How I Set Up a Successful Business: Ann Guise Silk Wedding Veils
February 8, 2012
The Fresh Outlook
As it celebrates its 10th year, Ann tells The Fresh Outlook about her company’s beginnings and what its future holds.
Ann Guise Silk Wedding Veils began in a quiet residential street in Cardiff in 2002. The service is unique because Ann is the only wedding veil designer who specialises in bespoke veils, with each one handmade and tailored according to what the customer desires.
When she started the business, Ann noticed that most of the wedding veils on the market were made of polyester and felt that consumers were not given enough choice
Brides can spend a huge amount of time and money on their wedding dress, so Ann determined that they should be able to choose a wedding veil that will compliment their dress perfectly.
“Each veil is unique and an heirloom that can be passed from sister to sister, or mother to daughter and is a lovely ‘something borrowed’,” she told The Fresh Outlook.
Ann’s love for fashion and fine fabrics goes back even further: “I started designing at the age of five, making dresses for my dolls on a child’s Singer hand sewing machine. Age seven I watched an item on Blue Peter on how to make a doll’s dress, which really got me going. Age 11 I started making my own clothes using an electric sewing machine – and never looked back.”
Ann graduated in Fashion and Textile Design at Harrow Art College, now part of the University of Westminster. She spent four years working as a costume designer at the BBC Television Centre in London before transferring to the costume department at the BBC Television Centre in Cardiff where she worked for 14 years.
When the Silk Veils first began, Ann was producing half a dozen veils a week. Eight years later, the amounts of orders received weekly has increased dramatically. She credits social media for allowing her business to boom: “The huge increase in social media has allowed more people [to] hear about my work.
“This results in more information about me being written on blogs and magazine articles, which then results in more interest in my veils and consequently more orders from all over the world.”
Requests for the veils have come from as far away as Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai and New Zealand as well as from all over Europe and the UK.
Each bespoke veil is handmade from 100% silk tulle fabric. It is created using traditional methods that were developed during the 1800s.
So what does the future hold for the thriving business? Ann still has many ambitions to fulfil: “I’d love a gallery where I can showcase and sell my veils along with unique bridal accessories made by other specialist designers”.
By Louisa Guise
[Image courtesy of Philip Fearnley photography, Halifax]