We work closely with our awesome stockists. Maybe you know some of them already, but maybe not, and so we are starting a series of interviews with these beautiful bridal stores. First up, the gorgeous Archive 12 as told by their founder Claire…
- Store Name : Archive 12
- Where you are based: Belfast, NI.
- What makes your store so awesome?
I like to think we offer a very different vibe at Archive 12. I wanted to create a space that was exciting in terms of interior design but also a super relaxing place to be. Almost everyone comments on how cool our store is and I must admit I have to agree! Combined with our range of shit hot bridal collections and accessories, that are all exclusive to us in Ireland and I think we truly offer a unique experience.
- How did you get started in the bridal industry?
I actually used to manage The Vintage Wedding Dress Company in London back in 2008 (now Charlie Brear) and when I moved home I always wanted to open a cool vintage bridal store in NI as there wasn’t anything like that here. For our first 2 or 3 years we sold only original vintage wedding gowns (think Kate Moss vintage rather than 50’s prom), but then I started to find designers who offered the kind of dresses that got me really buzzed, and so Archive 12 evolved into the brand we have now. High fashion, effortless style for the chilled out bride.
- Talk us through a typical day in the life of a bridal store…
I don’t think this really exists! if I have clients in I will generally clean and prep any collections for the day, light the candles and choose some tunes to keep me going! If it’s a day when I am working ‘on’ the business then it could be anything from client follow ups, social media planning, accounts, event planning, website updates or writing a blog post. I love that every day can be different, and you never know what will happen.
- What’s the absolute best thing about your job?
Without a doubt it’s that moment when a client makes the decision that this is HER dress. It’s such a joyous thing and you can almost see her body move and feel happy when wearing it. The body language is always such a clear sign for me, and I still find it overwhelming that someone would choose a dress from ARCHIVE 12! I do also love styling bridal editorial shoots. It allows me to dig deep into my creative side and showcase our collections how I imagine them to be worn.
- And the worst…..
Hmm there are definitely many hard parts to running a business. But as a super organised person I find it pretty stressful when clients have left it too late to start looking. It’s so frustrating because I really want to be able to help anyone who walks through the doors, but in reality sometimes it just won’t be possible to order certain dresses if the timescale is too tight or the budget won’t stretch to rush fees. It’s gutting to see a client upset that they can’t have the dress they truly love, so please for all our sakes girls, start looking at least 8-10 months before your date!
- Which is your favourite style in the Rewritten collection and why do you love the brand?
Right now it’s hands down the SOHO jumpsuit. It’s such a flattering shape and looks good on everyone! Its something different from the norm and guaranteed to get the WOW from the other wedding guests. I searched for years for a bridesmaids brand that I felt would compliment our collections and was also affordable and bang on trend, and I am thrilled to be able to offer Rewritten to our clients. I love the simplicity of the silhouettes and fabric – no fuss, no bling and so comfortable.
- You have such a great selection of designers in store – who are your favourite designers that you carry and why?
I absolutely love all our brands and each one offers a different vibe. This summer we have two new British designers coming in to the store – BON BRIDE who have the most amazing minimal gowns, and SHIKOBA BRIDE who have a bohemian vibe with lots of fringing. So I’m excited to see how they go down with our clients.
- What are the latest trends in the bridal world this year – what should we look out for?
Plain dresses continue to be a firm favourite, and I love how they can be styled to suit your day… add a flower crown for a boho look or keep it super slick with some statement ear-rings and jewellery. For next season I think tailored jackets will be big, in both plain silk fabrics or a more ornate embroidered fabric or sequins. And hopefully we will see a lot more colour for the brides too, not just the bridesmaids.
- If you hadn’t decided on a career in the bridal industry what would you have done instead?
I have always worked in fashion or costume, so if the shop disappeared tomorrow I would go back to working in Film & TV. But if I had to do it all again and choose a different path I would definitely train to be a midwife. I guess it’s another massive moment in any woman’s life and it would be such a privilege to be there for someone giving birth (I’ve done it 3 times and the midwives are literally angels)
- Finally, if you could be stuck on a desert island with one famous person who would it be?
I think I would go a bit mad being stuck with just one person, but maybe Russell Brand or Louis Theroux… I don’t think I would ever run out of things to talk about, and I think they’d both be pretty cheerful in the situation. Or Beyonce, just so she could teach me all her dance routines.
Ladies, if you’re based in Northern Ireland (or even if not), Archive 12 is well worth a visit. Follow them on social media @archive12 or make a booking via their website at www.archive12.com – the Rewritten collection may be closer to you than you think.