MWL Designer Profile // Hello May
19th October 2018
First up congrats on the success of Made With Love Bridal. You really have taken the Aussie bridal market by storm. What inspired you to start MWL?
Thank you – that’s such an incredible compliment. When I was younger, I knew I wanted to work for myself but I had no idea what that business would look like. Six months before my boyfriend (Josh) and I were going to move to London, he proposed. During our engagement, I became so frustrated with the bridal experience that the risk of starting my own label seemed safe. Those failed bridal appointments were the beginning of the dream that has kept me awake ever since. Now, I can’t imagine where I’d be if we didn’t take the chance to start something.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before starting the business what would it be?
That’s a surprisingly hard question! Can I be lame and say nothing? If I knew how hard it would have been, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to start it, and if I knew some of our successes, I’m not sure I would have slaved away for it as much as I did. The risk of failure is vital to keeping business owners on their toes: its a dynamic [that] has made us change and grow.
MWL has been going strong for over 5 years now. What has been the highlight so far?
Oh, my first New York Bridal Fashion Week was hands down the biggest highlight. In October 2016, Josh and I flew to New York with my humble collection of dresses. At the time, we only had 5 stockists and we thought we’d try our luck at picking up a few more. No one knew who we were at the show. It was humbling to realise how small MWL was, and how big the bridal pond was! I was so nervous. We presented our dresses at the end of the show. Everything was perfect. The models looked gorgeous and the dresses fit like gloves. At the end of my show, I walked out and was overwhelmed by the reaction from all the buyers and the media. I looked over at Josh who was sitting in the front row, and he had tears coming down both cheeks!! It was a moment that will stay with me forever. After the show, we literally had buyers lining up wanting to talk to Josh and I. It was crazy! We were a home-based business and now we’re an international bridal brand but we still have the same family core beliefs. Family tell you the truth, so we all keep each other humble!
We love your latest gown. Tell us how it came to life?
We work a little differently to other bridal labels in that we release one new design every few months, rather than a whole collection every year. We think this keeps our designs exciting and fresh. Our newest release’s name is Billie. She has a high neckline and low V back; her fitted form eases at the thighs that flows into a beautiful train. Billie comes in either crêpe or lace, and both options come with a beautiful removable waterfall lace along the back V. I think she is stunning and am so proud of how she turned out. Her inception probably came from an appointment where a bride wanted to wear one of our designs, but wanted to cover her décolletage. She seemed like such a MWL bride, and I really wanted her to be one of ours!
And how do you want women to feel when wearing your gowns?
We want our MWL girls to feel like themselves – comfortable, free and the perfect amount of sexy, but even happier than usual.
Any special fabrics you want to tell us about?
Our Harlie’s lace is from Israel and I am completely obsessed with her. The texture, the pattern and her shimmer all make Harlie our most iconic design. I am loving nude, latte and bone underlays which make the lace really pop too. I think it adds such a lush look to a dress, but then the all ivory versions are so bridal and striking too! I have three designs in French crêpe (Harper, Georgie and Billie): I’m obsessed with the clean look of the crêpe. The feel, thickness, stretch and the simplicity of this fabric will never get old for me – it feels like the designs are giving you a hug. And who wouldn’t love that? Ooh, and if I may indulge in one more fabric here, it’s our tulle. Our team took a long time to find this specific type of tulle that is soft and floaty. The designs with tulle skirts flow so beautifully; I always feel like I’m walking on a cloud when I try on Carrie, Willow or our new Sienna with tulle skirt option!
What is the price range of your bridal collection?
Our price range depends on the design and collection. We have 3 collections: our original collection ranges from $1200-$1900; our second collection ranges from $2000-$2800 and our Luxe collection ranges from $3000-$3700. Each dress is made with love in every single step of the process. We add designs to all collections throughout the year.
Affordable bridal! Tell us more…
I always ask myself if I would pay X for a wedding dress. If I wouldn’t, I don’t expect anyone else to! Dresses are expensive, but we’d rather our brides put the money towards an amazing honeymoon!
Where do you see bridal fashion in the next 5 to 10 years?
Good question! I feel like a few bridal brands definitely push the boundaries with their designs. We prefer to keep it simple and timeless but I hope a low back doesn’t go out of style because I love them so much! I am so happy brides are back into wearing veils. We are in love with ours and feel the look is perfectly finished with a beautifully soft cathedral length veil. I was very sad when it was mainly the flower crown look around three years ago!
Do brides need to make an appointment to try on a bridal gown in your flagship boutiques?
Yes, all of our brides have to book for our MWL boutiques. Our stylists are trained to know about each design and our process. They connect with the brides and help them on their special journey of choosing “ The One”. You will feel safe and looked after with our team. As for our stockists, most are appointment only, but few allow walk-ins.
And besides gowns what else can be found in your stores?
Our gorgeous collection of veils – plain or lace edging. We have also just finished designing our very first heels for MWL exclusively! They come in the perfect nude, with the perfect heel height of 8cm; they are genuine leather and they go with all our dresses.
You’re based on the beautiful Gold Coast- name five local vendors you can never recommend highly enough…
Okay, this is a tough one because we love so many people in this industry. Photographer has to go to Heart and Colour. For a venue, I am LOVING Earth House in Byron Bay. One of my best friends got married there and I was just in awe of the location. Makeup has to go to Phoebe Fever – she is the most amazing girl, so genuine and her skills will make you look like a superwoman but you will still feel like you. Celebrant, 100% goes to Married by Tash – you will feel like your best friend is marrying you. She’s down to earth and will make your ceremony so personal.
And last but not least what is next for Made With Love?
Very good question!! We are focusing more on the European market since we recently opened a London head office which is run by my brother. We want to do more photoshoots in Rome, Italy, Greece etc. – so looking forward to a work excuse to go spend time in those beautiful countries!