VOWS Bridal Dress Retailer 2018

VOWS Bridal Dress Retailer 2018

Award-Winning End to 2018, as Apple Blossom Time scoops the big one!

After three years of making it as a finalist, we were thrilled to hear our name being read out as "Bridal Dress Retailer of the year" at the VOWS Awards 2018. 

Our category - Bridal Dress Retailer - is always a tough one, with a whole host of superb Scottish stores ensuring fierce competition for us. This though, was our year!

A VOWS award has always been the trophy we've aspired to, because round one of the judging is carried out by our customers. Real people, with real, first-hand experience of what we do.  If a business successfully secures enough votes and recommendations, they are invited through to round two which is a written application, before being mystery shopped by judges.   

and so, to win such a prestigious award has long since been one of our business goals and we were blown away to have reached it so soon after our move - all of that hard work and effort truly has paid off. It is an amazing achievement for the whole team and we would like to thank each and every one of them for making this possible. 

We'd also like to thank every one of you who voted for us and got us through to the next stage of judging. I can confirm we're still nursing the champagne heads - and they are worth every last drop of celebration!  

Here's a little extract from our round two application

Apple Blossom Time (ABT) is owned by Karen Robertson and Jolene Taylor.  Now in its seventh year, it has recently gone through a period of accelerated growth, moving premises into a 3500ft unit to become the largest bridal fashion business in Tayside. 

ABT has two distinct markets: the designer-range bride spending an average of £1500 per dress and a higher-spend market paying upwards of £3000+ for exclusivity. We also offer bridesmaids dresses and accessories.

The brand values behind ABT have always been customer focus and a commitment to originality and this has built an impressive word-of-mouth referral.  We measure service by pro-actively inviting brides to feedback to us, via Facebook or our own website. 

We believe that our two key differences not only give us the USP we require in such a competitive marketplace, but also provide the backbone of our success and this has never changed.

  1. Our buying strategy and commitment to originality
  2. The level of one-on-one service we offer clients

Our move to large premises was a deliberate strategy as it would facilitate our growth into stocking additional exclusive collections.  Our reputation for offering something different had already started to take shape and we particularly well known for offering boho-chic gowns and more fashion forward dresses.

We currently hold three exclusive designers: Chosen, Marylise and Rembo Styling and still have the capacity at both a physical space and customer demand level to build on this.   These brands are more original in their designs and have an almost cult-like following from brides who command something different.

Undoubtedly, the greatest achievement of our business life so far took place in the past 12 months.  In January 2018 we opened the doors to our 3500ft bridal shop and became the largest bridal retailer in Tayside, and one of the top ten largest in Scotland.

Plans for expansion took shape over a 24 month period and were focused on finding premises that would allow us to build on our brand values of service and originality whilst facilitating our 5-year plan for significant growth.  We are proud to say that we have done exactly this.

Three generous appointment suites large enough for brides and their parties, and a spacious shop floor, has allowed us to offer a stylish yet comfortable aesthetic and an exceptional choice in dresses.  

In addition to the retail areas we also boast plenty of customer parking, disabled access, space to store dresses for additional stock and for our brides, space to steam, space to alter (we plan to bring this in-house), a staff room for the increased level of employees and an office.

From a customer – and in turn business - point of view, there have been two major benefits.

  1. Getting an appointment is much easier! We were often booked five or six weekends in advance and the additional two rooms saw immediate improvements in availability.

  2. Our ‘originality first’ buying strategy has flourished and we are now the exclusive Scottish stockist for three exceptional international brands: Chosen, Rembo Styling and Marylise.  This has brought brides in from across the UK and Ireland and has enhanced our brand status as a first choice destination for fashion-forward brides. 

Importantly, we have been able to do this whilst retaining the ABT ethos of service. Time and again our brides tell us that our service is exceptional and we believe that it is the small, careful attention to detail we pay that reaps these rewards. From appointment to the Big Day, we aim to be with our brides delivering on our promise to them. 

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