“House of Boêmia was just a dream until we decided to actually take action on it, and that’s why we’re here. That’s the only difference between owning your own business and dreaming about it. Turn dreams in to goals and take those first steps!” Bethany, Co-owner of House of Boêmia Bridal Boutique
Meet House of Boêmia, the new bridal boutique on the block. Brought to life by creative co-owners Bethany and Lauren, this beautifully unique, wedding dress shop (located in New Alresford, just outside of Winchester) opened its Chapel (yes, we said Chapel) doors early this year, welcoming free-spirited, modern brides to discover their handpicked selection of bohemian wedding dresses. Stocking the likes of Shikoba Bride, Marylise and their very own exclusive collection Boêmia in House (a collection designedin collaboration with the talented Elizabeth Van Stone) the duo are ticking their career dreams off the checklist one by one! I managed to catch up with House of Boêmia co-owner Bethany 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: Bethany & Lauren
Business: House of Boêmia Bridal Boutique
Date you took the plunge: 8th November 2022
All model shots: Wedding Dress Designer – @house.of.boemia | Dress Maker – @elizabethvanstonedressmaker | Photography- @chloecaldwellphotography | Hair & Make-Up- @katies.beautyinfinity | Bridal Accessories- @infinitybridal.accessories | Videography- @joshholgate.weddings | Flowers- @thedriedflowercollection21 | Models- @rebecca_stoneman @itsonlyhayley_x @bethan_hinchliffe
#1 In a nutshell, describe your business/brand – what do you offer?
“House of Boêmia specialises in bohemian styled wedding dresses for free-spirited and adventurous brides located in a boho white chapel. Our dresses are a collection of soft, unstructured silhouettes, dreamy fabrics and non-traditional styles which are all made either right here in the UK or Europe. We offer one-to-one appointments so brides can get the whole chapel to themselves so they are able to fully immerse themselves into the wedding dress adventure. We want to create a personalised experience not just a quick shopping trip and of course the best location to do this in is… a chapel!”
#2 What’s your career background? Has it always been in the wedding industry?
“Both myself and Lauren have worked in the wedding industry before. In fact, that’s how we met. We worked for a bridal boutique as bridal consultants and that’s where the love for the wedding industry began!”
#3 What planted the seed of your business idea? Did it strike you suddenly?
“Lauren and I always talked about setting up our own boutique, any time we saw a shop up for rent we would talk about how amazing it would be and how “one day” we will do it! We have simply been planning to do this for years. But one day Lauren was talking to her mum and she had a “let’s do it” moment and that’s how it began.”
#4 Describe the moment you decided to TAKE THE PLUNGE (what did this involve? Handing in your notice?)
“On the 8th of November 2022 we were stood absolutely amazed by this beautiful renovated white chapel, we fell in love with the building instantly. That’s the day we said YES to the most stunning retail building we had ever seen. We thought the building purpose of a chapel matched the bridal aesthetic we were looking to fill. We want to be more than a shop, we want to be an experience.”
#5 Describe how the first day of building your own business felt:
“The day we found out our business dream was able to become a reality was so surreal, we didn’t believe it and it didn’t feel like it was really happening. It started to become real the day we got the keys for our stunning chapel. That’s when the fun began!”
#6 The highs – what have they been so far?
“Waking up and realising we are not just chasing a dream job anymore but building it for ourselves has felt amazing. A real high so far though was finding our wonderful dressmaker living and working so locally and designing our first ever dress collection – Boêmia in House – with her.”
#7 The lows – how did you move past them? What did you learn?
“We’ve hit a couple of little bumps in the road so far but nothing major (yet!). We’ve both had moments of doubt about things; ourselves, our skills, our choices surrounding the business but one of the best things about a partnership is that you’ve always got each others’ backs. When one of us is struggling, the other is there to point out all the amazing things we’ve done and are still doing and that’s really important. We’re learning about a whole new side of our friendship when working together as business partners and it’s exciting to see it develop!”
#8 If you could tell yourself three things when you first started the business – what would they be?
No.1 “Chapels are cold. Budget for more heaters!! 😂”
No.2 “The more you look at Pinterest the more you want to adapt your decor. Mood boards are the perfect way to plan aesthetics.”
No.3 “Get a mirror professional to drill holes in your “extremely” large mirror. While on this subject, get them to hang it as well!”
