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ATTIRE

JUL/AUG 08 ISSUE 6

Tiny Tots

Fabulous fashion for the young ones

Bridal

One retailer's experiences

ABROAD

BUYING

Best of BRITISH Home-grown bridalwear

and accessories

ON TREND

Hot looks for your brides-to-be

Grooms' Accessories

Our pick of the best

LINGERIE

Luxury

Plus

Industry News Expert Advice Retailer Interview

Make the most of this buoyant market

WWW.ATTIREBRIDAL.COM

Email: [email protected] Website: www.jewellery-world.co.uk

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Contents

Regulars

6 28 Industry News Our regular round-up of the latest bridal movers and shakers Business Link Upali Dayasena, Senior Research Adviser at Business Link, answers your questions on trade marking your business Jane Watson Regular columnist, Jane Watson, reveals all about the life of an agent Buying Time Abigail Neill tells all about her recent buying trip to Madrid, and talks tactics for sourcing stock from the BBEH Q&A Special Our experts, Jane Watson and Beth Scott, answer all your retail queries Up and Coming Angela Cole interviews Nuala Tivnan, who opened her self-named bespoke bridal and occasion gown shop earlier this year

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Features

20 Retailer Interview We speak to Clare Louise of Brides & Maids, Cambridge to find out about her successful bridal boutique Tiny Tots Fabulous fashions for the young ones IJL Interview We speak to show director, Chris Hartley Best of British We champion UK-based manufacturers and designers Bridal Fashion Trends Discover four exciting looks for your brides-to-be Groom's Accessories Make the most of these terrific add-on sales Bridal Lingerie How to support this growing market

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Profiles

12 Rainbow Club Diane Kelsall talks to us about her fabulous shoe range Crystabelle Jewellery Sarah and Christine discuss their stunning necklaces, earrings and bracelets 50 54

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Shows

16 Couture Fashion Week We showcase the hottest bridal fashions from the runways of New York

ATTIRE 3

Fashion

JULY/AUGUST 2008

ATTIRE

Bridal

GROUP EDITOR Demelza Rayner +44 (0)1376 535 609 [email protected] EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Jennifer Kettle +44 (0)1376 535 609 [email protected] CONTRIBUTOR Angela Cole SALES MANAGER Mark White +44 (0)1376 514 000 [email protected] DESIGN MANAGER Vicky Longman +44 (0)1376 535 616 [email protected] GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Sarah Barnes Sophie Farage Laura Perry Steve McKea +44 (0)1376 535 616 PRODUCTION MANAGER Stuart Weatherley +44 (0)1376 535 616 ADMINISTRATION Scott Brothwell +44 (0)1376 514 000 Kline Davis Limited Broseley House Newlands Drive Witham, Essex CM8 2UL www.attirebridal.com Staff photographs courtesy of Ian Scott Photography Tel: 01707 263 844 www.ianscottphotography.co.uk ISSN 1758-0072

Attire Bridal is solely owned, published and designed by Kline Davis Limited. Whilst every effort 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 readers are £40 per annum (incl. p+p), Cheques should be made out to Kline Davis Limited and sent to Attire Bridal @ Broseley House, Newlands Drive, Witham, Essex CM8 2UL.

Made in the UK

In today's difficult economic climate it's never been so important to support home-grown talent. Britain boasts some of the world's most gifted bridal designers who, despite spiralling overheads, stay true to their roots and continue to make their dresses in the UK. We speak Emma Tindley and Nicola Harvey-Rowley at Nicola Anne, among others, to find out more. One of the most interesting sectors of the market that is largely undervalued by bridal shops is lingerie. It's an essential purchase for any bride-to-be, yet too few bridal retailers are choosing to stock it in store. Why? It takes up very little space, provides an excellent add-on purchase and may even make the difference between a bride-tobe buying or not buying a dress. Crossing the Atlantic now, we take a look at the New York Couture Fashion Week, which showcased the work of eminent fashion designers based all around the world. We take a look at some jaw-dropping designs that graced the runways, including fabulous creations by Jean Fares and Haya al Houti. Finally, we focus on some fabulous bridal fashions, including pleated and folded fabric, pretty capped shoulder straps, striking necklines and brightly-coloured sashes.

Cover image courtesy of Suzanne Neville www.suzanneneville.com Industry News Page 6 Tny Tots Page 23 Best of British Page 33 Bridal Lingerie Page 54

Demelza

Demelza Rayner Group Editor

Enjoy reading

ATTIRE 5

INDUSTRY NEWS

We take a look at what's new in the bridal industry this summer Expansion nearing completion for Benjamin Roberts

After months of work, Benjamin Roberts will shortly be unveiling their new showrooms. Back in 2003, Benjamin Roberts were operating from 3,000 square feet in the city centre over two levels with just two collections. After taking on a third collection in 2003, the firm moved into the premises next door, enlarging available space to 4,700 square feet, and now, with four collections, Benjamin Roberts are moving to a 17,000 square feet brand new unit. "This latest move is to be able to improve the way in which we receive the goods, store them and send them out to our customers, so improving our customer service," explains Managing Director, Karen Taft. One of the most exciting aspects of the new developments is the new garment handling system (which is often seen in large clothing manufacturers and storage). The dresses will arrive in a shipment, be opened and pressed, quality controlled and then stored in a dry, humidity controlled sealed area until a delivery note is raised for dispatch.

CONSUMER MAGAZINES ­ A NEW REVENUE STREAM?

You may think you stock everything a bride-to-be needs: the dress, the shoes, the veil, the lingerie. But have you considered stocking consumer wedding magazines? If not, you could be missing out on an extra revenue stream. County Wedding Magazines publish nine consumer wedding magazines, all for clearly defined areas, and will shortly be launching a title for London. "At present all our county wedding titles are sold through major supermarkets, high street newsagents and other independent outlets," says Sales and Marketing Manager, Mark White. "However, we are now looking to expand our distribution into bridal outlets." He continues: "When located at the point of sale, magazines make a great impulse buy. After, all, what's a few pounds compared to the price of a wedding dress?" To find out how to stock the magazine, please telephone Jacquie at Diamond Distribution on +44 (0)1797 225 229. To find out more about county wedding magazines, please visit www.countyweddingmagazines.com.

European expansion for Sasso

Sasso Bridal Accessories began back in 2004 with just four marabou garments and a small collection of accessories. The firm now has over 250 accounts and an ever-expanding collection from Europe. "Lapa gloves, for example, have over 30 years of experience in the bridal marketplace, and have allowed us to choose from their collection of accessories just for our UK market," says Elaine Carter. The accessories include gorgeous lace and organza pleated gloves, embroidered, lace and flowers with swarovski crystal trim. There are also Sex and the City themed hats, vintage lace-effect skull caps, supersized organza flowers, hair combs and lace headbands. "We have also introduced the Emmi Mariage collection of dresses, which we are launching at Harrogate in September," she adds. All are available to view online at www.sassobride.com.

DRESS TO IMPRESS

A fabulous new charity event, with a bridal twist, is to be held this November to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK. Indeed, on 1st November 2008 (which is the beginning of pancreatic cancer awareness month) wedding & portrait photographer Julia Boggio will throw a charity wedding-ball at the five-star ANdAZ Hotel, Liverpool Street, London - formerly the Great Eastern Hotel. The idea behind THE BIG I DO REDO is to encourage women back into their wedding dresses across the country to raise money for the charity. For further details, visit the handy website at www.thebigidoredo.com.

6 ATTIRE

News & Events

PEARL INNOVATION FOR ETHICAL JEWELLERY BRAND

BoBijou designer pearl jewellery (Edinburgh) recently introduced its in-house developed exclusive knotting technology "Needless Restringing" to guarantee the wearer 10 years without needing pearl restringing, offering supreme quality of finish. As a distinctive brand, BoBijou's USP is to offer a wide range of unique, refreshingly designed Couture style jewellery that are hand made with purely precious and natural materials such as cultured pearls and gemstones with solid silver and gold, at affordable prices. The brand prides itself on the superior design and outstanding quality of jewellery. With a wide collection of 300 designs developed in the Edinburgh head office, every piece is hand made in association with their exclusive workshop in Spain. It takes three years for their team to develop this sophisticated knotting technology. Compared to traditional knotting that takes a skilled worker one hour to hand string and knot a 18" standard pearl necklace, this technology takes four hours. However, the end quality is uncomparable, the thread is very strong and will not move or become elastic and loose, hence the shape will last at least 10 years with no need to pay for restringing. Yet the traditionally knotted pearl necklace would need to be restrung every two years. BoBijou is an ethical jewellery brand. Their pearls come directly from the largest pearl farm that cultures pearls in the purest and cleanest lakes, and the firm implements a strict environmental policy throughout. For further details visit www.bobijou.com.

EXPORT AWARD FOR CYBERTILL

EPoS and e-commerce technology specialists, Cybertill, has won a regional export award from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). Cybertill has secured the Merseyside sub-regional Passport to Export Awards 2007 in recognition of its achievements in the export market following participation in the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) programme. The award was one of five county awards given to companies across the north-west that have shown considerable progress in growing their international business. Passport to Export is UK Trade & Investment's flagship programme for new and inexperienced exporters. It provides the training, planning and ongoing support a company needs to begin a successful export operation. Since signing up to the Passport to Export programme, Cybertill has made significant inroads into new export markets. It is now selling to more than 20 countries including Dubai, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, and has seen an increase in export turnover.

Etiquette Hire Ltd

Over the next couple of months, Etiquette Hire Ltd will be doing a nationwide launch of their made to measure suit service under the banner of Ascot Personal Tailoring. "We are very excited about this project and could well see our retailers that we are offering it through, massively increase their turnover with no extra finacial outlay," they say. "Operated on our already established touch screen ordering system, the personal tailoring will offer customers the chance to own a suit to their exact sizes and specification retailing for as little as £225." Etiquette were named as a finalist in the Best Groomswear Manufacturer catorgory at the recent Bridal Buyer Awards. "Although we were pipped to the title by Antony Formal Wear we see this as a step in the right direction and appreciate the recognition of the nomination." Find out more about Etiquette Hire Ltd by visiting www.i-do.uk.com.

Cybertill MD, Ian Tomlinson (centre) receiving his award from Clive Drinkwater UKTI North West Regional Director and TV Presenter Lucy Meacock

ATTIRE 7

Hine Insurance Brokers Ltd have been established for 30 years and for the last 20 have specialised in insurance products for the bridal and wedding industry. Their Bridalsure and Formalsure policies are designed to provide highly competitive and specialist shop insurance for bridalwear and formalwear retailers. Currently insuring approximately 500 bridal and formal wear shops across the UK, Bridalsure and Formalsure are the only insurance policies backed by the major bridal trade associations, Bridal Industry Suppliers Association and the British Bridalwear Association. Find out more on www.hine.co.uk.

FRESH NEW PEARL DESIGNS BY FENNIE LEUNG

Since the launch in 2005, Divine Destiny has been producing quality handmade bridal jewellery and hair accessories, and has earned a reputable place in the thriving bridal jewellery sector. Designed and handmade by Hertfordshirebased designer, Fennie Leung, her collections have a fresh, contemporary look yet perpetuate the integrity and sophistication of classic pearl jewellery designs. Apart from freshwater pearls, Fennie also incorporates semi-precious stones including rock crystal and moonstone, cleverly accented with Swarovski crystals in order to inject light and sparkle into the designs. It is a perfect compliment to details on bridal gowns which are often decorated with crystals. Thanks to the recent modern interpretations in fashion jewellery, pearls have managed to shake off its old fashioned image. Together with advancements in cultured freshwater pearls farming technology, the industry now offers a greater variety in shapes and colours then ever before. Fennie took advantage of this and thoroughly demonstrated her creativity in collections such as Glow and Cherry Blossom. In Glow, Fennie skillfully mixed different shapes together whilst in the Cherry Blossom collection, lustrous teardrop pearls were teamed up with peach and white pearls and iridescent crystals. For details, visit www.yourdivinedestiny.co.uk. Natalie Gladman of maternity bridal label, Madeleine Isaac-James, and her family have been shortlisted in the [email protected] Awards 2008 and will be attending the final in the State Room at 11 Downing Street. This award recognises not only the contribution of working mothers to the economy, but also the support structure they have behind them that helps them achieve success in their chosen field. Find out more about the awards at the website www.motheratwork.co.uk.

