“I have found that the world has opened up for my brand more now.” Sally Bean Couture on business during lockdown
West London-based couture bridal brand, Sally Bean Couture is celebrated for her made-to-measure wedding dresses and personal one-to-one service. Size inclusive and renowned for their signature inner corsets that sculpt, refine and cinch in your waist, the label is dedicated to making a bride’s dress journey as memorable and special as possible. I caught up with Sally to talk all things lockdown, from the small businesses she’s personally supporting to the new collection she’s crafted in quarantine and the cake she’s trying to avoid eating…
#1 Provide us with three words that sum-up how you were feeling about lockdown when it first started, and then three words about how you feel now:
Before: “OMG WHAT NOW?”
After: “HAPPY, GRATEFUL, MOTIVATED.”
#2 What time do you get up? Has this changed? Is life a little slower? Talk to us about your new daily routine…
“I am an insomniac and have had broken sleep since I was a teenager, so usually I wake around 3.33 – 4.30am and then wake up officially for the day around 7am. I have a two year old daughter, so lie ins are not an option for me! She is a good sleeper though, which is a godsend.
I then juggle the day around caring for her and working. Before lockdown she would be in nursery and I would have dedicated time to work and dedicated time for her. Now work and childcare has become more blended. But as my husband is also working from home we share dedicated time with her, focused on her and then tag team our working slots.
I have found really planning my week ahead helps, achievable time slots for working, and homelife with dedicated projects and themes for the week for my daughter. This way we are super organised and I find I can work hard in the slots I need to and have time to relax and play with my daughter without feeling stressed.
Usually this means that I work properly on my brand and sew dresses in the evenings during lockdown (I am also working her two hour nap time in the day to the max!). The loveliest things during this period of lockdown is the feeling of connecting to family and friends more than ever, reaching out and FaceTiming my grandparents more – they are 83 and celebrating their 65th anniversary soon which I just love.
We are an active family and usually our diaries are full to the brim with flying away on holidays and organising trips away but this time of being at home has really been a beautiful time. We walk to see the wild horses in the field over the canal and we spot the rainbows in windows on our evening walk around the neighbourhood. I feel this time has been a gift for appreciating the small things in life.”
#3 How is lockdown impacting your business, and how can people support you?
“I have found that the world has opened up for my brand more now, I am holding Virtual Wedding Dress appointments from my home and I’m seeing clients from all over the world virtually (which before quarantine I never would have even considered doing). I have spoken to brides-to-be from Singapore, Switzerland and the UK. It’s wonderful and a lovely way to connect and show my dresses and the special way I work to brides-to-be.
A personal one-to-one bespoke service is key to my brand. I have always had a very close relationship with all my brides and now, meeting virtually as well, has added another level of service. I will definitely keep virtual appointments in the future.
I would be so grateful for people to share my services with brides-to-be looking for a couture, originally created, made-to-measure wedding dress. Simply contact me for a virtual wedding dress appointment – it’s lots of fun, informative and lovely – I promise!”
#4 Name three local businesses you are supporting or would like to support more…
No.1 “Ink and Paper – a fabulous Ealing-based letterpress stationery queen!”
No.2 “My local haberdashery shop. They have been closed for the whole of lockdown, but I am saving a list of supplies I need to support them when they reopen.”
No.3 “My local corner shop, deli and micropub – they really need us to shop locally and buy their goods, keep away from the big supermarkets for our health and keep our neighbourhood businesses alive.”
#5 What’s your favourite isolation snack?
“Oh my goodness, my goal next week is to stay away from the snacks! But my favourite has to be a big slice of cake!”
#6 What’s your most recommended quarantine pick-me-up when you’re feeling down?
“It depends on my mood but I love to mix it up. It’s lovely going on a bike ride with my husband and daughter along the towpath to Richmond. Or, if I need to just get out the house I will walk by myself down to the canal again and visit the ponies, take in the bluebells, the swans on their nest and just feel the sun on my face and breath deeply. If I am feeling really anxious I listen to a meditation or two focusing on what my anxiety is about and this really helps.
I want to add here that everyone I know has been through waves of highs and lows during quarantine and it is completely ok not to be ok, reach out, find a meditation, take a walk, send me an email. I completely understand and mental health is so important.”
#7 What’s the item you can now NEVER find in the supermarket ( and consequently dream continuously about )…
“Free Range eggs! But, I don’t dream about them, I dream about chocolate eggs!”
#8 What’s the strangest thing that’s happened during your lockdown period…
“I cut my own hair! Trimmed over 10cm off. I am actually pleased with it!”
#9 Favourite app for keeping in touch digitally with friends and family?
“WhatsApp for friends, family and clients – it has been a godsend.”
#10 Name your lockdown hate:
“Missing my parents, family and friends.”
#11 Name your lockdown love:
“Cosy daughter mummy time.”
#12 The person(s) you will hug first when social distancing is no longer in place?
“Both my parents, one under each arm.”
#13 An act of kindness towards you that you’ve really appreciated?
“My friend dropped cakes off for my birthday on my porch and tried to sneak off unseen but I caught her in the act and we had a lovely 10 minute distanced chat. It was lovely and so were the cakes!”
#14 Talk to us about what’s new at your brand?
“During lockdown I have created a new collection for Sally Bean Couture of the most beautiful, embellished wedding dresses. I am so proud of each dress and I’m working harder than ever, around caring for my daughter, on the new collection. It is full to the brim of feminine details. Each dress has layer upon layer of sheer delicate detail that, from afar, gives an amazing impact and, up close, reveals the true beauty of the bride.
My clients are strong independent women, who have fabulous careers and want a dress that is beautiful and feminine, made perfectly and originally for them with the finest fabrics and details.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to stay at home and work on my collection whilst the key workers have been working so hard to keep our country functioning and all health workers fight to keep us healthy. I have donated masks to the vulnerable and also donated as much as I can afford to several charities during this time.”
#15 Name three things the lockdown has made you grateful for:
No.1 “Mine and my family’s health.”
No.2 “That I have a business that I have been able to work on and love from home.”
No.3 “That I have a home that I feel safe in and a garden for my daughter to play in.”
#16 Which restaurant will you dine at first once restrictions are lifted?
“My local deli, The W7 Emporium, I really miss the lovely community spirit and meeting friends, talking with the owners – it feels like family there.”
#17 What series have you now completed on Netflix? Any recommendations?
“I could recommend so many! But I have loved After Life with Ricky Gervais, that show is hilarious and makes me cry in equal measures.”
#18 What would be your quarantine book list?
“At the moment, my life is full to the brim, with caring for my daughter, housework and my business, so I haven’t read one book since lockdown. But, I am really enjoying logging on to Holly Tucker’s live chats with other businesses about how they are pivoting their businesses during this time, it’s really inspired me to level up my business and find ways I can appeal to a new audience and ways I can bring parts of my business online.”
#19 And, finally, your quarantine cocktail/tipple of choice?
“Today’s drinks were three lattes from our Sage coffee machine (I am so grateful for that luxury) and five cups of tea, followed later by prosecco and orange squash and a fabulous gin and tonic! (I need to drink more water – that can be next weeks resolution along with cutting down on the cake!)…”
Want to discover more about Sally Bean Couture? Click here.
To read more WFH Diary entries from some of your favourite brands and designers, click here.