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There are new things happening at JJW Designs and Mia Elizabeth Designs and so we dropped in and chatted to Julie and Maria and got an insight into how you go about getting an outfit made for a wedding, and the changes that are coming about in the business. Because of the size of the article, we have provided subheadings to pick out the themes coming out. We hope you will it as interesting and insightful as we did!
A Unique Experience, a Comfortable Environment
Rochford Life: It’s good to see you again Maria. I see we did an article with you just a year ago as you started up here. Tell us how you are progressing and your aims today.
Maria: Well what we’re really all about is creating a unique experience for each client. They are not just buying a product; they are buying a complete intimate service, which is mostly for mother of the bride or mother of the groom, but also for brides and bridesmaids.
Talking with Maria & Julie White
“So you’d like an Outfit for the Wedding?” (Jan 16th 2013)
Maria works on a toile (see below)
RL: What’s the proportion of each that you do?
Maria: Well at the moment we are in the process of creating outfits for about thirty clients, of whom about six are brides and the rest mothers and bridesmaids, so about 20% for brides.
RL: You used the word intimate just now?
Maria: Well yes, because I am measuring them for this big day, and obviously they have to partly undress to be measured, and obviously they have to be comfortable in our company and comfortable in the space, so we have worked a lot on creating the right space here in the shop.
RL: Yes, it’s very nice now.
Julie: Yes, we’re really pleased with it, for we quickly realised that the front space we originally created wasn’t big enough because often mother of the bride brings a daughter along or a sister and recently we had an appointment where there were five bridesmaids. So you need the space to be able to work comfortably.
RL: I can understand that.
Maria: Yes, because obviously we want to give every client the same high quality service where can properly go about the process of creating a made-to-measure outfit.
Starting the Process Off
RL: When people come in, is their first question about price?
Maria: For some it is, but if people have had things made before they don’t tend to ask until the first consultation when we are already asking what they want. People who haven’t had it done or who are getting bridesmaids’ dresses made are more likely to ask at the outset. At that stage we never ever give them a definite price because of the fabric or complexity of design. There is no commitment until the price is approved by the client though. We may be able to say, a dress like this is likely to cost a certain amount, but then we go into the consultation and decide sort of fabrics, and I will do a selection of designs for their second appointment whereby each design has an exact price, and they are still not committed at this point.
RL: You mentioned fabrics. What are we talking about?
Maria: If it’s a wedding dress, normally it would be either silk, which is the premium price because obviously it costs a lot, or otherwise it will be a poly-mix or man-made fabric which isn’t so expensive.
Julie: Some people have the idea that because it’s their wedding or daughter’s wedding they want silk because you don’t have it normally, so they want something very special, but others don’t really know the difference and so aren’t bothered.
RL: Forgive my ignorance, but seeing the silk, it looks more crinkle than the manmade materials ones?
Maria: That’s the silk look, that’s just how it is, a slightly creased look.
Maria & Julie check out a silk display dress