Bridesmaids gowns are always a tricky subject and today’s special guest Natalie Dib along with Michelle Tsirogiannis have started solving the problem by creating beautiful gowns for bridesmaids under their Ava Madison label. Today Natalie joins us to share a few thoughts about how the girls grew their business into the beautiful shop front it is today, plus plenty of tips for bridesmaid fashion!
Please tell me about yourself and your background?
I love retail and have worked in various sales roles in family businesses to boutique stores whilst studying and then finally moved into the advertising arena when I was 21. Although I have always loved fashion and pretty girly things I never thought I would get into fashion design or work in the wedding industry.
It must have something to do with growing up in a family of all girls (excluding Dad of course) where we would spend hours dressing up and putting on makeup and re arranging our wardrobe into different categories.
What inspired you to get into the bridesmaid dress industry?
It wasn’t until Michelle’s wedding that we realized how difficult it was to find bridesmaid dresses and then I was married a year later and we faced the same problems again. Finally, the decision was made we were going to provide the market with garments that flatter women. I know that sounds cliché, but there are so many dresses that flatter teenagers but not women. We were convinced that there would be other brides out there who would also be after gorgeous high quality dresses that weren’t typical and women could feel beautiful in.
What sets you apart from other bridesmaid dress specialists?
It’s quite simple… service and style. Our philosophy is to provide the market with feminine garments with quirky accents. We will never compromise on our vision, design flair and personable service. Ava Madison offers brides and their maids a personal experience. We develop rapport with our clients and go out of our way to assist them. We love what we do and passion is not something that can be imitated. We are two women on a mission to redefine bridesmaid fashion with a brand attributes that resonate with so many brides.
Why is it important to you to have your dresses made in Australia?
We believe in keeping the industry alive by doing what we can do support local manufacturing. Australian products have always been synonymous with high quality regardless of the industry and this is a crucial component of our business. Local manufacturing allows us to monitor quality, utilise Australian labour and local high quality fabric suppliers.
Is it possible to purchase a dress in person?
Of course it is. Please email us at [email protected] for appointments. We also have a few select styles that bridesmaids can hire. It’s a new and exciting arm to our business.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Sales and marketing. I love hearing about what brides have in mind for their weddings and assisting them in fulfilling that vision. Having also worked in marketing, I love finding new ways to promote Ava Madison. However, I have also loved learning about the manufacturing process. This is a difficult question! I guess ultimately there are lots of roles that I enjoy ☺
Do you believe there is a flattering dress for every bridesmaid regardless of their body type?
Yes I do. It’s a big call, I know but our Alexandra dress looks amazing on our clients. However, this style is particularly girly and feminine and some clients feel it doesn’t marry up with their personality. So despite looking amazing it may not reflect their personality traits, but that’s an entirely different question ☺
Do you offer plus sized dresses?
Ava Madison manufactures sizes 6-16 in all styles. However, sizes 18 and 20 can be ordered upon request for an additional charge.
What tips do you have for bridal parties looking to order their dresses online?
We have had quite a number of interstate brides who see our dresses in a magazine or on a blog and place orders. Here are a few simple guidelines to follow:
1. Look at the real wedding and collection pictures and encourage your bridesmaids to assist you in choosing a style
2. Email Ava Madison at [email protected] to request fabric swatches
3. Obtain the girls’ measurements – use a professional seamstress or tailor for this
4. If you have narrowed your choice down Ava Madison can post you a dress to try on for a small fee to cover postage and handling.
How do you keep your product new and different?
Our clients and the high quality fabrics that we have the privilege of using inspire us to continue to create feminine pieces. We have a number of new styles that will be launched soon and they are ultra feminine. We create dresses that women can wear again and again.
What is your personal favourite dress out of your collection?
Not another difficult one! I would say the New Paris, I love the bust detailing – and the Grace. I can’t wait to make the Grace dress in all black with black sequins – it is going to look amazing!
Do you offer accessories for the dresses?
This is an area which we are currently developing and they will be on sale next year. We currently offer detachable satin flowers and are looking at sourcing jewelry later on in the year.
What are 5 things bridesmaids must consider when in the market for the bridal party dresses?
1.Has the bride chosen her dress and booked a venue? As this will influence what style and colour the bride and bridesmaids opt for.
2. Dresses should make you feel beautiful
3. Don’t shy away from choosing different styles in the same colour or vice versa
4. Know your fabrics.
Make sure you look at what fabrics are used. This is particularly important if the wedding is in summer as polyesters are not breathable. Satin (does not equate to silk), is the finish. Look for silks.
5. Focus on value not price. A garment that retails for $300 that you will only wear once provides you with less value then a garment that is priced at $500 that you will wear again.
Where do you see your business evolving to in the next few years?
We would love to expand our off the rack selection and hiring range. There are a number of plans in the pipe works at the moment. We will definitely keep you all posted.
Thank you for joining us today on Polka Dot Wisdom Natalie! Check out the gorgeous Ava Madison gowns at their website!