We speak to Karyn McLeod, owner of Ivory Whites, about what goes on behind the scenes at her Perth boutique
Ivory Whites was initially opened in Perth in January 2010 by the previous owner, Catriona Bruce. I was fortunate enough to start working alongside her in 2012 and then took over ownership in April 2014 when Catriona left to focus on her real baby, rather than her business baby.
Our bridal collection includes labels such as Annasul Y, Blue Bridalwear, Agnes Bridal, San Patrick by Pronovias and Wtoo Bridal by Watters. For bridesmaids, we offer dresses by True Bride and Wtoo by Watters. We are an exclusive stockist for these designers within a certain radius.
Our dresses range from £460 to £2500. We also have a sale rail throughout the year that we update regularly with current samples to make room for new designs.
Every girl could be an Ivory Whites bride. We pride ourselves on having a versatile range of dresses that are suitable for all shapes, sizes and tastes. With the choice of wedding gowns ever-increasing, we feel it’s important to stock a good range of styles in order to help our brides find the one for them.
Last year I added the San Patrick collection. I am proud to individually select each dress for the shop myself, even if that does mean the hardship of a wee trip to Barcelona once a year!
We make everyone feel welcome and relaxed on their first visit, closing the boutique for each bride so she gets one-on-one time with us. We are conscious that although lots of brides are excited, some are also nervous. We talk to them all, explain the layout of the boutique then let them have a look through the dresses. We ask them to select the dresses they want to try and then we just talk through each one as they try them on. It is all about listening and talking.
Fitted dresses with higher necklines and longer sleeves were very popular in 2014, but most girls love a big full skirt when they try it on. A lot of brides take account of the practical elements of their day, and moving in a big skirt isn’t always the easiest – but it is your one chance to wear one! Champagne and almond undertones are proving popular this year – their slight warmth makes them ideal for our paler Scottish skin tones.
Lace is still very popular. I joke with brides that we probably won’t see a new big fashion trend until Prince Harry gets married – and I’m not sure what to expect there!
I am proud of owning my own business at a relatively young age and like to think I’m a very motivated person. I enjoy coming up with new ideas for the boutique, even if it’s just a new layout or window display. Being in an industry I love is a great motivation – I never have that Monday-morning dread. I’m full of smiles every morning!
Karyn’s top tips for brides-to-be
Don’t over-think it. Too often I see girls searching for months only to come back to the first dress they loved. By that point they’ve lost a bit of the excited sparkle they had the first time because they’ve started to panic that they’ll never find a dress. Trust yourself.
Be honest. The staff in every shop are there to help you: if you don’t like a dress then just tell them. The more you can say about each dress the easier it will be for them to guide you.
Envisage your day. Picture your day as you are trying dresses on and focus on what is important to you – it will help you find the gown that’s right for you.
Don’t listen to too many opinions. As well-meaning as friends and family are, sometimes they can be too vocal. At the end of the day, the dress that the bride loves is the dress she should wear.
Be yourself. The dress is designed to make you look at your very best, not make you look different. Don’t change your style, just enhance what you already have.