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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Abigail Neill

Bridal shop owner, bridal columnist and mother, we welcome our first ever Wonder Woman from within the bridal industry: Abigail Neill

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Abigail Neill Wonder Woman Wednesday
Abigail Neill Wonder Woman Wednesday

We’re thrilled to announce that Abigail Neill is our Wonder Woman this Wednesday this week. To read about our very first Wonder Woman, Karren Brady, click here. In 2005, Abi launched Abigail’s Collection & The Groom’s Room with her husband, Rob. With hard work and customer service at the utmost importance, the pair have built their multi award winning business in Colchester, Essex. Alongside running a successful business, Abi is a columnist for Confetti magazine and Bridal Buyer, as well as being a mother to six year old Arabella. We sat down with Abi to find out about her business background, her shift to the bridal industry, what her average day looks like and her secrets to success.

Tell me more about your background. How did you get into bridal?

I was mainly employed in technical sales or marketing, and spent time working within the surgical, construction and automotive industries. It wasn’t at all sexy but I learnt about business, marketing and sales management which I have no doubt has helped in the formation of our own company.

You’ve won many bridal awards. What are your secrets to success?

Generally speaking I’m a bit of a business fanatic. Our ethos has always been that ‘customers are the heartbeat of our business’ and that belief shapes what we do and how we do it. It seeps into how we connect with our brides and grooms and the services that we offer. I strongly believe that mind set is everything. Targets and goals are fundamental in order to achieve growth and to drive business forward.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

It might sound predictable, but it has to be building our growing business and a sound reputation within the bridal industry.

How does an employee catch your attention, or impress you?

Consistent passion, positive energy, enthusiasm and total customer dedication! That, and a coffee with one sweetener.

What does your typical working day look like?

Busy - I’m based at the shop on average 3 days a week so there’s a lot to squeeze in!

An average day at the shop might include: team meeting, a floor walk, sales and social media planning, a meeting with our own business growth consultant, assessment of the previous day’s sales reports and activity analysis, saying hello to brides and grooms in appointments in order to stay connected.

After doing the Mummy school run, it’s dinner, managing homework and bedtime for our six year old daughter Arabella, and then it’s very often back to work on the laptop for a few more hours.

During days working from home I’m often column writing for Bridal Buyer/Confetti, working on emails or phone calls with businesses I coach or I’m busy planning a new business collaboration for marketing or charity purposes. Whether I’m at the shop or at home it’s often go go go!

5 Interesting Facts About Abi:

  • I started our business from three bedrooms within my Aunt’s house on a £25k loan with no prior experience of the industry other than having purchased a wedding dress.
  • In the 12 years we have been trading we have proudly won 26 business awards including 6 UK titles, 11 TWIA trophies, and 3 Bridal Buyer honours.
  • In one sales job I was obliged to sell sutures to surgeons during the course of surgical operations and remarkably saw a man have a pear removed from his posterior!
  • At 24 I met my husband Rob getting into a taxi on the way to a nightclub. Just three months later I moved to Hong Kong to live with him! We’ll be renewing our vows in February 2020 which will be 15 years to the day that we married.
  • I’ve swum with dolphins, sailed alongside whales, scuba’d with sharks and walked with lions but my wildest animal encounter was seeing a black panther running free in the Essex countryside!

Abi’s achievements within our industry have inspired us here at Bridal Buyer, and we hope they’ve done the same to you. If you know an inspiring woman within the bridal business that you’d like us to feature, email me at sophie.braybrook@oceanmedia.co.uk.

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