“I just cannot wait to see the results of all the hard work we have been doing for the past year behind the scene, I’m so excited to see what our boutiques achieve and just know they are going to be flooded with brides to be!!” Maria Ryan, Owner of GAIA Bridal on what she’s most excited about with the re-opening of bridal boutiques
GAIA Bridal (previously known as Catherine Parry) breathes an aisle-worthy, glittering elegance with its unique array of timeless bridal gowns. Conceived back in 2013 when multi award-winning bridal boutique owners, Maria and Simon Ryan made the decision to craft and curate their first very own bridal line, GAIA is now stocked in almost 50 retailers across the UK and Ireland. With an innate understanding of what brides want, you’ll instantly become enchanted with GAIA’s divine collection of gowns, each as beautifully crafted as the one before it. With the exciting news that bridal boutiques open from tomorrow, I caught up with the designer herself (digitally, of course) to get the lowdown on her lockdown 3.0…
#1 We’ve just come out of Lockdown 3.0 – how do you feel?
“I am so excited! I just can’t wait for everything to open back up and to get our industry moving again! Despite being closed for most of the last year we have has such an amazing 12 months bringing GAIA Bridal in front of so many new brides and they are chomping at the bit to get into the boutiques and try our dresses on!”
#2 Talk to us about your usual daily routine for your business and how this changed in lockdown…
“Usual for us is drop the kids off at school and head straight to our studio to meet the team, there is always so much going on with designing and manufacturing, customer orders and all the work that comes with that. I really struggled at first in lockdown with not having that contact with our team – we are all very close and really bounce off each other, but we adapted and found lots of new ways to work and make sure we continued to grow our brand. I’ll be honest – I’m sick of Teams and Zooms and ready to see some humans!!”
#3 How did lockdown impact your business, and how can people (brides/the wedding industry) support you now?
“As a wedding dress designer and manufacturer we were hit hard, as was everyone else in the industry – but we found ways to pivot and spent a lot of time working on some amazing new products to build our business and get it ready for reopening. I would say to brides, go buy the dress, research your boutique and the brands that you would like to support, there are lots of small design houses like GAIA here in the UK packing a real punch and competing every day with huge global competitors. I think the one thing that the pandemic has resulted in is people being more conscious of where there dresses come from and who is benefiting from the sale.”
#4 Name three small businesses on Instagram you support or would like to support more…
No.1 “All of our retailers.
No.2 @india.grace1 – she is a young woman who has taken the bull by the horns and created a gorgeous accessories label.
No.3 @knotyouraveragebride – I love everything she does!”
#5 What snack got your through lockdown?
“Chocolate Snack-a-jacks with peanut butter!”
#6 What was your most recommended lockdown pick-me-up?
“I started running, which I loved! But if that fails – chocolate Snack-a-jacks with peanut butter!”
#7 What are you most especially excited about now that bridal boutiques and your stockists are opening?
“I just cannot wait to see the results of all the hard work we have been doing for the past year behind the scene, I’m so excited to see what our boutiques achieve and just know they are going to be flooded with brides to be!!”
#8 Name a dinner/meal or beverage choice you feel might bring someone joy to their lockdown life (while restaurants are still shut)…
“A gorgeous Thai meal and some champagne!”
#9 Talk us through what’s new at your brand…
“We have shifted our production in-house, which gives us total control over our manufacturing process, this has always been so important to me. We’ve got our gorgeous re-brand GAIA Bridal which we launched just before the first lockdown and are really excited to show more people what we have been up to!”
#10 What was your lockdown outfit most days? Has it changed now?
“Yoga pants and oversized sweaters….. I’m thinking about jeans – but not quite there yet!”
#11 What series have you now completed on Netflix/Amazon Prime etc.? Any recommendations?
“Oh, I’ve just finished The Bold Type, I loved it and I’m now ready to move to NY and become an Editor at a fashion mag.”
#12 The person(s) you will hug first when social distancing is no longer in place?
#13 An act of kindness towards you that you really appreciated during lockdown?
“One of our boutiques sent me the most gorgeous bouquet that I was also able to dry 😊.”
#14 For a little Instagram-escapism and positivity, what account would you recommend?
#15 Name three things the lockdown has made you grateful for:
No.1 “My Family, it’s been wonderful being able to spend so much time with them
No.2 My home, how lucky we’ve have been to have a safe and warm home with a lovely garden.
No.3 My retailers and the support they have given us during lockdown, we really have all worked together to get through this past year.”
#16 Which restaurant will you dine at first once restrictions are lifted again?
“A gorgeous Indian fusion restaurant at the Celtic Manor Resort.”
#17 What would be your five film recommendations to watch during lockdown…
“Lord of the Rings Trilogy
#18 What book would be top of your lockdown book list?
#19 Name an odd purchase you made during lockdown…
“Lots of new shoes – even though I couldn’t go anywhere! Lots of the big designers had great sales and I guess my feet will always be this size!”
#20 Name a brand you would love to collaborate with…
#21 What’s your advice to lockdown brides?
“I think it’s so important that brides always do what feels right for them, if that means getting married with limited numbers then do that, if it means waiting until you can have the wedding you want, then wait – it’s your day. Do what is right for you and your partner.”
#22 Your favourite beverage?
“I am 100% a tea pot.”
#23 Name your favourite magazine to curl up with.