I can't quite believe that I'm actually writing this post - where has the last year gone?! Time is such a precious thing and as each year goes by, technology becomes more addictive and life more hectic. This was one of the main catalysts to me taking the huge leap of quitting my buying job with a leading high street retailer and leaping into the world of bridal and self-employment.
Now not for 1 second was I under any illusion that my new career would be easy in comparison to the high pressures of corporate life. However what I did know for sure was that my commute was being reduced from 2.5 hrs per day to just 30 mins! And like I say, time is precious and having already spent 6 years doing this commute which ultimately led to a wealth of fabulous experiences and career highs, it was time to wave my office world with approx 1000 employees goodbye and embark on something quite the contrary... an independent bridal boutique with a staff of: Me, Myself & I.
In early September after an incredibly successful trip to London to meet the team behind luxury British bridal brand Suzanne Neville, I had found the boutiques latest label. It was instantly apparent that we shared the same brand values of design, quality and customer service.
Then in October, I married my best friend (queue the cheese) - but that is another blog post altogether!
I wanted all of our brides to feel at home in the boutique as I do. This cemented my thoughts that a refurb and rebrand was needed. The White Room was a business carved out with great love and care, but it wasn’t mine. Now reading that back I could come across very selfish… but I wanted to give brides an aspirational yet comfortable and relaxed space to peruse over countless designer gowns.
In December we had one last Christmas drinks reception to bid a fond farewell to The White Room and on the 9th closed the doors and set about our refurb.
With the windows of the boutique shrouded in secrecy, passers by were peering in the open door to find out what was happening to the local bridal shop. Internally hours and hours of hard graft, blood, sweat and tears (quite literally) were beginning to pay off and on the 3rd of January we flung open the doors of Frances Day Bridal.
Our Frances Day Bridal launch party was captured by the ever talented Pear & Bear Photography.
The word was staring to spread and the diary was filling up – Saturdays became booked up and very quickly Teresa shifted from her ad-hoc hours to a permanent contract.
We saw trunk shows for Augusta Jones, Suzanne Neville, Raimon Bundo, Enzoani and even an accessories evening with our gorgeous designer Miss Clemmie in attendance. Alongside this I was also lucky enough to be meeting the cream of the wedding industry crop of the East Midlands. Collaborating on some pretty epic styled photo shoots at venues such as Norwood Park, Hazelgap Barn & Stubton Hall with talents such as Amy Wilkinson, Daniel Hughes, Alison Jenner, Kate Teofilo-Sanchez & Andrew Acford - like I say, EPIC!
Our autumnal styled shoot at Norwood Park, Nottinghamshire. Images by Pear & Bear Photography
The Virgin Money London Marathon saw a huge fundraising effort from all of the Frances Day family. Running those 26.2 miles was the best worst thing ever and am so proud to say that we raised over £2000 for Action for Southern Africa - a charity at the forefront following the anti apartheid movement.
In April we packed our bags and ventured to Spain for the wonderful Barcelona Bridal Week. Here we were thrilled to not only meet up with our long standing designer Raimon Bundo but also sign up another industry leading designer – Jesus Peiro whos gowns will be in store very shortly.
Raimon Bundo highlights from Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week.
May saw another trade show but this time a little closer to home in London. Firstly a trip to the tower of London to view the 2018 Belle Epoque Suzanne Neville collection which we all agreed was jaw draoppingly divine. We were then also swept off our feet by the beauty of the new Jenny Packham collection. Inspired by the circus, the intricate cut work adorned with the most delicate embroideries is really something to be admired. So it left us no choice – welcome to the family Jenny Packham!
The Suzanne Neville 2018 Belle Epoque collection catwalk at The Tower of London.
Collection selection at Jenny Packham HQ in London.
With a year so full of change, growth and learning we have no intention to take our foot off the gas any time soon. We will remain fluid in our approach and in our collections to ensure that our brides continue to be offered the best in designer bridal gowns and luxe experiences.
The trips outside of our 4 walls are so important to me as to immerse ourselves in trend and culture means we are then able to keep Frances Day at the forefront of style and service.
Every bride that comes into our boutique we are so honoured to share such an intimate moment with. I have rewritten that sentence many times now as I don’t want to sound predictable and soppy - that is not the boutique that we are. But put simply – it’s the truth.
So finally I want to send the biggest thank you to all of our brides that have been on this journey with myself, Teresa, Jenny and Frances Day so far. We hope you are enjoying the ride as much as we are and harping back to the opening sentiment of this blog – time is precious! Spend it wisely in gorgeous dresses and beautiful surroundings.
P.s - We got a puppy!