A day in the life of Alison Parish, owner of bridal boutique Aurora Bride
Alison Parish is the owner of Surrey-based bridal boutique, Aurora Bride. With a love of costumery and dramatic musical ballgowns, Alison set up her bridal boutique 11 years’ ago, which was quite the sidestep from her undergraduate law degree and accountancy masters.
I am definitely a night owl – getting out of bed in the mornings is difficult for me. I usually wake up at around 7:45/ 8AM but actually getting up is a different story. Emails and day planning can all be done from the comfort of my pillows, so sometimes I don’t actually get up until 9AM.
My mornings usually involve me trying to drag myself into the shower early enough to brush my hair and check I don’t look too scary to leave the house during daylight hours. This means I am often late to work. I moved my store eight years ago to a location that is just a six-minute walk from my front door so I should have absolutely no excuse to turn up late nearly every weekday, and yet I find one daily.
Once I get to the boutique, myself and the store manager will start the day by sprucing up the shop. A quick hoover, tidying the changing rooms and a little mirror spritzing, even when not necessary, tends to get my blood going I find.
The first appointments are never booked which gives the team time to catch up, prep and have a read through all the bride’s notes prior to their arrivals.
If everything is running smoothly with the morning appointments-which I hope they are, I am free to do “floating duties”. By that I mean chatting up the entourage, tidying around them, offering them sweets or drinks – generally keeping them feeling spoilt whilst allowing the bride to get to her own conclusions.
I like to make a point to close the store for lunch for 30mins every day. This allows time for general clean up, extra hoovering and we also have time to run to Costa for a quick pick me up!
Afternoons can get busy in the boutique, especially as we are currently short staffed, which means I am usually pulled into fittings with the seamstress or bridal appointments. If we are a little quiet, I like to log into my Google Analytics and take a look to see what’s going on in the digital world.
I can get a little obsessed with following our analytics and I enjoy tweaking little bits and pieces on the website to see if it will improve. It’s getting a little addictive to say the least but it’s a great tool for helping me analyse data and arrange my website and adverts accordingly.
I also like to do a little light admin with my evenings. This includes ordering new gowns and checking the accessories stock. I love my job but trust me I am not the one you want heading towards your dress with a needle and thread, that’s why I spend my afternoons checking the stores stock to ensure we are not showing off gaping holes or dodgy fake tan stains.
My typical evenings consist of me collecting my husband from the train station at around 7PM. The time I spend waiting in the car is spent either checking my emails or on Amazon, wondering what else I can buy for the house or the shop. Linking my Amazon to my credit card might be the end of me!
Once I get home, I will answer any emails that have come in since we closed and then I’ll sit back and watch a box set. I definitely need a lot of time to wind down in the evening but I never feel like I fully have. When someone learns how to completely switch off please share that with me – I would pay you a fortune!
I’m trying to learn the piano – a little late in life but with the help of an app on my iPad I’m learning very slowly. Perhaps this will help me relax in the evenings.
I’m tempted to say it’s when I get time to get on Google Analytics, but I won’t. The best part of my day is probably the 10-minute drive home after picking my husband up from the station. I love this time as we get to share our “what happened at work with you today” stories.
Two working days are never the same for either of us as we are both self-employed. We both work in a luxury retail market and I think you meet some wild, whacky, scary, amazing and some downright crazy people on a daily basis and that’s probably my favourite part.
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If you enjoyed reading about Alison’s day, make sure you read the diary entrance of Justine Sellman, UK Sales Manager for Eddy K.