowns
than with others. Indeed, this creates a very special selling opportunity and
purchasing experience.

Are you planning to add to the collection? If so, how often will you be
launching new designs?
We launch new designs twice a year.

How do you see the future of the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings collection?
Ever expanding, we are constantly adding new product categories and ideas to
the brand; it is very exciting and such an incredible experience. I have the best
job in the world! A

                                                                                                                                           ATTIRE 47
                                                       Net Gains
                                                       Karen Alderson, Director of I Do I Do, specialists in designer websites for the
                                                       bridal industry, offers her advice on maximising your on-line presence

As the internet continues to grow at an ever-          considering how your website should look. Your          ranges from the content of the site and how it is
expanding rate, the question of how important          website is your virtual shop window – it should         coded, through to how many links are made to
a website is to a bridal business crops up             create (if possible) a similar experience to walking    the site and what those links say.
increasingly regularly. Is it really necessary? And    in to your showroom. Any bridal shop with                  Optimising your website for search engines is
if it is necessary, isn’t it an expense that would     sensible marketing will have a warm, elegant,           vitally important for the success of your website
be much better delayed until the business has          inviting showroom that displays their products to       – no matter how beautiful your site looks, if never
spare cashflow?                                         the greatest advantage and encourages brides            found, it’s useless.
    According to research from net measurement         to browse and purchase; their website should
firm Nielsen/NetRatings, young women are now            convey this experience as much as possible.             Should you get a free website, or should you
the most dominant group of online users in the            Another way to look at it is to view your website    employ a web designer?
UK.(1) The obvious implication from this data          as your most often seen sales member. If it’s not       It’s tempting to go down the free route; either
is that effective web marketing is increasingly        a natty dresser, you may be losing business.            getting a friend or acquaintance who knows
important in the wedding industry – young              Some brides say they are actually put off going         some html to make one for you, or making a
women will generally do some research online           to a bridal shop if the website is ugly and old-        free website yourself using website generation
before make any decisions about which suppliers        fashioned as (fairly or unfairly) they see this as an   software. Like most things in life, you get what
to approach.                                           indication of the shop’s overall service standard.(2)   you pay for. To compete effectively in a market
    So what needs to be considered when setting           Always remember who your target market               alongside not only other bridal shops, but
up a website? Isn’t it just as simple as getting       is – the design of your website is intrinsically        sophisticated internet-only traders, it’s worth
your resident teenager to make one for you?            wrapped up in what brides will actually like. If        investing the time and money in a professional
Well, no. There are all sorts of things to think       you’re struggling with this, canvas some of your        service; not only should a professional web
about. What is your website for? How should            customers’ opinions – they’ll be flattered you’ve        designer make a website that looks great and
your website look? How will your website be            asked them.                                             reflects your brand, they should be able to code
found? Should you get a free website, or should                                                                the website in a search engine friendly manner
you employ a web designer? What criteria should                                                                and give you advice on how to improve your
you consider when employing a web designer?
                                                       Your website is your virtual                            search engine rankings.
    Let’s take a look at some of those questions.      shop window – it should create
                                                       (if possible) a similar experience                      What criteria should you consider when
What is your website for?                                                                                      employing a web designer?
The purpose of your website is probably the            to walking in to your showroom.                         Research from Glamorgan University has shown
most basic, obvious question, but it’s also the                                                                that women tend to prefer websites designed
most important. It will dictate things like the        How will your website be found?                         by women(3), yet they’re a relatively rare breed
design, the content, and the overall cost. If you      Life would be much simpler if a website would           – nearly 80% of web designers are men.(4) So it
want an extensive online catalogue of all of the       just magically appear on the first page of               makes sense to choose a female web designer;
dresses you stock, the brief will be quite different   Google, but in reality, ranking well on useful          but if you have a male web designer in mind,
to a brochure-style site that gives brides a taste     keywords is not very straight forward – after all,      make sure he is sensitive to the design nuances
of what you stock and encourages them to get           you’re competing with literally millions of other       of a female market.
in touch.                                              websites. To make sure web users are getting               Any website designer worth their mustard
                                                       the most relevant results for the keywords they         will have an online portfolio. Check it out, and
How should your website look?                          use, Google takes a wide number of factors into         make sure the style they design in is not only
It’s helpful to use a couple of metaphors when         the equation to create a search algorithm. This         appropriate to the bridal industry, but also that

                                                                                                                           On-line Advice



you actually like what they produce. No matter         they bundle all your website changes in with this,    that target them. We’ve found that Google
how little or how much you are paying, you             if your site only needs changing a few times a        adwords campaigns are best suited to attracting
should expect your site to look nice if you are        year, this could become an expensive mistake.         people to specific events like designer evenings
employing a designer; that is an integral part of      Make sure that when you pay for your website          but we rely on natural search engine optimisation
their job description.                                 you actually own it and can take it with you if you   for more general search engine traffic.”
   Make sure they talk (either in person or on their   want to.
website) about making search engine friendly                                                       
websites, and that they seem knowledgeable in          CASE STUDIES                                          Katzi design and produce lovely, contemporary
this area. Be wary if their search engine strategy                                                           bridal jewellery which they supply throughout
is all about submitting your website to thousands                            the UK and internationally. Well respected in the
of search engines (in reality there are only five       Bride@Chestergate, a new, contemporary bridal         industry, they’ve worked with a wide range of top
major search engines you need to worry about).         shop in Macclesfield, Cheshire, considers their        bridal designers.
                                                       online marketing an important tool, and their            Katzi wanted a website that could be utilised
                                                       website played a prominent role in their overall      by their suppliers as an online catalogue,
Any website designer worth                             business plan. They are now seeing the pay-off.       allowing stockists not only to choose products to
their mustard will have an online                         “The design of our logo and website was            purchase, but also to show brides.
portfolio. Check it out, and                           simply too important to risk taking it on ourselves      “Our website is really the face of our business,”
                                                       or trying to get a friend involved even though        said Zabdiel Scoon from Katzi. “It’s an excellent
make sure the style they design                        we have an artistic background, so we opted           portal that provides information about our
in is not only appropriate to the                      to have it produced professionally. We would          company and promotes not just our brand, but
                                                       never have achieved the look we wanted without        our stockists’ brands too. It’s given our business
bridal industry, but also that you                     using someone with in-depth experience – you          a much more professional look.”
actually like what they produce.                       can almost always tell the difference” said John
                                                       Ashworth, co-owner of Bride@Chestergate.    
   Be clear between you and your designer on           “We’ve found that our website can attract             Margot Raybould Brides, based in House of
things like who owns your domain name (you             brides to be (we even had someone drive from          Fraser in Wolverhampton, have been in the bridal
should) and how much your web hosting will             Manchester to Macclesfield because of it!) and         industry for 20 years. Aware that web fashion
cost (the space you rent on a computer for your        also helps to calm nerves after they have placed      changes nearly as quickly as bridal fashion, they
website to sit – you will generally pay this on a      an order.”                                            wanted to update their existing website which
yearly basis). You also need to be clear about            “Our website helps us with our suppliers as it     was starting to look out of date.
how any changes will be made to your website           gives them all the information they need to know         Their new website has been a resounding
down track. If you want to make the changes            about us - it helps show them what we’re about.       success; not only do they feel it is more in touch
yourself, the website will probably cost quite a       And we’ve been invited to a number of wedding         with the modern bride, but it’s also improved their
lot more to make initially. If you’re happy to leave   fayres because the organisers liked what they         search engine rankings. “We’ve noticed a big
the changes up to your web designer, make sure         saw on our website,” he said.                         increase in trade - people are clicking through
you know how much it would cost, or at least              “We use an articles feature to provide             from the designers’ websites,” said Celia Hewlitt,
what hourly rate they charge.                          information for brides in an advertorial manner       proprietor of Margot Raybould Brides. A
   Check how you will be charged - some                that promotes our strengths. We use the
                                                                                                              Further information
companies bill a low upfront cost, but lock you        Google analytics site statistics to track common
                                                                                                              Find out more by calling +44 (0)121 314 6068.
into an expensive long term contract. Even if          keywords visitors are using and then write articles
                                                                                                              Alternatively, visit

                                                                                                                                                    ATTIRE 49
              RB1941                                         Our designer range
                                                           with an exquisite look,
                                                              it exudes romance
                                                         with a haute couture-flair.

