This month’s My Bridal Story we interview the boutique who is passionate about diversity in representation, The Bridal Dressing Rooms in West Portsmouth.
Name of store: The Bridal Dressing Rooms
Store owners names: Nicola Willshire
Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire
Number of years trading: 4
Brands stocked: Kenneth Winston, Bowen Dryden, Willowby by Watters, Wilderly Bride, Evie Young
Average price point: £1200
Number of staff (including yourself): 1
Since I was a child, I have always wanted my own business. I fell in love with weddings and the industry when I got married ten years ago. I initially started out making wedding bouquets for brides. However, as much as I loved creating new designs, making the same bouquet over and over just wasn’t for me. I then came across a small company who had designed their own collection of wedding dresses and they were selling a package which included training. I opened a private studio in an office block, opened evenings and weekends and the rest is history.
The Bridal Dressing Rooms is a relaxed and modern bridal boutique, dressing brides from head to toe. We are a size inclusive shop that values empowerment and diversity. We love to think outside of the box, and we love to push the boundaries with the selection of dresses we offer. We believe that there should be no rules when planning a wedding nor when choosing the perfect dress.
Our ideal bride is a modern bride looking for a shop that they can feel relaxed in. A bride that is looking for a dress that is unique and reflects who they are. A bride that wants to shop in a boutique that values diversity and inclusivity.
When a bride says yes to their dress at The Bridal Dressing Rooms, we celebrate them by welcoming them into our TBDR family.
The best part of my job is getting to witness that look when a bride puts on a dress, sees themselves in the mirror, they know they look beautiful, and it is the one.
My favourite memories in the industry are opening our original shop in our small, converted office and then when we moved to our high street location. Fingers crossed we will be adding to this when we rebrand later this year.
I am proud of how we promote diversity and create our own content to do this. Showing brides images that reflect themselves is one of our core values. We loved doing this with our ‘We Are Beautiful’ campaign where we had some amazing people model for us. The last year has stalled our creative shoots but we are super excited to get back to it.
Take the time to plan. There is a lot of competition in the wedding industry and it is important that you find your niche and communicate it to brides.