Saturday, 31 December 2011

Looking back at 2011 ...

I said to myself at the beginning of 2011:  if I don't make a go of this by Christmas, I will go out and get a 'proper' job and give up this idea of being a designer running my own label. Things were getting tough and I hadn't really worked out what I was doing clearly, along with taking some business advice that meant changing the plan a quite dramatically.

This last year has been the one to define what we do (there's still quite a bit to go).
I'm just like most of my lovely customers when choosing a dress, I wanted to do everything, and design every dress imaginable, but after this year I am beginning to get a sense of myself and my brand to start working on fully next year. It's very exciting!
It's definitely been a roller coaster (I'm going to try and not be one of those people who talk in metaphors when it comes to business!) emotionally and accounts wise. There were scarily quiet times and then crazy busy times which I suppose are all part of running your own business. The skill is going to be in planning for this and making sure everything runs smoothly throughout each of these times.

There were a few tears, and many many smiles, my obsession with seams and old techniques really did pay off along with wanting to make each dress individually and with the best hand crafted techniques possible.

 Katie's dress has to be my dress of the year, it is the defining dress of my career so far and the dress that will always mark a point where I decided that using the best techniques will always be what my dresses are about, no cutting corners to cut prices. I was the dress that made me really beleive in what I was doing.

I launched my first bridal collection, was on the radio and opened a boutique on Asos. We made some fabulous prom dresses for gorgeous girls and made two ready to wear collections that I will find hard to say goodbye too. I even braved the camera and in doing so learnt much more about how I want the dresses to feel and fit.
The Astor Dress from 2011 Bridal.

We have had the most wonderful brides and customers this year, each has worked with me to produce individual dresses that I have been so happy with! 

We worked on dresses for women all around the world and here at home, for their weddings and events. We met the wonderful Millie Moon and made the pink elephant dress and even made a dress for the fabulous RocknRoll Bride.

The prom dress became perfected, we made some amazing on off dresses and I even taught you how to make your own underskirts on RocknRoll bride.

It's been a really wonderful year and I can't wait to start back on Monday working on the new bridal collection, on Valentines brides dresses and meeting lots of lovely ladies January. Plus I have my first workshop at Millie Moon on the 22nd January in Wells.

HUGE thank you's to Anna for putting up with me crazy ramblings and making th dresses so perfect, Mum for all of the support and super hand sewing skills, Dad for drilling holes in my studio and for all the wise calming words and of course to Wing for helping me with the blog design, being so, so patient, for making me always try and look harder and for being the best husband ever, ever, ever!  

AND of course to all you incredible customers with wonderful visions and all the lovely people we have met this year including the beautiful models, bloggers, photographers and amazing people out there who do amazing, excellent quality work! THANK YOU AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Providing I don't get hit by a bus, it's going to be a fantastic and very exciting new year ahead in 2012!

P.S. I have too many dresses to work on next year now so I can't go out and get a proper job, looks like designing and running my own label will have to be my job :) xxx

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Sylvia in Green

Underneath the hand draped neckline is a corseted bodice for support and a little hugging

trimmed with a removable scarlett red velvet bow

the back has a draped sash from the shoulders embellished with vintage brooches

all ready and waiting in it's box to be worn

Our 'Sylvia was Swept Away' in our favourite emerald green silk. It looks like quite a showstopper and is guaranteed to compliment your curves perfectly with it's integrated, boned bodice and cinched waist. We love it and the red red velvet bow we made to trim it with, just like a present!
To order your dress in this colour or any colour, just add a note when ordering  x

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Happy Christmas Everyone!

Happy Christmas everyone, hope you all have a fabulous day whatever you are doing and whatever you are wearing! Love from Alexandra and Anna xxx

Monday, 19 December 2011

We're in the Times!

Well, our tie dye dress is in a photograph in the Times Newspaper worn by our beautiful bride to be Caroline West and photographed by the amazingly talented Sassy from Assassynation. It's in the  Marriages and Engagements section, how brilliantly 'society'!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Friday Friends and News

Firstly a huge massive Friday group of friends all wearing dresses every day for Dressember and action for children.
One of the lovely ladies, Lisa turned my drawings from last year into these badges that are for sale on her website with £1 from every pack going to Action for Children. Or you can donate at the Dressembers just giving page. It's not too late to start wearing dresses either! 

We said goodbye to one of our wonderfully festive Mackintosh red tartan silk cocktail dresses this week, of course going all the way up to Scotland for a Hogmanay New Years Eve. It's certainly going to be the most fabulous dress of the night!

You can wear with a the skirt big .....

...Or a little smaller x
Here is my dressember dress of the day, the classic little black organic cotton dress complete with all 6 badges. I am really loving these at the moment and have decided they are the best most versatile dress in my wardrobe. Sparkles are coming tomorrow too!!!!

And finally we are very pleased to announce that we will be at the Bristol vintage wedding fair at the Zoo  in February. It will be the day before Anna's birthday so come and say 'Happy Birthday' we will be in an especially joyful mood to show and tell our dresses, even if you're not getting married!
Hope we don't bother the lions and hippos too much with our fun ans frolics at the fair?!

Have a great Friday night all xxx

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

New Customer Photo!

I love, love, love receiving customer photos in the post and seeing how gorgeous they look in our dresses!
This is the stunning Toni in her little black silk cocktail dress, the original Betty.
Obviously the bride looks wonderful but I am blown away by how chic and elegant Toni looks in the dress I made. The cut away shoulders look great, the nipped in waist and the casual (yes I'm cool and pretty) pockets balance it perfectly. Love this so much I need to make one for myself! Sorry, I'm quite excited as this is just how I like my dresses to look!
Huge thank you to Toni xxx

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A Dress for RocknRoll Bride

Today the dress I made for Kat at RocknRoll Bride arrived and I discovered something amazing that was right in front of me!

Betty's Good Tee Dress in Orgain Fair Trade Cotton

 Being mainly an online business I find many ways to promote my work via twitter, facebook and my blog. I have found some really cool people out there with similar businesses, ideas and styles that are  great to talk to and network work with. I am also really lucky to have a few local people (which is rare out in the countryside) that I can chat with about my work and their work.
What I didn't think of was how twitter could let me give really great interactive customer service.
I do a huge amount of communicating via email but just imagine being there when you open the box and try your dress on!

So when your order something and post on twitter, not only do you tell everyone else but the business who you purchased from can also be involved with your reactions and response to the product.

OK I know what you're thinking, WOAH THERE MR SUIT this is a blog about Alexandra King's pretty dresses not how to exploit customers!
For teeny tiny businesses like mine, how a customer feels about a dress I have sewn by hand is really important to me, I want then to love it as much as I do and understand that what they are buying is really special.

Today for the first time I could follow my customer (Kat) as her dress arrived and she tried it on.
This is great for me because
a) it's as close as I can get to a fitting from a distance, I can guide the customer how to put on the dress and hear how it fits etc.
b) it's like someone standing in the door of a shop and shouting to everyone on the street how they feel about my dress.
This could obviously go the wrong way too, if the customer isn't happy and not everyone wants to share everything on twitter, but it sure ups the customer service. It's silly that I hadn't thought of this before!

So ladies, if you order a dress and you are on twitter I would love for you to tweet or message me when your dress arrives and when you have tried it on. It means I can be there to answer any questions straight away. Or give me an old fashioned phone call!  Follow me on twitter @makemeadress.

Today I learnt just how amazing hearing from customers in real time can be. (And I eventually photographed the ivory underskirt, so pretty!)