Time sure does fly when you’re having fun and what fun we’ve had. We opened the boutique in September 2013 (Friday 13th to be exact, I like to think ‘unlucky for some…others’) and my feet haven’t touched the ground.
Taking over the premises of a previously established boutique has certainly stood us in good stead, but we still wanted to put our own stamp on the place and lead with a strong brand that will be instantly recognisable to brides.
The summer saw us working on our logo, ethos, website, redecorating and styling the shop, culminating in the most exciting of them all – our first delivery of dresses. Even though we’d been working hard on ‘The Secret Dress House’ since the spring (and it had been a dream of mine for much longer), the dresses arriving was when it all became VERY real to me and the butterflies took over. They didn’t really go away then for a good few weeks – the excellent quality and styles of the dresses spoke for themselves but there’s always that nagging unreasonable thought where you think ‘would people like the dresses I had chosen?’ ‘Would people understand the name?’ ‘Would they like the vibe of the shop and be relaxed and have fun during their appointment?’! You can imagine the confidence wobbles, but looking back now I needn’t have worried.
Of course, after receiving the full collection it was obvious that the amazing dresses spoke for themselves. We’ve picked fantastic designers that offer a little bit of everything – sparkle, lace, volume, silk, column – you name it, we’ve got it.
It’s also nice to hear that brides really like the shop, we wanted that feeling of wonder like when you find a ‘secret garden’ so it’s great to hear the ooohhs and ahhhhs as soon as they walk through the door. I have the lovely Alison from Union & Co (http://www.unionweddings.co.uk/) to thank for that, we worked together on the shop styling and thanks to her amazing flair it is second to none.
So it’s needless to say that since September we’ve been rushed off our feet and 2014 is already looking like it is going to be amazing. We’ve got designer days booked to take us up to April and keep your eyes peeled for details on our late night openings and master classes in the coming weeks. I’ve loved every minute of it.
I shouldn’t end though without say this though, without our wonderful family and my fantabulous husband I wouldn’t be sitting here now ready for my next appointments. To you I owe everything, THANK YOU.
By Speical Guest Blogger - Stephen Harvey
I'm writing this in St Helier's hospital whilst I wait for Kelly (Chief of The Secret Dress House and also my household) who is having a small non life threatening (but thoroughly unpleasent) procedure to make her better, having been poorly for a few weeks.
Kelly has been through the mill recently so what better oppportunity am I going to have to write a little guest update than whilst she is unconcious and is unable to stop me?! Haha - mad with power !! This could be much more fun than my normal daily comute to Canary Wharf.
So what I really want to say is, Kelly you've done great. There are probably a million and one safer investments than a bridal shop but this has been so much fun. You have done a smashing job into turning a fantasy into a fully functioning business in little under four months. Even better you did it to budget and to such a high calibre, your personality is all over it. I love you and am so proud that you made the terrifying decision to go for it.
Whilst I'm dishing out the lashings of love we also have to say a huge thank you to Team Amante - espectially to Liz and Margaret who have brought over 20 years of experiance to the team and made sure that we have hit the ground running. Without their know how we wouldn't have known where to start, they are both amazing and we are so happy to have them involved.
Anyway Kelly will probably be waking up anytime soon so I'll get back in my box before she finds out. Eek I may get in trouble for this, I havent even used smell check!
I don't believe anyone who says daydreaming is a bad thing. Since the search for my own wedding dress began in the summer of 2010, I've dreamt of running my own bridal boutique and making everyone who graces our doorway feel simply fabulous and that's that. Who knew that looking for that perfect outfit could be such a minefield? Lace, tulle, bling, A-Line, fishtail, slim fit - I was baffled and ended up trying on practically hundreds of dresses before settling on my final dress. Not being the slimmest girl in the world, I struggled to find samples that would fit me and while I fantasised about having a fishtail lace number it seemed the dress had a different idea - I looked horrendous. My bubble was burst and then I didn't know where to begin. It took a couple more months for me to find 'the one' (I really began to think it was a myth) but I did eventually feel fabulous on my wedding day and I really want everyone else to feel the same.
Our 'big day' was on 22nd September 2012 and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of wedding planning but soon settled back in to my career in PR on my return to work. It wouldn't stop me daydreaming though - what I would do if I ran a shop, collections that I'd stock, how it would feel, how I'd look after the bridal party - but isn't that daydream something we all do, whether it's a tea shop, garden centre or other?
Lo and behold the opportunity arose in May 2013 and we took the bull by the proverbial horns. No sooner than having the offer on the property accepted we were off to designers to buy our collections and had already drawn up a plan of the store. It's a been a long road since May 2013 (most of it with me covered in dust) but we're finally there and we can't wait to open the doors of 'The Secret Dress House' in September 2013. Check our Facebook page for our story so far and I'll be sharing my journey with you on here. Watch this space.