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We interview Jen Jamieson from local bridal boutique, Ava May Bridal.
Q –Tell us about your company.
Ava May Bridal was set up in 2019, so we are still a very young business! My first job when I was 15 was as a bridal consultant, and I dreamt of owning my own shop since then - not that I ever thought it would happen though! However, fate intervened, and I got the opportunity in July 2019 to buy a run-down shop, so I jumped at the chance. I decided to reinvent the shop with a makeover and name change, and Ava May Bridal was born. The shop is named after my two daughters - Ava and Esme and they love it almost as much as I do. We haven’t had the easiest first 18 months between Brexit and Covid, but we have survived and plan to expand - so I think we’ve done pretty well considering!
Q – What designers do you stock?
We are extremely proud to be one of very few stockists of the official Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Collection. We also stock Sophia Tolli, Blue by Enzoani, Pronovias, Jennifer Wren, Romantica, Pure Bridal and one of my favourites - a very boho-inspired range from Wilderly by Allure. We also have a plus-size range in which is made up of a combination of the designers I’ve mentioned, plus a selection from White Rose Graceful. We aim to cater for every bride regardless of their budget, age, sexuality, race or size! One of our most popular selections is our ‘Intimate I Do’s’ range. This is an off-the-peg range with dresses that are either new, ex-samples or discontinued styles - meaning that they are available to take home that day and have up to an amazing 80 per cent off the RRP.
Q – What can brides expect when they visit your store?
An experience like no other! I’m sure that most bridal shops claim it, but we are genuinely the friendliest, most welcoming environment you could hope to wish for. We will put you at ease as soon as you arrive, offer you a drink and start your consultation with your own, personal consultant who will stay with you for every step of the process. We don’t believe in pushy sales techniques, and we would always rather a bride leave 100 per cent happy than be forced into making a decision they aren’t ready to for. As well as the standard appointments, we also offer a bigger ‘experience’ appointment which involves everything from tailored music to having your hair and make-up done too! These appointments are available upon request, and I have to say are amazing!
Q – How long before their wedding should brides visit your store?
It depends on what you’re after! As I said we do have off-the-peg dresses so you could come the day before if you wanted to - that has happened to me twice now! However, if you want a gown made-to-order the designers request we allow four to six months for delivery plus eight to 12 weeks for alterations. We do however have amazing relationships with our designers, and if they can move things around for us, they will do. We have had brides be able to get the gown of their dreams within 10 days before, so it really does just depend on which dress you fall in love with!
Q – What's your favourite outfit and why?
I am the worst bride to be ever! I literally can’t pick! My wedding was supposed to be in May 2020 but obviously was cancelled due to Covid. Having the pick of all the dresses in the shop though - most of which I’ve chosen myself - is a bit of a nightmare because I love them all! I have one favourite from each designer; Snow White from the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Collection, Titan from Pronovias, Remi from Wilderly, Nevan from Blue by Enzoani, Selby from Romantica and Kennedy from Sophia Tolli - all totally different and all amazing!!!
Q – What's your favourite part of the job?
Probably making a bride feel at ease! I know that sounds daft, but it’s true. We get so many brides come in who have either bad experiences at stuffy, stuck up bridal shops or who just generally feel incredibly nervous - and I love taking that stress away from them. One of my favourite brides, Katrina, came in with her Mom, and she was literally shaking. She was so shy and nervous, and by the end of the appointment, she was like a different person, totally at ease, having the time of her life and practically bouncing off the wall with happiness because we found her the dress of her dreams. They were the nicest people ever, and I had the best time with them - situations like that make me love what I do.
Q – Do you have any top tips for brides looking for the perfect outfit?
My top tip would be to only bring people to your appointment who know you inside and out and want the best for you. I know that sounds weird, but bringing too many people can put a dampener on the experience as every opinion may affect you - even if you think you won’t let it. Every bride deserves to feel like the only bride - and that’s what we are there for - to help you feel like a million dollars! You are more than just a number or a profit line, you are a beautiful woman who deserves to feel every inch of the amazingness that you are!
To find out more about Ava May Bridal, visit www.avamaybridal.com
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