New British bridal designer launches to the trade

Talented Britishbased bridal designer, Emma Tindley, will be launching her collection at the British Bridal Exhibition, Harrogate, this September. "After six years designing dresses under my own label from my shop in East Grinstead, I feel that now is the time to expand the business and look for a select number of boutiques across the country to stock them," she says. "The feedback from my clients and the displays in the shop window have been so good I'm looking forward to hearing what the trade think." Emma has selected around 15 dresses, some from her present collection and some new designs. "As I work very closely with my clients, I am able to keep up-to-date with what girls are asking for so the collection stays current and fresh," she asserts. Emma's collection covers all shapes and styles, from slim fishtail through to the full and dramatic corsetry of the 18th century. Lace also plays a big part with delicate crystal beading detail. "All my dresses are silk and many incorporate fabulous figure flattering internal corsets," adds Emma. "All the dresses are made on the premises and I will continue to do this as it is really important to me that the dresses are not only perfect once completed, but also the client receives a high level of customer service. The same will go for our new trade customers. To find out more, visit www.emmatindley.co.uk.

8 ATTIRE

News & Events

GIRLS LOVE PEARLS DEVELOP STRONG UK STOCKIST NETWORK Ruth Morton of Girls Love Pearls is pleased to announce 12 new stockists: "The enthusiasm of leading bridal magazines has led to huge interest in our ranges of bridal jewellery," she says. "With over 20 stockists in the UK, it is now even easier for brides-to-be to choose Girls Love Pearls, browsing our website at leisure before making their final selections in-store, closer to home." New stockists include The Bridal Suite in Lincolnshire, Bellissima Weddings in Essex, Alexanders Bridal Ltd in Dublin and Blossom in Oxfordshire. Contact www.girls-love-pearls.co.uk for further details.

Retailers remain optimistic in the face of the credit crunch

SMEs operating in the retail sector are really feeling the bite of the credit crunch, according to a recent study. Retail businesses admitted that their suppliers are increasing their prices (73%), they aren't expanding as quickly as they would like (67%) and are actively looking to reduce their own costs (50%). However despite this customer downturn, and tough trading condition for retailers, many small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) appear to be reacting bullishly to the credit crunch. When asked if they had to start their business again in today's economic climate, 61% of SMEs would do it all again tomorrow, of which 45% of retailers said yes to the same question. The research by The Credit Show, the UK's largest exhibition and conference dedicated to professionals associated with the consumer and commercial credit arena, shows that SMEs on the whole plan to expand sales in the UK on average 56% in the coming year. The study is based on detailed online interviews with 117 small and medium sized businesses. The businesses were drawn from across the UK and from a mix of sectors. To download a copy of The Credit Show's `Credit Crunch and its impacts on SMEs 2008' report, visit www.creditshow.co.uk.

Aristoc have recently released two ranges of Bodytoners Briefs, specially designed to flatten and smooth the tummy whilst enhancing the bottom. These ranges have been clinically proven through Bodyscan technology to slim and smooth the silhouette and will be backed with a multi media marketing campaign, encompassing PR & advertising. Bespoke display units and display material will be available to create impact in store. For further details call +44 (0)115 924 6183.

Molly Brown launches new collections in Selfridges and Harrods

Molly Brown London is pleased to announce the launch of two new collections in Selfridges and Harrods this summer. Molly Brown London adds to its collection of beautifully made keepsake jewellery for little girls with the introduction of the new `Love Heart' and `Dishy Fishy' collections. Currently the best selling children's accessories brand in Harrods, the new collections are sure to live up to all expectations with their gorgeous design and beautiful details that little girls and stylish parents alike will love. Director, Erica Illingworth says: "We are delighted that Selfridges and Harrods continue to show their commitment to the Molly Brown brand by launching our new Love Hearts and Dishy Fishy Collections within their world renowned stores. For further details visit www.mollybrownlondon.com.

ATTIRE 9

Shining new guide to the best in retail display available now!

The new sdea Directory of Shopfittings and Display is full of creative and innovative ideas to help you design retail interiors full of theatre and sophistication. Whether you are trying to source a single retail display item or a complete shop fit, this well known guide is a great place to start. As always, it is a visual delight, with full colour, descriptive and illustrative images of the huge range of products and services that sdea members manufacture and supply to the retail world. Backed up with company profiles and full contact details, it is a fully comprehensive buyers guide to shopfittings and display equipment, PoS, signage and visual merchandising. The publishers are giving away free copies of the sdea Directory to the first 50 discerning readers that request a copy and mention this journal. If you are a retailer, sdea will help you source a reputable supplier or an elusive retail display product via the Directory, by calling the Infoline, the Association's telephone enquiry service, or online at www.shopdisplay.org. If you are a supplier or manufacturer of shopfittings and display, sdea has an excellent package of services on offer. Call +44 (0)1883 348 911.

JEWELLERY WORLD CONTINUES TO INNOVATE

As a long-established trade supplier of fashion accessories and costume jewellery, Jewellery World Ltd identified the bridal accessory market some three years ago as a sector in which they could play a major part. With a reputation for keeping their ears to the ground, the directors of Jewellery World use their wealth of contacts here in the UK, and in the Far East, to bring together a plethora of designers and manufacturers. Three years on, Jewellery World is proud to boast arguably the best range of bridal accessories for trade buyers in the UK. Their dedicated buying department enables Jewellery World to offer its customers a vast collection of designer bridal products at non-designer prices, including tiaras, bridal jewellery, hats and fascinators. Jewellery World has recently introduced an exciting collection of bridesmaids' hair ornaments including combs, pins and headbands with feathers and beads in a variety of delicate pastel and monochrome colours. For more details telephone +44 (0)161 834 5007.

SFA Wholesale report steady sales

SFA Wholesale have a range of stunning bridal accessories. According to the company, the eight-row diamanté bangle has been a very good seller since its launch at Harrogate in March. SSFA have now revised the display presentation box for this product, as shown here. SFA has experienced good trading conditions throughout the spring/early summer with retailers particularly liking the fact that SFA holds products in stock and can usually dispatch within 24hrs of placing an order. This, along with a philosophy of supplying products at an affordable price has enabled the company to continue a pattern of steady growth. SFA tries to make ordering as easy as possible with a paper and online catalogue available, as well as attending the Harrogate bridal shows in March and September. Retailers can contact SFA on +44 (0)845 017 5059 or visit the website at www.sfawholesale.co.uk.

NEW PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT ELECTED AT AGM

At its Annual General Meeting on 29th April 2008, the Shop and Display Equipment Association elected Geoff Fairfield, Managing Director of Fairfield Displays & Lighting Ltd as President and Nick Wraith, Managing Director of United Aluminium Ltd as Vice President. Ronald Cohen, Managing Director of Foxbarn Ltd becomes Immediate Past President. For further details visit www.shopdisplay.org.

10 ATTIRE

BRIDAL, BRIDESMAIDS & PROMS www.thehouseofnicholas.co.uk 0208 802 1399

To view our collections visit us at The Harrogate Bridal Fair, Hall Q Stand 7

Diane Kelsall, Design Director of both Rainbow Club and the bespoke Hassall bridal shoe ranges, is firmly established as one of the UK's leading and most inspirational bridal shoe designers. She never doubted her career path and we spoke to her about the sheer determination behind her success

Inspect the footwear most commonly chosen by brides and their accompanying attendants and you will no doubt find that at least one of them is delighting in wearing a pair of shoes designed by Diane Kelsall. Design Director for Rainbow Club, which incorporates the Else, Miss Rainbow, Miss Else and Gabriella & Lucido bridal and occasion footwear ranges and Hassall bespoke bridal shoe range, Diane is as one of the UK's leading and most inspirational shoe designers. Di and her team oversee all the ranges and she has had a huge influence in shaping the brands. In addition, the shoes in these collections are available for bespoke hand-dying by The Colour Studio, also owned by Rainbow. The Hassall bespoke bridal shoe collection, designed by Di, is very personal to her. So incredibly bespoke is the range, that customers can have the date of their wedding inscribed on the heel of the shoe, making them truly personalised and they are packaged in fabulous boxes with organza shoe bags and signed box brochures, which makes a keepsake for each bride. Influenced by Di's love of all things vintage, the Hassall range is beautifully detailed, making full use of embroidery, lace, velvet, buckles and bows. Di also offers the `Fairy Godmum' shoe service for all her customers. "Fairy Godmum is there for brides who have any queries relating to shoes. It could be anything from what shoes to wear with a particular dress, how to find a particular size (for example if they have very small or large feet), how to get shoes dyed... almost anything. We will always try to help and they will receive a comprehensive personal email in response to their query. Not surprisingly it's quite popular. I like to answer all the Hassall queries personally." Diane's decision to follow a career as a shoe designer was prompted by a very fortunate meeting with another master of shoe design, Jimmy Choo, in her final year at college. "I have always loved shoes, since I was a small child I have been fascinated by them, much more so than clothes", Diane explains. "At school, when everyone else was making cars and boats with their cereal boxes, I was making mine into shoes, Scholl sandals were a favourite! "I took a degree in fashion and textile design, specialised in embroidered textiles and in my final year I did a work placement with the shoe designer Emma Hope, who I really admire. Through her, I met Jimmy Choo, who made my final degree collection for me, which was a range of embroidered silk shoes." "After that, I decided my career path just had to be shoes and, although it was very difficult to start with, as I didn't have the technical expertise, I was determined to design shoes and nothing was going to stop me!" "I started my own label, Diane Hassall, in 1988 and I worked from a studio in Clerkenwell in London," she explains. Having now worked her way up to Design Director and with a whole host of shoe labels to her name, Diane is glad she followed her heart, as she says she absolutely loves her job. "It's quite a varied role, starting with reviewing the previous year's collections, what's done well, what we need more of and so on, then putting together the four collections from initial sketches, to sourcing fabrics and trims and making sample pieces for the factory to work from." "I work closely with our technical team, who make sure that the fit is great and everything works properly from a technical point of view." "When the collections are finally ready after months of sampling, we then start work on the marketing side of things. I love to attend the fashion shoots for our photography, which we use for brochures, advertising and showcards." "I also enjoy the trade shows, where we finally present the collections to the retailers and get feedback from them." "My favourite part of the job though, is putting the initial sketches and sample pieces together for the bespoke Hassall range. I can visualise the final shoe and I still find it really exciting that brides will walk down the aisle in something I've created!" Diane launches new collections across the numerous ranges yearly, with occasional mid-season ranges, such as handbags. She believes that her ranges suit all types of bridal retail store, with the Hassall collection being particularly suitable for boutique-type bridal shops, who sell design-led dresses and products. Diane also feels that enthusiasm for the product and a broad range is key for bridal stores keen to secure a sale. "Bridal stores need to try to have as broad a range as possible, because if there are only a few styles to try, brides will often go and look elsewhere. Our reps will give great advice on the biggest selling styles and will always help the retailer to put a good mix of styles together. It's also best to have a mix of price points if possible to suit the budget of all brides." "I always feel that if the staff in the shop love the product they will sell it with enthusiasm and luckily for us, most girls seem to love shoes!," she laughs. She describes the current range for Else, as quite young, fresh and a little quirky. "There are lots of contemporary styles with quite a strong high street feel. Cute pumps and sassy T-bars are part of the new collection, which appeal to brides, bridesmaids, are great for proms and they look fantastic hand-coloured too." "Rainbow, the biggest collection, has to have very wide appeal, so the styling is very feminine, romantic and directional. There are some gorgeous peep-toe shapes for the 2009 collection, which we expect will prove very popular." "Couture is an entirely new collection and we're really excited to be launching it. It's all about grown up glamour and consists of sophisticated styles with glamorous vintage styled trims and sublime satin overlays, which give each shoe a point of difference," explains Diane. "Finally, we have the Hassall range and I love to use lots of texture, from pretty lace to soft ethereal chiffons and organza. It's a really romantic collection, full of vintage glamour for true shoe-aholics on their wedding day." "For 2009, Hassall sees an introduction of very subtle sparkle and I have incorporated some amazing golden crystals and stunning Swarovski banding, which looks fabulous against soft, ethereal chiffon, look out for some flamboyant bows too!" Diane is also responsible for naming the ranges and delights in the task. "I love naming the shoes and each collection has a theme of some sort. Else are all named after cocktails, such as Mai Tai, Rainbow are girls names, Couture are exotic places such as Tahiti and Hassall are all named after roses... there are some

