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Maintaining an established business in a challenged industry

Maintaining an established business in a challenged industry
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Maintaining an established business in a challenged industry
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

Established for over 20 years, bridal and occasion wear company Veromia has weathered a few recessions and challenges in its time, but nothing quite like the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the business’s successful, large-scale co-owned teams at offices in Hong Kong and factories in China and Vietnam, putting weddings on pause for the best part of a year has made Veromia re-evaluate their business model. CEO, Vivien Felstein, who is currently based at our Loughton Seedbed Centre, spoke to us about the need for innovative ideas to shape the future of the bridal and occasion wear industry.

Veromia’s bridalwear business story

With offices based at our  Loughton Seedbed Centre,  Veromia  has seen successful growth and diversification over the years. Originally operating solely as a bridalwear and bridesmaid company, the brand identified new opportunities and began selling plus-size bridalwear in 2010.

“We were the first to exhibit this at the  British Bridal Exhibition,” says Veromia CEO, Vivien Felstein. “We had a standing ovation when we put our Plus Size Bridal Sonsie (Scottish for how a journalist described Marilyn Monroe) on the catwalk.”

Veromia’s  ‘Sonsie’  line – Scottish for voluptuous – eventually lead to further branches to the brand, including further occasion wear collections. Garments for the mother-of-the-bride and guests were introduced to compliment the bridal and bridesmaid collections, and now drive the main bulk of the business.

The calm before the coronavirus storm

“Having arrived in at Loughton Seedbed Centre in September 2020, we felt really lucky to be based here. No one knew how bad the second wave was going to be, and what locking down again would bring,” comments Vivien. She and the Loughton team operate from a small unit, leaving their previous larger accommodation and having shifted shipping responsibilities to a logistics company.

“We are a wholesaler selling to retailers in the UK and Ireland, as well as internationally, so coronavirus impacted us in more ways than one,” Vivien adds.

Repercussions on the business

Last year’s lockdown restrictions meant that virtually no weddings occurred, which in turn had an impact on the sales of Veromia’s occasion wear. Additionally, many retailers were not able to open to sell any of the garments.

“It was clear that we had to scale down,” says Vivien, “But coming to Capital Space really helped us facilitate this, as the monthly licence means it’s easy to plan ahead should circumstances change.”

Not only have the events of the past year affected scaling, they’ve also had an impact on Veromia’s ability to exhibit new product lines.

“We usually exhibit twice a year and showcase our new designs, ranging from high-end to more affordable occasion, bridal and bridesmaid wear. However, we won’t be exhibiting until July when it’s time to show our Spring/Summer line for 2022,” explains Vivien.

Weaving new strategies (while the rest is on pause)

Despite not enjoying their usual busy calendar of new product lines and wedding fashion exhibits, Vivien is using this newfound time to strategize Veromia’s next moves.

“We’re aiming to make a big impact with the next launch, as the whole industry is predicting a massive rush when the world opens up again,” says Vivien. “When exhibitions begin to take place, we’re expecting a take-up, especially with shows like  Birmingham  and  Harrogate  coming up later in the year.”

Veromia’s experience over the past year shows that it’s not just SMEs that have felt the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic. We’re keeping everything crossed that exhibition events will be able to take place this year when it is safe to do so, and that Veromia’s gowns can reclaim their place in the spotlight once again.

  To find out how Capital Space could benefit your growing business,

call 0800 107 4667 or email  info@capitalspace.co.uk