As always here at NAB we must plan ahead for our very seasonal industry that we are in.
Every September (trade only) Harrogate, host the annual, fall bridal buying event!
We always love the Harrogate trips. Partly because of the atmosphere. The event itself is on a much larger scale than others and is just generally filled with such a buzz. If I'm honest that buzz makes us spend more money (ooops)
We decided to take every single team member with us this year. It's been a mad one for us all and with all of postponed brides and backlog brides everyone deserved a treat more than ever.
Tickets & hotel were booked.
We were offered platinum buyer status by the majority of our suppliers. (thank you) this gives us access to x1 night, free accommodation for 2, which we decided not to use due to taking everyone with us, it was more feasable booking a different hotel for us all) VIP entry to a few extra nibbles at the show (but the normal champagne bar for everyone is better) and a front row seat at the fashion show...
We are very grateful of the platinum buyer status that we receive every year, however all bridal stores that shop at this event should be treated exactly the same. We are all spending money, we are all in the same industry, we are all trying to do our best at selling wedding dresses to our local brides. So for a few extra carrot butties, your'e alright 😎
So the Majestic double tree was booked. I love this hotel, it's so beautiful. The Art Deco character is incredible and the chandelier in the main seating area is just WOW. I always imagine that scene from only fools and horses were del boy was swinging from the chandelier 😆 and it smashed to pieces.
We travelled down after work on Saturday 10th sept in 3 cars and met at the hotel bar! (Obvs)
A few aperol spritz later it was time for our first tik tok. There were plenty more of these to be done.
We ate at the Ivy we're the service & food was impeccable and headed back for a night cap under the chandelier, time for bed - we got a busy day ahead.
Sunday 11th September- First day at the event! Opens 9am. Breakfast 8am. Quick chat about what our plan for that day was, a bit of bacon & coffee and off we went. All 9 of us. Felt a bit like scousers on tour 🤣
Some designers choose to showcase in the surrounding hotels for a bit of extra designer privacy and maybe more space so we decided to visit a showroom that was in our hotel. Not the best visit I've ever had, in fact quite insulting and An "old fashioned" attitude if you ask me. As we were heading out of the Majestic feeling rather deflated we literally bumped into a top London designer we recognised. He said hi, asked us how we were and that our store is beautiful and so full of energy. I got instant goosbumps and thought how this was meant to be... So we walked over to his room were his dresses were showcased and our jaws dropped. We got an instant feeling that the whole vibe was us, it will be perfect for NAB.
I'm a massive believer of everything happening for a reason and the Christian in me knew that I should trust this moment.
NEW DESIGNER DISCLOSED IN NOVEMBER...
It was only 10am and we had already been incredibly insulted and let down by one firm and had invested in a brand new, most beautiful designer, buying 7 of their delicate, showstopping dresses and hadn't even hit the actual show yet!
We signed in, got our badges and off we went.
Our plan was to visit and purchase all of our accessories. This takes time and can get quite "bitty" so we wanted to get it done and ticked off before 12pm.
We had no more intentions of taking on another new stockist as we are already feeling incredibly grateful for the morning we had just had and are very happy with our current designers, so the rest of the trip was a breeze really.
We invested in over 65 dresses to come to our store for the next season which starts around January and stocked up on plenty of beautiful veils and headwear.
We actually spent the rest of our time engaging with other weddding store owners, meeting new people, people we now call friends,
visiting the RBA sandwich corner (which is great btw) We are very proud to be part of the Retail Bridal association .
Big shout out to Mori lee, Essense of Australia, Madi Lane, Mark Lesley, Casablanca, Jupon, Richard designs and twilight. For always looking after us!
Thank you harrogate, same again next September.