“We researched like crazy and then eventually after a night over dinner (and a few glasses of wine), we decided to take the plunge and launch our own brand.” Co-founders Fran and Katie, Rewritten Bridesmaids
They’ve been championing rewriting the rules since 2016 with a haul of beautifully designed, made-to-wear-again bridesmaid dresses and a sustainable approach. It is, of course: Rewritten Bridesmaids. Co-founded by friends Katie Arnott and Frances Cookson, Rewritten has been brought to life by a duo who took the plunge and dove deep into the depths of the bridesmaids industry, breaking the surface with a seriously stylish bridesmaid brand in tow. But, how did they do it? From first jobs to social media tips and making notes at night when they couldn’t sleep, Bridal Editor caught up with the brand to get the lowdown on how they took the plunge…
Name: Ella Yeoman
Business: Rewritten Bridesmaids
Date you took the plunge: Co-founders Fran and Katie took the plunge in November 2016
#1 In a nutshell, describe your business/brand – what do you offer?
“Rewritten is a bridesmaids dress brand, offering dresses which are designed to be worn again and again. With a collection of signature dress and jumpsuit styles available in our unique colours across sizes 8-26, we have changed the way women shop for bridesmaids dresses. Championing a mix and match attitude and inclusivity that can all be shipped internationally, what more could you want?! We also have our sustainable bridal edit which is made in London all from recycled materials.”
#2 What’s your career background? Has it always been in the wedding industry?
“Fran and Katie met when they both worked together at UK fine jewellery brand, Astley Clarke. Frances’ background is in design and luxury communications – having gained a first class honours degree in Fashion Design from Edinburgh College of Art (Edinburgh University), Frances went on to work in-house with brands such as Prada and NET-A-PORTER. Frances is the creative of the pair, whilst Katie’s business knowledge, retail experience, determination and work ethic pushes the brand to its full potential.”
#3 What planted the seed of your business idea? Did it strike you suddenly?
“We had our ‘lightbulb’ moment at the beginning of 2016 when Katie was planning her wedding and couldn’t find contemporary, stylish, affordable bridesmaids dresses for her adult bridesmaids to wear. Everything was old-fashioned, expensive and wasn’t available to buy online – only in stuffy boutiques with a 10-12 week delivery on dresses. We asked our friends that were getting married whether they were struggling to find dresses and it transpired that they were. Suddenly we became aware of a gap in the market for cool, well-priced bridesmaids dresses that women would actually want to wear again and again – addressing a big issue within the bridal industry: ‘single use’ fashion. We couldn’t believe that no-one out there was doing this, but they weren’t!”
#4 Describe the moment you decided to TAKE THE PLUNGE (what did this involve? Handing in your notice?)
“We researched like crazy and then eventually after a night over dinner (and a few glasses of wine), we decided to take the plunge and launch our own brand. We handed in our notices at Astley Clarke and with huge support from our boss and Astley Clarke founder, Bec, we were on the road to building Rewritten!”
#5 Describe how the first day of building your own business felt:
“The first day, week and months felt like a whirlwind – were we really doing this?! Most of the time we were deers in the headlights but then after some time of having our feet on the ground, we felt like we were running and things started coming together!”
#6 The highs – what have they been so far?
“The biggest high was hitting our five year anniversary! Realising that five years had gone by and we had built a successful brand which we continue to build bigger and better was just amazing! Also, at this point looking around us to our team of 12 and thinking back to when we were a team of just three for those first four years – to suddenly a team of 12 – was so heartwarming.”
#7 The lows – how did you move past them? What did you learn?
“The pandemic had to be the biggest low to date. Weddings were made illegal and we (as well as everyone else in the wedding industry) felt like you had your brand, business and hopes and dreams just taken away from you. What we learnt is to never give up! We plodded along and kept the brand going to then come out of lockdown and have our biggest year to date!”
#8 If you could tell yourself three things when you first started the business – what would they be?
No.1 “Dont worry! Try not to worry about the things you can’t control.”
No.2 “Trust your gut – if something feels wrong or right in your gut, chances are, you should go with it.”
No.3 “You will always be surrounded by the most amazing support (which we are lucky enough to have been throughout the five years!)”
#9 Your tips for those dreaded lying-awake-at-3am times? (Counting sheep? Glass of water? Get up? Meditate? Read?)
“Have a notebook by the side of your bed – wake up, write down whatever it is on your mind and then focus on something else to go back to sleep. Having written down what was keeping you awake helps with clearing both of our minds and then we can go into the office in the morning and tackle what it was keeping us awake, without losing too much sleep.”
#10 Your top organisational tip?
“The same as making notes in the night (when things are keeping you awake) make notes in the day. Write lists, plan time in your diary, and most importantly, leave time for yourself.”
#11 Who inspired you? Or inspires you in business?
“As women business founders ourselves we are inspired by other women founded businesses. We design for us, for our mates, our sisters and for the modern day bridesmaid. We are inspired by other brands who have taken the plunge and gone and created a brand they have put their whole heart and love into – just like we have.”
#12 An app/piece of tech you now couldn’t live without for your business:
“We hate to be those 21st century people but, this has to be our phones! We definitely aren’t glued to them, but we love having our phones to keep in contact with our friends in the industry, and also to watch how our business is growing on Instagram! We love seeing real weddings featuring our dresses, it’s just such an amazing feeling knowing Rewritten was a part of someone’s big day!”
#13 Your first ever job was…
“Katie worked in a garden centre cafe in Dunstable on £2 an hour and Fran worked in a factory – very glamorous! Ha!”
#14 Your top social media tip?
“Post content people want to see! Posting pictures of models all the time won’t realistically be the content your followers want to see. We found real wedding photos are the best so our customers can see exactly how the dresses could look like on their big day!”
#15 The brand you’d love to collaborate with and why…
“We would love to collaborate more with brands – thinking out of the box. A makeup brand like Glossier would be amazing, creating a new colour which we could then make in our dresses and they could make in a piece of makeup would be epic!”
#16 Name a business/social media account(s) – that have helped/inspired you with your business?
“This is really tricky to pick! We are inspired by so many different brands and brands’ Instagrams every day and love being surrounded by such a creative industry!”
#17 Your fav social media tool: (Pinterest? Instagram? LinkTree? Etc.)
“Hmmm… other than Instagram, we think Pinterest is our favourite. We love creating boards that girls can use to inspire them for their big day. We have boards from our favourite table scapes to top photographers, and of course photos of our dresses being worn by amazing bridesmaids all around the world!”
#18 Your advice to those looking to Take The Plunge:
“Make a plan and just go for it! Being scared/nervous is a good feeling, it means you will put your heart and soul into making it work, so just take the plunge!”
Rapid Fire Questions:
#1 Most inspirational book you’ve read: “You Do You by Sarah Knight.”
#2 You’re in Starbucks, what do you order? “Oat vanilla flat white (we could definitely be more adventurous!)”
#3 Instagram feed crush: “Lick Paint – we recently were all in the process of doing up our houses and are obsessed with interior accounts on Instagram, which surprisingly does inspire us with Rewritten because we love colour – what go well together and mix and matching colours!”
#4 Your worst job was… “It has to be the garden centre cafe haha.”
#5 If you didn’t do what you do…what would you do? “Travel the world!”
#6 Work day pick-me-up: “Sweets! We have a very sweet tooth at Rewritten!”