February 11, 2020
To learn more about Earleen and Revelle Bridal, check out her socials!
Tell us how Revelle came to be.
Well I’ve always really loved weddings. I’m that girl that planned my whole wedding when I was, you know, young. But I worked in the government for 25 years, and so when I retired, I just wanted to do something for myself. At the time I was also producing wedding shows with a friend of mine called “Tie the Knot”, and so I had a lot of contacts within the wedding industry and an opportunity came about to kind of start in the bridal industry, so I jumped on it.
Revelle was originally called Encore Bridal. We initially were selling consignment dresses, so dresses on consignment or pre-owned or samples.. and we quickly found out that brides want to buy new. So we started ordering from really cool designers and then I guess the rest is history.
Did you have any experience in the fashion industry?
I don’t really have a background in fashion, although I love fashion. And I just love weddings, you know? Who doesn’t love weddings?! So, yeah. I just started researching really cool designers that weren’t already in Ottawa. And I wanted to make sure that what we brought to my store were designers that weren’t already here. I didn’t want any duplication of the same dresses, the same brands. I wanted exclusivity on the designers that we have. That was really important to me. We’re still kind of researching and looking out for new designers, new indie designers to bring in. So stay tuned for 2020.
What does the ideal “Revelle Bride” look like?
Oh, geez, that’s hard. It’s hard to pinpoint. Trendy, really fashionable. I find a lot of our brides are very fashionable, really concerned about how they’re going to look on their wedding day. They’re also very conscious of where their dress is from. A lot of them are concerned about their dress being made ethically. Most of our dresses are made-to-order, meaning that they’re not made in a factory. And a lot of our designers are Canadian, so we know they want to support local. Lastly, they’re not really concerned about money — they’re concerned about quality over price. They’re willing to spend a little bit more on their gown if it means that it looks good and that it’s made well.
A lot of brides are very confused about the “wedding dress timeline” and how long it takes from beginning to end to find that perfect dress. So let’s just dive into that a little bit.
We are getting asked about that a lot because these days given the recent engagements over the holidays. So for us, we work a little bit differently just because a lot of our designers are indie, so it takes them a little bit longer to create your gown. They’re not sitting in stock in a factory anywhere. So we really encourage brides to start shopping, you know, 10 to 12 months out from their wedding date. So if you just got engaged over the holidays and you’re getting married in January 2021, it’s not too early to start shopping now. Give yourself a year and then you don’t have to worry about the stress of having to pay rush fees or not finding the gown that you want.’
Sometimes the journey of finding your wedding gown takes longer than a couple of months. It may take two to three months. You never really know. I polled my brides to see how long it took them to choose their dress and we have responses anywhere from, you know, the first visit all the way up to 60 dresses! You want to give yourself enough time to be able to shop around if you need to and then to look and research what styles you want. So yeah, start a year early, perhaps even a year and a half early. We already have brides that have their dresses for February, March, and April of 2021.
If you’re particularly interested in one dress, you don’t know if that’s going to be discontinued. You don’t know how long it’s been around. So if you are really interested in that dress, go and try it on as soon as you can. We have a bunch of dresses now that are super popular that are being discontinued as of March 1st, and it might be your dress, right? So come in and try it on. You can still order it, and if you don’t order it, then it’s gone.
So let’s talk a little bit about rush fees. What are they, and when do they start to kick in?
So rush fees are something you never want to have to encounter. If you’re ordering your dress anywhere between six to eight months before your wedding date, then you should be okay. Anything less than that, that’s when the rush fees kick in. They depend on the designer. Most of our designers can get you a dress, up to a week before your wedding, but it will probably be about a thousand dollars in rush fees. Dresses that are ordered two or three months before average about $300 to $400 in rush fees.
When should brides be making alterations to their dresses?
We like to start two to three months before your wedding. That also plays into that timeline where we’re suggesting that you’re ordering your dress, you know, 10 to 12 months before, cause then you’re getting your dress three months before your wedding and then you can start your alterations right away. We work with two very experienced in house seamstresses. We’ll start around three months before and then we want you to have your dress four weeks before your wedding. That way there’s no stress! You have your dress four weeks before your wedding, then you can worry about all the little things that you have to do before the big day. You shouldn’t have to worry about coming to fittings soon close to your wedding day. We like to do at least three fittings for alterations. Sometimes it’s four, sometimes it’s five. It depends on how much needs to be done on your dress.
So tell me, what does the future look like for Revelle?
This is a hard question. We’re still pretty new. We’re going into our third year. So I guess like we’re still kind of working on finding our niche in the market in Ottawa. There are so many awesome bridal shops here. We’re all pretty good friends even though there’s some healthy competition. But for us it’s just really finding where we fit in in terms of the market. We’re still kind of learning who the ideal Revelle Bride is. So I think for me the future is just continuing to work on our branding and our ideal demographic, and then trying to find the right designers to bring to those brides that we don’t see anywhere else.
We’re always looking for like that new up-and-coming designer. We’re not your traditional bridal shop. We don’t have a lot of the big, poofy, glittery, “bling’ed out” dresses. We’re all about modern and clean lines. Boho. Different laces, modern laces, not like, you know, granny laces and old fashioned lace. So we’re trying to appeal to that modern bride who wants something totally nontraditional.