Brilliant customer service is woven into my DNA. I’ve worked in the luxury sector for companies such as Dior and Burberry for 15 years training people to provide the best customer journey possible – so it’s fair to say my expectations of buying designer goods are pretty high.
However, when I was buying my dress back in 2012, it became obvious quite quickly that what I thought I was going to wear and what suited me were two different things. Originally, I wanted Jenny Packham but when I put the dresses on, I looked like a sausage. So, clearly that style didn’t suit me. What I needed then was for the assistant to say, ‘OK fine, that doesn’t work, lets try this.’ But that didn’t happen. I wasn’t even the only bride in the shop. This other girl came out of her dressing room looking amazing and I’m stood next to her feeling like a fat lump. I enjoyed choosing my dress and I still love it (Pronovias, in case you’re interested) – I just felt there were lots of little ways my experience could have been more special.
And that’s why I want Tilly Trotter’s to be known as the shop where you’re going to get the best experience. I want brides to come to us not just because we’ve got nice dresses but also because we’re experts. I’ve got a background in luxury and fashion: I understand the cut of a dress, what’s going to work well with body shapes, what’s going to date.
In the end, it’s about achieving the best look possible – different but not so different it doesn’t feel bridal. We’re not intimidating, we’re not overly fashion – but I can guarantee that with us, you’re going to have loads of fun, get great advice and have a really fulfilling experience.
It’s OK to say yes to the dress! It doesn’t matter if it’s your first appointment. There are no rules so don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise. If you love it, buy it.
Working in bridal is addictive. I started out working in bridal shops in my early 20s and then went into retail for 15 years or so. But only when I started working at Tilly’s did I realise how much I missed it. We work with beautiful things everyday and we make people happy – and when you find your bride the right dress, you just get the most wonderful feeling. It’s incredibly rewarding.
We get to know our brides over quite a long period of time. And while I’ve been married for years now, it’s so lovely to be part of other people’s journey. I particularly love it when women come in and they’re not that confident. I really enjoy bringing them out of their shell, and making them feel welcome and comfortable – and showing them they can feel beautiful in their dress.
Because we have had brides who have been elsewhere and not treated with respect. Some have even been told, ‘I’m sorry, we don’t have anything for you to try on’. Our samples are a UK 12-14 and there are ways we can make a dress work the bride. And I think by taking the time, we can pick out gowns and accessories to create an incredible finish. And we have that experience to know what’s going to look good – and it makes the appointment as it should be: extra-special.
Do your research beforehand and
I was one of Sian’s first brides when she opened Tilly Trotters so when I saw she was looking for staff on Instagram, I thought, ‘That’s the dream!” and was lucky enough to get the job. I love fashion and weddings are just so special – and I just wanted to work in an industry where everyone is in a good mood and excited and looking for the dream dress. What’s not to love?
I got married in 2015 and wore Charlie Brear, which we still stock at Tilly’s. Every time we get a Charlie Brear bride, I’m always so excited to take our brides on that journey starting with the dress and building up to the final look. I love getting to know our brides and hearing about their plans, from how they’re going to have their flowers to recommending make-up artists; there are so many different types of wedding and it’s so special to that person.
I think most girls have a rough idea of what they look good in when they walk in but a wedding dress is so different to what women normally buy so our job is to steer them in other directions too and encourage them to try styles they wouldn’t necessarily think look good.
Especially as some dresses can look more impressive worn than on the rail – so once we start styling it, it creates an outfit that’s really unique. That’s my favourite part. I just love it when we put together an incredible look from what seems at the outset to be quite a modest dress, and the bride says, ‘Yes! This is what I was looking for!’ And I absolutely love it when they cry. In a good way, of course.
Buy the dress you want.
Don’t be swayed by anyone else.