This is the first of a series of ‘Spotlight on’ posts – which will feature a selection of our fabulous stockists! Today we’re featuring the wonderful Vow Bridal Gallery, near Peterborough, which opened at the beginning of September! We asked Lisa and Dave all about their business:
Tell us a little bit about yourselves, and Vow Bridal Gallery:
“We’re Lisa Smith and Dave Gallagher of Vow Bridal Gallery. The Gallery is just four weeks old, but our business is longer in the making! We have left the ‘corporate world’ and set up our business together. I (Lisa) wanted to get back to doing something creative! After doing a Performing Arts Degree I transferred my presentation skills to the environmental industry where I spent the next 17 years. I reached that classic time in my life when I wanted to do something different. Being in the bridal industry means I can realise my dreams of having a creatively displayed boutique (which we call the Gallery), as well as helping brides to select the perfect outfit for their wedding. We work hard to create a ‘total look’ for our brides and the overall style is something which really interests me. It has also given me the chance to work alongside my partner Dave as we also have formal menswear for hire.
Our Gallery is situated in the courtyard of the picturesque Haycock Hotel in Wansford near Peterborough. We knew we wanted a certain look and feel and so we held out for the right surroundings in which to locate our new business. We want the whole visit to us to be an experience and so our surroundings were really important. The Gallery is set on two floors within a listed stone building. Some trailing ivy sets off the outside, and the character filled interior makes for a great canvas for displaying our gowns and accessories.
It was really important to me to sell something a bit different. I spent a lot of time researching potential designers and I am pleased to say I found 3 who I am proud to be a stockist for! They are Natalie Gladman of Madeline Isaac-James, Sanyukta Shrestha and Annabel Jenkins.
I decided upon them obviously for their designs but also for their values as individuals. It was important for me to build a relationship with them. This isn’t about a faceless production line – it’s about aligning my skills in selling the gowns which these designers have spent so much time and effort creating. The gowns which make up the Vow Collection are a real mix of styles – traditional fairytale, vintage, 18th Century inspired, glitzy, sleek, simple, elegant, versatile, & quirky. There is something in there to suit all sorts of personality and style of wedding. As I said before we want people to come to the Vow Bridal Gallery and have an experience. It’s important for me to listen and understand what a bride-to-be wants for her big day and then I can help her find exactly what will suit her. We stock a range of accessories so that we can go for that all important ‘total look’. We have veils, tiaras, statement millinery, hair accessories, jewellery, stoles, jackets, boleros, silk bags, parasols & umbrellas.
We also have an extensive range of formal menswear to hire. This is situated on the ground floor of the gallery and has a bachelor pad vibe to help the men feel that finding the right suit isn’t a chore! We have an extensive range of Morning Suits and Edwardian Frock Coats as well as Lounge and Dinner Suits. To accentuate all our suits and to help match wedding colour schemes we have numerous stylish waistcoats, cravats, ties and handkerchiefs. And finally, to complete the look there are Top Hats and Canes! We started the business out of a passion to offer something a bit different and make people feel special so we hope this comes across when they visit us.
What inspires you, and what people and brands do you like?
At Vow we like to think of ourselves as being a very elegant, chic, classy, cool, creative, yet approachable and engaging place to find your perfect wedding attire! Here are some other brands that we like and why:
Creative display – We love it when shops come up with a different way of displaying their goods. Some recent examples include All Saints (a real industrial twist), Replay (especially the unique foliage filled shop front in the Milan store), & the Leeds Harvey Nichols store are always coming up with unusual window displays throughout the seasons.
Quality – For quality styling you can’t beat Aquascutum. In fact Dave often wears his Aquascutum suit in the gallery and Giovanni who does our gown alterations learned his trade there!
Technical but stylish – Oakley sunglasses have a high standard of technical performance which is never comprised however they are always at the forefront of style and trend.
What do you love most about what you do?
Meeting people, finding out about them and their wedding– seeking out the right look for them – their body shape, their personality, their vision for how they want to look and feel on the day. We also enjoy seeing the positive reaction of friends & family when either the bride or groom-to-be gets dressed up! We also love displaying our gowns and suits in creative ways to ensure they are shown off to their full advantage – they are in our eyes works of art which is why we call our boutique the ‘Vow Bridal Gallery’!”
What advice would you give brides to be when choosing ‘the’ dress?
Be open to different ideas and try different styles on – you might be surprised at what actually really suits you! Listen to others but be true to yourself. Visualise how you want to appear on the day and how you want to feel.
Finally, if you could have your picture taken with someone special who that would be and why?
For me (Lisa) it still has to be Robbie Williams! Especially dressed in his new Farrell menswear collection! Or perhaps I could dress him in one of our Vow suits!
For me (Dave) it’s Bryan Ferry. I’m showing my age here, I have been a fan since I was young, but he still looks cool & very suave.
Huge thanks to Lisa and Dave for their time and for sharing their thoughts about their business and what inspires them. You can meet them at the Essential Weddings Show at Burghley House near Stamford on Sunday 6 November, where not only can see their range of wedding gowns, menswear, and accessories, but you will also see a selection of gowns showcased in the catwalk shows! It promises to be a great day so don’t miss it! Image credits: (c) Bob Laughton. http://www.boblaughton.com/
You can visit Vow Bridal at The Haycock Hotel, Wansford, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE8 6JA. Telephone: 01780 781101 Website: www.vowbridal.co.uk or follow Vow Bridal on Facebook. Read a review of their Launch here: http://www.madelineisaacjames.com/2011/09/champagne-launch-for-vow-bridal-gallery-nr-petersborough/