12 ATTIRE

really great names like Dainty Bess and Rosie O'Donnell!" Diane sources materials from all over, but is always on the look out for something new and visits shows in Europe looking to source lace, trims, buttons and fabric. She carefully promotes the collections through editorial coverage and advertising in bridal magazines and by visiting retailers as often as possible. "We supply brochures and showcards to our retailers to help them promote the product too and of course, we show at Harrogate twice a year. It's great to see all of our retailers there and get lots of reaction and feedback," she says. Diane advises that retailers should help a bride select a shoe style that will look great with their dress but also suit their personality. "It's no good advising a bride who only ever wears flat pumps to wear a 9cm heel if she can't walk in it," she warns. One aspect of her business that does particularly well is the Colour Studio, through which retailers can offer customers a bespoke hand-dying service. "This is doing fantastically well," reveals Diane. "The brides, and of course the retailers, love the whole concept and it works brilliantly. I even have several pairs of beautifully-coloured shoes myself! It's taken off so well, that the staff in the Studio are inundated most of the time and the business is growing with amazing speed. It takes the worry of dyeing away from the retailers and they know they can send us a swatch and confidently expect a beautifully-coloured shoe back." So how does Diane view the current bridal footwear market and what trends does she see emerging over the coming months? "The bridal footwear market has become more exciting and adventurous over the past few years, thankfully! Gone are the days of plain satin court shoes, now the choice is vast, with companies like Rainbow producing comprehensive collections covering everything from gorgeous peep toes to strappy sandals and vintage, lacecovered pumps." "There is a lot more variation in terms of shapes, such as round and almond toes, which sit alongside the popular petite points. There is definitely a move towards styles which crossover from bridal to fashion, styles like Scarlett from the Rainbow collection are increasingly popular, as they are gorgeous wedding shoes but can be dyed afterwards and worn again. Fashion is increasingly important, although comfort is also a major factor now too." Reviewing her success in the business, Diane credits one particular commission as the greatest achievement she has had so far. "Launching the Hassall brand and getting such a great reaction three years ago is definitely up there, but if I'm honest, I think my greatest achievement was being asked to make a pair of handmade shoes for an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The shoes are part of their collection now." Rightly proud of her designs, Diane even wore them for her own wedding. "They were ivory duchesse satin, with a sassy crossover ankle strap and a crystal beaded panel around the throat. We got married at the end of December on a cold and crisp day, so I wanted my shoes to sparkle in the frosty light!" A To find out more about Rainbow Club and the Hassall collection, telephone +44 (0)8445 872 775, or visit www.hassall.co.uk

We like to provide something different for the bride

Accessories sourced from different parts of europe to compliment our Sasso feather garments ~ Shrugs, stoles, wraps and jackets in both marabou and ostrich ~ New colours for autumn, rich steel grey, subtle stone colours and shades of mint and moss green ~ New Vintage jewellery designed for Sasso by Russian Beriozka, all hand made to order ~ Lapa gloves and accessories ~ Joltex, our new hair and jewellery supplier ~ Stockists required for our new Emmi Mariage dress collection, showing at the show in September. Tel: 0808 1789 103 ~ Email: [email protected]

www.sassobride.com

ATTIRE 13

www.Devamaids.com

An exciting new collection by Jonathan James Couture, the 2009 "DEVA" collection, is now available for instore preview. With a range of over 120 colours in 5 different fabrics, this stunning collection of 50 gowns allows stockists the flexibility not only to choose the gowns fabric but also to alter gowns to their customers specifications. Along side the adult bridesmaid gowns, we also offer matching flower girl dresses, Junior and maternity sizing and a menswear range, so that you may offer your brides a complete package in matching fabrics.

UK Sales Executive: Mr Robert Wilson 07783 476 408

www.JonathanJamesCouture.com

ICON our stunning 2009 collection now available for instore preview. Please contact us to make an appointment. UK Sales Executive: Mr Robert Wilson 07783 476 408

Stateside

We bring you some breathtaking designs from Couture Fashion Week, New York

Couture Fashion Week is a multi-day event showcasing luxury couture and fine fashion including eveningwear, elegant fashion, couture bridal as well as accessories. Attendees include upscale consumers, invited VIPs, the press and selected high-end store buyers. The event also includes exhibits of luxury brands as well as entertainment and networking cocktail and after-parties, and is held in a number of top venues in New York City, Palm Beach and other selected cities. In addition to its ongoing offering of unique branding opportunities for luxury products and services, Couture Fashion Week works in conjunction with lifestyle industry leaders around the world in offering attendance at the fashion shows as part of lavish travel and shopping experiences for those with exquisite tastes. For further details visit the website www.couturefashionweek.com.

Style

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Read on for our showcase of five fabulous fashion designers...

Catalin Botezatu

One of Romania's most important designers, Catalin Botezatu has been named "Designer of the Year" six years in a row by VIP Magazine (Romania), and has twice been presented with the "Award for Excellency in Fashion" by Fashion TV Romania, in addition to numerous other fashion awards. His fashion accomplishments have been featured in prominent publications and media. A prolific and energetic fashion icon, Mr. Botezatu has done fashion shows all over the world, and recently showed his designs as part of the Ford Agency's Supermodel of the Year competition in Las Vegas. Between 1999 and 2000 the designer staged fashion shoots and shows at the Amir Palace in Tunis as well as in Luxor and Cairo, Egypt. In 2002, he did a calendar shoot and three fashion shows in Kusadasi, Turkey. In 2002 he presented his collections at Milan Fashion Week following the Versace fashion show. In 2004, he presented a highly creative collection inspired by Japan's Samurai warriors at Jimmi'z in Monte Carlo followed by shows at Bali Fashion Week in Indonesia and in Malta. Most recently he has done fashion shows in Tunisia as part of that country's independence day celebrations; at the Cannes International TV Festival; at fashion weeks in Jakarta, Bali, Iceland, Athens, Bucharest and Jamaica; at the ModaLiveMediteraneo fashion festival in Italy; and at the Romanian embassy in Paris. In 2007 he created

the "Maserati Collection" inspired by the famous luxury automobile brand. Mr. Botezatu is one of the few major fashion designers who directs and styles his own shows and makes all his accessories (jewellery, shoes, hats). His distinguished clientele includes politicians, socialites, VIPs, entertainers and celebrities. But his beautiful creations have a strong appeal for any woman looking to bring out her femme fatale side through sensual, refined and sophisticated fashions.

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Couture Fashion Week

Haya Al Houti

In a much anticipated follow up to her stunning 2007 USA debut fashion show, accomplished Kuwaiti fashion designer Haya Al Houti presented her latest collection of sublime couture creations. A prominent designer in her native country, Ms. Al Houti established her fashion house in 2002 and has since become recognised for her exquisite bridal and evening gowns. Her clientele includes an array of Saudi Arabian and Qatarian princesses as well as prestigious dignitaries, socialites and VIPs throughout the Middle East. Her creations are breathtaking combinations of the finest satins, silks, taffeta, chiffon, organza, tulle and lace with rich beading and jeweled embellishments. Along with her staff of more than 25 talented and skilled employees, Ms. Al Houti prides herself on creating not just beautiful fashions, but also "Art from the Heart" - designs that transcend fabric and thread and touch the wearer's inner spirit. In a recent interview with Kuwait Times, Haya Al Houti spoke about how working on fashion shows is a unique and special experience. "When thinking about a fashion show I don't just present a group of nice dresses. I am always keen on presenting something new, different and outstanding," she pointed out. "I love presenting dresses with strange but simple ideas, that represent my identity and personality, so people would know that these are my designs," she added. "Haya's debut with us last year was a truly fabulous and impressive show," says producer Andres Aquino. "Her meticulous attention to detail and creative imagination make her designs unique."

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Jean Fares

Dynamic fashion designer, Jean Fares of Lebanon, presented his latest collection of inspired evening couture creations. The new collection is entitled "Living...Energy" inspired by the ideal wearer of his stunning designs: a dynamic, charming, thrilling and energetic woman. Since establishing his own fashion house in 1992, Jean Fares has become known for his elegant colour combinations and innate classic style sense. His couture bridal and evening creations are favoured by an exclusive clientele in the Middle East. His previous collection, "Living-Eco", featured an impressive array of beautifully crafted designs. Mr. Fares has done successful fashion shows in Paris, including the Hydra Pret-a-Porter event, and in Lebanon as well as other Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In 2007, he did a series of fashion shows in the USA in Miami, Houston and Washington D.C. before enthusiastic audiences of dignitaries and VIPs. "Jean Fares's creations are of the highest caliber, like so many other gifted couturiers from his part of the world," notes producer Andres Aquino. "We are fortunate to have him participating in Couture Fashion Week this season and look forward to an extremely enthusiastic reception from our audience."

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Couture Fashion Week

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Michael Mione

A native New Yorker, Michael Mione showed an aptitude for fashion starting at an early age. Inspired by his mother's glamorous style - she wore five inch heels with everything and turned even mundane occasions into black tie affairs - Mr. Mione went on to graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology and later landed an internship with fashion icon Bob Mackie, perhaps best known for his unforgettable designs for Cher, Carol Burnett and many other legendary performers. During his work with Bob Mackie, Mr. Mione refined his concept of style: that clothing should reflect a women's inner as well as outer beauty. Mr. Mione gained experience on the business side of the fashion industry through his tenure as store manager with Macy's and Victoria's Secret and as a Prada specialist at Neiman Marcus. These invaluable insights into what is important to female consumers, their buying patterns and preferences regarding style, fit and quality served Mr. Mione well when he launched his own design label. In 2005 Mr. Mione debuted his signature women's line with a fashion show at Harry's Loft in New York City. He went on to show his bridal collection as part of the Wedding Channel couture fashion show at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. He recently opened his couture salon in a chic Soho loft offering a luxurious shopping experience for his clients. Through his impeccable designs, Mr. Mione strives to bring back glamour with comfortable yet sexy clothes for today's sophisticated woman with discerning tastes.

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Romanitza

Acclaimed Romanian couture fashion designer Romanitza Claudia Iovan presented her latest collection at Couture Fashion Week 2008. Romanitza made her debut at Couture Fashion Week in September 2007 with a dramatic runway show at the world-famous St. Regis Hotel. In December 2007 she returned to New York City presenting her collection as part of the grand opening festivities of the Desmond Tutu Center. A former fashion model, Ms. Iovan launched her Romanitza fashion house in 1991. The label soon became one of the most successful in Romania, and Ms. Iovan's inimitable style and work ethic helped to build her reputation as a highly creative and accomplished designer and business woman. The exquisite quality and aristocratic air of her designs have earned her distinctive runway shows a special respect and recognition. In 1993 Romanitza was invited by the Romanian Youth Travel Office to be part of a governmentsponsored tourism promotion in the United Arab Emirates, with a collection of Arab-inspired pret-

a-porter. In 1994 Romanitza won first prize at the National Fashion Festival of Romania, and shortly after became the first Romanian designer invited to open an exclusive showroom at the World Trade Plaza in Bucharest. Her 1996 spring/summer collection entitled "Rainbow Flowers" was presented on the runway at the World Trade Plaza's performance hall - a gala performance that also celebrated the designer's fifth successful year in the fashion industry. The event was covered by all major Romanian fashion publications. Romanitza opened her second boutique in 1999 on Bucharest's fashionable Calea Victoriei, and soon after became the exclusive retailer of Elegance Paris fabrics and the Elegance Boutique pret-a-porter line, as well as of Borsalino hats and Bruno Magli shoes and bags for Romania. A few years later, Romanitza opened the first Escada Couture shop in Bucharest. "We are happy to be working with this talented designer for the third time," says producer Andres Aquino. "Romanitza is highly creative, business savvy and a dynamic and visionary person." Romanitza continues to build her brand in the fashion industry, presenting seasonal collections and taking part in many television programs and fashion events, including Bucharest Fashion Week.

