We caught up with Simon Ryan from Catherine Parry to chat about their win
The Bridal Buyer Awards celebrate and honour exceptional achievements within the bridal industry, and Best Supplier Customer Service of the Year is always a big deal, as it honours a supplier that is looking after their stockists and clients and shows they value those relationships.
This year, Welsh bridal brand Catherine Parry were announced as the winners. Husband and wife duo behind the brand, Simon and Maria Ryan, took to the stage to claim the award. We caught up with Simon Ryan after to find out more...
We really hadn’t expected to win the award so when Confetti and Bridal Buyer’s digital editor Zoe opened the envelope and read ‘And the winner is Catherine Parry!’ we were absolutely stunned!
To say that we were up against stiff competition is an understatement – the other labels that had been shortlisted are among the very biggest names in the business – so we had no expectations of winning and we felt very proud just to have reached the finals, and for Catherine Parry to be compared with such established brands as Maggie Sottero and Justin Alexander.
Winning this award means so much to us and it marks a real milestone for the Catherine Parry brand. We have worked tirelessly for the last five years to establish the brand and to build the business. It’s been a huge investment of time and money, whilst at the same time running other businesses that we’ve relied on until recently to give us an income – all whilst raising a young family!
There have been a lot of sacrifices, but in the last 12 months we’ve really seen the label go from strength to strength. So to now receive industry recognition for what we’re doing has been amazing.
Supporting our retailers and providing great customer service has always been something that’s been a real priority for me and Maria. Until last year we had our own boutique and so, as former retailers, we know how much it matters when a supplier delivers a good service and is genuinely interested in helping your business.
A couple of our retailers had suggested that we enter Catherine Parry for the award and the more we thought about it we realised that even just being shortlisted – let alone winning - would be a real endorsement for the brand.
We have a very simple mind-set: without our retailers we simply wouldn’t have a business. We try to make it as easy as possible for our stockists to sell a Catherine Parry gown by giving them as much support as we can. Our retailers also love the fact that we have short lines of communication, by virtue of the fact that we’re a small team.
When one of our retailers calls the office they will be greeted by either Maria or myself, rather than an administrator or customer service agent, and on weekends they know that they can call our mobiles and get an immediate answer to any question that they might have – whether it be about lead times or customisations, for example – rather than waiting until the following Monday, by which time the bride may have bought a gown elsewhere.
When speaking to our retailers we always ask about their business and any challenges that they might be having, and where we can help. As our business grows we’re determined to maintain this approach.
In the weeks preceding the Harrogate show we were uncertain as to how busy it would be, primarily due to the difficult trading conditions that many retailers have been facing over the last year, so it was great to see such high levels of footfall and to see how positive retailers are, with many saying how they have seen sales really begin to bounce back over the last quarter.
We were incredibly busy on the stand and the new collection received an incredible response from retailers. When we did the final tally we were delighted to find that we had smashed our previous record in terms of both sales and the number of new stockists that we welcomed in to the Catherine Parry family.
See the full list of 2018 Bridal Buyer Awards winners here.