“Just start and don’t be afraid to fail.” Co-owner of & FOR LOVE, Angel Spendlove’s on her advice to those looking to take the plunge
If it’s meticulously crafted, innovative wedding dresses you seek, the achingly effortless designs of & FOR LOVE will cause your pulse to quicken. Debuting heart-stirring silhouettes with an edge, carefully selected fabrics that flow like water and truly iconic gowns (meet Auldyn – see above) – all tied together with a modern elegance that leaves a haze of wonder in its wake – & FOR LOVE is everything the modern bride has dreamed of. Brought to life in 2014 by friends Angel Spendlove and Lisa Blunt, & FOR LOVE has been featured everywhere from British Vogue to The Lane, and continues to cause a stir with its unique approach to bridal. They explain that, “we’re here to tell you that it’s ok to break the rules and that being a ‘bride’ just means a killer outfit that makes you look and feel amazing. We believe in authentic style, effortless cool, and modern femininity”, which I love. And, having come from two very interesting previous careers (Angel was a professional ballerina before going on to get her degree in Environmental Design and Architecture, while Lisa worked at the Canadian magazine, FQ Magazine) I feel these very unique viewpoints and experiences amalgamate to deliver that fierce & FOR LOVE spirit that we know and love. I managed to catch up with co-owner Angel Spendlove herself to talk about their business journey so far and their version of Taking The Plunge, including the highs, the lows, the first jobs, the worst jobs and the tech she can’t live without…
Photography by The Fourth Creative
#1 In a nutshell, describe your business/brand – what do you offer?
“& FOR LOVE is a contemporary bridal fashion brand dedicated to authentic style, effortless cool, and discarding the traditional bridal rules.”
#2 What’s your career background? Has it always been in the wedding industry?
“My background is quite unique. I was a professional ballerina from the time I was 19 and danced with some major ballet companies around the world including English National Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet. After I retired from ballet in my 30’s I went to university where I majored in Environmental Design and Architecture.”
#3 What planted the seed of your business idea? Did it strike you suddenly?
“Not really. During my time at Uni there was an opportunity with the National Ballet Of Canada to create a tutu for their 60th Anniversary. My design was accepted and after I made it everyone kept asking me if I made wedding dresses too. I had never really thought about it, only from my own experience of my wedding where I found there was nothing I liked out there and everything felt very costume-y, which of course, after having worn tutus for my job my whole life, was the last thing I wanted to wear.”
#4 Describe the moment you decided to TAKE THE PLUNGE (what did this involve? Handing in your notice?)
“Honestly, I just decided I had nothing to lose and just gave it a go. Our first collection of gowns were made entirely out of silk, and everything was very relaxed and effortless, and back in 2014 there was very little of that on the market. Our first account was with Kleinfeld Canada and that really got us going to develop the brand further.”
#5 Describe how the first day of building your own business felt:
“I was very excited and looking back, very naive too!”
#6 The highs – what have they been so far?
“Doubling our growth every year and seeing all the beautiful women wearing our gowns.”
#7 The lows – how did you move past them? What did you learn?
“Not taking a paycheck during the first few years of having the company so that we could pay everyone else properly. We had to be really careful with cash flow and overhead, and had to revisit our pricing strategies and really analyse that side of the business. I learned that if you’re going to be a bridal designer you can’t just spend your time designing pretty gowns and not understand how to run a company…”
#8 If you could tell yourself three things when you first started the business – what would they be?
No.1 “Expect everything to take WAAAAAYYYYY longer than you think they will.”
No.2 “You can’t be everything for everyone, and that’s ok.”
No.3 “Always have a Plan B.”
#9 Your tips for those dreaded lying-awake-at-3am times? (Counting sheep? Glass of water? Get up? Meditate? Read?)
“Right now my 3am wake up time is because of my five month old daughter! When she finally sleeps through the night, rest assured I will too as I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in months!”
#10 Your top organisational tip?
“Get a good assistant!”
#11 Who inspires you? Or inspires you in business?
“My business partner and & FOR LOVE co-ower, Lisa. I can’t imagine working without her.”
#12 An app/piece of tech you now couldn’t live without for your business:
#13 Your first ever job was…
“I danced a child role with The Australian Ballet when I was only eight. I had to go to rehearsals and ballet classes with all the adults and it really gave me a glimpse of what that career looks like. It was an incredible experience dancing with the company and performing at the Opera House in Sydney, I’ll never forget it.”
#14 Your top social media tip?
“Keep your IG grid authentic.”
#15 The brand you’d love to collaborate with and why…
“Jimmy Choo! Because I am dying to make some bridal shoes.”
#16 Name a business/social media account(s) – that have helped/inspired you with your business?
“Anine Bing (@aninebing) I love her account and her style, and how she lets people see her personal life. I’m trying to do more of that!”
#17 Your fav social media tool: (Pinterest? Instagram? LinkTree? Etc.)
#18 Your advice to those looking to TAKE THE PLUNGE:
“Just start and don’t be afraid to fail.”
& FOR LOVE | Rapid Fire Questions
#1 Most inspirational book you’ve read:
“Coco Chanel – The Legend and The Life by Justine Picardie.”
#2 You’re in Starbucks, what do you order?
#3 Instagram feed crush:
“Pernille Teisbaek (@pernilleteisbaek) – I love her style.”
#4 Your worst job was…
I tried to be a waitress at a restaurant one summer and lasted about two hours before the manager gave me a wad of cash and told me to go home because I was so terrible.”
#5 If you didn’t do what you do…what would you do?
“I’d probably be a jewelry designer.”
Want to find & FOR LOVE in the UK? Stockists below!
Ghost Orchid Bride (Yorkshire)
The Fall Bride (London)
Story Of My Dress (Kent)
Halo & Wren (Hertfordshire)
Marrime Bridalwear (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Melle Cloche (Glasgow)
Vintage Pearl Bridal (Galway)
St Ives Bridal Boutique (Cornwall)