Extremely talented and creative couture wedding dress designer Rene Heydon, tells us how she made her passion for fashion and clothes design work as a business. Rene also offers something a little different - as she can design and create the perfect dress even for international customers - all you need is an Internet connection :) Intrigued - read on!!
What inspired you design and create wedding gowns?
I have always had a passion for dressing up, making clothes for my dolls when I was just a little girl. Through school I have made my own clothes and friends dresses. Why I decided on wedding gowns only, is that I am very much a romantic, believing in true love, romance, the dream gown and a Bride to be, making her look her absolute best on her big day. The love for beautiful fabrics and sparkly things has always had me fascinated and dreaming. So I am blessed to be able to live out all these dreams and passion for what I love to do, Create beautiful dreamy dresses with gorgeous fabrics and decorating the gown to look its best!
What are the advantages of working for yourself?
I love having my own business as I have time for my family, I am in control of what I create knowing the dresses I put my hand to will be finished with excellence. My clients get the best attention and I focus on each lady's needs when I consult, shop for fabrics or fit her dress. What I do I am responsible for and so can keep myself accountable to my clients.
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
My greatest struggles in my business have been seeing ladies that have been disappointed by dressmakers or have paid too much, I know I can give them what they want in a relative budget and I have to prove that to the ladies. I have many many happy clients with gorgeous dresses that I could help and I feature these dresses on my website for the potential clients to view, reading testimonies and seeing photos.
What are your greatest achievements?
Through the years of creating wedding and formal gowns I have come to know what brides are looking for, focusing on what they want when I chat to them, achieving perfect fit and finishing with the dresses I have created uniquely for each bride. I have received many compliments that I understood the bride from the beginning and being able to make the dress beyond her wildest dreams, This means a lot to me!!
How do you ensure worklife balance?
Due to the fact that I have 3 small children and many dresses to make, I have allocated my day to do certain things, mornings when children are at school to do lots of work, I am flexible in the afternoons, and i work again at night till I am done with my day's work. I have an amazing family that knows my deadlines and tight schedule and that works for us.
What would be the ultimate goal for your business?
I have always wanted to have a all in one boutique, with a wide range of wedding gowns, bridesmaids dresses, shoes, jewelry etc, that the bride can come in and get all she needs for her big day. Ready to wear dresses, rental, make to rent, and Handcrafted dresses for the more discerning brides. I am currently working on achieving this which is a very exciting process, as I feel the time is right to expand my business and apply myself to create the perfect environment for the Bride to shop till she drops!! ;-)
Who are your customers?
My customers are ladies that are getting married and are looking for the perfect dress within a reachable budget, ladies with difficult figures to find dresses all around, specific needs and themes. I find it very exciting to be able to help anyone that comes through my door, no matter what her size and shape, themes and colours, all brides are welcome at Rene H Couture. Rene's full portfolio.
What advice would you give to someone starting a business?
If you want to start your own business, I feel strongly that you need to know what your passion is, as this will create energy, and excellence in what you do. That something special you can offer your customers is what will draw them to you , so apply your personality and skills to your ideas. Formulate a detailed plan with a person you trust that knows the business world. If it is a creative business make sure you have a well presented portfolio so people can view your work, have your pricing structure realistic but not to cheap, remember people in this day and age don't have thousands to spend, so keep your pricing on par with competition, but offer something extra and special for incentives. Always give your best , work hard, as it will pay off. Never ever bad mouth competition, there is room for everyone to make money. Remember that each and every client is important, give each lady the same and focused attention, and so you will learn so much about people and their needs.
Name one thing that you could not live without in your business
My sewing equipment and my blackberry!! Major internet needs that has to be attended to through the day!
What is your favourite or most popular product/service?
To be able to create the wedding gown, I love working with fabrics and doing bead and crystal work, SHOPPING for other peoples fabrics!! Great fun!
What are the special services you can offer your clients?
I have made many wedding gowns internationally, with only measurements (I have a specific list I email to clients) and full length photos of the lady, I can then create dream gowns without doing any fittings. I discuss the designs with the client via the internet or Skype and webcam, so designing the perfect dress. I then proceed to email the quotes, get deposits, then shop for fabrics. I take photos in the fabric shop of the choice of fabrics available for the gown requested, so the bride stays highly involved with the process. I then keep the bride up to date on the creation process with photographs and Skype 'fittings' via the webcam. I find that it works marvellously. I have had many requests of ladies that cant find a dress from overseas or in a boutique, so I then design and create a once off unique gown, over the distances. Rene's services