“I know, I’ll write a blog to mark Cicily Bridal’s 5th Birthday,” I thought to myself. “It’ll be easy,” I said. I’ll wax lyrical about how super we are, how far we have come and what the future holds for Cicily Bridal. I’ll convey how awesome we are through my magic use of superlatives and my endless wit!
But it seems I was under a misconception. When I tried to start writing about how far Cicily Bridal has come since we opened our small-yet-perfectly formed boutique 5 years ago in Tamworth I kept getting emotional. I’m talking tightness-in-my-throat, tears-stinging-my-eyes type of emotion. To capture into words the pride, the blood, sweat and tears, the highs and lows and the passion that has created our beautiful Cicily Bridal is beyond even my superb use of a Thesaurus!
So instead of waving a white flag and admitting defeat, I had a bit of a light-bulb moment. Instead of focusing on Cicily Bridal for this mile-stone birthday, why not talk about the two people who are its beating heart? How did a girl from the valleys and a fashion buyer from the Midlands start what has now become one of THE must-go-to bridal boutiques for modern, fashionable brides?
It started with a friendship that began in 2000. Lisa was sort-of-family for a little while when she dated my brother-in-law. Their relationship wasn’t meant to last but thankfully mine and Lisa’s friendship was. Lots of laughs, crazy nights out, large glasses of Chardonnay (don’t judge, it was the early 2000s!) and sharing good times throughout our 20’s continued into our 30’s. By then our drink of choice had changed to Sauvignon Blanc and Prosecco. Our nights out slowed down a little, preferring meals out and quiet corners in wine bars where we could ‘talk’.
As well as the many, many good times we shared there were tears too. My husband and I sadly lost a baby girl named Cicily in 2009 and Lisa was there for me as a shoulder to cry on. When something like that happens in life people react in different ways. My reaction was the need to change my life forever. I no longer wanted to work in the corporate management world and be someone else’s number. I wanted to do something with my life that meant something to my family and I. Something creative that touched other people’s lives.
And so began the tiniest spark of an idea, the beginning of the story of Cicily Bridal.
Have you ever sat around with your friends, when you are a teeny, tiny bit tipsy and had one of THOSE conversations? The conversation where you all decide that you have ‘literally’ had enough of your job/ boss/ drive-to-work/ rubbish pay and that you are going to do something else with your life! You are going to do something creative and meaningful where you are respected and are in 100% control of your own existence. The conversation where creative business ideas seem to flow in and out of your slightly unfocussed mind with ease and you marvel at your own brilliance! Ideas that are not only going to change YOUR life but quite possible the WORLD?!
Well, let’s just say that Lisa and I and both of our husbands had a very similar conversation one Saturday night in the Autumn of 2009.
You see, I wasn’t the only one who had come to a cross roads in their life. Lisa had met and married her gorgeous husband Andy and they wanted to start a family. Although she absolutely loved her fashion buying role which took her all over the world spending other people’s money (#jealous!), the long hours and weeks away from home would not allow her to have the family life she craved.
And so the conversation that momentous Saturday night went something like “I want to start my own business,” said I. “OMG, so do I. I’ve always wanted to own a bridal shop,” said Lisa….. and there you have it, as simple as that. Two close friends with the need to change their lives for different reasons but with the same future.
Cicily Bridal was born.
I’m sure you are aware that I have over simplified the journey from that hazy Saturday night almost 7 years ago. There has been huge investment both financially and emotionally in creating Cicily Bridal. Our determination to change the bridal world from a stuffy, unapproachable experience to one designed for brides who, like Lisa and I, expect fabulous service, beautiful surroundings and to be able to choose from the most current and fashion forward wedding dress collections around has driven us to where we are today and will ensure we are constantly evolving.
Our passion for what we do, the sacrifices that we have made, the support from our amazing husbands, friends and family are part of the fabric of Cicily Bridal. From choosing the name of our business (how lovely of Lisa to suggest my daughter’s name) to finding the perfect space to start our little empire, all of our decisions have included our husbands. I think it’s fair to say that Cicily Bridal would not be the success it is without the support of James and Andy. To them we say a huge 5th Birthday “Thank you!”.
Team Cicily Bridal has grown from just Lisa and I to include the wonderful Rhona and Lisa M. Rhona, a local girl from Ashby, is an amazing accessory designer and creative and came to work with us when Lisa was having her gorgeous twins. Her CV read “I make a cracking cup of tea” – the job was, of course, hers! Lisa M was a Cicily Bride in 2012 and enjoyed her experience with us so much she wanted to work with us!! She is a marketing and social media extraordinaire and between the four of us we uphold the Cicily Bridal brand philosophy of optimism, beauty and innovation.
Who knows what the next five years has in store for us but I know it is going to be pretty awesome because I have Lisa and Team Cicily by my side!
Enough of my prose. My words can’t do justice or paint the picture of the journey Lisa and I and Cicily Bridal have been on since 2009 but maybe a little video can try………..