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MASTERFUL MERCHANDISING

Clare Louise Brides & Maids bridal shop in Cambridge, has become so successful that both staff numbers and turnover have doubled recently. We spoke to the owner, Clare Louise Wilson, about her winning strategy for the business

staff and turnover," she says. Along with a wedding stationery company, Pick a Card, Clare Louise has been running the family company for six years and was prompted to do so as a result of customer enquiries. "It all stemmed from my stationery business. I was getting so many brides asking where to go for bridal gowns, bridesmaids' dresses, accessories and men's formal hire, that I decided it was time to start my own bridal and men's formal hire shop," Clare Louise explains. We asked more about her shrewd sales sense and what she feels is the key to her success... How did you decide on the location for the store? I started my business from home, after converting part of the house. As business boomed, I decided to rent premises elsewhere, but still in Cambridge, as this is where we had built our reputation. I was particularly mindful of choosing premises with plenty of space and ample parking, as people come from far and wide to visit us. Above all, I wanted to offer my brides a personal and stressfree environment, where I could listen to their ideas and expectations of their special day and they could choose the dress of their dreams. How would you describe your current collection? Our current collection of wedding gowns in store is both stunning and unique, ranging from taffeta Cast your eye along the rails at Clare Louise Brides & Maids in Willingham, Cambridge and you will find a large range of bridal gowns and separates, bridesmaids dresses and eveningwear at affordable prices. The top designers on offer include Bonny Bridal, Eva Jordan Couture, Dynasty, Nicola Anne and Samantha Jane, with a vast dress sizes range. Brides keen to personalise their wedding dress can utilise the services of the experienced seamstress at the store, who is able to customise any off-the-peg gown. Bridesmaids dresses are available, with sizes ranging from two year olds to junior Miss `Plus' ranges for 14 year olds and all dresses are designed to match the adult styles. A vast range of accessories, such as veils, shoes and a large range of jewellery is also available, as is Mark Alan Formal Hire, which includes groom, best man and father of the bride attire, as well as Highland wear. With seemingly everything the bridal party could possibly need on offer, the family-run store is constantly busy and the owner and managing director, Clare Louise Wilson, laughingly admits there aren't enough hours in the day. "We find the current bridal market extremely busy, so much so that I have recently doubled my to satin and silks, so brides have plenty of choice. We also have a very large selection of bridesmaids' dresses to compliment any bridal gown, which works particularly well as brides can envisage the complete look. The men's formal hire is adjacent to our bridal showroom, which means the brides can coordinate their wedding day perfectly by matching colours with the finest of detail in her groom's outfit. Brides and their families often compliment us on our friendly and relaxed atmosphere within the showrooms, and we also make sure our dresses are designed with every body shape in mind, so there is something to suit everybody. How did you decide which designers to stock? I chose stockists that are well known and well loved within the bridal industry, as this makes a real difference to a bride who is often familiar with an established brand. We also stock individual brands that stand out from the crowd thanks to their stunning fabrics and elegant designs. I find that stockists who keep exclusivity between rival stores a real bonus too, as it keeps our showrooms unique within the area. How have brides-to-be responded to your most recent collection? Brides have responded extremely well! They love the fact that our designs are very varied, whether

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Retailer Interview

the bride is looking for something to wear to a beach wedding or a more traditional Church ceremony, they can find the perfect dress within our showrooms at amazing value and of the highest quality. What do you enjoy most about your role and the bridal business in general? The part of my job I enjoy most is being in the shop and talking to the brides about what they want for their special day, then seeing the look on their face (and their mum's!), when they put on THE dress. I also love knowing I can give them exactly what they want within their budget. Do you hold in-store events? I find designer days a must, as this gives brides the

opportunity to meet with the designer and view their complete collections. I also hold two threeday genuine sale events a year, offering brides real bargains. We never have a constant sale rail in the shop, as I feel this gives the wrong impression, but brides know that if we are having a three-day sale, we genuinely mean it. What do you feel makes your store unique and how do you self-promote? Our attention to detail in every way, from the first appointment to the collection of the dresses and suits, this is what makes us stand out from other bridal shops. Our willingness to always go that extra mile and to exceed customer expectations is a marketing strategy that we have evolved and pride ourselves on.

How often do you update your window display? We update our window display once a week to keep it looking fresh. Brides always comment that every time they pass our window they have a fresh look to see what dresses are in there. What do you believe is the key to running a successful bridal retail business? Clare Louise prides itself on being able to cater to the needs of the whole wedding party; brides, bridesmaids, flower girls, groom, ushers, father of the bride and the best man and I feel this is a key aspect of a bridal business. Offering collections that are tried and tested, but always being on the look out for new suppliers as the trends change, is also important. What has been your greatest success in the business so far? Amongst my successes was recently being informed that we are one of the top 10 best stockists in the country for our men's formal hire and gaining a contract for our wedding stationery at the best and most prestigious hotel in Cambridge. My greatest success in the business though, is the amount of referrals I receive, along with the many `thank you' letters. How would you like to see your business develop in the next five years? Over the next few years I want to build on the collections we have with our current suppliers, but more importantly, continue offering our brides a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere with the best service that they deserve. After all, it is one of the most important days of their life. A

Further information

For more information on Clare Louise Brides & Maids, call +44 (0)1954 205 248 or visit www.clarelouisebridal.co.uk

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To view our new collection please call us or email

[email protected] 0121 705 2244 www.girls-love-pearls.co.uk

"A stunning collection of maternity wedding gowns for brides that refuse to compromise on style just because they're pregnant."

View our new collection at the BBEH in the exclusive Designer Hall ­ stand D5. Appointments now being taken, please email [email protected] New pricing structure offering excellent margins for our stockists. No minimum order quantity. Excellent lead-times and an in-stock programme available. Madeline Isaac-James ­ British designed stylish maternity wedding gowns and maternity bridesmaid dresses for discerning retailers.

www.maternityweddingdress.co.uk T: +44 (0) 1252 377725

madeline isaac-james

maternity bridal

Pearls Tiny Tots

TINY TOTS

Top fashions for babies, toddlers, flower girls and page boys

www.alfredangelounitedkingdom.com

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Expand your in-store offering by stocking up on cute suits, stylish shoes and pretty flower girl dresses. We take a look at some of the companies offering these exclusive lines...

Henry Kaye

www.henrykaye.co.uk With summer weddings in mind, Henry Kaye has introduced a brand new collection of lace flower girl dresses and accessories inspired by the latest wedding dress designs. For a classic, romantic look, lace is this season's popular choice of fabric for bridal gowns. Satin is a perfect partner for lace and the latest dresses are often adorned with satin sashes or ribbons. To complement this look, Henry Kaye has just launched a select collection of bridesmaid dresses, boleros and bags all based on a gorgeous creamy floral lace and satin, a perfect combination for summer weddings. The collection is designed for flower girls aged 12 months to nine years and comprises a choice of dresses, bolero and dolly bag. The scalloped edged bolero is ideal as a cover up to protect little shoulders either from the chill or the sun. The dresses come in a choice of styles either with a matching lace skirt or a lace bow sash. The matching lace dolly bag is the final touch, perfect for holding those little essentials such a hairbrush and a few sweets.

Little Eglantine

www.littleeglantine.com Designer, Stephanie Staub, is known for her wonderfully girly flower girl dresses, in a range of beautiful fabrics. The made-to-measure Isabelle flower girl dress shown here is an enchanting dress priced at £195 in a size 4. This red taffeta dress is embroidered with pretty dragonflies and is completed with a large creamy sash. The creamy flowers crown (£40) adds to the unique look of the flowergirl.

Nicki Macfarlane Bridesmaids

www.nickimacfarlanebridesmaids.co.uk Nicki Macfarlane Bridesmaids interpret the bride's dream by designing and making exquisite outfits. Offering bespoke flower girl, bridesmaid and special occasion dresses, and page boy suits for every occasion, from pretty country weddings to elegant London occasions, Nicki Macfarlane is able to offer a very personal service. All the dresses have the child's name embroidered inside and come with a pretty carrier bag containing their accessories. They can then put their everyday clothes in the bags to keep them together to take back after the wedding ­ saves sorting out the pile of unidentified clothes and shoes on someone's bedroom floor!

Etiquette Hire

www.i-do.uk.com Etiquette are proud of the fact that they can supply suits to almost every shape and size person. In the vast majority of their garments they start at 20" jackets and 18" waist trousers which in theory will fit as small as a two-year-old toddler. "This season we have extended our contempory prince edward range in brown, beige and silver grey to incorporate children's sizes which means that a full wedding party can now wear coordinating garments," they say. "The same applies to all of our waistcoats; every new product line that we introduce is now available in smaller sizes as this is what our customers said they wanted to see. In addition to the clothes being available to children we are also offering shoes for hire down to a size 1. In terms of highland wear we are the only hire company that offers Skean Dhu's in smaller sizes to suit children. All this makes Etiquette the most child friendly hire company in exsistance today.

Mori Lee

www.morilee.com For the special occasions in a little girl's life Mori Lee has a charming selection of flower girl dresses, first communion gowns and christening gowns. Embellished with whimsical touches of youthful innocence like delicate flowers, pearls and crystals, these flower girl dresses and event gowns will mark this special event as the memory of a lifetime. Whether you're drawn to practical touches like a removable hemline band of colour, or the precious design of a waterfall skirt with ruching, there's something for everyone in the collection.

Alfred Angelo

www.alfredangelounitedkingdom.com Aside from its extensive bridal and bridesmaids' ranges, Alfred Angelo are also able to offer stunning flower girl dresses, in a choice of 55 accent colours, along with traditional white or ivory. This is ideal for brides wanting to match all dresses to their chosen colour theme.

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Stenco Flowers Limited

Importers of Craft Bridal Flowers & Wedding Accesories - Paper, Display Flowers, Hand Painted Millinery Flowers

Unit 2, Watermill Business Centre, Edison Road, Enfield, Middlesex. United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)20 8443 4555 Fax: +44 (0)20 8443 4999 Email: [email protected] Web: www.stencoflowersltd.co.uk

Trust in your trade mark

Upali Dayasena, senior research adviser at Business Link, answers your questions on trade marking your business.

What is a trade mark and how can it benefit my business? Trade marks are signs, symbols, logos, words, sounds or music (such as jingles) that distinguish your products and services from those of your competitors. It can be one of the most powerful marketing tools you have, helping customers recognise your business for the quality of its products or services. A trade mark can be seen as a badge of origin for a business. It provides a distinctive way of representing your goods or services that sets them apart from those of other traders. It is a valuable piece of intellectual property and can play an important role in your marketing and branding activities. A trade mark can be: · a word, phrase or slogan; · logo or symbol; · sign or form of packaging; · sound or jingle; · colour; · gesture; · brand name; or · your company name. A trade mark must be distinctive for the goods and services you use it for. And it mustn't mislead people about the nature of your products or services. Common law may give some trade mark protection automatically, provided sufficient trading reputation and goodwill have been built up in a mark. But this is likely to be difficult and costly to defend against infringement. You should consider registering your trade mark for added protection. If you want to register a trade mark in the UK it must be possible to represent it in words and pictures. Registering a trade mark costs money and you need to get it right. But registration establishes in law that your mark is a trade mark and belongs to you alone. You then have an automatic right to sue anybody who infringes it. In fact, just registering a trade mark can serve as a deterrent to people who might otherwise infringe it. I'm thinking of starting a new business or developing a sub-brand. How do I make sure the name I choose is unique and that I'm not treading on anyone else's toes by using their name? Well done for thinking about this early, because not doing so could cost your business dearly. Start by making sure that you're not planning to use the same name as a similar business that's in your area or sector, or that may be supplying similar products or services. Names Check your preferred business name on the Companies House online registry, www.companieshouse.gov.uk. You'll quickly find out if there are any limited companies using the name, but not whether any sole traders or partnerships are. So do widespread searches using Google, Yahoo, etc as well as yell.com, thomsonlocal.com and other business directories and phone books. And do be careful to try out different variants of the name that might sound or look the same. Trade marks The other thing to be careful of is that you're not infringing anyone else's trade mark. These can be signs, symbols, logos, words, sounds or music that distinguish products or services from each other. The strongest trade marks are those registered at the UK Intellectual Property Office (formerly the Patent Office). But trade marks don't have to be registered, as companies have common-law rights that protect them if they can prove to have used trade marks over time. Also bear in mind that more than one company can use the same trade mark if, for example, they are supplying different products or services. It's really important to get this area of your business right, and the sooner you start the better. If you do infringe someone else's name or trade mark you may be forced to change your company name. Not only will that cost you money and time, but you'll also lose the goodwill you've built up in that name. And if a competitor can prove that you've damaged their business, you can be sued for damages and compensation. So start early, do your research, and protect you and your company. How do I register a trade mark outside the UK? Registered trade marks are territorial. If you apply for a trade mark in the UK, you'll only have protection in the UK. If you're considering taking your services or exporting your goods overseas - now or in the future - you might want to consider registering your trade mark in other countries in order to gain wider protection. Generally, you have to register trade marks in each of the countries where you want protection. However, there are two other options which could make life easier.

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Business Link

1. Registering in the European Union You can apply for a Community Trade Mark through the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) website at http://oami.europa. eu/en/mark/default.htm. This will give you protection in all European Union countries. 2. Registering worldwide Under the Madrid System, if you've applied for UK registration of your trade mark you can also apply for an International Trade Mark through the World Intellectual Property Organization at www.wipo.int/madrid/en/index.html The eight golden rules on trade marks The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys can help you find a trade mark attorney who will be able to help you to protect trade marks anywhere in the world. They have also outlined some `golden rules' on trade marks: 1. Stand out - make sure your trade mark is distinctive rather than descriptive. 2. Check it out - conduct searches to make sure that your chosen trade mark is available for use and registration and that it does not infringe any other trade mark. 3. Decide which classes of goods or services will be in association with your trade mark. 4. Think about the geographical coverage you will need. 5. Apply to register your trade mark - a trade mark attorney can help you.