The wedding industry and Essex-based charity,
Helen Rollason Heal Cancer, were brought
                                                                        The very best of the bridal industry came together
                                                                        recently to celebrate outstanding suppliers in their
                                                                        field, and to raise money for charity

                                                         Those attending were served a delicious four
                                                      course celebration dinner prior to the awards
                                                                                                           Awards and co-presenter of BBC1’s The Big Day
                                                                                                           said, “The evening was a way to celebrate the cream
together at the inaugural Wedding Retailer            ceremony, which recognized 16 outstanding            of the wedding community and also raise a few
Awards held at one of the country’s newest            suppliers, including Hugh Harris as Best             pounds for a great cause.”
wedding venues, Boreham House, on Saturday 27th       Groomswear Retailer and Lance James Jewellery           Professor Neville Davidson, Chairman of the
September 2008.                                       as Jeweller of the Year. Attire Bridal sponsored     Helen Rollason Heal Cancer Charity added:
   A Grade 1 Listed mansion just outside              the Best Bridal Boutique award, which was            “We are delighted to have been part of this
Chelmsford, Essex, Boreham House is a beautiful       presented to Ellie & Charlotte, while our very own   year’s prestigious Wedding Retailer Awards.” He
stately home set in 35 acres of picturesque grounds   columnist, Abigail Neill, won the coveted Bridal     continued: “Weddings are all about family and as a
and was once owned by Henry Ford. The Awards          Retailer of the Year.                                charity we work to support both family and friends
took place in the recently-completed pavilion,           After the awards ceremony, there was a charity    affected by a cancer diagnosis – the opportunity
which comfortably seats 300 guests.                   auction, with lots ranging from a signed Oasis       to raise the profile of the charity in this way is
   The Wedding Retailer Awards are the only           guitar to Fawlty Towers memorabilia. Money           extremely valuable to us.”
awards that are voted for by wedding professionals    raised from the auction went to Helen Rollason          After the awards ceremony, guests danced the
and fellow peers, and were set up to reward the       Heal Cancer.                                         night away to entertainment from the USA’s Stars
cream of the wedding industry.                           James Love, host of The Wedding Retailer          in Their Eyes Winner. A

                                                                       Wedding Retailer Awards

                                                              The Finalists

                                     VENUE OF THE YEAR                       BRIDE’S CHOICE AWARD 2008
                                     Winner: Sudeley Castle                  Winner: Mariposa
                                     Cotswold House Hotel                    Vintage Dreams
                                     The West Wing at Icworth House          CGE Gifts
                                     The Hurlingham Club                     Aim 4 Africa
                                     Spains Hall                             Brides of Portsmouth
                                                                             Divine Bridal
                                     NEW VENUE OF THE YEAR                   Treasured Favours
                                     Winner: Boreham House                   Sparkle & WOW
                                     Wasing House                            Final Touch
                                     The Cotswold House                      Perfectly You
                                     Feathers of Woodstock
                                                                             FLORAL DESIGNER
                                     PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR                Winner: Elegance Flowers
                                     Winner: Grove Wedding Photography       Amy Jones Designer Florist
                                     FNS Photography                         DaffoGills
                                     Critchlow Photography                   Halo Blossom
                                     Mark Bushkes                            Astounding Surroundings
                                     Immi Photography
                                                                             ARRIVE IN STYLE AWARD
                                     DIAMOND AWARD FOR BEST                  Winner: VIP Bentley Ltd
                                     PHOTOGRAPH                              Brisan Carriages
                                     Winner: Critchlow Photography           A&S Executive
                                                                             Limo Broker
                                     BRIDAL RETAILER OF THE YEAR
                                     Winner: Abigail’s Collection            HAIR & BEAUTY
                                     Pumpkins & Dragonflies                   Winner: The Bridal Team
                                     From This Day Forward                   Blush
                                     Bellissima Weddings                     Brides with Style
                                     To Have & To Hold                       Moors Health & Beauty
                                     By Harriet                              Perfectly You

                                     BRIDAL BOUTIQUE 2008                    BEST ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY
                                     Winner: Ellie & Charlotte               Winner: Sax & Honey
                                     Mariposa                                Shades Events
                                     Beautiful Brides                        Prestige Conjuring
                                     All Things Bride & Beautiful            Craig Bower Discos
                                     The Bridal Suite                        The Hit Squad
                                                                             Funky Casinos
                                     GROOMSWEAR RETAILER 2008
                                     Winner: Hugh Harris                     VIDEOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
                                     Anthony Formal Wear                     Winner: Ido Wedding Films
                                     The Master Kilt Maker                   Wedding Filming
                                     Abigail’s Collection Mens Wear          Bloomsbury Films
                                                                             Tabs Videos
                                     JEWELLER OF THE YEAR                    A&G Productions
                                     Winner: Lance James Jewellery           FX Films
                                     Hatton Jewellery                        Adam Huckle
                                     Bespoke Beaded Jewellery by Elizabeth
                                     Unique Jewellery                        OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT
                                     Allie Handmade Original Jewellery       AWARD
                                                                             Winner: Gavin Woollard
                                     WEDDING RETAILER OF THE YEAR
Further information
                                     Winner: Castle Marquees
To find out more about the Wedding
                                     Gerry Tovell
Retailer Awards, simply visit www.
                                     VIP Bentleys Ltd

                                                                                                          ATTIRE 53
                             By Margaret Furber                         k

