The founders of Belle Bridal, Jo and Claire, are celebrating a special event in 2019. They have been running their bridal boutique in North London for ten years. Since its inception in 2009, hundreds of brides have entered the Belle Bridal shop and found the perfect dress for their wedding day.
The UK wedding industry is worth £10 billion. With an array of bridal boutiques and wedding dress shops to choose from, Jo and Claire are thrilled that brides continue to visit Belle Bridal for a personal shopping experience.
As they gear up for bridal sample sales in London in 2019, they take a look back on their success over the past decade.
Starting the Wedding Dress Business
Belle Bridal was established in 2009 when both sisters fell pregnant at the same time and took time off for maternity leave. It was during this time that they explored the idea of starting a wedding business. Their mum owns a wedding dress shop, so this sparked their interest in the wedding industry from a young age.
They self-financed the business and operated out of Jo’s North London home — a money-saving option that allowed them to offer a personal service to brides. They began advertising at wedding shows and posting flyers through local doors. It was a slow start, but word soon spread and more and more women were booking appointments.
Specialising in Discount Wedding Dresses in London
Jo and Claire understood that not every bride can afford a designer wedding dress, but many still wanted new, high-quality dresses. With this in mind, they decided to specialise in sample sale wedding dresses. This allows brides to find a perfect designer dress at half the cost. The unique selling point set them apart in the market.
Along with selling sample wedding dresses, Jo and Claire saw a gap in the market for a new dress range — modest wedding dresses. This range, named after their grandmother, Joya, enables brides to find a more modest wedding dress, which can include covering the shoulders and arms. This range has had great success as more brides opt for this elegant style of dress.
Success and Challenges for Belle Bridal
With challenges facing the high street, businesses are struggling as people increasingly turn to online shopping. Last year, bridal chain store Berkatex went into administration, causing many brides to hunt for alternative options.
As well as getting brides through the door, bridal boutiques also need to make sure that appointments are kept. Some bridal boutiques are now charging for appointments to make sure that brides turn up to appointments. However, this has been met with mixed reactions and is not something that Belle Bridal wants to do.
A few high street shops are now offering cheap wedding dresses, causing greater competition for Belle Bridal. But the experience of trying on wedding dresses for a budding bride to be is still an exciting and magical experience.
Jo and Claire consider every bridal consultation a success, as they can help each bride in some way or another for their big day. Even if they haven’t been able to match a bride with their perfect dress, they have been able to advise and impart valuable information that will allow them to make the right choice.
Advice to Other Budding Business Owners
The joy of having their own business has allowed Jo and Claire to watch their families grow and spread a little bit of happiness wherever possible!
Their advice to other entrepreneurs is to be organised and not be afraid to ask for help and support. There is no weakness in asking for advice, and there are so many outlets where business owners can find information.
Jo and Claire are supporting the #WomenInSMEs campaign by SME Loans, a business finance brokerage specialising in alternative funding solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises. The campaign promotes female entrepreneurs and encourages those who want to turn their business ideas into reality.
Above all, they hope to welcome many more brides to bridal sample sales in London in 2019!
Find out why Jo and Claire are great at what they do by booking a free one-hour consultation. Visit the contact us page to schedule your appointment. With a vast selection of sample sale wedding dresses, they can help you to find the perfect dress.