Welcome to our new blog! We’ve been wanting to write a blog for a long time and now seemed like the perfect opportunity while we both had so much extra time on our hands (thanks COVID-19!). This monthly blog will include a wide variety of topics, including lots of additional information about us, wedding inspiration and ideas, real bride and supplier spotlights and so much more. We have lots of great content planned over the next year but if there is anything specific you would like us to feature just let us know!
For our very first blog we thought where better to start than with an interview with owners Sophie and Katie, to give you a good insight into the business and why we love doing what we do:
What made you start the business?
Sophie: I have always loved weddings from a young age, even in school while everyone else was reading gossip magazines I was reading wedding magazines. Since starting working in bridal from the age of 14, I have always dreamed of owning my own bridal shop, but never realised it would actually become possible.
Katie: I have always wanted to run and own my own business but never really knew what I wanted that business to be. In 2017 our lovely Nannie, Audrey Ruby Frances Kember, passed away, and very kindly left us some inheritance. And although I was tempted to spend it on a once in lifetime holiday to Florida and I’m sure Sophie was tempted to spend it on something else too, we decided to combine our knowledge and passions and use the money to start Ruby Frances Bridal. It was one of the best decisions we ever made and we haven’t looked back since!
What is your background in bridal?
Sophie: I started in bridal at the age of 14 after writing a letter to my local bridal shop explaining just how much I loved bridal and how much I wanted to work in it. I was fortunate enough to be given a Saturday job and this is where I learnt so much of my bridal knowledge. I was even lucky enough to have the opportunity to feature as a sales assistant on BBC’s Don’t Tell the Bride whilst at this bridal shop (series 4, episode 4 if you fancy a laugh!). After I finished school and went travelling, I moved to Wales with my boyfriend where I landed myself a full time job in one of Swansea’s premium bridal shops. I worked here for a year, up until I moved back to Kent, and enjoyed every moment and this is where I really learnt the ins and outs of running a successful bridal shop. Then, after a small break from bridal where I worked as accountant, I am so thrilled to be back in the industry I love.
Katie: Ruby Frances Bridal was my first venture into the world of wedding dresses, and I couldn’t love it more. After graduating with a degree in Arts and Business Management my background is in business and events administration. This means I have lots of knowledge on how to run and organise a business, which I use to keep Sophie in check. With Sophie’s bridal background and my organisational skills we think we make a great pair!
What is a typical day in the shop like?
Katie: The morning always starts with a catch up, an overview of the day/week and preparing the shop for customers by making sure everything is tidy, clean and ready to go. Every day in the shop is different but it is always super busy, with Saturday being our busiest. On an average working day we see between 3 – 4 brides, whether they are coming in for the first time to pick a dress, having their alterations done, or collecting their dress for their big day, every moment is special. One of the best things about owning a bridal shop is you never really know what to expect from each day, as we meet such a variety of people and get to hear so many amazing stories. At the end of every day we always finish off with paperwork. You would be surprised how much paperwork and administration is involved with running your own business. It is definitely one of the more boring parts, but essential none the less!
What do you love and what do you hate about the business?
Katie: I absolutely love the moment a bride knows that she’s found the one, there’s nothing more special or emotional and I will never get bored of that moment. Right now, I hate that we’re temporarily closed because of COVID-19, we’re itching to get back and make bride’s wedding dreams come true!
Sophie: I absolutely love talking about weddings 24/7, so getting to chat to our brides all about their wedding plans is always so much fun. In terms of what we hate, it always so sad saying goodbye to our brides when they collect their wedding dress. We spend so much time throughout appointments and fittings with our brides that we get super close to people and it’s like having to say goodbye to a friend.
Which celebrity wedding dress is your favourite of all time?
Katie: I know it’s a lot of people’s favourite but for me nothing will top how amazing Kate Middleton looked on her wedding day. From the lace sleeves to the full skirt, the whole look was perfection for me.
Sophie: My all time favourite wedding dress is Lea Michelle’s (former Glee star) wedding dress. I love how different it is and Monique Lhuilier is one of my favourite wedding dress designers.
What are your best tips for helping brides find their perfect wedding dress?
Sophie: Our number one tip would be to keep an open mind. Brides often come in with a clear idea of what they want and what they have always dreamed of and often when they try on something similar they realise it isn’t what they imagined. This can sometimes be disheartening, however if you keep an open mind and are open to trying lots of different styles and looks this can make the whole experience easier and more enjoyable. My second biggest tip would be to forget about sizing. Normal high street sizes and bridal sizes just aren’t comparable. We recommend shopping 1 or 2 dresses sizes above your normal size, but don’t let this bother you as a well fitted dress will make you feel great no matter what the size. Sizes also differ so much between designers and styles, so there is really no need to pay attention to them. Third and finally don’t forget to enjoy yourself! Wedding dress shopping is such a magical experience it’s so important to not let the pressure of the situation get to you. There’s not many times in your life when an experience is all about you, so soak it all in! We plan on writing a whole blog full of lots more tips and ways to prepare for an appointment so look out for this is the coming months.
We hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as we have enjoyed writing it, and hope you’ll enjoy all the future blogs we will be sharing!
As COVID-19 is currently still ongoing we also wanted to take this opportunity to say our thoughts are with all the amazing key workers working their hardest, lovely brides who have had to deal with wedding postponements and disruptions, and anyone else who may be struggling.
If you are a bride and would to book an appointment for when we reopen you can do so in the following ways: 01843 312324, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by PMing us on Facebook or Instagram.