When I got married, the last place I’d have expected to find myself visiting almost seven years later would have been a bridal boutique in Llanrhystud. However, after hearing about a new venture from a young entrepreneur by the name of Charley Miller I made the short drive from Aberystwyth to find out more.
So Charley, tell me a bit about yourself.
Well I’m 24 and I was born and bred here in Ceredigion, which is where I’ve lived practically my whole life. I spent my younger years in Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron before moving on to study in Liverpool. I’m sure my friends and family would describe me as a typical ‘girly girl’ (which I’m sure you can tell by the décor of the shop!), however I do also love to ski and surf. Nevertheless, shopping has always been my number one hobby, (which I claim is a sport with the amount of walking and weight carrying it takes!) Weddings have always been a strong interest of mine, and just like many girls I’ve dreamed of my wedding since a young age.
And what’s been your education and employment journey before setting up your own business?
I studied at the University in Liverpool where I graduated with a degree in International Business. Throughout my time at University I worked at a bridal shop, which not only solidified my love for bridal but also confirmed to me that the retail industry is one within which I’d love to work. My path initially took me to London where I worked in TK Maxx’s Head Office doing Buying and Merchandising. This was a whirlwind experience but was also the experience which bought me home, as it made me realise that my future was more in bridal than in ‘fast fashion’. Don’t get me wrong, working in London and flying around Europe was an amazing experience, but I never felt as connected to the role as I do now when I’m working with brides here in my home town.
Tell me about the light-bulb moment that led to starting La Môr.
Well there wasn’t exactly a light bulb moment as such. Since I was a child, I have always been obsessed with all things bridal, so it came as no surprise to my family when I told them this was the path I was taking. Originally my plan was to work in London for a few years and move home to open a boutique later on in my 20’s, but then I thought to myself – why wait? So, after I finished University, I did a smaller stint than originally planned in London, went travelling for a little bit and then came home and got straight to work creating La Môr! I have managed to fit a lot of experiences into a short space of time, which is why I decided I wanted to open the shop at the age I am now. Some may say I’m young to do so, but I’m helping brides who are my age, therefore I’m in the same frame of mind as them and can fully relate to them.
And how did you then go about building things from the idea stage to opening the doors to the public?
In my final year at university I spent the year creating a business plan and attending business seminars to mentally prepare myself for what was to come. The shop is situated in an old stone farm house (which was derelict), so before, during and after traveling the farm house was completely re-done. It took a LOT of work and thankfully my parents and my partner Jac did a lot of the work (which saved my budget and allowed me to buy a few more dresses!) I did as any aspiring young business owner would do, invested my savings, took out a loan and set out to make my idea a reality!
So what exactly do you offer your customers both from a product and service point of view?
We have over 80 bridal gowns in the boutique and 20 bridesmaid dresses. We offer a personalised service and the boutique is private for each appointment. We absolutely love helping our brides and bridesmaids find their perfect gown and will do everything we can to help them. Both myself and my mum (my unpaid assistant!) work to ensure each bride has an exciting, relaxing experience finding their dream dress. We know how special this moment is and we do everything we can to ensure it perfect for each bride or bridesmaid that comes in the door.
What brands do you stock, why did you go for them in particular and what sort of price range do you have here?
The designers I currently stock are Ella Rosa by Kenneth Winston, St Patrick, Phoenix Gowns, Envy and Emma Bridals and these range from £715 - £1600. I also have a ‘Take Me Home Collection’ in store, which offers brides specific styles in a range of sizes which they can purchase and take home that day. These start from as low as £300. For bridesmaids, I stock True Bridesmaids and Emma Bridesmaids which range from £175 - £240. I’m always on the look-out for new, fresh styles to bring into the boutique, so the designers will change from time to time so be sure to watch this space!
I remember my wife having to travel a rather long way to get her dress. Do you think that’s going to be a big factor in attracting customers from this area and beyond?
I think the location of the boutique in Llanrhystud is perfect for both brides near and far. The boutique is located just off the main road and there is plenty of parking. Since it is located in more of a rural setting it means that brides can be assured that they are getting a private and personal experience. The experience of finding your dream dress is one you only want to share with your closest friends and family, and here you can do just that!
You’ve clearly left nothing to chance here and the shop looks absolutely stunning.
Why have you decided to commit your future to your home town rather than look to set up in a big city somewhere? Thank you! At the end of the day, I just love where I live. I love Wales and living close to my friends and family. I had such an idyllic childhood growing up here and I could think of nothing better than to settle in Wales! Since there aren’t many bridal shops in Ceredigion, I wanted to give brides and bridesmaids the opportunity to find their dream dresses closer to home too.
Contact us now to book an appointment on 01974 202203
La Môr Bridal | Llanrhystud | Ceredigion | Wales | SY23 5DJ