#9 Your tips for those dreaded lying-awake-at-3am times? (Counting sheep? Glass of water? Get up? Meditate? Read?)
“I am the absolute worst for this, if I have an exciting idea or plan they always seem to happen when I’m meant to be asleep. I end up being too excited to doze off as my brain is buzzing. This also happens when I’m a bit worried about something but what I found works best for me is, I get up out of bed and quickly write down a list of all the things I need to do based on my worry or idea. This can be the next day or a weekly list but it just helps me put it on paper and so it can leave my mind enough for me to be able to go back to sleep.”
#10 Your top organisational tip?
“Lists! Lauren is always writing lists and checking things off. It’s a great way to make sure you won’t forget anything, and also a wonderful tool to look back on what you’ve achieved that day, week or month. She has a whole section in her phone notes dedicated to lists and dates, and also keeps a paper planner and journal that goes pretty much everywhere with her. Keeping a record of your accomplishments and thoughts is a really inspiring way to keep pushing forward towards your goals.”
#11 Your first ever job was…
“Lauren’s first ever job was a paper round as a young teenager delivering newspapers locally. She got paid £15 for delivering nearly 200 papers and brochures a month.”
#12 Your top social media tip?
“Reels are not as scary as they seem. If you do not want to show your face there are plenty of templates to choose from.”
#13 The brand you’d love to collaborate with and why…
“We actually have collaborated with our dream business owner: Elizabeth Van Stone. We partnered up to create our very own bridal collection. We designed the dresses and went on a fabric hunt to find the most elegant boho fabrics. Elizabeth then turned our visions into a reality and we can not wait to create our very first photoshoot to show off Boêmia in House.”
#14 Name a business/social media account(s) – that have helped/inspired you with your business?
“Has to be @homebytittiamanda showing off so many minimalistic DIYs. They have fully inspired us to keep our chapel so beautifully minimalist while being breathtaking at the same time. Sometimes more decor can become more stressful and overwhelming. That’s why the bohemian free spirited theme is so important to us, as this applies to dresses as well as decor.”
#15 Your fav social media tool: (Pinterest? Instagram? LinkTree? Etc.)
“Instagram is my go to social media platform however blogs are the way to go when you want to increase website traffic.”
#16 Your advice to those looking to TAKE THE PLUNGE:
“Absolutely do it! It seems so daunting when you’re stood on the edge, waiting to dive in to a new business venture. That first leap you make is so exciting and terrifying and taught me a lot about trusting ourselves and our own judgements. House of Boêmia was just a dream until we decided to actually take action on it, and that’s why we’re here. That’s the only difference between owning your own business and dreaming about it. Turn dreams in to goals and take those first steps!
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS | HOUSE OF BOEMIA
#1 Most inspirational book you’ve read:
Bethany: “You’re Crushing It: Positivity for living your REAL life by Lex Croucher, I was literally laughing my whole way through this book!
Lauren: “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero.”
#2 You’re in Starbucks, what do you order?
Bethany: “Any fruity smoothie will do the trick.”
Lauren: “A caramel latte!”
#3 Instagram feed crush:
Bethany: “Mary Benson all the way – @marybensonlondon”
Lauren: “It’s got to be Tika the Iggy – @tikatheiggy”
#4 Your worst job was…
Bethany: “I once worked for an energy company, the people were great but I just had so much to learn and even after being there for a year I still had no clue what I was doing, this definitely played with my anxiety.”
Lauren: “I worked at a small pub as a waitress when I was 18 and the chef seemed to hate me. I’d never done anything wrong but nothing I did was good enough and he’d be so rude for no reason. I’d cry driving home most shifts and only stayed for as long as I did because the regular customers were lovely and the tips were good.”
#5 If you didn’t do what you do…what would you do?
Bethany: “I think if I am being totally honest I would be purchasing second hand wedding dresses and doing them up to create one of a kind master pieces. This was something I thought about doing if I didn’t get the chance to set up a bridal boutique.”
Lauren: “I’d love to have a patch of land to fill with wildflowers and grow our own food. I’d rescue all sorts of animals and let them roam around living luxurious spoiled lives!”
#6 Work day pick-me-up:
Bethany: “A lush bath bomb and bubble bars in the warmest of baths – pure relaxation.”
Lauren: “A Chai Latte and a little yummy treat!”