And The Winner Is...
Regular columnist and multi award-winning retailer, Abi Neill,
reveals why, for her, taking part is never enough!
                              During the start          brides’ expectations along with juggling cash flow,
                              of my Sixth Form          increasing profit and managing staff is challenge
                              studies ‘Abi Joyce        enough. And given the economic situation, I am
                              the Students’ Voice’      inclined to agree. However, the awards within
                              was my ingenious          which I have taken part have given my business
                              slogan for the school     a fantastic platform, the chance to buy a posh
                              election in which I was   new frock or two and maybe, most valuably, an
                              competing to become       excellent opportunity for me to scrutinise our
                              Head Girl. Aside from     business objectively.
                              the unappealing bottle       Admittedly the judging process and (in the case
                                                                                                               knowing glances, raised eyebrows and comments
                              green uniform and rust    of some awards) having to appeal to brides for
                                                                                                               about ‘Politics’. My attitude is that some you win,
coloured tie - I loved school. And despite feeling      votes can be time consuming. In many cases awards
                                                                                                               some you lose.
hideously nervous every time I had to present           can be hard work and our region’s county-based
                                                                                                                 Realistically the majority of competitions are
to a class of yawning students, I bravely risked        business awards have been no exception. To enter
                                                                                                               subject to criticism of one sort or another and
denunciation and appealed for votes in the hope of      sounded easy. The reality was anything but. First
                                                                                                               my Head Girl crusade was no exception. Even
winning Head Girl.                                      - a formally presented submission in response to a
                                                                                                               my school campaign posters were vandalised!
   Back then, I understood that it was the ‘taking      seemingly endless list of questions. This, together
                                                                                                               Disagreeable Girls scrawled ‘not my choice’ under
part’ that really mattered and I still do. The truth    with additional material, was assessed. Finalists
                                                                                                               ‘Abi Joyce’ and pre-pubescent giggling Boys wrote
is, however, it is an amazing feeling to actually       are then mystery shopped and/or visited and
                                                                                                               ‘The Perverts’ Choice’ which, it has to be said,
win. The sense of pride and accomplishment              formally interviewed. The process is made complete
                                                                                                               wasn’t my head teacher (Sister Mary’s) favourite
that I have felt when we have been lucky enough         following another formal interview with a panel
                                                                                                               variation of the campaign’s slogan!
to become business award winners is quite               of judges at a different location. All in all, pretty
                                                                                                                 Anyway, young male creativity aside, I won
overwhelming. The recognition, press, networking        taxing stuff and stressful at times.
                                                                                                               Head Girl. Now we’ll just have to see if Abigail’s
and sales opportunities that arise from winning            Finding awards to enter is simple, winning more
                                                                                                               Collection is as fortunate at the Wedding Retailer
such awards ought not to be underestimated. On          tricky; many retailers and business owners will be
                                                                                                               Awards and if we are not, then I suppose there is
the other hand, the sense of disappointment I           familiar with the ‘Bridal Buyer Awards’ where the
                                                                                                               always next year! A
experience when we remain merely ‘Finalists’ is         cream of the industry congregate to battle it out
always momentarily hard to hide. Smiling sweetly        for the much sought after trophies. Since Wrapit’s
                                                                                                                Abigail’s Collection have won the following
and clapping frantically I usually manage to hold       demise ‘The Wedding Retailer Awards’ have been
                                                                                                                awards including, since this feature was
in my bottom lip for a while before turning to my       launched, with a number of categories, including
                                                                                                                written, the coveted Bridal Retailer of the Year
compassionate husband and a sympathetic bottle          Bridal Retailer of the Year, Bride’s Choice Award
                                                                                                                at the Wedding Retailer Awards 2008.
of Moët.                                                and The Best Bridal Boutique Award (sponsored by
   I have always been competitive. An occupation        Attire Bridal magazine). September 28th is the final     Winner of Excellence in Customer Services
within sales for many years meant that league           of the afore-mentioned Wedding Retailer Awards.         Colchester & District Business Award 2007
tables and targets were a stressful daily reality.      We have entered Bridal Retailer of the Year. We         Winner of Entrepreneur of the Year
Now, I suppose in the absence of performance            are Finalists. I am nervous.                            Colchester & District Business Award 2007
based tables, these business and industry awards           My husband has requested that I don’t sulk           Winner of New Company
are a way of testing me and my company. For many        for too long if we lose and to remember that we         Essex Countywide Business Awards 2007
retailers; the daily mission of meeting multiple        have three wedding fairs the following day! Either      Winner of New Company
                                                        way I assume he is making reference to my fond          Mid Essex Business Award 2006
                                                        association with Mr Moët. We girls have spent
                                                        weeks planning our outfits. Literally weeks!             Also finalists in the Wrapit Wedding Industry
                                                           So. Despite my husband’s warnings Mr Moët is         awards for two consecutive years 2007 and 2008.
                                                        on stand-by. For some finalists, awards occasions
                                                        such as these are the highlight of the business year    Further information
                                                        and are taken extremely seriously. Ecstatic and         Abigail Neill runs Abigail’s Collction,
                                                        often emotional winners are presented with shiny        based in Colchester, Essex.
                                                        plaques or trophies. If you watch carefully you may     Tel: +44 (0)1206 574 575
                                                        see disappointed finalists consoling each other with

                                                                                                                                                          ATTIRE 55
Beth Scott and Jane Watson answer your queries

Risk Management                                         Starting Out                                          Reducing Your Risk

Q     As a retailer, am I at risk of fraud by
      accepting payments by credit card online?         Q      It has always been my dream to open my
                                                               own bridal boutique and I’m hoping that
                                                        it will finally become a reality when I open my
                                                                                                              Q    I’d like to continue accepting payments by
                                                                                                                   credit card online, but am concerned about
                                                                                                              fraud. How can I minimise my risk?

A       Beth Scott says: In a word, yes. Credit card
        fraud is a major, and growing, problem in the
                                                        doors in spring 2009. Having said this, I’m
                                                        worried that I couldn’t be entering the bridal
retail sector and “Cardholder not Present” (CNP)
transactions have an obvious appeal to fraudsters,
                                                        market at a worse time. Can you give me any
                                                        advice on starting out?
                                                                                                              A      Beth Scott says: There are two main areas to
                                                                                                                     minimising your risks;
                                                                                                                 Firstly, there are the steps you can take yourself.
particularly for Internet transactions where it is                                                            You need to be alert for things out of the ordinary
easier to be anonymous and avoid detection.
   An invaluable resource for the retailer looking
for information in this area is Cardwatch
                                                        A     Jane Watson says: It would be wrong to say
                                                              the retail sector is not struggling, you only
                                                        have to listen to the news.
                                                                                                              and for anything that just feels wrong. For example,
                                                                                                              does the customer want a rush job with no regard
                                                                                                              to the cost? Is it an unusually large order? Are you
( According to them,                 I would suggest starting small if you have no      being asked to ship the goods to a different address
“CNP fraud in the UK has grown rapidly over the         experience in the industry and expand as you          from that of the cardholder? Does the area code
past five years to the point where it now makes          become more knowledgable.                             of the phone number correspond to the postcode
up the biggest category in plastic card crime in           Don’t spend all your capital when starting up,     supplied? Is the order placed from overseas, when
the UK. Internet transactions now represent the         make sure you put aside enough funds for the first     most of your customers are UK-based?
largest area of CNP fraud, but it also remains a        years rent etc.                                          Was it placed in the middle of the night, when
sizeable issue for transactions made by phone or           Be careful what you spend on advertising and       most of your orders are placed during office hours?
mail order.”                                            make sure it works, try to have as much exposure      Did the email you sent for the order confirmation
   And remember, it’s the retailer and not the          as possible to make brides aware that you have        bounce? Is the email address given completely
card company that is taking the risk. If the card       opened. Wedding fayres are a great asset enabling     different from the cardholder’s name – why
was used fraudulently, even if the transaction was      you to speak personally to potential brides.          would John Smith be using an email address of
authorised, the full amount may be charged back                                                     
to the retailer. Authorisation of a transaction only                                                             These may all be legitimate transactions but they
means that funds are available in the customer’s                                                              should be treated with greater caution. You might
account at that point in time and that the card                                                               want to look up the customer’s details in the phone
used has not been reported as lost or stolen. But                                                             directory and then phone them, just to check. Or
if the card was used fraudulently, money can be                                                               send a polite email querying their order and see if
reclaimed by your acquiring bank up to 120 days                                                               their response calms your concerns.
later, long after you’ve delivered the goods.                                                                    Secondly, there are the steps your payment
                                                                                                              processing body should deal with. These should
                                                                                                              include address verification and CV2 checking
                                                                                                              – this is the three-digit security code on the

                                                                                                                                  Q&A Special

                                          Jane Watson has over 30
                                          years experience in bridal

                                          retail, selling dresses to brides
                                          and supplying shops with Eva
                                          Jordan Couture Bridal and
                                          Samantha Jane Collection
                                          Bridesmaids and Proms.
  Beth Scott answers your                 In response to retailer
  questions on behalf of                  demand, seven years ago she Ltd, a                 launched a consultancy firm,
  firm that has been making                ‘Starting a Bridal Business’,
  websites for over a decade,             to advise new and existing
  specialising in e-commerce              bridal retailers on all aspects
  sites for businesses.                   of running a successful shop.

