Hi, my lovely followers! How are you all doing?
Have you learnt a new skill, become a home teacher, enjoyed your family time, made the most of the situation??
Hmmm?? Maybe? But probably if you are like me, you are just surviving, relishing the small victories: “OMG, a bag of flour!”; “ooh only 30 people in the supermarket queue”; “Yeay! Its sunny again…”
I’ve been juggling the other issues: bills to pay, mortgage and credit card holidays to arrange, checking the children are doing their school work… I’ve a son, Rowan, who will be 13 in a few days and he is quite happy with lockdown, apart from the school work is not interesting/ challenging enough and he is reluctantly dragged out on a walk every eve). I’ve also got a daughter who will be 16 this month – the day after I turn 50 actually – she has no school work as her GCSEs were cancelled and (apart from her daily bike ride) she only leaves her room to eat… She is living up in her attic bedroom like a cross between Miss Havisham and the first Mrs Rochester, with her unworn prom dress for company. She has become fully nocturnal and her weird shrieks of laughter whilst connected with her friends via social media keep me awake like some sort of weird bird of the night.
My husband is a teacher and is teaching online. Only half a dozen out of 30 kids turn up to each lesson he has painstakingly prepared, and the shifts he has covered in school, with 10 of the 1400 students who are still attending, have shown social distancing children is going to be a logistical challenge.
So whilst all this has been going on I’ve been still doing my #dailywalk, lost a few pounds, come to terms with the fact that my long planned girls trip to a fancy villa in Spain for my 50th (with my newly-16 year old daughter) will be cancelled, and there is little chance of finding a new holiday on a date in the next 12 months that all my friends are able to do. It is what it is. I’ve cried, they have cried, my travel agent must be drowning in tears and gin, I expect.
Meanwhile, I’ve been speaking to and keeping in touch with all my brides who are affected so far. I have agreed to move/ accommodate every single one.
My clients have been amazing and I cannot thank them enough for helping keep me sane, rather than cause me further distress.
I love you all!🖤🖤🖤
My bespoke clients are keeping to their original payment agreement dates, with me completing the gown to that date should restrictions be lifted, and if alterations are needed in the future, I’m doing them for free. If restrictions prohibit my completing the gown to the original date, then I’m accommodating fittings and completion closer to the new date.
For my alteration clients who either bought a dress from me or brought a dress to me to be altered, I have moved the payment, and the work/fittings closer to the new date (even thought this means me doubling my workload at peak season next year, and having a full tax year with zero wage potentially)😢
I am offering to store gowns for free for six months after original dates, and at a minimum fee after that. I have to increase my goods in trust insurance to cover this, but I want to continue to offer physical and financial protection to my clients for their dresses.🤗
Of course every week I am closed I am not selling any dresses or accessories to new brides, or being paid for any sewing, but I still have rent, insurance, marketing (which if you drop that ball you are stuffed) furloughed staff to pay, as the money is not paid back as yet (and I’m making up 20% voluntarily myself), stock package payments- yep sadly those beautiful 300+ vintage gowns and 250+ designer gowns you all get to look at and choose from to have a good choice, they all had to be paid for, some with built up funds from 10 years in business, and some are on finance. I was eligible for the small business grant -it covers my business for 16 weeks of outgoings- and so far I’ve been closed for 5/6 weeks, and as furlough is extended to end of June I’m assuming I’ll be closed at least 15 weeks. Then, who knows when weddings will start again, You can do the maths…
I know all my brides/couples are juggling an entire armada of suppliers, some in dingies, some in corporate yachts, some like myself who feel like they are in an inflatable flamingo from Home Bargains (OMG, that shop has kept me alive with almond milk, puncture repair kits and possibly the odd bottle of fruit cider 🤔)
As regards the monumental task of postponing your wedding, here is a fantastic article: see link, with great advice and resources. Oh, and can someone please deal with Martin Lewis, who appears to be trying to capsize some boats by sharing misleading information….
Sharing Perspectives on Wedding Postponements – What Couples, Venues & Suppliers Would Like Each Other To Know
SOON ( I hope!) we will have a back to business plan for the UK. Once we reopen I can sew again, and see current and future clients to do face to face consultations and fittings. I can not wait! Even if we are all in full PPE (be a challenge, but hey ho..)
However until the government are clear on plans for weddings in the future Bexbrides and all her lovely brides face an uncertain sea.
Many folk have said we are all in the same storm but in different boats; this is true, but shortly we are all going to be sailing into different winds, some will hit calm seas and some will have to navigate even worse storms.
I wake up in the night (usually woken by the strange teenage nocturnal screech creature mentioned above) and I lie there in the dark wondering how it will pan out. I think I’ve driven my poor husband crazy with my “what if this happens” and “what if that happens…”
He just calmly says, have any of your brides decided they are not getting married at all? I say No. He then says so it’s just a case of juggling then, and moving it around- it’s a challenge, you thrive on challenge Bex, its literally what powers you, I’ve never seen you be defeated by anything or anyone and I’ve known you since you were 7.
Yep, we met in 1977. He is my Han Solo and, yeah if I say I love you, or he says it to me, we do sometimes say “I know” in that infuriating tone. (BTW we just had an Episode 4 to 6 binge watch with our son Rowan, over last 3 days, which was great, though I think I’ll need another month of lockdown before I can face the Pants Menace…)
So I’ve tried to stay calm, keep my inner peacock slightly less crazy than it wanted to be, and keep it coaxed down from that far away tree it flew to in the initial stages.
I’ve set myself little goals each week.
The rainbow veil on a bike challenge, which ended up in insta stories on @unconventional_wedding, and @rocknrollbride .
Adding items to Etsy…
And making new designs, as I currently have this strange thing called time…!
So I’ll leave you with an image of the new design, which I have asked for name suggestions for on my Facebook page, as I could not think of one. Now I have the problem of choosing one of the many amazing names suggested!
So in the spirit of the current times and learning ways to adapt and deal, I decided to pick several of the celestial themed names.
NOW I HAVE TO MAKE MORE DRESSES!
See, as usual, my brilliant followers and friends have helped me out.
I think I’m going to call this first one Andromeda (thank you Gem Stockdale)
And I’m going to come up with more starry designs for the other names. Keep the names coming as I’ll just keep designing …
ANDROMEDA named by Gem Stockdale xx