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How Kate's own wedding spurred her on to set up in the bridalwear business

As Valentine's Day beckons, Rachel Martin takes a look at a bridal shop and match-making service, two businesses where love can help pay the bills

Published 09/02/2016

Kate Speers is the owner of Ivory and Pearl bridal shop in Comber, Co Down
Kate Speers is the owner of Ivory and Pearl bridal shop in Comber, Co Down

Move over white, colours are in — at least for bridalwear, that is.

Jordanstown woman Kate Speers set up her designer bridal shop three years ago, aged just 25.

Kate told Business Telegraph she enjoyed planning her own wedding so much that she wanted to help other brides feel good on their big day.

Two years after her wedding, she took the decision to launch her business, Ivory and Pearl, in her husband’s home town of Comber, Co Down.

Ivory and Pearl’s dresses range in price from £1,300 to £3,200 with the average spend weighing in at £2,000. Kate turns to Pinterest for inspiration and uses Facebook to show off new styles and designers to her 10,000 followers.

Kate normally picks her dresses with the help of her mum, Janet, and says the pair normally are in agreement over styles.

“We try to stock things you can’t anywhere else in the UK and Ireland. I like a lot of Australian and American designers and always try to get something a little bit different,” Kate said.

“A lot of brides will come in asking for a specific designer because they’ve seen them online. Naomi Neoh is very popular for her blush colours and a lot of brides are looking for sparkly dresses with diamantes and ones with intricate detailing. Colours have also been very popular recently especially gold, red and pinks.”

Kate said the store’s most popular styles change on a frequent basis. “Everyone is looking for something different so we don’t sell the same style over and over again,” she added.

“Our dresses are also very popular with brides getting married abroad because they are quite light and floating and most of them will fit in a suitcase.”

In September, Kate decided to extend her business and opened casual fashion-wear shop Willow and Thread, in another area of the same building. However, she explains that even though the two shops are run from the same building, each has a different clientele.

“The brides are always too busy thinking about their wedding to look at casual clothes so we’ve a different customer base for Willow and Thread. But I would like to move more towards occasion wear,” she said.

Belfast Telegraph

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