31 Aug My Diary: Victoria, Director of Victoria Elaine Bridal
Bridal Boutique Director: a day in the life.
A few months ago, I volunteered to write a piece for an industry magazine, Bridal Buyer. They requested I write what a day in my life was like. It was published alongside articles by designers, sales representatives and other areas of the bridal industry, This is a tweaked version of what was published.
A day in the life of a bridal boutique owner: Victoria Elaine Bridal
Victoria Walton is the sole director of Victoria Elaine Bridal. With 10 years’ experience working as an art teacher and experience working in several bridal shops, she opened her own bridal boutique, Victoria Elaine Bridal, back in October last year.
The start of my day:
I am most definitely a morning person. I do not have much choice as my dogs, Ted and Paddington wake me up before the alarm each morning as they want their breakfast and a walk. My alarm is set for 7am, however, I tend to get woken up at 6:30am and spend 30 minutes toying with the idea of getting up or tricking my dogs to think I am still asleep.
The first thing I do each morning is check social media. We stock an American label, Hayley Paige and there will be something posted late at night (UK time) that I can share to keep our followers interested in the brand. Then it is time to get ready and take the dogs for a walk- this is usually a 30-minute walk around Maidstone which really wakes me up and gives me time to prepare for the day ahead.
My breakfast is fairly dull- cereal, yoghurt and I always make sure I have a pint of water before work as when we are busy, we sometimes do not think to get a drink in between appointments.
My typical morning:
I leave for work just before 9am and arrive for 9:15 am. I am lucky enough to live within walking distance of the shop so I have another 15 minutes of walking to clear my head and plan for the day ahead. This makes such a difference to the 25-minute drive to work I used to have and it really makes a difference to my mood and stress levels.
During the week, I always have at least one member of the team with me, so if we don’t have an appointment first thing, they will do a spot of cleaning in the showroom while I respond to the bridal enquiries and e-mails that have come in overnight.
Once that is done, we are usually welcoming a bride for an appointment. Our appointments are 90 minutes and my bridal stylists will take the lead on them, with me overseeing and supporting. This set up was started when we opened as I was needed in the showroom for any customer enquiries that came through the door.
We are now moving to a position where the team possess as much product knowledge as I do so I will be able to do more appointments as we get busier over the summer and I can’t wait.
My typical afternoon:
For my lunch break, I tend to go for a wander around town, pop in a few shops and have a browse. I think it is so important for me as a shop owner to keep up with all fashion trends, not just those that impact bridal. We also use pop culture to inspire our social media so inspiration from my findings on my breaks is used for this too.
Afternoons, particularly on a Saturday, are my favourite time. We always have fully booked morning appointments and we also get walk-in brides who try their luck with us from 2pm onwards. I love this as it is an unexpected surprise when they do find their gown in our boutique.
Our boutique closes at 5:30pm each day, apart from Thursday which is 7:30pm. A lot of people in the industry have commented that this is quite late, but we find that because we are in the town centre, we get brides popping in for a quick look after work and book an appointment based on what they have seen, so it works for us.
My afternoon usually ends with either a trip to the gym or a visit to the amazing bar in our arcade who will always have a glass of prosecco or rosé poured as soon as I say hello! This is usually my Saturday ritual as I like to celebrate the boutique growing week on week. Just the one though as I have to walk back home.
My typical Evening:
A typical evening is back out walking the dogs and then sitting down to dinner. I have recently rediscovered my passion for art and being creative, so I will often be working on a project or piece of artwork.
I have one of those beds with the TV that comes out the end of it, so I can be guilty of going up to bed early and putting a film on. This is almost inevitable if I have been standing in heels all day! I’ll usually fall asleep around 11pm.
I am a really heavy sleeper, and I have really vivid dreams every night. I watched an episode of Hayley Paige’s, ‘Just Got Paiged’ where I really related to her saying she can design a gown in her dreams. Often, I dream about bridal gowns, new collections or I come up with ideas for how we style our windows (something I go all out on). Other times, my dreams can be completely random but often include the people that mean the most to me. I have some real adventures in my sleep!
The best part of my day….
Other than the afternoons with walk-in brides, my favourite part of the day is my evenings as I am always doing something. I wouldn’t change a thing since opening the boutique. This article would have read vey differently if written when I was teaching, it is a much happier time now.
Victoria Elaine Bridal has always been my dream goal to achieve. I always knew I would work in bridal from a young age. I used to force my friend to come into Berketex brides in Bluewater as a teenager and just stare at the dresses.
We are a newly opened, luxury boutique who stock a range of designers and bridal accessories. We push the bridal experience to be something from the movies as this is what today’s bride has come to expect. It seems to be working so far.
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