We have something a bit different to share with your lovely eyes this morning. Cool, chic and modern bridal boutique, The Wild Heart, are celebrating their first birthday since launching in 2015 and have shared a very honest account of their first year in business with us. They address the struggles they have faced with balancing home life with work, the tribulations of working in a very competitive industry, and the set backs they had to try and push an idea into a reality. Most importantly, they talk about how much they have grown and learnt in their first year. The direction for their bridal boutique is now clear and the designers they stock are testimony to that with the likes of Karen Willis Holmes, Charlotte Balbier, Katya Katya Shehurina and Hayley Paige Bridesmaids.
If you are still searching for your wedding dress or bridesmaid dress then this is a post you should most definitely read. Not only do Alex and Nicole, the lovely ladies behind Wild Heart Bridal, share the amazing new designers they are now proud to showcase, they also share their passion to create a bridal boutique that stands out from a crowd and their desire to help you find that one very special dress.
Over to Alex and Nicole….
Our first year and beyond….
With October just around the corner it’s hard to believe The Wild Heart has almost been open for a year. In someways it feels like we’ve always been here, juggling school runs and childcare with running a busy bridal boutique is just a way of life now. It’s not always easy but so far we’ve managed to make things work between ourselves without too much stress and can look back over the past year proud of how far we’ve come. But in other ways we still feel very new. Brides are discovering us all the time both through our advertising and online promotion and also by walking past our (slightly hidden) little shop on Rochester High Street. And so now as our first birthday approaches we wanted to look back on what we’ve learnt and how far we’ve come in a year since “The Wild Heart’ was just a doodled logo on a scrap of paper and two women with an idea for a shop that just might be pretty great…
Back in March 2015 we had an idea of the kind of wedding dress styles we loved and brands that were doing new things in the industry but absolutely no idea how to bring them to our boutique, which still had no fixed address or anything to make it ‘real’. With only words explaining who we were and who The Wild Heart would potentially, we didn’t get a lot back. We met with designers and were surprised at how welcoming and ready to hear our basic ideas they were, having both had experience in the sometimes cold fashion industry, this wasn’t the kind of reception we were expecting and we were both pleasantly surprised. After a successful day of pouring over beautiful gowns and positive discussions with Karen Willis Holmes, Charlotte Balbier and Katya Katya Shehurina, we felt confident we had provisionally secured 3 amazing brands that would all work well in our boutique. Each very different and each offering something unique for our Wild Heart brides and, at the time, not available anywhere else in Kent. This was something that was very important to us in the early days, a USP of sorts, and we held onto this when searching for our final brand. After a lot of discussions we decided Elizabeth Dye would complete our quartet of designers, offering fresh and modern gowns, perfect for the destination brides we hoped to attract.
The brides we tend to attract now are looking for something a step away from the norm. And we love that.
With our premises secured we were finally ready to pick our collections which wasn’t as tough a task as we predicted. We both adopt a similar frame of mind when picking dresses. We think about the kind of bride who would wear the dress, the venue, the location in the world, the body shape and also – more simply – we buy what we love. These tactics have mostly served us well but looking back over the past year we can now see that the dresses that haven’t done as well are the ones we don’t LOVE. Maybe it’s simply a case that when originally choosing these dresses we strayed away from our vision as a boutique? We have tried to stretch ourselves too far in some cases and appeal to too many brides when really we need to stick to what we know. You can’t please everyone and that saying is very true when you set out to create a bridal brand that is moving away from the traditional image of a ‘Bride’. Yes traditional bridal gowns do still exist, they are beautiful, well made and suit many brides and weddings but the brides we tend to attract now, as opposed to a year ago, are looking for something a step away from the norm. And we love that.
A Collection for Wild Brides….
We are constantly reassessing our collection, adding new pieces and things we think our Wild Brides will love. Since our second buying season we have added Charlotte Balbier Separates, Hayley Paige Bridesmaids, Florence Shoes, Joma Jewellery and Katie Loxton for cute gifts and our latest announcement, which we couldn’t be more excited about, is that we are the newest stockist of the Blush by Hayley Paige collection. We have been looking for a fifth brand for some time and Hayley Paige seemed to work on many levels. A young new York based designer creating a mixed collection of princess bridal gowns with sass to Soft lace and chiffon flowing backless boho gowns. Hayley Paige is a really big deal in the US and her popularity is growing in the UK with brides who are looking for a feminine modern bridal look.
One of the main things we have learnt this year is to be more confident in ourselves. Our confidence has grown with each bride that has found her dress with us, it’s a reassurance that we have picked dresses that brides will love and with the support of our designers we have taken risks and invested more in new and exciting products.
One of the main things we have learnt this year is to be more confident in ourselves, we set out a year ago with an idea of how we hoped things would go and a lot of determination to make it happen but it’s pretty scary opening up a new boutique in an industry that you’ve not really explored before. Our confidence has grown with each bride that has found her dress with us, it’s a reassurance that we have picked dresses that brides will love and with the support of our designers we have taken risks and invested more in new and exciting products. We are confident to ask our designers to make changes to certain gowns to make them exclusive. We listen to what our brides want and have started creating our own range of veils and accessories. With our brides in mind we are constantly evolving our brand. We don’t want to get static and we want to keep offering the best experience to our brides. If we continue to pick great dresses that fit in here at Wild Heart, and also offer everyone who walks through our doors an experience they won’t forget, then things can only get better! One year down and we’re learning every day and it’s so exciting that the designers we love are now approaching us, understanding our vision and the type of boutique we are building.
10% Off At Wild Heart Bridal….
To celebrate our first birthday we will be offering 10% off all gowns, shoes and accessories from 4th -8th October and we will have the La Poesie Trunk Show with us this week. Other exciting dates for your diary are 8th – 29th November for the amazing Marquise Bridal Trunk Show and in the new year the Blush by Hayley Paige trunk show will be here on the 28th and 29th January. These dates are definitely not to be missed! We have limited availability so please call now to secure your appointment.
Big thank you to Nicole and Alex for sharing this great account of their first year in business. Here’s to many more years growing your beautiful bridal boutique!
Big Wedding Dress Love,