6. Make sure your trade mark is used correctly. Do not allow it to become a generic name, like aspirin, escalator and linoleum. 7. Once you have a registered trade mark, police your rights. Make sure no-one infringes it. If someone does threaten to infringe your registration, seek urgent advice from a trade mark attorney. 8. Use a trade mark attorney. For help finding your nearest one call Upali on +44 (0)8457 171 615. Business Link Upali Dayasena, (BSc, MIET, MCLIP) is a senior research adviser on the team. With Business Link for 12 years, Upali is now responsible for the information broking activity with particular emphasis on use of online sources. A graduate electrical engineer from Portsmouth Polytechnic (now the University of Portsmouth), Upali has worked in the telecommunications and information management fields for many years. He has a wide-ranging understanding of the information needs of business and industry and a commitment to the appropriate use of technology to deliver those needs. An experienced online researcher with a wide-ranging knowledge of online resources, covering business, science & technology and intellectual property information, Upali has compiled and edited two bibliographies on microprocessor applications in engineering and manufacturing industry for the Institution of Electrical Engineers and was also responsible for editing telecommunications and computer science

abstracts while working for the INSPEC database. Upali is a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. His mission at Business Link is to: "advise and meet the needs of our clients ­ with respect to proper use and acquisition of intellectual property rights so companies can maximise their intangible assets within the IP law". The Information and Intelligence Team at Business Link are here to help you. Getting the information you need to help you run your business quickly and easily can make a huge difference. Business Link's team of 40 information advisers are on call daily to give practical business information and advice which is impartial and, in most instances, free of charge. The Information and Intelligence Centre hotline on +44 (0)8457 171 615 goes straight through to one of the Business Link team who can offer you help with a wide range of information from credit checks on new customers to help with business planning or mailing lists. A

For further help with Trade Marks visit... Business Link www.businesslink.gov. uk/east Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys www.cipa.org.uk UK Intellectual Property Office www.ipo.gov.uk The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys www.itma.org.uk World Intellectual Property Organisation www.wipo.int/madrid/ en/index.html

For information, practical advice and support to help you run or grow your business, contact Business Link on +44 (0)8457 171 615 or log onto www. businesslink.gov.uk/east.

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w C an P

View the Collection at BBEH The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate 7th-9th September 2008 Enquiries or Agent to call, tel: 01256 766 744

SJC

Samantha Jane Collection

View the Collection at BBEH The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate 7th-9th September 2008 Enquiries or Agent to call, tel: 01256 766 744

IJL

Stand and Deliver

We speak to Chris Hartley, Show Director of International Jewellery London, to find out about this year's event

How did the new creative come about and what feedback have you had since? The idea for the new creative was based on solid research and conversations with exhibitors, retailers, manufacturers and designers. We found that, while our exhibitors were fully aware of the various zones within the exhibition, as the show continues to grow many retailers were unaware of the breadth of our offering. IJL now boasts dedicated areas showcasing the best across Fine Jewellery, Jewellery Solutions (tooling, packaging, technology solutions etc), Diamonds, Gems, Silver & Fashion, Watches, International pavilions and a new zone called the Design Gallery which incorporates the British Design Pavilion, plus two new zones: Designer Brands and the International Design Pavilion. The new creative will help visitors identify key areas of interest during their visit to the show, especially as the show now hosts exhibitors from over 30 countries. The creative received full approval from our advisory panel, which comprises key players from across the industry. This year Autumn Fair and IJL are at different times. How do you anticipate this will impact visitor/ exhibitor numbers? IJL has run on the same dates for over half a century. We are always evaluating the date by speaking to visitors and exhibitors to understand timelines. We find that the timing of the show is perfect for independent retailers, who are ordering stock for Christmas, and for multiples and larger retailers, who are ordering further ahead - perhaps for Mother's Day and beyond. IJL focuses on mid to high-end manufacturers and designer-makers. We are the largest specialist jewellery show in the UK and, therefore, attract a clearly defined target market. According to our research 40% of all visitors do not attend any other show in the UK. Which sectors of the jewellery market are currently flourishing? The ones doing well are the mid to high-end cutting edge designers who are innovative and design-focused. This is an incredibly buoyant area of the market. Retailers that are pushing design-driven jewellery are, in general, benefiting from stocking such lines, while those selling volume seem to be affected the most by the present economic climate. How do you anticipate the current `credit crunch' will affect the jewellery market? What can retailers do to minimise the impact of the testing current economic situation? At present retailers are not buying as much stock as they may have done in previous years. There are two key reasons for this: firstly, the price of precious metal is very high and secondly, retailers are running their existing stock down. Therefore, in August/September, retailers are going to need to buy their vital Christmas stock, so ordering should be strong at IJL. In the current economic climate, retailers, designers and manufacturers are all working harder to develop their businesses. Retailers, in particular, need to look at multi-channel marketing, rather than relying solely on a bricks-and-mortar shop. In an economic downturn one of the first areas that organisations cut is training. IJL's education programme boasts the largest array of jewellery related seminars anywhere in the UK, visitors can attend a range of sessions focusing on business solutions, training, marketing, trends and forecasting with some internationally renowned speakers, including Martin Rapaport and Jamie Fraser of Hamilton & Inches. The best thing is it's all entirely free to IJL visitors! My feeling is that any organisation that is creative, innovative, quick to embrace change and has a strong product offering coupled with excellent customer focus will continue to do well. How would you like to see the show develop over the next few years? London is a fantastic destination for the show and IJL is attracting more international retailers than ever before. Over the next few years we will work hard to support the British market and bring non-UK retailers into our event. I am especially keen to champion British participation in overseas jewellery exhibitions, particularly from designer-makers and strong UKbrands. It is only by showing overseas retailers the strength of British jewellery design that we can expect them to visit the UK's leading jewellery exhibition. At IJL this September, we will have over 600 exhibitors. I am especially proud of the Design Gallery, a purpose-built mezzanine which will feature around 160 new and established jewellery designermakers, many of which only show at IJL. A Further information Register in advance for International Jewellery London by visiting www.jewellerylondon.com.

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Emma Tindley

Designer dresses handmade in the UK

BBEH STAND D8 191 London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 1HA tel: 01342 321514 www.emmatindley.co.uk

¢

www.trudylee.co.uk email: [email protected] tel: 01707 643633

Fashion Fashion

British

Best of

We champion UK-based bridal manufacturers and designers

Nicola Anne www.nicolaanne.com

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In today's difficult economic climate it's never been so important to support home-grown talent. Britain boasts some of the world's most gifted bridal and accessories designers who, despite spiralling overheads, stay true to their roots and continue to make their dresses and accessories in the UK. We speak to a handful of Britishbased firms to determine the challenges and benefits of retaining a British-based manufacturing process.

Nicola Harvey-Rowley, Head Designer at Nicola Anne Bridalwear www.nicolaanne.com Have Nicola Anne dresses always been designed and made in the UK? If so, why was this so important to the brand? Nicola Anne Gowns have always been designed and made by our team in Leicestershire. We have been consistently told by our customers that our styles are classic, colourful and, above all, `different'. Together with our flexibility in the designs and sizing, we are able to offer a unique service to our retailers. What challenges do companies that design and made their dresses in the UK face? Our aim is to be competitive, but with the rising costs of our own economy, this will always be a challenge. That said, we would not look to source manufacturers overseas as all our customers buy from us mainly because we are `British Made'. What benefits do you feel the company has over those who choose to manufacture abroad? Quite simply, our company delivers what it promises! We have complete control over our bespoke orders. Our customers are able to speak to us regarding sizing for gowns and are even able to ask advice on design changes. In addition, our quick turn around for rush orders becomes invaluable during the busy months when every order counts.

Karl Metcalfe, Sales Manager at Liza Designs www.lizadesigns.co.uk Have your tiaras always been designed and made in the UK? If so, why was this so important to the brand? Yes, I began designing and making all the tiaras myself, and although I now have a great team behind me the flexibility of manufacturing in house is one of our greatest advantages. Liza Designs now has a reputation spanning more than 20 years of unrivalled customer service and quality. What challenges do companies that design and make their bridal accessories in the UK face? It's all about labour costs and overheads. Most of our competitors use factories in the Far East which have been much cheaper than using a UK workforce. I think over the next few years we will see the gap between the two options narrow with the growing economies of the Far Eastern countries and transport costs escalating. Liza has the skills to perform well under the new conditions that UK-based companies will be facing. What benefits do you feel your company has over those who choose to manufacture abroad? Liza Designs is in control of its own future. If we were to let a customer down it would be our fault - there is nobody else to blame! We carry vast stocks of materials, we have good reliable staff and we remain both efficient and flexible. We don't let our customers down: they sometimes "ask the impossible" of us and they know we will still deliver!

34 ATTIRE

BRIDAL, BRIDESMAIDS & PROMS www.thehouseofnicholas.co.uk 0208 802 1399

To view our collections visit us at The Harrogate Bridal Fair, Hall Q Stand 7

Fashion

Emma Tindley, Head Designer at Emma Tindley www.emmatindley.co.uk Have Emma Tindley dresses always been designed and made in the UK? If so, why was this so important to the brand? My dresses have always been made in the UK and on my premises as I like to oversee every stage of the manufacturing process. This way, should any issues arise - such as quality of fabric to the intricate stitching of beadwork - I am on hand to ensure the quality remains constant. The dresses are all finished to a high standard and using couture techniques and some hand stitching, which would be lost if they were to be made abroad. I also like to make the dress designs as flexible as I can, so girls can personalise the styles by adding or changing details to each individual dress; this would be impossible to oversee abroad. I am quite determined that Emma Tindley dresses will always remain Made in the UK. What challenges do companies that design and made their dresses in the UK face? There are two big challenges when you choose to manufacture in the UK: The costs of employing staff in the UK and costs of premises, so my dresses are in a higher price bracket. I could never compete with China. Also the number of dresses I make is lower than those who manufacture abroad. I have a small team behind me and find it difficult to get seamstresses. As I'm sure the industry is aware, it's a dying art form and a bit like trying to find a plumber! What benefits do you feel the company has over those who choose to manufacture abroad? I think the main advantage I have over dresses made abroad is the fact that I can be that bit more flexible with the styles and girls can change the details or even design a dress unique to them. My bespoke service does just that and girls get to see their dresses come together from start to finish. We also know exactly when the dresses will be finished and don't have to worry about customs! Why is it so important for British bridal retailers to support companies who make their products in the UK? Our customers in general have found out the hard way that companies that manufacture off shore are constrained by their suppliers, and so cannot always say `Yes' to the tight schedules that most retailers face these days. Retailers must look at the longer term and see that supplier service is every bit as important as their own customer service. Liza Designs is keeping the skills we need alive in the UK by compromising some of the high profits demanded by some companies who become more and more reliant on the Far East as their cheaper option. A

Joyce Jackson, Managing Director of Joyce Jackson Bridal Veils Have Joyce Jackson Bridal Veils always been designed and made in the UK? If so, why was this so important to the brand? When I started the business 22 years ago everyone was manufacturing in the UK and I never gave another thought to someone else doing work for me What challenges do companies that design and make their bridal accessories in the UK face? I do not think that there is a big threat to accessories as it is impossible to carry all the stock needed. Furthermore, in my opinion, deliveries from China are not good at all. What benefits do you feel the company has over those who choose to manufacture abroad? We can supply an urgent custom-made order within a day. This is an invaluable service for retailers. Why is it so important for retailers to support bridal and accessories designers who create and make their designs in the UK? If we do not have the support then the British industry will die and newcomers coming into the trade will not have the manufacture process in place and will import. In all the years of being in bridal I have had very few competitors. That shows that they do not want to make it, and it is too difficult to buy from abroad. Do you feel there's anything extra the government could do to better support UK-based designers and manufacturers? If so, what? Yes, I feel the government could cut some of the red tape, for example, making VAT clearer on certain items. I am also in favour of the government giving grants to British manufacturers who exhibit abroad and feel they should promote British whenever possible.