                                                            Price Matters

signature strip of the card. Your payment processor
is also likely to have its own fraud screening and
reporting tools designed to catch fraudulent and
                                                            Q     I’ve recently started stocking dresses by
                                                                  a leading bridal designer, whose dresses
                                                            are priced considerably higher than my existing
highlight potentially fraudulent transactions.              collections. The idea was to attract a whole new
   You should be using, if possible, 3D Secure              audience to my store, but it doesn’t seem to be
(Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode                   working. Help!
– see
verifiedbyvisa.jsp for Verified by Visa or www.
                                                            A      Jane Watson says: This could be due to
                                                                   the current situation i.e. the credit crunch.
                                                            Brides will be careful what they spend, although
can_do/SecureCode/index.html for MasterCard                 the gown is the least likely item they will cut their
SecureCode). With these schemes the card’s                  budget on. Perhaps you are based in an area where
issuing bank verifies the transaction and, once it           employment is not high or wages are low.
is verified, the bank assumes the liability, meaning            Do your homework and see what your
that should the transaction be denied by the                competitors are offering. Be led by them if they
customer you will not face the chargeback. If               have been trading for some time as they will have
verification is failed then you can still accept the         learnt what there market is regarding what a bride
transaction but you will be liable for any problems.        will spend on her dress. A
   If, despite all your precautions, you are the victim
of card fraud, talk to your payment processor
who will investigate and perhaps recommend
improvements to your security. If they are bearing
the loss, they are responsible for reporting the
fraud to the police. However, if you are bearing
the loss, you may need to report it to the police for
recording and further investigation.
   To sum up, you need to be alert for unusual                                                                      Further Information
transactions and you should check that your                                                                         If you have a question about any aspect of
payment processing service is taking the                                                                            your business, simply write to Q&A Special,
appropriate precautions.                                                                                            Attire Bridal magazine, Broseley House,
                                                                                                                    Newlands Drive, Witham, Essex CM8 2UL.
                                                                                                                    Alternatively, send your queries to

                                                                                                                                                      ATTIRE 57
We look forward to welcoming existing and new customers
                 on Stand M2 at BBEH
     All items are now in stock for immediate delivery

     0121 705 2244 •

2009 Collection
                                                                Following a very successful show at the
                                                              BBEH, we would like to thank our existing
                                                              customers for their continued support, and
                                                                      welcome our new stockists.

                                                               We look forward to working with you towards
                                                                       another very successful year.

                                                          •      Stylish, elegant maternity bridal-wear for
                                                                 discerning brides and retailers.
                                                          •      Maternity bridesmaid dress collection.
                                                          •      No minimum order quantity on bridal gowns
                                                                 (unless exclusivity is required).
                                                          •      Excellent mark-ups and support to retailers.
                                                          •      Fast standard lead-time and express delivery

                                                                        T: 01252 377725
                                                                              Retailer Interview

We speak to Lorraine Hoksas, who opened her stylish bridal boutique, Envisage Bridal, less than a year ago
Tell me a little about your background and why
you decided to open a bridal boutique
I have come from a very entrepreneurial
background, where both my grandfathers and
father have had their own successful business and
throughout my life this has inspired me to work for
myself. I am only ever happy when I am in control
and responsible for all aspects of delivery to my
customers. I have been involved in the wedding
industry in South Africa, and being in the bridal
industry, for me, is a calling. Mixing this with my
enjoyment of sales and interest in marketing and
fashion, a bridal boutique is the ultimate business.

How did you decide on the location for the store?
I noticed that there was a shortage of bridal
boutiques in my area catering to those brides who
want individual attention and want all the service
of a first class boutique while not necessarily
having the top-end budget to match. I chose a
small village with plenty of parking and passing
trade. I also wanted to be close to home so that if
anything urgent cropped up out of hours it would
be quick and easy to drop in. The rent was a key
aspect of my decision; I had set a budget and then
had to find premises that matched my needs and

                                                                        met most of my wants. The premises I have chosen
                                                                        are 90% perfect, and the only thing lacking is a
                                                                        little additional space.

                                                                        How did you decide which designers to stock?
                                                                        A lot of it was gut feeling and preference for my
                                                                        own style. I chose a selection of designers who were
                                                                        well known by brides and then a smaller selection
                                                                        of less-known but higher-end designers so I can
                                                                        cater across the board and attract a good variety of
                                                                        brides. I knew the lower-end would be my bread
                                                                        and butter, but the occasional high-end sale would
                                                                        help with the overall turnover. I also chose one
                                                                        designer based purely on an introductory offer they
                                                                        had, in order to bulk out the numbers of dresses
                                                                        in my boutique and it has paid off as their dresses
                                                                        are going incredibly well. The one thing I still do is
                                                                        only choose dresses that I would be happy to wear
                                                                        and this gives me the confidence to sell them.

                                                                        Did you have/are you experiencing any
                                                                        ‘teething problems’?
                                                                        There have been two teething problems, the first
                                                                        and longest lasting was choosing the wrong shop
                                                                        fitters. I used decorators who are not used to the

                                                                                                                ATTIRE 59
retail industry and the quality of the work was
poor and the advice I received was wrong. This
means I will need to redecorate within two years,
not something I had originally budgeted for. I
would say choosing your shop fitters is incredibly
important and I will do more research next
time! The second issue was one which I am still
sad about. It turns out my brides are incredibly
conservative. I had thought that there were at least
a few out there who would want something a little
unique and different and I am sad that this is not
the case, so one of my designers will most probably
be ousted next year.

What advice would you give to other people
considering opening their own bridal boutique?
It is not all glamour. First and foremost you need
to be a business woman, secondly you need to
enjoy the bridal industry. You need a lot of capital
and, as in all businesses, the first few years are the
most critical. Find something unique you can offer
to brides and word will get out very quickly. Work
with other businesses in your area to promote
yourself and use all the free resources you can. Do
your homework and do not compete with other
bridal shops in your area by going for the same
designers, each designer has something unique to
offer and by having different designers in one area
you can all benefit by offering the bride a much            this may not sound like a good thing, but it is. It     waiting for months for it to arrive. I also love the
larger selection.                                         means that they have enjoyed the experience with        rush of finding a perfect dress for a bride who
                                                          us so much that I know they will recommend us           has left it too late and only has two weeks to find
How would you describe your current collection?           to friends. So although I may have lost that sale,      something she feels great in. So, for me, the good
Individual and unique. Most of my brides walk             I will get others by recommendation. I also do a        far outweighs the bad.
in and say that the collection is so diverse and          lot of internet advertising, and have trialed various
interesting. I am proud of this as I am a small           magazines. I believe that you need to run about         What has been your greatest success in the
boutique with only 40 wedding dresses so showing          seven concurrent streams of advertising at any          business so far?
something different is important.                          one time and so I spend about 40% of my time on         My greatest success would have to be the lack
                                                          advertising my business.                                of surprises. I did my homework, carried out my
Do you hold in-store events?                                                                                      research and I know that it was all spot on as there
At the moment we are promoting a local wedding            How often do you update your window display?            have been no big surprises. So far, everything is
festival in the village and this will be in-store. Next   Weekly. It is something I picked up in conversation     following my original plan and as things block my
year I would like to start working with designers         from another boutique owner and I know it is            path I am able to deal effectively with them, as I
on designer days.                                         working as brides often comment on how regularly        saw the problem coming.
                                                          it changes.
What do you feel makes your store unique and                                                                      How would you like to see your business develop
how do you self-promote?                                  What do you believe is the key to running a             in the next five years?
There are three of us who work in the boutique and        successful bridal retail business?                      In the next five years I would like to see my first
most importantly we all make our personality part         It is still early days for me. But from my              boutique running at 80 – 90% of capacity. I would
of the shop. We create an atmosphere where people         previous business experience I would have to say        also like to move into prom dresses and accessories
open up and just enjoy the whole experience.              adaptability. Be aware of what is going on and be       and this may mean different boutiques in different
Choosing a dress is incredibly personal and it is         open to change and new ideas.                           locations. But with the possibility of an economic
important that they know us as people and trust                                                                   downturn becoming more likely I will stay open to
us. We will always let a bride know if she does not       What do you enjoy most about your role and the          new ideas and see where my business takes me. A
look good in a dress (very nicely of course!) and         bridal business in general?
honesty is part of the service we deliver. Brides         Everything! Well that’s not completely true….80%         Further information
get so emotionally attached to us that they will          of what I do is mundane paperwork, but I love            Envisage Bridal
phone and apologise for not buying from us if they        that minute when the bride puts on her dress             163 High Street, Crowthorne, Berkshire RG45 7AF
have found the perfect dress elsewhere. I know            for the first time and is still in love with it after

                                                                                                                                       TH March

Sickness costs
Running a business is a challenging task where recruiting and retaining the right people is vital.
Protecting your business should not only be about insuring such things as your premises and stock
- what about your employees as well? Peter Berry, Life and Income Protection Manager at
T H March explains why it is important to have the relevant insurance in place for both employees
and employers.

