When I was little, I always dreamed of running my own shop. Over the years my ideas included everything from souvenir shops near the sea, to village stores selling fresh fruits, breads and preserves. Once I had finished university I ended up working on an events team at a hotel; my dreams were temporarily forgotten as my need to pay the rent overshadowed my long-held business desires. I enjoyed my work, especially when I was assisting with the weddings we held in our function rooms; there is something wonderful about playing a role in someone’s special day.
It wasn’t until I met up with a childhood friend that I started thinking about running a shop once again. I realised I could combine my interests to open up a bridal boutique; and that is exactly what I am doing today alongside my pal. It was certainly an adventure getting to where we are, but we are absolutely thrilled with how our business is doing, and a lot of this can be attributed to how wonderful our shop is. This is what we did to turn a simple space into a bridal wonderland:
Furnished it beautifully
We quickly came to realise that the base of our business would be in the furniture we used. We bought amazing garment racks at auction houses, flea markets and antiques centres, and combined this with practical solutions for our shelving needs. We relied on Slatwall panels and shelves to display our tiaras, and went to a large home furnishing store for quirky mirrors. The combination of new and old looks fabulous and we always get compliments on the style and practicality of it all.
Made it sumptuous
There is more to a shop than the furniture though; there are all of the extra touches to bring it to life. We had a graphic designer come in to help us get a strong brand identity; after this we employed a team to paint the walls and install lovely signs. We found a chandelier to hang just outside the changing room, which really looks wonderful when there is a bride showing off her dress underneath it. We have incorporated many fabrics such as velvet, silk and satin; all of these reflect light in different ways for added interest.
Created current window displays
We knew that we needed to make an impression on potential customers from the outside too, so we put in a lot of planning for our first window display. In fact, we refresh our window display every four months to correlate with the seasons; this can be a great draw for brides who want to stay up-to-date with trends and styles. We only stock dresses which we would wear ourselves, so we never need to be afraid of which dress to put in the window; our mannequins look very sophisticated! We use lanterns, teacups and champagne flutes as decorations, as well as many other things besides.