ATTIRE 37

Sparkle

in their eyes

Designers Sarah and Christine Hatton are the driving force behind their increasingly successful Crystabelle bridal and occasion jewellery brand. We talk to them about their bespoke designs and determination to be different

field to be too constrained and I needed something I had carte blanche to create exactly what I wanted, with no brief to adhere to," explains Sarah Hatton. "I started making jewellery for myself, then a friend asked me to design something for her and it snowballed from there." Christine Hatton trained as a dress designer and worked in women's and childrenswear for many years, before branching into wedding dress design. "The love of the wedding industry kept me there for quite some time," she remembers, "but when Sarah suggested a turn to jewellery, it just felt right. I was able to remain in an industry I loved, but with the perfect chance to stretch my creativity in a totally different direction." Sarah and Christine wanted to feature crystal in the name of the brand, as it originally defined the focus of their designs. "Belle means charming and beautiful and we believe we are makers of both, hence the company name," they explain. Their current collections are a celebration of all things pearl and sparkle. "One of the collections we have introduced most recently is our freshwater pearl and Swarovski crystal tiaras and complementary jewellery," they explain. "The pearls and vines are mixed with the tiniest of fully-coated silver Swarovski crystal which gives that extra sparkle and lifts the iridescent colours from the pearls. Pearls are the ultimate symbol of love and marriage and have always been considered valuable since man first walked the earth." "The components in this new collection aren't

Magpie brides intent on as much sparkle as they can muster for their wedding day and retailers keen to provide it for them are amongst the many fans of Crystabelle jewellery, as the brand promises to add as much twinkle as customers require to their purchase, thanks to the unique nature of each bespoke piece and the best quality materials that they use, including Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls and gems sourced from around the world. Founded in 2004 by family members Sarah and Christine Hatton and based in Cheshire, Crystabelle has grown to be a very creditable company in a very competitive market and is now available through retailers and on-line. Both from art and design backgrounds, Sarah and Christine design and make all the jewellery they sell and are also in charge of running the business. They have a distinct passion for all things creative and credit this as the impetus and reason for their decision to launch the business. "I have a degree in graphic design, but I found that

38 ATTIRE

Profile

necessarily new to the wedding field, but what we do with them is. We don't just string bracelets and necklaces, we entwine several threads, producing unique patterns. The end result is quite stunning. We also have an eye for the little details which may not be explicit to the design, but are key to the final piece." Another of their new collections is a vintageinspired collection of tiaras and jewellery, with subtle colours of Swarovski crystals to give the gold pieces a modern edge. "The collection we are currently working on is our statement necklaces for brides that want a little more drama," Christine says. "We've been inspired by different periods in history and given the pieces a contemporary edge. The necklaces are quite beautiful and perfect for brides with a little attitude!" Sarah and Christine source materials from all over the world. "The hunt for them can take months, but we're thrilled when we think we've found something no-one else is using and we put great store in finding quality components as we will only use the best in our work," they explain. They try to launch new lines every couple of months as they have a large customer base that like to be kept aware of the latest jewellery trends. "We're constantly coming up with new ideas though," they laugh. "Designing is certainly the best bit of our job!" The couple have benefited from press coverage to promote their business so far, in addition to attending wedding fairs when they have the time, as they feel this is a great way to meet prospective customers and keep in touch with demand. They also make full use of their well-designed website for promotion. "We launched our website last year," says Sarah. "We absolutely love it as it looks very feminine and inviting and our customers have found it extremely easy to use." So how did they source stockists? "Our stockists have found us so far," they muse. "They have read press coverage and like that we are making something a little different. We think our range is so dynamic that we suit any outlet and, because virtually

our entire range is adaptable in colour, component and dimension, we literally have something for everyone!" "We will often design a range exclusively for a stockist, so that they have a jewellery and tiara collection that harmonises with their wedding and bridesmaids' dresses perfectly." The response has certainly been incredibly favourable, as the brand goes from strength to strength. Sarah and Christine credit this to their unique designs. "We have always strived to make something different. It would be easy to simply reinvent the wheel but that's not what we are about. It gives us pleasure to design something new and our customers and retailers like this about us. They are so complimentary about our jewellery and we can't help but smile at some of the lovely responses our bridal range receives." Shortlisted as finalists at the Wrapit Wedding Awards Bridal Accessories category in 2008, the couple consider their greatest success in the business so far to be making tiaras for Coleen Nolan. "It was very exciting to see them worn by such a well known celebrity," says Christine. "Also, the fact that more people are recognizing the brand name is a success in itself for us." So what can we expect from the brand in 2009? "More colour!" they state. "We love using colour in our wedding jewellery, but brides are still wary of using too much of it. Obviously clear crystal and white pearls are never going to go out of fashion, but soft colours are becoming more popular." If the current level of success enjoyed by these ladies is anything to go by, we suggest that trend predictors for the bridal jewellery market take note! A

Further information

To find out more about Crystabelle, call +44 (0)161 485 6585 for mail order and stockist enquiries, +44 (0)161 486 6099 for trade/wholesale enquiries, or visit www.crystabelle.co.uk

ATTIRE 39

1.

2.

Perfect Pleats

4. 5.

40 ATTIRE

3.

We showcase three pages of bridal gowns that feature fabulous folded fabrics

6.

Bridal Trends

1. D'Zage +44 (0)20 8554 2332 www.dzage.co.uk 2. Ian Stuart +44 (0)20 8761 6302 www.ianstuart-bride.com 3. Eternity Bride +44 (0)870 770 7670 www.eternitybridal.co.uk 4. Pronuptia +44 (0)845 2968740 www.pronuptia.co.uk 5. Phil Collins +44 (0)8701 124 858 www.philcollinsbridal.co.uk 6. Alan Hannah +44 (0)20 8882 0007 www.alanhannah.co.uk 7. Impression Bridal UK +44 (0)1727 851 452 www.impressionbridal.co.uk 8. Mori Lee +44 (0)1476 541 116 www.morilee.com 9. Justin Alexander +44 (0)1908 615 599 www.justinalexanderbridal.com

7.

8.

9.

ATTIRE 41

10.

11.

12.

10. Suzanne Neville +44 (0)1483 533 209 www.suzanneneville.com 11. Victoria Shelsher +44 (0)1844 290 135 www.victoriashelsher.com 12. Essense of Australia +44 (0)800 961 140 www.essensedesigns.com 13. Je T'aime +44 (0)20 8554 2332 www.jetaimebridal.co.uk

13.

42 ATTIRE

Setting up costs-Commercial Property LeaseBusiness Plan-Vat-AccountsFixtures-Fittings Advertising-Sales Stationary -Purchasing stock-Fitting garments etc...

Increase sales-Stock control-Showroom design -Staff training-AdvertisingStationary with Terms' conditionsDisposal of discontinued dresses etc...

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

Picture supplied by www.evajordan.com

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 www.startingabridalbusiness.com Telephone 01256 766 744 Visit us at BBEH, The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate 7th - 9th September 2008 All enquiries tel: 01256 766 744

We are looking for new stockists in all areas

Simply Stunning Bridal Gowns Ltd

92 Dudley Road, Sedgley, Dudley DY3 1TA

Tel: 01902 677277 www.simply-stunning.com

Gown:TIA

Hollywood Dreams

Enquiries: 0208 801 9797 E-mail: [email protected]

1.

2.

3.

Bridal Trends

1. Alfred Angelo +44 (0)1908 262 626 www.alfredangelounitedkingdom.com 2. Pronuptia +44 (0)845 2968740 www.pronuptia.co.uk 3. Sassi Holford +44 (0)20 7584 1532 www.sassiholford.com 4. Sacha +44 (0)1621 856 497 www.sachajames.plus.com 5. Art Couture +44 (0)1432 815 978 www.artcouturebridal.co.uk 6. Kosibah Creations +44 (0)20 7424 8832 www.kosibah.co.uk 7. Essense of Australia +44 (0)800 961 140 www.essensedesigns.com 8. Kate Sherford +44 (0)1823 256 012 www.katesherford.com

4.

5.

Centre Stage

Encourage your brides to add a splash of colour to their dresses with a vibrant sash

6.

8.

7.

ATTIRE 45

1.

Over the Shoulder

Cute capped sleeves are all the rage ­ here are our pick of the best

46 ATTIRE

4. 2.

Bridal Trends

3.

5.

6. 7.

1. Impression Bridal UK +44 (0)1727 851 452 www.impressionbridal.co.uk 2. D'Zage +44 (0)20 8554 2332 www.dzage.co.uk 3. Eternity Bride +44 (0)870 770 7670 www.eternitybridal.co.uk 4. Sassi Holford +44 (0)20 7584 1532 www.sassiholford.com 5. Estés +44 (0)1621 855 653 www.sachajames.plus.com/estes 6. Charlotte Balbier +44 (0)1625 521 547 www.charlottebalbier.com 7. Pronuptia +44 (0)845 2968740 www.pronuptia.co.uk

ATTIRE 47

1. 2. 3.

Bridal Trends

4.

Swan Lake

A fabulous neckline can add elegance and sophistication to a gown. Here are our favourites...

5. 6.

1. Sacha James +44 (0)1621 856 497 www.sachajames.plus.com 2. Estés +44 (0)1621 855 653 www.sachajames.plus.com/estes 3. Kosibah Creations +44 (0)20 7424 8832 www.kosibah.co.uk 4. D'Zage +44 (0)20 8554 2332 www.dzage.co.uk 5. Ian Stuart +44 (0)20 8761 6302 www.ianstuart-bride.com 6. Suzanne Neville +44 (0)1483 533 209 www.suzanneneville.com

ATTIRE 49

HEIRLOOM

www.heirloomwaistcoats.co.uk This winter Heirloom will introduce more accessories for evening wear, for example fancy bows, cummerbunds and waistcoats. Their current collection has broad appeal and features an extensive range of waistcoats to enhance any suit choice.

A Man's World

Stock up with some of these stunning grooms' accessories

50 ATTIRE

Grooms' Accessories

BABETTE WASSERMAN

www.babette-wasserman.com Babette Wasserman is renowned for her cutting edge jewellery designs for men and women. Her latest range of cufflinks and accessories is bang on trend for 2008. The men's Pelle Plaited cuffs mix leather with sterling silver or rose gold clasps for a stylish way to bring the leather trend to your outfit. The cuffs are made from fine strands of black or brown leather plaited into a tight rope-like cuff with a simple clasp. The new London Links cufflinks bring in the trend for sterling silver accessories. A simple solid silver design in a quirky triangular shape is an easy way to wear sterling silver every day.

RICHARD JONES

www.jones-menswear.com Richard Jones has been a specialist shirt maker for close on four decades.They are a leading supplier to the UK retail sector for wedding and special occasion shirts. They offer a stock supported service for men's and boys' styles. At any one time they keep 100,000 shirts in their warehouse. They stock selected sizes up to a collar size of 23. In addition they also offer a full range of accessories from stock including waistcoats, wedding cravats and bows. New products for this season include an increased range of co-ordinating silk ties, cufflinks and handkerchiefs presented in a silk covered gift box for the wedding day. They offer lots of plain colours to ensure the men's silk accessories will match the colour theme of the wedding occasion. In a response to frequent requests they have now added a Page Boy design to their successful range of wedding day socks for the men in the wedding party.

ANTHONY FORMALWEAR

www.anthonyformalwear.co.uk Leading the way in vibrant, stylish suits and accessories, Anthony Formalwear boasts a growing selection of waistcoats to add a touch of flair to any suit. From traditional formal wear to the contemporary designer range, the wide selection allows men to create any look, from classic chic to individual or high fashion.

CAMERON ROSS

www.hirewear.co.uk As one of the UK's leading formal hire companies, Cameron Ross has a comprehensive range of accessories to accompany its stylish formal, evening and highland wear ranges. From cummerbunds and ties in every colour of the rainbow and more, to traditional top hats and stylish black shoes, the accessories range is undeniably extensive.

