#HERBLOVEDLIFE: DAY IN THE LIFE OF RACHEL ATTWELL OF LUELLA’S BRIDAL
As little girls I’m sure we all harboured not-so-secret dreams of one day owning a ‘wedding dress shop’ (your secret’s safe with us!) so today post we’re indulging our inner child following a day in the life of Luella’s Bridal owner Rachel Attwell.
But this stylish lady not only has her finger on the pulse for all things bridal (at Luella’s they stock only the coolest, independent designers) but she’s also a super talented business woman, mama, wife and all-round lovely lady! B.LOVED photographer Fiona Kelly joined Rachel and her team for a day at their Wimbledon boutique.
What’s your role at B.LOVED & what do you love about being part of the team? I write a monthly bridal fashion column sharing the latest trends and helping B.LOVED brides to create their ideal w-day look. I love how supportive everyone is of each other. If you have a question you just pop it up on our Facebook group and someone has usually answered it within seconds. Everyone is also so generous with their time and truly believes that collaboration is the way forward. I also love Luella’s being associated with such a positive brand, I think Louise is a really inspiring and kind person and that really shines through in everything that she does.
What’s your background, how did you get into what you do now? I used to be the Exhibition Sales Manager at Earls Court Exhibition Centre and one day I just woke up and thought I really want to start my own business. At that time I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I enrolled in a business course for a year which coincidentally was at the same time that I was planning my wedding, during that time I saw a gap in the bridal shop market and decided to open Luella’s!!
I get woken up at about 8.00 by Archie so that’s when my day begins. I usually get up and make Archie his breakfast before drinking a large glass of orange juice. Next I check my phone and start thinking about the day ahead.
At this point I’m still in my pyjamas (White Company pj’s love em!!) because I am usually still looking after Archie, so it’s time for a bit of toast and a quick play or a bit of morning tv and cuddles before my nanny arrives. If I am working from home then this is round about the time when I get to have a shower before making the short commute to my study, where I base myself for the day if I am working from home.
Now if it’s on a day when I am going to London or I am having meetings at the boutique (usually 1 to 2 days a week) then it’s totally a different story…….
I usually get up at 7.00 and try to have a shower whilst not waking Archie. I then sneak into my office to do a bit of work hoping that he won’t wake up so that I can get organised for the day ahead. On these days the nanny comes early about 8.30 if I am catching the train and 9 if I am driving to work. I usually forget to have breakfast so I am positively starving by the time I get to work. It usually takes about an hour and a half to two hours door to door so by the time I get there I am usually in desperate need of refreshments!!
On a typical day, I would normally ask my manager Philippa to meet me in the cute little café Brew that is located across the road from the boutique so that we can discuss the week ahead. We can meet in the boutique but we are usually busy with appointments and they also do the most delicious fruit smoothies! Philippa is extremely organised so she usually has a list of things to go through with me and we just work through each point and end up making lots more lists!
Because my time in the village is limited Philippa also tries to organise any meetings for the days when I am there so I usually have a few business meetings to attend.
Lunch is usually a very quick affair but we are lucky to have an amazing deli called Bayley & Sage in the village that sells delicious homemade soups and sandwiches.
The afternoon is very similar to the morning so lots more meetings either with the girls or with new designers or partners and lots and lots of decision making.
We have the main bridal titles delivered to the boutique so if I am lucky enough to get a spare few minutes I try to spend a bit of time looking through the magazines to see where we have been featured.
We also work with a variety of carefully chosen companies to provide additional services to our brides such as alterations and dry cleaning and its nice to be able to have a quick catch up with them too if they happen to be in the boutique when I am there.
I usually have to leave by 4pm to get back in time for my nanny so it’s a case of dashing back to the car before the long drive home. I usually use this time to download to Philippa (hands free of course!) anything that needs following up after the meetings and to make any further plans for the following day.
As soon as I get home my time is usually taken up with getting Archie’s tea ready and then preparing him for bedtime. My husband usually gets home about 7pm so that’s the first opportunity I usually have to check my phone for any new emails and to do any work that needs completing before the end of the day.
The evening is then usually a case of cooking dinner, usually whilst checking the various Luella’s social media accounts and then putting Archie to bed, unless it’s my husbands turn in which case I usually try to make a quick phone call to my friends or family.
We have recently moved into a new house so my evenings are currently usually spent doing some sort of painting or decorating before usually deciding at about 11pm that we really ought to be going to bed.
Fridays are different, Friday is my day with Archie so I am generally much more relaxed. My husband also tries to get home a little bit earlier so that we can have some family time in the evening which usually involves going for a walk (if the weathers nice) or having friends over for dinner. Weekends are much the same so I am really lucky to have a nice balance of work, which can be quite frenetic at times, with an equal amount of time to relax, which I think is important especially when you have a young family to look after.
How would you describe your style? My style is beautiful, simple and unique, which is basically how I would describe all the products in Luella’s. I love softly muted colour pallets, original items of vintage furniture or jewellery and good quality handmade products. I would describe my home (when we finish decorating it) as modern Scandi style with vintage accents and my fashion style is a similar mix of simple contemporary styling with a few pieces of vintage thrown in for good measure!!
How do you stay inspired & motivated? I am quite a naturally upbeat sort of person. My inspiration actually comes from working hard and always looking to the future. I usually have about 5 big projects on the go at once which seems to keep me motivated and I love reading about other inspirational women in business.
What’s your biggest business challenge? I think it’s probably adapting to today’s rapidly changing retail market. It is so important to always be one step ahead of the customer and that’s quite tricky when it is very trendy to be your own unique style of person with very diverse shopping habits. I think the secret will be to really get inside the thought process of some of these customers and try to find out exactly what it is that they are really searching for.
What are your goals for the next 12 months? Ooh lots of things…..on the personal front to spend more quality time with family and friends, finish off decorating our house and to teach Archie to ride the bike he has just been given for his birthday and on a business level to launch our new website, take Luella’s on our first ever roadshow to Nottingham as part of our pop up shop tour. Finish designing the next Luella’s wedding dress collection and find some more new and exciting designers for the Wimbledon boutique.