A Leeds design graduate is taking the plunge and setting up her own bridal boutique.
Former Leeds College of Art and Design student Claire Toole fell in love with the world of weddings while working in Yorkshire bridal shops and seeing how the right gown could make dreams come true.
The 27-year-old, who aspired to one day make her own wedding dresses and stock UK-made gowns, is now on the verge of seeing her own dreams become a reality. Her stylish store, The Bridal Emporium, opens in Leeds’ Grand Arcade on Thursday evening.
Claire said: “After spending several years working with bridal shops, I came to realise that I wanted to return to my creative roots and design my own range of bridal wear.”
She added: “The ethos behind The Bridal Emporium is to be a home for independent British designers who design and make their own products, which you can buy at affordable prices.”
Joining the industry after training for five years in fashion design, tailoring and historical costume at the University of Hull, she began collecting vintage treasures.
And before she knew it she was selling vintage gowns to brides-to-be. This inspired her to start designing her own collection of gowns, knowing that brides love to be different on their wedding day.
The new entrepreneur’s aim is to become a franchise business with a number of shops around the UK, stocking British designer brands as well as dresses created by dressmakers just like her, plus accessories and beautiful hand-crafted jewellery.
She will also hold hen party activities to help brides and their maids prepare DIY wedding decorations, with bunting classes, garter and fabric corsage classes and even lessons in how to customise underwear.