                            Long term sickness absence can be            Key benefits include:                           “One thing is for sure; no-
                            devastating for a business as well as the
                            employee and it is essential that this       EMPLOYER BENEFITS                              one is able to predict the
                            sensitive subject be carefully managed.
                            In 2007, it is estimated that long-term      • Fifty per cent of employee’ s salary
                                                                                                                        future, making it essential
                            sickness cost the workplace as much as       payable up to a maximum of £10k per            to your long-term success
                            £5.8bn *.                                    month for six months for as long as the
                               Equally, as an employer and with the      employee remains employed.                     that you have plans in
                            forthcoming Welfare Reform Act in            • Access to rehabilitation specialists to      place that will protect
Peter Berry                 mind, it is vital that you do everything     speed up a return to work.
                            you can to mitigate your risks associated    • Benefits may commence after only four         every aspect of your
Further information         with absence management, making it of        weeks disablement.                             business operation,
T H March is a well-        great importance to have group income        • It is an attractive recruitment and
established family          protection in place.                         retention tool.                                which for many includes
business founded in                                                                                                     employees as one of their
1887. With offices in                                                      Employee benefits such as this enhance
London, Birmingham,         “Long term sickness                          your profile as a caring employer making        biggest assets.”
Manchester, Glasgow,                                                     it easier to recruit new staff and retain
Sevenoaks and Yelverton,
                            absence can be                               current staff.                                  the employee, but more importantly also
near Plymouth, the          devastating for a business                                                                  provides a benefit to you, the employer. A
company has departments                                                                                                 package such as this has been designed for
covering household,
                            as well as the employee                      EMPLOYEE BENEFITS                              smaller businesses that do not currently
motor, travel, commercial   and it is essential that                                                                    offer any form of occupational sick pay to
and scheme insurance.                                                    • Continued income when incapacitated.         their staff so, for example, you may wish
To find out more visit the
                            this sensitive subject be                    • A monthly income benefit up to                to use the money to finance temporary
informative website at      carefully managed.”                          a maximum of 80 per cent salary                replacement staff.                                                        (including any employee pension fund              One thing is for sure; no-one is able
                                                                         contributions).                                to predict the future, making it essential
                                                                         • Benefits payable for up to five years.         to your long-term success that you have
* stats from                  So how can businesses, particularly        • Potential extra lump sum of twice salary     plans in place that will protect every              smaller enterprises, address these issues?   payable if unable to return to work. An        aspect of your business operation, which
                            One of the most flexible solutions            automatic lump sum calculated at twice         for many includes employees as one of
                            provided by insurers is to consider a Dual   salary up to a maximum of £120,000             their biggest assets.
                            Benefit Income Protection plan that can       will be paid on the expiry of the income          To find out how a Dual Benefit Income
                            be specifically tailored to meet all your     benefit period if the employee remains          Protection plan could help your business,
                            business needs.                              incapacitated from one of a number of          telephone Peter Berry at T H March on
                                                                         serious illnesses described in detail in the   +44 (0)207 405 0009. A
                                                                         policy document.
                                                                            This type of innovative new product not
                                                                         only provides a replacement income for

                                                                                                                                                     ATTIRE 63
Made in England
                                                       Following the debut of her ready-to-wear bridal range at the
                                                       BBEH, we speak to talented British bridal designer, Emma Tindley
                                                       appearance. Subtle touches of sparkle are added         Where do you source materials?
                                                       with beaded tulles, tiny metallic sequins, diamanté    I am always on the lookout for materials. I attend
                                                       brooches and swarovski crystal. Fabrics include silk   fabric exhibitions, and work with some of the
                                                       supreme, silk duchess satin and Thai silk with soft    country’s best fabric suppliers. I am always on the
                                                       tulle and silk flowers adding romance. New for this     lookout for something a bit different.
                                                       year is a short dress named Shelly, created with my
                                                       best friend in mind who just loves great shoes. It’s   What prompted you to move into bridal
                                                       for the bride who wants to show off her Manolos!        wholesale and how did retailers respond to your
                                                                                                              collection at the recent British Bridal Exhibition?
                                                       What inspires your designs?                            After six years of creating made to measure and
                                                       I am constantly designing dresses in my head and       bespoke gowns I felt that now was the right time
                                                       many never reach the pattern table as a new one        for me to expand the label and give myself a new
                                                       comes along! The designs often come from the           challenge. Harrogate was really exciting. We
                                                       fabrics. I am known to buy a few meters of fabric      received a very positive response from the trade
                                                       just because I love it. It will then sit in my work    and the press which I am delighted about. I am
                                                       room, sometimes for months, but all the time I         looking forward to exhibiting next September.
                                                       am looking at it and working out how best to use
                                                       it. Clients are another big inspiration, talking to    How do you promote your business?
                                                       them gives me lots of ideas as it’s them who will      When I first started I would attend all the local
                                                       be buying the dresses. My other big inspiration        wedding fairs and advertise locally. However, I
                                                       is music, I find that listening to music lets your      am about to start an advertising campaign with
                                                       imagination get to work on the appearance of a         a couple of the national wedding magazines, and
Tell us a little about your background, what           dress, for example visualising how it would look on    of course have updated my website which is very
prompted you to begin a career as a bridal             a catwalk.                                             productive at attracting new customers.
designer and when did you launch Emma
Tindley Couture?
I have always wanted to design bridal gowns; ever
since Princess Diana’s wedding all those years ago I
have been fascinated by everything bridal. I studied
at Central Sussex College and the London College
of Fashion, before opening my shop and studio in
June 2002, offering a made to measure and bespoke
service. Now, six years on, I am delighted to have
launched my ready to wear collection at Harrogate.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love every aspect of my job, from choosing fabrics
and creating the designs to meeting my clients and
hearing all about their dreams and expectations.
Most of all I love to see their reaction when they
see their dress completed for the first time, it can
be a very emotional time and not just for the bride.

Tell us a little about your current collection, how
you would you describe it?
My 2009 collection has something for everyone,
from soft and floaty to full and fabulous. I am
known for very structured gowns which emphasise
girls’ waistlines yet retain a very feminine
                                                                            B r i d a l
                                                                            Setting up costs-Commercial Property Lease-
                                                                            Business Plan-Vat-Accounts-
                                                                            Fixtures-Fittings Advertising-Sales Stationary
                                                                            -Purchasing stock-Fitting garments etc…

                                                                            Increase sales-Stock control-Showroom design
                                                                            -Staff training-Advertising-
                                                                            Stationary with Terms’ conditions-
                                                                            Disposal of discontinued dresses etc…
When did you launch your website and who designed it?
My website has been part of the business since I started. It was created
                                                                            Valuation of existing business
by a close friend six years ago, but I now have a local web designer        Current stock and sales value- Business Plan –
update it for me. The company is called Artisan Websites, I am a great      Employment- Managing a successful business
believer in supporting small local businesses.

How do you view the bridal market?
                                                                            Supply to the Bridal Industry
It’s a very competitive market to be in, but thankfully we all have         Importing from Far East -
different tastes and there is always something for everyone. As long as      Business Plan-Financial Cost
there are celebrity and royal weddings there will always be a fabulous      Trade Exhibitions etc…
bridal market.

If you could design a wedding dress for someone in the public eye,          30 Years experience in the Bridal & Fashion Industry
                                                                            Consultancy from £350 per day
who would it be and why?
I would love to create a dress for Welsh classical singer Katherine
Jenkins. I think she looks stunning and comes across as a really lovely
                                                                            Visit the web site for additional information
person. She has a fabulous figure and my structured dresses would
really accentuate her curves.
                                                                            Telephone 01256 766 744
What do you hope to achieve in the next five years?
I would like to build on the success of Harrogate by adding to my
list of stockists as well as raising my profile within the media. All the
dresses are designed and hand made in the UK and I intend to remain
this way. I don’t want to expand to a point where I would have to look
abroad to manufacture. Although I am very ambitious, I do plan to
take things slowly and retain the reputation I have built for beautifully
made dresses and personal service. A

 Further information
 Find out more by visiting Emma’s website at

                                                                                                                                   ATTIRE 65

Preparing for
an in-store event
 Regular columnist, Jane Watson, gives advice on holding a successful in-store event

                                 We are now looking      quality surroundings so make sure your service and
                                 at brides planning      presentation is second to none.

