“I got great satisfaction when I finally got to hand my notice in. The owner told me I would never succeed, as it was a saturated market….I really hope he has seen my success!” Katie Brewer, Owner and Founder of The Aisle Bridal
With the likes of Made With Love Bridal, Jane Hill, Love Honor, Alena Leena and Hera Couture hanging from their elegant black rails (alongside a selection of achingly cool accessories from designers Blue Meadow and Alabaster Dream) North Yorkshire bridal studio The Aisle Bridal is the perfect pit stop for the fashion-forward bride looking to find her signature style for the aisle. Born from the creative mind of Katie Brewer, The Aisle Bridal is making waves within the wedding industry, and even more so since their recent move to a larger, more spacious home in Skipton’s Craven Court. Boasting an interior that’ll make your jaw drop (whilst simultaneously reaching for your phone to capture it for the gram) and a service which is relaxed, friendly and celebrated far and wide, it was an absolutely pleasure to catch up with Katie herself to talk about her business journey so far 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…
Name: Katie Brewer
Business: The Aisle
Date you took the plunge: Beginning of 2018
Photography by Charlotte Nelson Photography
#1 In a nutshell, describe your business/brand – what do you offer?
“We are a trend-led, fashion-forward bridal studio, offering the best bridal designers from around the world. We reject tradition, we celebrate individuals, and we explore creativity. We are for the dreamers, the free-spirited and the fashion-conscious.”
#2 What’s your career background? Has it always been in the wedding industry?
“I trained as a fashion designer, and worked across the high street for various brands, designing outerwear to pyjamas and everything in between! I always knew I wanted to have my own business, so once I got married myself, I knew the bridal industry was the way to go, I felt it needed a modern shake-up, and knew with my background I could do this!”
#3 What planted the seed of your business idea? Did it strike you suddenly?
“From my own personal experience of bridal shopping, and the desire to open my own business, the idea grew organically for me. I wanted to merge a more trend-led approach to the bridal industry, with laid back appointments, and a fun spacious environment.”
#4 Describe the moment you decided to TAKE THE PLUNGE (what did this involve? Handing in your notice?)
“It was a gradual process really, I remember being on my lunch break, sat in my car ordering dresses in secret as I hadn’t handed my notice in! It was hard keeping a secret from my current employer, but I got great satisfaction when I finally got to hand my notice in. The owner told me I would never succeed, as it was a saturated market….I really hope he has seen my success!”
#5 Describe how the first day of building your own business felt:
“Terrifying, not knowing what was ahead of me…but having no regrets whatsoever!”
#6 The highs – what have they been so far?
“Winning Bridal Buyer Retailer of the Year – this was totally unexpected; never did I think we would win this in the first five years of trading!! Opening the new studio has been a huge high too – I am so proud of what we have achieved, and the space we now have!”
#7 If you could tell yourself three things when you first started the business – what would they be?
No.1 “Don’t stress over things out of your control.”
No.2 “People buy from people, chill and sales come.”
No.3 “With every bad day there’s more good days, it’s fine to take a break, get a fresh head and start again the next day!”
#8 Your tips for those dreaded lying-awake-at-3am times? (Counting sheep? Glass of water? Get up? Meditate? Read?)
“I am quite lucky in that I sleep SOOO well! But if I do find myself awake, I love the Calm App, it chills my brain, and sends me back to sleep!”
#9 Your top organisational tip?
“LISTS!! I live my whole life via a checklist – it’s the only way I stay organised – I have it on my phone so I can always update/add to it.”
#10 Who inspired you? Or inspires you in business?
“SO many people, my Dad runs a business, so I was brought up around business, I knew how hard he worked, the highs, the lows and everything in between. I am also surrounded by an incredible group of friends from school (so over 20 years of friendship) they are all so inspiring, successful, and everyone has had their own amazing journey. We are each other’s cheerleaders and support, there to laugh and cry with through everything.”
#11 An app/piece of tech you now couldn’t live without for your business:
“My iPhone! My whole life is on there!”
#12 Your first ever job was…
“I worked for years as a Saturday assistant in a local shoe shop! I absolutely loved it, meeting customers, styling, and the buzz of a busy Saturday – I always knew I wanted to get back into retail!”
#13 Your top social media tip?
“Post regularly, but make sure it is worth while. People LOVE to see our faces on Instagram, they know who they are then meeting, so we like to regularly post photos of ourselves too.”
#14 Name a business/social media account(s) – that have helped/inspired you with your business?
“A fellow American bridal studio, Bride KC! Their insta is beautiful, and their reels are fun, laid back and chilled. I met them in NY and literally fan-girled…quite embarrassing really!”
#15 Your fav social media tool: (Pinterest? Instagram? LinkTree? Etc.)
“Insta without a doubt.”
#16 Your advice to those looking to TAKE THE PLUNGE:
“Make sure you do your research, it may look fun and the best job in the world on social media…and it is, HOWEVER I also work SO hard, long hours, weekends, evenings and I never properly switch off. It certainly isn’t easy, but I get so much satisfaction out of it.”
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS | THE AISLE BRIDAL
#1 Most inspirational book you’ve read:
“I am pretty useless with books – but I LOVE The Diary Of A CEO Podcast by Steven Bartlett.”
#2 You’re in Starbucks, what do you order?
“Flat White, extra shot.”
#3 Instagram feed crush:
“@LydiaJaneTomlinson for the outfit inspo!”
#4 Your worst job was…
“Pot washing in a café when I was 14.”
#5 If you didn’t do what you do…what would you do?
“Still be a fashion designer!”
#6 Work day pick-me-up:
“Coffee and music!”