Who: Forget Me Not Designs
What: Best Wedding Dressmaker/Designer
Where: Online site | On Facebook | On Twitter
Why did you enter TWIA 2015?
We had been quietly working 24/7 in our workshop for years. Last year we celebrated our 25 years milestone and lots of changes were taking place, including extending the premises and moving towards a more retail business away from wholesale. We had been nominated for the regional awards for the last 2 years and really wanted to win 3rd time lucky.
Tell us about yourself…
It feels like we have been here forever, 26 years is a long time. We started in retail and bought in manufactured dresses for our rails, but found it hard to source the dresses we wanted at the price our girls wanted to pay. So we started designing our own label which we wholesaled from the Harrogate Bridal Exhibition for nearly 20 years to 50+ stockists, with everything made on our premises. We were so busy we lost touch with our own retail brides walking through the door and the joy of helping girls to find the right dress.
Now we have downsized the wholesale business and only sell our own label in the boutique. We have much more time on the shop floor to spend with the brides and the best bit about that, is the girls can bespoke their dress however they want to best flatter their body shape. Plenty of experience makes choosing the right dress a positive experience, which many brides say they don’t get in all stores. The dresses are then all made to measure in the workrooms downstairs for a perfect fit.
How confident did you feel about winning?
Not at all. We really wanted the regional award and were totally made up when we did, just before Christmas. We didn’t imagine we had a hope for the national competition but fancied the idea of a night out at the Cafe de Paris so thought we’d go just to mingle, have fun and see who did win.
We were totally surprised to find out we were the ones who had won. It was one of the very first categories announced on the night and we weren’t even in the zone, too busy chatting to friends and eating the divine food. We were sat upstairs out the way so that we could have a good view and never even considered we would have to make it down the steps in heels and long frocks in front of an audience to accept an award!
What does winning The Wedding Industry Awards mean to you?
It was so exciting, We had a really full on season, of brides, upheaval with builders and very sadly a bereavement in the family in 2014. An “Annus Horibilus.” So to start 2015 on a high was brilliant, and because it was voted for by our brides was really special.
What has been the most valuable part of TWIA 2015 for you?
Adding that National Winners logo to my advertising – I love doing that!
Reading the voters’ comments is great too, even though they are anonymous we can match most of them to brides names as we get to know them so well.
What was your favourite feedback from your voter comments?
“I had the most wonderful experience with Forget Me Not Designs. Every trip to the Isle of Wight was incredibly special and I have the most fantastic memories of our days there. Geraldine & Katrina were very generous with their time when I first came along to try on lots of dresses and were incredibly accommodating when I asked to combine elements of two of their dresses into one unique dress. The prices were incredibly reasonable & having a made to measure dress was a once in a lifetime experience.”
What were your highlights of the ceremony?
It was so exciting getting dressed up and arriving outside the Cafe de Paris in a cab. The venue right in the heart of the West End, so we felt like film stars and the atmosphere inside was electric.
How has winning the awards affected your business?
We got a lot of local recognition from the paper and lifestyle magazines. We even had a letter of congratulations from the local MP. People we didn’t even know who were just passing by kept popping in and saying congratulations as they had heard of our success. New brides coming through the door still say “I heard you just won an award” even now 8 months later.
We don’t have any plans to change what we do, just continue to make the right dress for each and every bride who chooses us and make them feel amazing.
My advice would be to definitely enter and if you get through, make sure you go to the awards night. It’s such fun to be out partying after we all work so hard. It’s lovely, just to be nominated but get your tickets early as it was a sell out.