ATTIRE 51

FIELD

7 Standen Street Royal Tunbridge Wells KENT TN4 9RL (01892) 521146

Royal Tunbridge Wells KENT TN2 5TN (01892) 548511

Column

"If you are attending the BBEH, try to visit for the full three days. This will allow yourself time to browse and see everything on offer as the exhibitors spend time and money to give you the very best show in the industry"

`Tis the Season

Regular columnist, Jane Watson, explains how to make space for the new bridal collections, and asks retailers to consider the role of an agent or representative

Special agent I wonder how many retailers are aware of what is involved in the life of an agent or company representative? For those of you who aren't sure, I thought I would give you an insight into some of the experiences encountered on a day to day basis. Their first call of the day would perhaps be at 9.30am. To arrive on time the agent or representative would need to set the alarm for 6.00am, have a shower and a light breakfast ready to leave home at 7.00am. The appointment may only be a one and half hour trip; however, having to allow for traffic could take two and a half hours. The appointment is normally booked a few days before or even weeks in advance. Knowing the retailer is expecting a visit, the agent would expect them to be ready to view the collection. However, this is not always the situation; arriving with a collection of dresses and abruptly told you only have half an hour as they are busy, it is obvious they didn't really want to see the collection and didn't know how to say "no". Another example is clients will look at the complete collection on offer then say they can't afford to purchase any more dresses at the moment. Clients cancelling appointments when the agent is already on the road to visit them is another situation to try to avoid. Indeed, visiting retailers can be costly and disheartening for the agent or representative and a waste of time for all concerned. My point is spare a thought for your agent or representative; they work hard, have busy lives and need genuine customers. If you have your budget ready so you know what you can afford to spend then every one is happy. A Further information Visit the website with your point of view or email Jane Watson at www.startingabridalbusiness.com or www.bridalbusiness.co.uk.

New collections for 2009

Are you ready? Do you know what your budget is for the new designs? At this time of year, you may possibly be viewing the new designs for 2009. If you have not already been shown the collections, you may be looking forward to viewing the vast number of suppliers and designers at the British Bridal Exhibition, Harrogate (BBEH) in September. If you are attending the BBEH, try to visit for the full three days. This will allow yourself time to browse and see everything on offer as the exhibitors spend time and money to give you the very best show in the industry This is the time you need to be looking at your existing samples to create room for new ones. You may be adding to your already full sale rail to make way for the new collections, so make some informed decisions now. Sort out the really old samples on the sale

rail and give them to the local colleges or universities for use by the students. I am sure they will be very grateful for the beautiful fabrics. Alternatively, send them to countries abroad. When giving them to colleges or universities consider putting a small cut in the bodice so that the dresses can't be passed on to charity shops, creating unfair competition for you. So now your rail is still full but only with modern dresses. It is not a good time to have a sale now so wait, if you can, until September when the majority of brides will begin to look for their dresses for 2009. If you have ordered your 2009 designs they will possibly arrive in September so during your sale you can also show your new designs. Therefore your advertising will work twice as hard for you Don't forget the "three day genuine sale" is best. (See Attire Bridal, issue 1 - if you missed this issue, simply request it for free via the website www.attirebridal.com)

ATTIRE 53

Charnos

The bridal market changes almost as often as the mind of a bride and, as with business, it is often the support provided that seals any crucial decisions. Many people consider a bridal gown to be the most important purchase in the lead up to a wedding, however, a dream dress cannot meet expectations unless the bride feels and looks comfortable and confident, elusive emotions that can be achieved with the appropriate choice of underwear. With bridal fashion constantly evolving, the right lingerie can make or break the sale of a gown, as many styles could be rejected as impractical without due consideration of the lingerie available. In offering lingerie, retailers can tap into an area of the market which takes up minimal space but offers a large return in sales, whether in relation to a gorgeous gown or as a stand alone purchase for the all important honeymoon. Read on for our pick of the most stunning styles for the ceremony and the celebrations that follow...

Undercover

TRADITIONAL BRIDAL

Charnos continue to celebrate their 50th Anniversary in autumn/winter 08 with a bridal collection inspired by treasured moments, romance and enchanting fairytales. The modern yet timeless Eve collection provides the answer to every bride's dream with sexy, practical, and pretty lingerie that looks every bit as fabulous as it feels. The ivory colourway brings an understated vintage glamour to the collection, whilst the stylish Swiss embroidery combined with silk touch microfibre creates a range which is perfect for bridal wear. This ultra feminine range includes full cup and multi-way bras, a basque, French brief, thong and suspender belt. Access www.charnos.co.uk or telephone +44 (0)115 850 8000 for more details. Penrose, the first Italian designer of an exclusively bridal lingerie collection, is now available in the UK through White Mischief Bridal. Penrose creations are designed to enhance the natural beauty of the bride's silhouette. Items such as soft bodies, corsets, bras, slips, and hosiery are made from precious fabrics and styled by exquisite tailoring in sophisticated white, ivory, neutral, and black colours. This season has seen the introduction of seductive transparencies created by twice folded tulle, as well as the `Exclusive Collection', which includes a range of truly seamless undergarments made with state of the art techniques. For further information contact White Mischief Bridal on +44 (0)1903 810 104. White Mischief Bridal Lepel

As the image of the modern bride transforms, lingerie is becoming an important and influential add on sale. Read on to discover the best products on the market...

Lepel understands a bride's desire to feel confident, stylish, and captivating on her wedding day and has designed three stunning bridal collections focusing on simple sophistication this season. The delightful Pearl collection creates a truly classic look, with a mix of soft ivory satin, delicate embroidered mesh, and pretty pearl bead detailing. This range is offered in a choice of three styles; a figure flattering basque available up to a DD cup priced at £30 with the option of

detachable suspenders, a strapless bra available up to a DD cup priced at £20, and an underwired plunge bra available up to an E cup at the same price. Each style has accompanying co-ordinates in the form of a suspender short that costs £14 available in sizes S to XL, and string available in sizes S ­ L priced at £8. Telephone +44 (0)115 983 6000 to find out more about the range.

54 ATTIRE

`Be cherished forever and ever in Bjem Bridal Lingerie'

Benmark

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 www.bjembride.co.uk [email protected] 07932784398

Jupon

This romantic torselette from Carnival Lingerie is available through specialist bridal distributor Jupon Ltd, and features a cleverly shaped structure that is perfect for creating a highly desirable, well defined waist. The sensational strapless style is made from luxurious, soft lace with a deep decollete and low back to be both sensual and practical for brides that have chosen popular, close fitting gowns. Visit www. jupon.com or ring +44 (0)1753 622 922 for further information.

Benmark Foundations Ltd is a family business that has been importing lingerie from the U.S. for 60 years, and count leading manufacturer Dominique as an exclusive supplier of quality bridal underwear. With great support and fantastic fit, the Dominique Bridal range includes basques, strapless bras, longline bras, a seamless bustier with a hidden wire and matching briefs and thong to complete the look. This season Benmark have introduced a new full figure basque, Dominique style 8900, in an ivory tone complemented by feminine embroidery on a fine background. The basque has a fantastic size range from B to F cup in back sizes 32 to 48, with matching thongs and a brief design also available. Look out for a new strapless underwired bra with a boned cup up to a size G in the same range. Call +44 (0)208 908 2690 for more details.

ATTIRE 55

Panache

Bjem Bridal

Diamon'T

HONEYMOON

Bjem Bride's beautiful collection of speciality, luxury lingerie has been designed specifically for the modern bride. Sumptuous silk satins in a feminine palette of ivory, blush pink, and aqua are complemented effortlessly with embroidery, sequins, Swarovski crystals and jewellery trims. This small company is able to create individual designs to fit customers' needs by adding any message or design to their products, which have been made from the quality fabric with great attention to detail in many different shapes and colours to fit under any gown. Some of Bjem's bestselling lines are the ivory silk bodice and `just married' Swarovski crystal message briefs, as well as the classic embroidered narrow garter with sequins. New products include a smoothline bodice and blue and pink Swarovski crystal garters, and wholesale prices start at £6 with bespoke items available at no extra charge. Visit the handy website at www.bjembride.co.uk or telephone +44 (0)7932 794 398 for more information. Succinctly in line with the company ethos of `Love The Fit' and available in D-H cup sizes without forsaking comfort and style, Panache have launched four fabulous new bridal styles this season. Hestia is an exquisite silk bridal story in classic ivory or sultry black using guipure embroidery trim with delicate organza and pearl bows. The stunning structured basque features traditional satin lacing and is made of smooth satin with delicate detail across the top of the cups and straps. Thong briefs again match the design with pretty yet simple detailing, and a Hestia twin-set is also available featuring a smooth, padded balconnet

bra with seamed-cup details and coordinating deep thong. For further details call +44 (0)114 241 8888 or access www.panache-lingerie.com. Diamon'T's Pure Lingerie collection is an adorable and affordable range including luxury lace garters, satin and mesh thongs, and a beautiful babydoll set in black or ivory chiffon adorned with the words `Mrs' or `Just Married', presented in a tissue lined gift box and perfect for the wedding night. The personalised service Diamon'T introduced from its inception remains extremely popular, and allows customers to have any item from the collection decorated by hand with the message or name of their choice in diamanté rhinestones, with prices starting from RRP £19.99. To order a catalogue visit www.diamon-t.com or telephone +44 (0)845 330 2366. Award-winning company Eternal Spirits are one of the UK's most talked about corsetry specialists, offering a unique range of traditionally made, handcrafted corsetry, lingerie and bridal wear in their exclusive Bridal Parlour. La Belle Epoque is the company's decadent autumn/winter story, and is influenced by the elegance of Paris and Edwardian England. The rich colour palette of the collection is derived from peacock feathers, where metallic gold, bronze, and chocolate meet jewel tones such as emerald and violet in designs adorned with pearls and Swarovski crystals. Luxurious silks, leathers, and traditional wools combine classic tailoring and conceptual design for an original and glamorous bridal aesthetic. For details call +44 (0)7789 281 159 or access www.eternalspirits.com. A

Eternal Spirits

ATTIRE 57

On Display

ATTIRE

Bridal

& st le Fa liab e Re ervic S

The fabric of a great wedding... ...starts with a great dress

Help your bride choose the best fabrics for her bridal party. The Carrington Bride book is a beautifully presented collection of stunning, quality fabrics brought together in one indispensable volume. Place your order 24/7 View online swatches Order samples swatches or full orders quickly and easily See our latest ranges as they are added

To order your copy call 01204 692223 or visit www.carringtonbride.co.uk

To advertise here call Mark White on +44 (0)1376 514 000 or visit www.attirebridal.com

Michael's Bridal Fabrics

Unit F15, Northfleet Indst Est, Lower Road, Northfleet, Kent DA11 9SW

Tel: 01322 380480/568 FAX: 01322 380680

We offer a fast, reliable and friendly service on our continually increasing range (currently over 1,500 choices) of bridal fabrics. All fabrics and trimmings are available in cut lengths via our 6 sample books. Range includes: plain and shot taffeta, velvet, duchess satins, organzas, shimmer, chiffons, crepes, various embroidered and beaded fabrics, inc tulles and chiffons. We also offer a range of embroided/beaded edgings and motifs.

We have no minimum order value or quantity. Credit/Debit card payment accepted. Free monthly updates on stock availability

Email: [email protected] www.michaelsbridalfabrics.co.uk

ADORE Bride

Specialists in the Art Of Dyeing Shoes

Unique sophistication, dazzling design, unmatched value and service. Prices for highly structured Bodices start from £45 and Gowns for £95.

www.adorebride.co.uk

Call Duncan: 0845 490 0209 email: [email protected]

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Column

Buying Time

Award-winning bridal retailer, Abigail Neill, discusses her recent buying trip to Madrid, and talks tactics for sourcing stock from The British Bridal Exhibition in Harrogate

