“For me, the moment I feel I really took the plunge was signing the lease for the retail unit, that felt very real and a huge commitment. There was absolutely no backing out after that!” Natalie, Owner of Your Story Bridal
Throwing open their doors for the first time this summer, new Buckinghamshire-based bridal boutique, Your Story Bridal very recently took the plunge, their feet leaving the diving board after a career based in a multitude of different industries. Stocking the likes of Evie Young, Nicole Milano, Love & Liberty and Watters, not to mention an array of ‘gram-worthy bridal accessories by the beloved Ophelia Hen and White Designs Bridal, in their new Marlow studio they offer up a truly welcoming and unique service for modern brides. After scrolling through their charmingly curated Instagram feed, I stumbled upon one of their earliest posts where they gave the low-down on the meaning behind the name ‘Your Story’. “To us, one of the most important things is realising, and focusing on, our brides unique identity. Appreciating that what will be one girl’s dress of dreams, would not be for another. Everyone’s journey is different, everyone’s story is their own. We are here to embrace that, and celebrate it. We can’t wait to get to know every bride and her gang that walks through our door. To hear your tales, your engagement stories, your fears, your hopes, your wedding plans…so that’s what’s behind the name. Everything about this experience is about you. These are your chapters. This is Your Story.” I managed to catch up with founder of Your Story Bridal Natalie herself, to talk about her business journey and her version of Taking The Plunge, including the highs, the lows, the first jobs, the worst jobs and the tech she can’t live without…
#1 In a nutshell, describe your business/brand – what do you offer?
“A luxurious bridal boutique offering exclusive appointments where brides can expect a personalised service and an unforgettable experience. We are ‘all about the brides’ – going the extra mile for them and ensuring they’re comfortable and happy during their time with us is so important.”
#2 What’s your career background? Has it always been in the wedding industry?
“I did a stint of work experience at Brides Magazine many years ago which initially ignited my interest in the industry. After university my career took a different path and I was more focused on marketing, and eventually account management (with a stint of cabin crew thrown in!). Whilst I was happy (ish!) in account management, I always knew this wasn’t where I wanted to be.”
#3 What planted the seed of your business idea? Did it strike you suddenly?
“I always loved weddings and bridal, and like I said my early experience at Brides Magazine definitely got me thinking. Years later, my own wedding dress shopping experience was very mixed, and it became apparent to me that bridal could be done very well – and then not so well! I’ve always been big on customer service, the relationship building elements of my roles, and my customer facing roles, have always been my favourite part of the job. Whilst I looked at getting into bridal all those years ago when I was looking for my own wedding dress, I don’t think I had the confidence then to consider ‘taking the plunge’. It seemed out of reach, daunting and something that only others could achieve, for me it was definitely more of a dream than a reality. I think as you get older you grow and become more confident, which has enabled me to push myself and see things differently.”
#4 Describe the moment you decided to TAKE THE PLUNGE (what did this involve? Handing in your
“More recently my sister started her dress shopping, and I knew as soon as I stepped inside the first boutique that I just had to start exploring the idea of opening my own bridal boutique again. Initially my sister and I were looking to open up together, but because of personal circumstances she didn’t feel it was the right time for her. So it was down to me! After extensive research, number crunching, and many pep talks from my husband, I decided I could do it – or at least give it my best shot! For me, the moment I feel I really took the plunge was signing the lease for the retail unit, that felt very real and a huge commitment. There was absolutely no backing out after that!”
#5 Describe how the first day of building your own business felt:
“Surreal! I was still working full time at that point, so I was balancing doing my job (and trying to still do this to a high standard!), and building my own business. It was full on, busy and stressful, but I was so excited to see Your Story coming together.”
#6 The highs – what have they been so far?
“When I hosted a launch party for brides and their guests, I was beyond thrilled. My vision of what I wanted for my boutique had become a reality, and I felt extremely proud. And of course, my first bride saying ‘Yes to the dress’ was a moment I won’t forget!”
#7 The lows – how did you move past them? What did you learn?
“I found a couple of retail premises that I thought were perfect, but they fell through. I kept telling myself that everything happens for a reason – I’m such a big believer in that – but it’s hard to hold on to that when you think things aren’t going to plan. It turns out they absolutely were not the right place for me, and the boutique I have now is in the perfect location.”
#8 If you could tell yourself three things when you first started the business – what would they be?
No.1 “Really listen to the positive and encouraging people around you. It’s so easy to drown them out and focus on the negatives, but those positive people will keep you going!”
No.2 “Trust your instinct.”
No.3 “And yes… this will ACTUALLY happen!”
#9 Your tips for those dreaded lying-awake-at-3am times? (Counting sheep? Glass of water? Get
up? Meditate? Read?)
“Whatever is going on in your head, write it down. Keep a notepad and pen, or your phone (although not so healthy!) near your bed, and when you’re lying there feeling overwhelmed, write it all down. It will make you feel like you’re tackling it, and it will feel more manageable. I count some deep breaths as well until I’m feeling calmer and less anxious.”
#10 Your top organisational tip?
“I love a list. I’m not sure there is anything quite as simple yet effective?! I take it to the next level as well, I number each item in order of priority and I tell myself I’m not allowed to skip numbers. This way, I don’t leave all the rubbish jobs to the end of the day or week, and I make sure it all gets done when it needs to be.”
#11 Who inspired you? Or inspires you in business?
“I went to Harrogate in September 2021, and this was my first experience of a trade show, I didn’t know what to expect. I went to a Business Advice Clinic and met with bridal expert Abi Neill, who was incredible, she really took me under her wing. She spent so much time with me, took me to the runway show with her, we even went out for dinner together that evening. She was so positive and encouraging, and her can-do attitude is infectious. I came away from my time with her feeling so much more confident about my new venture, so she definitely inspired me.”
#12 An app/piece of tech you now couldn’t live without for your business:
“Obviously my phone… but I’m also loving Canva for social media posts and stories.”
#13 Your first ever job was…
“Saturday girl at a hairdressers, which I loved!”
#14 Your top social media tip?
“Plan ahead, this way it doesn’t feel like such a beast, or quite so daunting. If you make a plan for your posts for the week ahead, then you only need to think about your stories which are more manageable.”
#15 The brand you’d love to collaborate with and why…
“I haven’t branched out into bridal shoes yet, so I’d like to do that at some point and would love to collaborate with Freya Rose, their designs are just stunning and I think my brides would love them.”
#16 Name a business/social media account(s) – that have helped/inspired you with your business?
#17 Your fav social media tool: (Pinterest? Instagram? LinkTree? Etc.)
“It’s got to be Instagram for me!”
#18 Your advice to those looking to TAKE THE PLUNGE:
“Do your research. Once you’re confident, then as I said before, you need to trust your instinct. No-one is going to do this for you, it’s down to you. Do you want to look back in 30 years and think what if…? Wouldn’t you prefer to be able to say that you gave it a really good go (even if it doesn’t work out?!).”
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS | Your Story Bridal
#1 Most inspirational book you’ve read:
#2 You’re in Starbucks, what do you order?
#3 Instagram feed crush:
“I love looking through @earthpix.”
#4 Your worst job was…
“I don’t think I’ve ever hated any jobs… I didn’t like making desserts when I was a waitress though! Or taking the bins out!”
#5 If you didn’t do what you do…what would you do?
“Cabin crew for Virgin – I loved it!”
#6 Work day pick-me-up:
“Tea and a chocolate chip cookie.”