I have found over the past 5 years that customers like to know who they are
dealing with. With so many internet scams happening right on our doorsteps
every single day, I feel its important for brides to know who we are, why we
do what we do, and how we came to be trusted by brides, customers, venues
and suppliers alike.
I am asked frequently, how things worked out, so we decided to add a personal
page to the website - so you know the faces behind the names, and the names
behind the brand...
I (Sophie) got engaged in 2010 at just 20 years old. I had dreamt of my wedding my
whole life and knew I wanted it to be spectacular. I knew the flowers I wanted, the
decorations, and of course – the dress. Living in Hereford meant that there wasn’t much
on offer - decoration wise - on the wedding circuit, so we needed to go further afield.
We trawled the internet for ideas and the closest supplier and found the nearest big
event décor company was in Cardiff – around 70 miles from Hereford.
We made a trip to see them and I explained everything I wanted and gave them the budget. After only about 10 minutes I knew this company wasn’t for me. It was run by a man who didn’t seem to know what he was doing and didn’t have half the things I wanted for my special day.
My mother, and now business partner, Jacqui, was with me – we walked out with a brochure and price list, feeling very deflated – looked at each other and said “we can do that – and we can do it SO much better”.
We spent the car journey home discussing what we would call our imaginary company, that was going to help so many Brides achieve their dream.
Around 2 weeks later – In September 2010 - Divas was born.
I had a dream to stock and sell dresses – so with the help of my father, we decked out the back room of my house, my dining room, in to a dressing room and office (It was around 3m by 3m big!!!) and found a dress maker to make me my first batch of bridal dresses and 4 bridesmaid dresses as the large companies wouldn’t take a chance on a small town, 20 year old, who worked from her dining room, stocking their dresses. (Understandable really!!!)
I had a friend who dabbled in web design that built me a basic website and I also created a facebook page for us. I soon began to market us as the new Wedding Company in Hereford. Time went on and enquiries started to come in. At this point I was also working full time as a Teaching assistant, and also doing an Open University Degree in Primary Teaching. So – things continued and we sold one bridal gown. Just one. In about 4 months.
I remember feeling gutted that it wasn’t working – but have never let that get in the way before – so plodded on and changed tack. My mum – who could see I was struggling – decided to come on board and help me. We then moved forward as a team, dropped bridal and changed to Bridesmaid and Prom and started to market ourselves in a different way. I phoned Eternity Bridal – who we had met at a trade show a few weeks before and their rep, Giles – came to see us along with the most incredible set of Prom Dresses. Eternity took a chance on us – one which we will never forget – and allowed us to stock “Tiffany Prom” as it was then known.
In around 4 weeks we had sold 10/11 prom dresses and needed to move to a bigger premises (as my dining room was just too small!!!)
Mum had a large basement in her house and since there was no way we could afford a “proper” shop – we moved everything to there and began trading as Dresses for Divas – and hoped for the best. We sold prom dresses to 23 girls in our first year – all of which I remember – including most of their names!!!
We found as the months went on we were being asked more and more, for chair covers and centrepieces as we had already discovered there was nowhere in Hereford to provide them. We registered Diva Weddings and Events Ltd. in January 2011 and we had our first booking a week later.
Diva Events grew at an outstanding rate and we had 36 bookings in our first year (2011).
Still not being able to afford a shop, or any real advertising we rented a room at Holmer Park and had regular Pop-Up Shop days. This cost us an absolute fortune, took hours of prep and work (mostly the lifting and carrying that my dad did!!) but was the first steps into getting our name known.
2012 and 2013 both companies continued to grow and we took the plunge into our first showroom in September 2013. This was a huge step, a very daunting jump and a big risk. 2013 also saw the birth of the smallest Diva - who most defintely lives up to her "Baby Diva" name - and at 20 months old - is already helping fit chair covers....:)
2014 will have seen us decorate and help over 200 brides and their weddings and we have also moved into our brand new showroom – with private dress boutique and hire item area. We also introduced a new strand to the business - Diva Wedding Fayres - and have so far run 2 successful fayres and have 6 (possibly 8!) booked for 2015.
The feedback we receive from each and every one of our brides and now exhibitors at fayres – is why we continue to work tirelessly at what we do.
So for now – that’s it – but who knows what the future holds….