                                 their weddings for         If you are preparing an event in your showrooms                                 Visit local offices and
                                 2009 or even possibly   you may wish to consider the following:                                            ask to advertise on
                                 2010. I can’t believe                                                                                      their notice boards. Of
                                 that it seems like                                                                                         course, it is advisable
                                 yesterday we were                                                                                          to advertise in the
                                 celebrating the          Print professional looking leaflets
                                                          or flyers to announce the event.                                                   local newspaper.

                                    While many            Have plenty printed so you can
                                 brides will be cash      give them to all the individual
                                 conscious, I find it      people attending the events you
                                 hard to believe that     are exhibiting at.

                                                                                                                   A tasteful poster in
                                 any are prepared to                                                               the window of your
compromise when it comes to choosing the dress                                                                     bridal shop would
of their dreams.                                                                                                   also help, but do not
   Now is the time to start planning your in-store                                     Make sure the word          display this until
events to attract the bride looking to plan early and                                  gets out; even if you       two weeks before
wanting to select her dress as soon as possible.                                       give leaflets to people      the event.

   Designer days are always a good idea. Talk to                                       not getting married
your suppliers to see if they can arrange a Designer                                   - they may know

day with extra samples of designs you haven’t                                          someone at work
ordered for stock. In addition, ask if the designer                                                                                         On the day of your
                                                                                       who is.
could attend the event in person to speak directly                                                                                          event, offer Bucks
to your brides.                                                                                                                             Fizz or orange juice
   If this is not part of their service they may be                                                                                         so the customers don’t
                                                            If you are attending                                                            become intoxicated.
prepared to loan you some samples of the designs            wedding fayres, make
you don’t have in stock so you can show the bride                                                                                           With a few nibbles
                                                            sure all the brides                                                             such as cheesy biscuits
the best possible collection from the designer you          and her guests receive
are promoting, plus the supplier may receive extra                                                                                          and other bite-size

                                                            an invitation to the                                                            morsels, the event will
orders from you for new samples you haven’t yet

                                                            forthcoming event.                                                              not be expensive.
ordered so it’s a win win situation for all concerned.
   If your supplier is unable to work with you in
this way, you can still hold a Designer day, perhaps
                                                                                                                   Make sure the event
offering a small discount or incentive if a bride
                                                                                     Visit local shops who         is offering a discount
buys a dress from a particular collection, only on
                                                                                     offer services to the          or a small gift to
the Designer day. Other events you may want to
                                                                                     bride, for example            encourage brides to
consider include a special late night opening event,
                                                                                     the florist, and ask           attend on the day of
where brides are treated to a glass of fizz and some
                                                                                     them to have your             the event.
nibbles. Alternatively, consider holding an event to
coincide with a special occasion, i.e. Christmas or                                  invitations to give to all
Valentine’s Day                                                                      the customers. There
   The bride will be looking for that special dress                                  is no point in asking        Further information
but will also want to feel secure when purchasing                                    bridal services that do      Visit the website with your point of view or email
her dress from you.                                                                  not have commercial          Jane Watson at
   When the bride is paying her deposit she will                                     premises as they will not    or If you would like an
want to feel confident parting with her money,                                        see enough of the public     informal chat with Jane, simply telephone her on
therefore, will be looking for service and good                                      to make a difference.
                                                                                                                  +44 (0)1256 766 744.

                                                                                                                                                         ATTIRE 67
Shoes with Soul
We speak to talented designer, Ruth Shaw, whose new bridal shoe
label offers beautiful vintage designs that don’t compromise on style
What prompted you to begin a career as a shoe           What inspires your designs?                            As an independent label, how do you hope to
designer and when did you launch your label,            My inspiration has been drawn from my love of          compete with some of the bigger names in the
Harriet Wilde?                                          vintage, and the glamorous fabrics from vintage        bridal market?
I founded the company when I was looking for            eras, using 1950s hat net as an overlay, and lavish    To be totally honest I can’t compete against the
my own wedding shoes as I found the task of             flower trims created by the net. Inspired by the        bigger names; what I can offer is unique designs,
buying shoes from the ‘wedding world’ quite             1920s and 1950s, shapes of the toes and the heels      made to a high quality, good service with a quick
daunting – and even depressing. Having always           are based on original vintage shapes, recreated to a   order turn around and I add a fresh touch to the
bought designer or unique and mainly vintage            modern fitting.                                         bridal market.
finds I was faced with the idea that I would have
to compromise my style. As most of the shoes for        How did retailers respond to your collection at the    How would you like the company to grow over the
weddings are not the shapes or styles I would ever      British Bridal Exhibition?                             next 12 months?
wear, I wanted to create a range that was beautiful     Buyers loved the range; many commented on how          The brand is new so we are happy to establish
and stylish. On the most important day of your life,    they have been looking for the vintage styling.        ourselves as a luxury wedding shoe brand, offering
style should not be compromised.                        They were excited to see something different, and       customers a fresh approach with stylish wedding
   After graduating from Cordwainers College, I         thought the quality was beautiful.                     shoes and an excellent service.
worked with brands such as Kickers, Dr Martens,                                                                  A collaborative range with a like-minded dress
Clarks, and my designs have been sold in Office,          What did you think about the exhibition and did it     designer would be a fun project to work on; in
Oasis and River Island. I’ve wanted to establish        meet your expectations?                                my previous job I worked on collaborations.
my own brand for some time, so I’ve established         Personally the show was a success for us, we           Consumers always get excited by new ideas, and an
Harriet Wilde, a luxury, contemporary brand of          launched to the wedding trade and had a fantastic      exclusive limited edition collection always makes a
wedding shoes, with a vintage feel. As to what          response. The press interest was far greater than      good PR story. A
prompted me to be a shoe designer, well it has to       ever imagined and we already have product selected
be a girl’s dream job!                                  for editorial.                                           Further information
                                                                                                                 The Harriet Wilde range is available to buy
Where did the name of the company come from?            How do you view the bridal shoe market?                  wholesale for spring/summer 2009 deliveries.
The name is my Great Grandmother’s maiden               There are lots of established brands in the market,      To find out more call +44 (0)207 682 2316 or
name; it has such an English ring with Harriet and      some making the same formula of shoes; they              visit
I love Wilde at the end. Wilde no longer exists in      have been successful, so they are doing something
my family so in true vintage style it is being reused   right. I personally found it difficult to find
and I’m sure she would have loved the shoes and         simple, beautiful shoes with a vintage feel, in a
been very proud.                                        good quality that didn’t totally break the bank.
                                                        Also buying from a smaller independent label is
How would you describe your current collection?         important for me as a consumer.
There are 10 styles ranging from flat pumps and a
Mary Jane, to a mid-heel and wedge, and a higher
heel and an on-trend platform. All styles are made
in finest Italian duchess ivory satin, and stunning
mirror metallic leather in fuchsia, turquoise and
purple. They are the finest quality, with soft leather
lining and leather sole, with an embossed message
that reads ‘Designed in London, lovingly made by
skilled shoe makers in Spain’.

Where are your shoes manufactured and why?
My shoes are made in a family-run Spanish factory,
made by local shoemakers who have knowledge of
working with satin and who understand quality.
The styles are not mass-produced, they are made
with care in a business that has been making
beautiful shoes for many years. This was important
for the philosophy of Harriet Wilde; the shoes are
a very high quality and made by craftsmen and
women, who know their trade.

