We’re back with Rachel’s brilliant series on opening her own business. Last month she shared some of the lows of running a business, and talked about how tough it can be, so this month it’s great to feel the genuine excitement bursting through from Rachel’s writing when talking about launching a new part of her business. Plus, a post can never have too many pictures of gorgeous dresses, surely?
September has been a very exciting month for the boutique as we have just launched a range of brand new dresses designed and made by the ridiculously talented Helen Rhiannon.
Helen and I first met a fair few months before the boutique opened in 2012. When I told a friend of mine, Jojo, that I wanted to open up my own boutique specialising in dresses that were vintage and handmade by a Welsh designer, she squealed and said that I had to meet Helen Rhiannon as a matter of urgency. I did a little research into Helen’s designs and knew she was the one for me! I got in touch and Helen was away traveling the world but we arranged to meet up once she was back.
We met in a little cafe in Penarth, we sat outside, with the sun shining and our sunglasses on. I remember within the first two minutes we ‘clicked’. Before Helen showed me her portfolio I explained how important the morals of the boutique are for me – and why I will strive to support the local talent right here in Wales. It was fabulous to see that Helen was equally as ‘eco/ green/ sustainable’ conscious as myself. We also completely agreed that brides are not been given the opportunity to represent who they are, and that brides are often encouraged to ‘be’ a certain thing. Helen and I also questioned why brides don’t ask ‘Where is my dress coming from?’ and ‘Why is there a 10 month wait for some dresses?.’ It baffled us both – if you are spending that much money on one item, wouldn’t you get a little annoyed that your name is just added to a long production line of dresses made abroad?! All of Helen’s dresses are made by her, in her little studio at the bottom of the garden in Swansea. Perfect. And as she showed me her portfolio the future started to become clear.
Neither Helen or I are size 8 and 6ft 2, and we appreciate the curves that ladies are given! Helen’s designs are all about showing off a female figure without ‘flaunting’ certain items, if you know what I mean… Helen refuses to use corsets in her dresses – we both want brides to be comfortable all day and her dresses are all made perfectly to each bride’s measurements.
We don’t mass manufacture – each dress made for a Helen Rhiannon bride is different to the next – and we give the brides the opportunity to change or adapt certain elements to make sure the dress is perfect for them.
We strive to do something a bit ‘different’ in our photo shoots – because the brides that we have are ‘different’, in the sense that they have a clear vision of their wedding and want to be loyal to that. Therefore it is Helen’s and my responsibility to represent those ladies clearly.
We’re a strong team and we work so well together. We have a vision of where we want to be in the future and together we will achieve it.
And so, onto the dresses! The new range features six new dresses, each one designed by Helen with input from me. AOWers, I’d like to introduce you to my gorgeous ladies!
Mair – a 1950s dress which can be worn with petticoats and sashes galore. I love the bow lace with daisy chain detail. Gorgeous! Perfect for a fun loving Bride.
Sasha – made from a heavy, rich ivory lace with floral detail under the bust, Sasha shows off a female figure beautifully – not to mention that Helen Rhiannon has brought ‘sexy back’ with this new dress! Wowzers!
Louise – perfect for a soft / boho inspired wedding, again showing off the back through delicate lace and a small puddle train – perfect to mooch around the countryside in (with a glass of fizz in hand obvs!).
Betsy – inspired by the vintage vibe, her drop waist and eye catching back lends herself to be the ultimate glam or the perfect ‘shabby chic’. Every angle you look at this dress you see something new.
Ida – we both love sleeves, and being able to show off a female figure without ‘exposing things’ (if you know what I mean). In the words of Coco – she is classy and fabulous.
Lorelie – inspired from the 1940s Hollywood glamour era Lorelie is a dress which will definitely impress, made in a gorgeous rich ivory lace with a wow factor chiffon train and finished with a black bow (which is optional) but we love it!
I hope you like the new designs as much as we do and would absolutely love to hear what you think in the comments section. And for more pics of the dresses and the rest of the Autumn / Winter 2013 collection including Welsh designer Claire Hill’s new handmade headpiece collection that compliments Helen’s dresses perfectly, please do have a peek at my website or pop in to the boutique – the kettle is always on!
Simon Gough Photography: www.simongoughphotography.com
Sweet Peony Floral Design: www.sweetpeonyfloral.co.uk
Hair and make up by Pzazz Wales: www.pzazzwales.com