The radio alarm clock interrupted my cosy sleep at 5am. My full time Sales Assistant Lauren and I had a flight to catch to Madrid. We were off on our first international buying trip and had been invited to the launch of the 2008 San Patrick collection. Despite the early start I was looking forward to a little sunshine, tapas in Plaza Mayor, a few vinos and, of course, the fabulous catwalk shows. Lauren was due to arrive at my house at 6am for a timely and civilised departure so I had a whole hour to throw together my bags, enjoy a quick shower and grab a coffee. Then, the village church bell struck six. Yes, six! Not `five' as per the luminous `5.00am' on the alarm clock but `six'. Oh dear, or words to that effect. It wasn't 5am at all. It was 6am and foolishly I had forgotten to put the clocks forward! The door bell rang, I froze - it was Lauren. Leaping up and whilst disturbing my husband with several expletives I raced downstairs, tripped over the dog and answered the door in my nightdress ­ not the best attire for such an occasion. And if the scary welcome at our front door wasn't enough for poor Lauren, after frantically packing, I then drove at excessive speeds to Gatwick in order to catch our flight. Despite being tired from a morning of frenzied travel, the buying trip was a great success... Under the glare of blinding spot lights we sat poised and watched as six stunning Spanish models paraded 100 of the latest bridal gowns. The dresses were exquisite. I loved so many but like other retailers I am restricted by space and budget. I suspect that with regards to buying I probably labour more than most. As a relatively young business I take the subject seriously, perhaps too seriously. Annoyingly for many of my suppliers I have the same approach when I visit BBEH. Armed with pads, pens, cameras and post it notes, I relentlessly jot away, coding design lists with a series of ticks and crosses whilst asking myself a myriad of questions ... Will the design appeal to my brides? Will it repeat? Is it a wearable/flattering/ fashionable/alterable dress? What's the margin? Does it fill a gap? Do `I' really like it?... Oh God the list is endless. If I consider Pareto's rule; 80% of my sales will result from 20% of my stock so the reality is that all of that jotting and analysing is probably wasted effort. Maybe I should shift focus onto what I simply `love' and enjoy the buying process a little more? Despite the over analysis, my buying confidence has grown. I'm still relatively strict about sample spend and it seems to have stood me in good stead. Much to the annoyance of my suppliers I avoid making buying decisions until after a show. It is tempting to get carried away and it was certainly a temptation the first time I visited Harrogate where I met business owners who start with a budget and then spend twice the amount on day one! It's easily done and I too am like a girl in a sweetie store. I get really excited about new styles, colours and fabric options and whilst I don't have a fashion PhD, I know what I like and I know what my brides like. They are probably the most important buying factors that I should consider. Comically I have brought one or two dresses that have been such a disaster they've been relegated to a cupboard. A lightweight v-neck a-line dress (great shape) which featured the occasional and randomly stitched coloured tulle bow (bad detail). Before cupboard relegation I used it with customers to break the ice as a `what not to wear' example. Brides laughed out loud and their mums often said that there would be a bride out there somewhere that would love it. Well, she's not in Essex and I am still looking. Like many retailers occasionally I find the subject of `minimums' frustrating. On the other hand I understand why designers require a good representative of styles in-store. Stock rotation can be demanding - it's another business challenge and I suppose it keeps me on my business toes. BBEH is round the corner and, as usual, I'll be looking for fresh new styles and accessories for our collection. I hope to find time to pop into my favourite boutique and visit Betty's for afternoon tea. I expect the start of the trip to be more civilised than the Madrid adventure ­ I know that the clocks aren't scheduled to change and after discussing the embarrassing door greeting situation with Lauren (who politely described me as `unrecognisable') I have brought a new nightdress! A

BBEH

Further information Abigail Neill runs Abigail's Collction, based in Colchester, Essex. Tel: +44 (0)1206 574 575 www.abigailscollection.co.uk

ATTIRE 59

ALL THE ANSWERS

Expert advice from Jane Watson and Beth Scott Adding a new supplier Opportunities for expansion

Q

I have been running my bridal shop for two years and receive regular calls from agents keen to show me their bridal collections. So far I stock four different designers, and am considering taking on a fifth. As I found my existing suppliers at a bridal trade show, I've never dealt with an agent before and am not sure if this is the best way to source new lines. What is your opinion? Any advice would be gratefully received. Jane Watson says: First I would consider carefully if you really need another supplier, bearing in mind that you need to buy new samples from all your suppliers each season. Having five suppliers each wanting you to order a minimum of 12 to 18 new gowns through the year could be as many as 50 or 75 new samples possibly creating a situation of too many samples and a very big sale rail. My answer to the second part of your question is if you have not seen the collection at the bridal trade show the agent may visit with a presentation of photographs. If this is the situation when the agent visits your showrooms why not ask to see some of the gowns so you can check out the quality. Ask about minimum orders required, delivery and what is expected of you by the supplier. How close are other stockists with this collection? Alternatively, make an appointment to see the complete collection at the trade show.

out the competition and ask yourself why customers will want to purchase their goods from you and not your competitor However, if you have a fantastic sales record, are taking a good wage and making really good profits then go for it.

A

The opportunity has just come up to purchase the retail premises next to my existing shop, which would allow me to diversify my in-store offering. At present I only sell bridal attire and accessories, but I've been considering expanding into formalwear or mother of the bride outfits.What would you recommend? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about the merits/drawbacks of each. Jane Watson says: I would check out my current overheads, plus the new premises, as you may need additional staff. I find that a very high percentage of retailers do not know what their every day running costs are. This is a very important part of planning. When you know what your costs are, multiply the costs to see what weekly sales you need to cover costs of both premises and make profits. For example, are you as the proprietor having a monthly wage? Taking on more responsibility without payment is not a good idea. If there is a demand for a Mother of the Bride collection check out the local competition and try to ensure your collection is different to your competitors. Men's formal wear is normally easy as I understand the suppliers will help with samples for window displays as stock is not always needed. Again, check

Q

I've heard people talking about hackers and site attacks ­ what are the possible risks to my business?

Q A

A

Beth Scott says: There are two principal risks your website faces: hacking and denial of service attacks. The first of these ­ hacking ­ is where someone gains unauthorised access to your site and makes changes. These changes may merely be cosmetic vandalism or they may be for fraudulent purposes. Vandalism is a serious problem in that no business wants someone changing their public face, especially if it involves abusive text or offensive images. Indeed, there is also a knock-on effect whereby potential customers are less likely to trust a site that has obvious security flaws. The more worrying instance of hacking involves unauthorised access to the site in order to compromise the site security ­ this may allow the hacker to access either your business information or your customers'

60 ATTIRE

Beth Scott answers your questions on behalf of Loudn-Clear.com Ltd, a firm that has been making websites for over a decade, specialising in e-commerce sites for independent businesses.

financial details. These details could then be used for fraudulent purchases on other sites etc. As a business, there is not much you can do to protect against hacking but your hosting service should be taking the relevant precautions. In addition, there are services such as "Hackersafe" which, for a monthly fee, check your website on a regular basis, highlighting potential vulnerabilities as they are detected. On an individual level you should take good care not to introduce possible openings into the site yourself ­ further details are in the question below. The other risk is a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack ­ this is where the attacker floods your host with a huge number of users simultaneously to overload the server, thus preventing any other users gaining access to the site. To arrange a large number of simultaneous users normally requires the use of hijacked (usually by a virus) computers. There is little that you can do to prevent such an attack but they tend to be made against high-profile websites, as there is a fair amount of effort and planning necessary. Again, your hosting company should be active in detecting and stopping DDOS attacks. These risks sound (and are) serious, but as long as your website host takes the appropriate care and you take care of your personal data security (see the next answer for some pointers) the risk of your website being hacked into is quite low.

A

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. In response to retailer demand, seven years ago she launched a consultancy firm, `Starting a Bridal Business', to advise new and existing bridal retailers on all aspects of running a successful shop. I'm now aware of the risks posed to my business by hackers and site attacks. But what should I be doing to keep myself safe online?

Q&A Special

Q A

Protect your interests

Beth Scott says: This falls into two areas: firstly, safeguarding your computer and secondly, protecting your personal details. To safeguard your computer, you should be running anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, a firewall and if you have a Windows computer (as most of you will have) it should have the latest patches and security updates. It's probably safest to configure all these things to keep themselves updated automatically. To protect your personal details, set your computer up so that it needs a password to access it, even if it is your personal machine and only used at home. Your house could be burgled and without a password the burglar can easily get into your address book, find your banking details etc. Whenever you've logged into something (be it updating your website, checking orders or online banking), be sure to log out once you've finished what you were doing. It's not a good idea to use the same password for everything and neither is it a good idea to use obvious passwords such as dates of birth and children's names. You also don't want to keep all your passwords on a piece of

paper next to your computer ­ a sticky note may be tempting idea but it allows anyone who can get to your computer to get to your website, bank account and email. Another method of gaining access to details online (eBay, PayPal and online banking have real problems with it) is the "phishing" e-mail. This normally takes the form of an e-mail, apparently from eBay (or PayPal or whoever), informing you of some problem with your account and asking you to log in. If you log in by clicking on the link in the e-mail then you will be logged in - but it will have been via another site that will have captured your username and password. While it is sometimes easy to spot a "phishing" e-mail (poor spelling or grammar are the obvious giveaways),the surest way to avoid getting caught is never to click on the link in an e-mail but to type in the website address yourself. A

If you have a question about any aspect of your business, simply write to Q&A Special, Attire Bridal magazine, Broseley House, Newlands Drive, Witham, Essex CM8 2UL. Alternatively, send your queries to: [email protected]

ATTIRE 61

ATTIRE

Bridal

If you've enjoyed reading Attire Bridal magazine, you'll love our on-line presence at www.attirebridal.com. Containing up-to-the-minute news, events and special offers, the site is updated regularly with information to help you build your business.

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The latest feature on www.attirebridal.com, the supplier directory, allows you to contact advertisers in the magazine for more information about their products and services. Simple to use and available world-wide 24 hours a day, the supplier directory is a reader reply service for the 21st century.

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If you're looking for information on a particular subject regarding your business, take a look at our back issues archive. All back issues will be sent out totally post-free to qualified registered readers.

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Next Issue

Next Issue

The best buys for overseas celebrations

BBEH Autumn Destination Preview

Dresses

It's the big one!

Beautiful Bridesmaids

We report on this steady market

Visual Merchandising

Top tips for styling your store

In-Store Events

Boosting profits made easy

ISSUE 7

ATTIRE

Bridal

September/October 2008 Available from: 22nd August 2008 Advertising deadline: 8th August 2008

Plus

Industry News Expert Advice Retailer Interview

ATTIRE 65

Custom-made career

Nuala Tivnan's many talents are endless. Not only is she owner and director of Nuala's Bespoke Gowns in Braintree, Essex, but she is also the designer, pattern cutter, dressmaker, tailor, body mapping and colour consultant and quality controller for the business. "My skills go way back to my Great Grandmother," Nuala explains. "I learned to crochet, knit, embroider and sew. My Mum got me a job sewing when I was 16 and from there I progressed to make my own wedding gown, as well as many for family and friends." "I worked for Daniel Poole as a supervisor and both Nicole Farhi and French Connection as a quality controller. I also worked for a rave gear company and a bridal shop for almost eight years!" Inspired by her husband to open her own store, Nuala wisely began by purchasing and designing her website in October 2006, then opened her store in February 2008. "My dream had become reality!," she remembers. We found out more... How did you decide on the location of your store? I had moved to Braintree from London and seen the shop in August 2006, but I put it to the back of my mind, as I was busy with other commitments. My daughter, Kelly-Marie, then came home with a brochure for that same shop, which was now empty and I decided it was destiny! I loved the size and layout of the shop and the location was perfect. There was a need for my skills in the town and I could fulfil my life-long ambition to design and make dress for weddings and special occasions. Opening the store also gave me the opportunity to work with my daughter, as she makes tiaras, fascinators and does all the embellishments on the dresses. I have recently taught her all my skills and she now helps to make the dresses too, she's a gem! Tell us a little about the style of gowns that you design and produce... They are unique, bespoke gowns designed and made to the highest standard possible. Each style is entirely different. Where do you source materials? I have many contacts and friends in the fabric

Nuala Tivnan opened her self-named bespoke bridal and occasion gown shop earlier this year. She has been inundated with orders since, so we spoke to her about her business and the somewhat unconventional design roles she had previously held...

and haberdashery industry, both in England and abroad, so I source my materials from there. How have customers responded to your bridal collection? So far, I've seen many a happy face, made their dreams come true, and received recommendations as a result. I've also had the pleasure of meeting some really fantastic people. How do you promote your business? I attend local wedding fairs, advertise in local papers and magazines as well as using everything from the Internet, to friends of friends to the Yellow Pages and the local church to promote my business. Are you hoping to stay as the sole trader for your gowns, or will you be sourcing stockists? I make all my own gowns, so at the moment I'm not sourcing stockists, but you never know, if someone approaches me, maybe! Who designed your website? My website, www.nualas.co.uk, was designed by a friend, Jon, from UK Biker. It was completely different from his normal designs, as he works with

motorbike sites regularly, but he enjoyed building it and said it was a challenge! I love it! If you could design a gown for someone in the public eye, who would it be and why? I would love to have designed a gown for Princess Diana, her elegance and grace would have carried off my dress to perfection. Sadly she is no longer with us. In complete contrast, I would also like to design for Pamela Anderson, because she's all woman and my husband thinks she is sexy! He would love to teach her how to ride a motorbike. For once he'd be lost for words! What do you most enjoy about your role? Meeting people, sharing their experience on their special day and making them look and feel beautiful and happy. I simply enjoy the whole process, from the design, to choosing the fabrics, to the final stage. The most satisfying part is to see a customer's face at the final fitting in their gown. It makes me tingle when I see their excitement and delight. A

Further information

For more information on Nuala's Bespoke Gowns, call +44 (0)1376 560 730 or visit www.nualas.co.uk

66 ATTIRE

Gown:TIA

Hollywood Dreams

Enquiries: 0208 801 9797 E-mail: [email protected]

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