On Display

                                                                                                      Michael’s Bridal Fabrics
                                                                                                        Unit F15, Northfleet Indst Est, Lower Road, Northfleet, Kent DA11 9SW
                                                                                                                  Tel: 01322 380480/568 FAX: 01322 380680
                                                    The fabric of a great wedding…
                                                      …starts with a great dress
                                                                                                     We offer a fast, reliable and friendly service on our continually increasing range (currently
                                                                                                                                 over 1,500 choices) of bridal fabrics.
              Help your bride choose the best fabrics      Place your order 24/7
              for her bridal party. The Carrington Bride   View online swatches                         Range includes: plain and shot taffeta, velvet, duchess satins, organzas, shimmer,
              book is a beautifully presented collection   Order samples swatches or full orders        chiffons, crepes, various embroidered and beaded fabrics, inc tulles and chiffons.
              of stunning, quality fabrics brought         quickly and easily
              together in one indispensable volume.                                                              We also offer a range of embroided/beaded edgings and motifs.
                                                           See our latest ranges as they are added
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                                   call 01204 692223 or visit                                                  Credit/Debit card payment accepted. Free monthly updates on stock availability

                                                                  Email: -

  Specialists in the Art Of Dyeing Shoes

                                                                                                                 We are looking for new stockists in all areas

                                                                                                              Simply Stunning Bridal Gowns Ltd
                                                                                                                92 Dudley Road, Sedgley, Dudley DY3 1TA
                                                                                                                              Tel: 01902 677277

                                                                                             BBEH Review

BBEH Review
We speak to visitors and
exhibitors alike to find out how
they fared at the recent British
Bridal Exhibition in Harrogate
Bridal retailers converged on the pretty spa town
of Harrogate once again this September to view
and buy the new season’s collections. Despite the
downturn in the economy, ordering was brisk, and
many retailers seemed cautiously optimistic about
the year ahead. Networking opportunities were
plentiful, with a variety of events designed to get
everyone talking shop in a much more informal
environment, and every buyer was treated to a
glass of champagne in the Designer Hall, a popular
destination for bridal retailers.

Runway divas
Many buyers took the opportunity to spend time          Designer Preview Show
at one or both of the fashion shows in search
                                                        Bridal Preview Show     Bridal Preview Show
of inspiration, which took place this year in the
recently refurbished Royal Hall. Even the most
seasoned Harrogate-goers were amazed that such
a beautiful theatre was tucked so inconspicuously
between Halls A and M. This provided the perfect
setting for The Designer Preview catwalk event,
which featured maternity bridalwear for the very
first time.
   “We were very excited to be the first ever
maternity bridal company to show a collection
on the catwalk in the Designer Show and this,
combined with our stand in the Designer Hall,
proved to be an excellent forum for us to launch
our latest collection,” asserts Natalie Gladman. She
continues: “The gowns we showcased in the
Designer Show were very well received and proved
to be instant favourites - with many bridal retailers
placing immediate orders after the show.”
   Other names showing their designs on the
catwalk included Emma Tindley, Sharon Bowen
and Complice.
   A special guest appearance was made by Miss
England, who wore a stunning gown from The
Bride by Marcelane collection.
   Also taking place in the same venue was The
Bridal Preview Show, which gave buyers a preview
of the spring/summer 2009 collections from top
mainstream bridal manufacturers.

                                                                                                      ATTIRE 73
 The exhibitors have their say

 Jane Watson, Eva Jordan Couture Bridal
 Jane Watson has been attending the BBEH for a number of years and was
 pleased with response from retailers. She says: “The BBEH was a great
 success as usual, the atmosphere was unexpectedly happy and no mention
 of the credit crunch from any visitors I spoke to. In fact, there were a good
 number of new start-ups and lots of enthusiasm for 2009.
    Visitors numbers were down by 1% indicating only genuine buyers
 attended, and those retailers not in the market to buy new designs did not
 attend on this occasion.
    The exhibitors at the BBEH have been reporting very positive comments
 for the new season’s collections.”

 Zoe Balmain, Menbur
 First-time exhibitor, Menbur, is already well-established in the fashion
 accessories market, so booked a stand at the British Bridal Exhibition to
 explore new possibilities for the brand. “The show did not work as well as
 we had inititally hoped,” says Zoe Balmain. “Many bridal shops only want
 to take a few pairs of shoes, rather than the bulk orders we are used to
 receiving. We feel that for Mother of the Bride we have a better audience at     Designer Preview Show
 Moda, so are unlikely to return next year.”

 Emma Tindley, Emma Tindley
 First-time exhibitor, Emma Tindley, exhibited in the new Designer Hall.
 She says: “Harrogate was a great success for me as we had lots of interest
 from buyers all over the country. In particular, I was really pleased with the
 press interest in the dresses and am looking forward to seeing them used in
 the magazine photo shoots. The Designer Hall worked really well and the
 atmosphere was great, it wasn’t as busy as other halls but people knew where
 to find us and the free champagne was a real hit. I’ll be back for sure next

 The visitors have their say

 Abigail Neill, Abigail’s Collection, Essex
 I really enjoyed BBEH! As usual, three days wasn’t enough time! Bows,
 layers and lace are still key and we’re really excited about the new designs
 we’ve chosen. Our shop already boasts a strong and varied collection but the
 new dresses should ensure we have something for everyone! I spent far too
 much on accessories (I’m a sucker for sparkle) and we’re launching a made-
 to-measure suit service for the boys. All in all a really exciting show!

 Anne Barbara Preece, Courtyard Bridalwear, Northamptonshire
 We found that the show seemed a little quieter than previous years, which
 meant it was easier to speak with suppliers and place good orders. We took
 on one new supplier, Chanticleer, who produces English made couture
 bridal gowns, thereby supporting our home market.

 Lorraine Hoksas, Envisage Bridal, Berkshire
 The BBEH once again exceeded my expectations and I was blown away
 by the new Amanda Wyatt and Sylvia Rose collections. I also took the
 opportunity of taking on a new supplier, Sophia Tolli and I can’t wait for
 their collection to hit our boutique in the new year. Sasso has brought          Designer Preview Show
 out an exciting new range of accessories, and I have ordered some of their
 Marabou wraps and some beautiful gloves, and Elizabeth Dickens have got           Further information
 a new twist on a veil which I just had to order as I think it will compliment     The next British Bridal Exhibition in Harrogate takes place next year, from
 our Sarah Arnett collection exceptionally well. A                                 8th-10th March 2009. For regular updates, simply visit


                   6808                          6803                          6804

Vogue Fashions Ltd, Cavell House, Stannard Place, St Crispins Road, Norwich NR3 1YE

                Tel +44 (0) 1603 821170 - Fax +44 (0) 1603 821171
                                                                                                         Visual Merchandising

Window Dressing
Alan Springall reveals how you can make an
open-backed window work for your bridal boutique

