Sassi Holford | Taking The Plunge 

Sassi Holford

Missie Graves who took me in as gutsy twenty-year-old designer. We worked together for twenty years, fifteen of those were whilst she ran the Harrod’s bridal department. Her trust and belief played a huge part in getting me to where I am today, so much so that I named my daughter after her.” Sassi Holford on a person who has inspired her and her business 

For some, that ‘taking the plunge’ moment isn’t a conscious one, it’s something they stumble upon – fall into – by accident it seems (but really, I think it was their calling all along). One of those people is the British bridal couture, ready-to-wear and occasion wear designer, Sassi Holford. Celebrated throughout the industry for her beautiful craftsmanship, Sassi Holford is a designer determined to deliver timeless creations that her clients will covet for many seasons – and years – to come. I managed to catch up with Sassi 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: Sassi Holford

Business: Sassi Holford 

Date You Took The Plunge: 1981

Image credits: Photography by Simon Powell | Makeup by Sophie Moore 

Sassi Holford

#1 In a nutshell, describe your business/brand – what do you offer?

“Renowned for her phenomenal cut and fit, and for her instinctive understanding of the female form, each Sassi Holford bridal design is crafted with the discerning, modern woman in mind. Sassi’s ambition is to encourage women to embrace their individuality and to project their natural personality on their wedding day.” 

#2 What’s your career background? Has it always been in the wedding industry?

“I wasn’t planning a career in the wedding industry, it all happened organically. I started my label after I left school, and the rest is history.”

#3 What planted the seed of your business idea? Did it strike you suddenly?

“I fell into it in 1981 when a school friend was getting married but had no budget for her dress, so I said I would design and make it for her even though I hadn’t undertaken anything like that before. I certainly wasn’t expecting to pursue dressmaking professionally, but her wedding produced two commissions and the journey began.”

Sassi Holford

#4 Describe the moment you decided to TAKE THE PLUNGE (what did this involve? Handing in your notice?)
“I didn’t have a ‘take the plunge’ moment as such because everything happened accidentally but once it started it didn’t stop.”

Sassi Holford

#5 Describe how the first day of building your own business felt:
“Unplanned! My wildest dreams couldn’t have planned this journey.”

#6 The highs – what have they been so far?
“Making a wedding dress for a royal wedding is an achievement but making a bride feel her most beautiful and confident is the high.”

#7 The lows – how did you move past them? What did you learn?
“I didn’t know if I was going to lose a lifetime’s work during the COVID pandemic. There was no way to forward plan and I felt a huge responsibility for my whole team. During that time, you weren’t given a choice you had to deal with it.”

#8 If you could tell yourself three things when you first started the business – what would they be?
No.1 “Build a good team.”
No.2 “If you want to expand you can’t do everything yourself.”
No.3 “Be kind.”

Sassi Holford

#9 Your tips for those dreaded lying-awake-at-3am times? (Counting sheep? Glass of water? Get up? Meditate? Read?)
“Yoga breathing and repeat ‘let it go’.”

#10 Your top organisational tip?
“Employee the right people!”

Sassi Holford

#11 Who inspired you? Or inspires you in business?
“Personally, it is my good friend, and long-standing neighbour, Dr Joanne Watson. Jo, System Medical Director at Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, is without doubt one of the most intelligent and inspirational women I know.”

#12 An app/piece of tech you now couldn’t live without for your business:
“Zero accounts software.”

Sassi Holford

#13 Your first ever job was…
“I’ve only ever had Saturday jobs when I was at school on market stools, restaurants and retail stores.”

#14 Your top social media tip?
“Stay true to your brand.”

#15 The brand you’d love to collaborate with and why…
“I’d love to collaborate with a shoe designer but there are so many talented designers, it’s hard to choose one.”

Sassi Holford

#16 Name a business/person- that’s helped/inspired you with your business?
“Missie Graves who took me in as gutsy twenty-year-old designer. We worked together for twenty years, fifteen of those were whilst she ran the Harrod’s bridal department. Her trust and belief played a huge part in getting me to where I am today, so much so that I named my daughter after her.”

#17 Your fav social media tool: (Pinterest? Instagram? LinkTree? Etc.)
“Instagram.”

#18 Your advice to those looking to TAKE THE PLUNGE:
“You’ve got to be prepared to lean in.”

RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS | SASSI HOLFORD 

#1 Most inspirational book you’ve read:

Aesop’s Fables when I was at school.” 

#2 You’re in Starbucks, what do you order?

“I don’t drink coffee. They make terrible tea too.”

#3 Instagram feed crush:

@Iamrenanpacheco” 

#4 Your worst job was…

“I haven’t had one, I always tried to make the best of it.”

#5 If you didn’t do what you do…what would you do?

“Foster.” 

#6 Work day pick-me-up:
“Lunch! How does anybody work when they’re hungry?!” 

Discover more about Sassi Holford’s beautiful wedding dresses and while you’re there check out their Instagram

Catch up with all the latest Taking The Plunge entries on Bridal Editor.   

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