                      Alan Springall’s work has always involved display and                                  “The type of display that you install
                      exhibitions, from 13 years in Selfridges’ display department to                        in your open-backed window is a
                      lecturing at colleges and running a consultancy with his partner.                      matter of taste and the best that
                      Areas of expertise include design, construction, prop making,                          suits your type of business. It is
                      merchandise handling, and exhibitions.                                                 always good policy to vary the layout
                                                                                                             of your displays.”
Q As we have no backing to our window                  window is a matter of taste and the best that
                                                       suits your type of business, but, as I mentioned      can make good use of the side walls, if you
the customers can see right through into our
                                                       before, it is always good policy to vary the          have them, and is particularly effective if your
boutique. I like to install large, eye-catching
                                                       layout of your displays to maintain the interest of   customers approach from a shallow angle,
displays to prevent this happening but I am
                                                       passers-by.                                           perhaps because of a narrow pavement, as one
wondering whether this is the best course of
                                                          Your options are:                                  of the two parts of the display is angled towards
action. What would you advise?
                                                       1) Your current method of building a wall of          them and the interior is visible through the centre.
                                                                                                             4) High display around the centre with a view
A This is a subject upon which I am often asked        merchandise or using several back panels in
                                                       order to prevent the view through to the interior.    through on either side. This is my favourite, you
my opinion. An open-backed window will let
                                                       This is the right choice if the area behind your      need to place a slim panel, photo or length of
more light into the shop and enable the interior to
                                                       window is unattractive or you need to keep the        fabric at the back of the window area roughly
be viewed from the street. This is an advantage
                                                       display out of the reach of customers or, using       behind where you intend to place the focal
if the inside of your shop looks interesting and
                                                       piles of items, you wish to convey a “sale” image.    point, or it can actually act as the focal point.
exciting but not so good if all you can see is the
                                                       However, you lose the advantage of showing off        This presents a visual barrier that divides the
back of the till along with the cashier’s spare pair
                                                       your shop.                                            back of the display from the remainder of the
of comfy shoes and lunch box. The downside
                                                       2) All items on display placed at a low level         shop but still allows a view of the interior on each
of having an open-backed window is that there
                                                       in order to maintain a clear view though to           side. It can be placed in the middle or off-centre
is no barrier to help construct a strong display
                                                       the store. This is probably the least effective       depending on the type of balance you are using
layout, less security for the merchandise and little
                                                       solution. Although it gives an uninterrupted view     and, after installing the focal point, the display is
to prevent customers re-arranging your carefully
                                                       of, hopefully, an interesting and busy interior the   constructed between the panel/fabric and the
crafted display, adding things like empty drink
                                                       items displayed in the window will probably be        glass in the normal manner.
cans and sweet wrappers.
                                                       more or less unnoticed.                                  Two essential reminders though when working
    On balance, open-backed is more versatile
                                                       3) High displays on each side with a view             with any open-backed window, firstly the back
than having an entirely enclosed window area
                                                       through to the shop in the centre. This is the        of the presentation will also need to look neat
as you can add temporary barriers more easily
                                                       most common solution that I see around but is         and tidy when viewed from inside the shop and
than you can dismantle a solid wall. The type
                                                       usually not constructed particularly well in order    secondly if the customers can see in from the
of display that you install in your open-backed
                                                       to achieve the maximum impact. As a rule the          street your whole shop becomes a display and
“An open-backed window will let                        displays lack proper structure and where the          should be well lit, well maintained and create
                                                       focal point should be is where the gap has been       interest and curiosity in order to tempt the
more light into the shop and enable                                                                          passers-by to come inside. A
                                                       left in the centre. A good way to handle this
the interior to be viewed from the                     layout is to treat each side of the window area as
street. This is an advantage if the                    a separate display having its own focal point and      Further information
inside of your shop looks interesting                  then constructed to taper off into the centre of       To find out more, simply visit Alan’s website
and exciting.”                                         the overall area. So the high points are situated      at
                                                       in each of the back corners of the space. This
                                                                                                                                                     ATTIRE 77
            Next Issue

            Flower Girls
            Beautiful dresses for young attendants

            Classic Cufflinks
            Stylish accessories

            Plus Size
            Your exclusive guide
            Bridesmaid Shoes
            Our pick of the best

            ATTIRE Plus
            ISSUE 9
            January/February 2009
                                   Bridal              Industry News
                                                       Bridal Trends
            Available from: 29th December 2008         Retailer Interview
            Advertising deadline: 12th December 2008
                                                                             Trudy Lee
                                                                                 Bridal Dresses Collection 2009

                    tel: +44 (0)1482 334590
 River House, 147 High Street, Hull, HU1 1PS

 ‘Be cherished forever and ever in Bjem Bridal Lingerie’

Bjem Bride’s beautiful collection of speciality, luxury lingerie designed
specifically for today’s modern bride. Sumptuous silk satins in a pallette
  of ivory, blush pink and aqua blue are complemented with exclusive
  sequinned embroidery, swarovski crystal embellishment and unique
     jewellery trims. A bespoke service is available on personalised
              crystal messages and designs for no extra cost.
 Bjem bridal lingerie is available for immediate delivery.Wholesale prices
 start from £8 and sizes are available from 8 to 20 and 30 to 38 A to E.
                          Bjem Bridal Lingerie
                                                              tel: 01707 643633

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                                                                                                                  ATTIRE 81
Advertising feature

Why should YOU
stock Amanda Wyatt?
Read on to find out more about the new 2009 collection
                                     It seems                                                                   bridesmaids and prom tiaras are one off the
                                     impossible,                                                                best sellers, with everything from small pretty
                                     but each year                                                              flower girl tiaras to bridal tiaras that shimmer
                                     the Amanda                                                                 and shine with their exquisite bling style features
                                     Wyatt collection                                                           in Swarovski crystal all that come in a range of
                                     has raised the                                                             colours. Sitting alongside this is a large collection
                                     bar with each                                                              of all things bridal, dolly bags, hand bags, garters,
                                     collection                                                                 guest books, ring cushions, jewellery, ornate hair
                                     and the 2009                                                               piece and veils to name just a few.
                                     range did not                                                                 With prom now being the new sensation to
                                     disappoint.                                                                make its way over from stateside it came as no
                                     The Harrogate                                                              surprise that Amanda would launch her own range
                                     bridal show was                                                            for the fashion conscious prom girl. This collection
yet again a huge success for the Amanda Wyatt                                                                   is also a hit with all those stylish bridesmaids and
brand, the shows were standing room only and the                                                                even for a sexy evening gown for a special occasion.
collection was Amanda’s strongest to date.                                                                         After reading all this you are probably asking
   With Amanda’s years of experience and skill                                                                  yourself why do I not stock Amanda Wyatt?...
she knows exactly what brides want each season.                                                                 be part of our success and call us NOW on
The Amanda Wyatt collection is known for the                                                                    +44 (0)1625 522 344 to arrange for one of sales
fantastic corset fit that flatters all shapes and sizes      Amanda over the past few years has                   representatives to come and see you with the bridal
and makes the bride feel and look one size smaller,     experimented with her colour palettes each season       collection, prom/bridemsaids/evening wear and
this is a unique selling point and brides love the      and although ivory is the still the best selling        large accessories collection.
fabulous fit. The Amanda Wyatt collection is also        colour it is fast being caught up by more and more         *limited areas still available in the U.K,
well known for its soft silhouettes in soft chiffon      brides daring to be different with their choice of       Scotland, Wales and Ireland* do not miss out on
fabrics that create a more fluid and soft look to        colour for their dress. Last season saw Amanda          being part of the Amanda Wyatt success. A
the gown, these are very popular with brides to         introduce a refreshing combination of colours and
be who are getting married abroad. Last year            shades to the collection of soft gold, vibrant jade
Amanda introduced a small selection of gowns            greens, and sophisticated black and ivory gowns.         Further information
that came with bolero jackets and due to the            This year sees more of this, the ivory/black is just     For more details call +44 (0)1625 522 344
success of this there are more this year. More and      stunning and has become a winning combination
more brides want to have a little jacket or bolero,     so look out for more styles in this colour, also rich
but don’t worry if you do not stock these styles        crimson clarets are hot for 2009. Over the years
as in the accessories collection there are some         the collections has grown and so has the fabrics
beautiful jackets, wraps and boleros that are sold as   that are used in the collection, Amanda still loves
separates that compliment any gown.                     her trademark chiffon fabric that she is so well
   The new 2009 collection saw more gowns with          known for. But over the past few years taffetas,
unusual necklines and strap details, Amanda             satins, organzas, laces and crinkle texture fabrics
has picked up on the demand from the brides             have all been making regular appearances in the
for gowns that are not strapless. Amanda has led        collections along with more use of unusual and
the way for this look and has created yet again         exquisite beadwork and soft sumptuous thread
more stunning gowns with spaghetti straps, cap          embroidery.
sleeves, soft halter necks, wide straps with deep v        It seems impossible to believe that Amanda
necklines that flatter the figure as well as a handful    finds time to do anything else but she does as
of strapless gowns. Many come with matching             under the Amanda Wyatt umbrella of success
boleros or jackets.                                     there is a large range of bridal accessories. Bridal,


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