Kimberley Woodward’s Wedding Dress studio opening

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Kimberley Woodward’s unique range of couture wedding dresses is now coming to Tamworth! Thanks to her new studio opening, rural brides will now have access to her variety of gowns, including fishtail, long-sleeved, off-shoulder and so much more, made from laces, silks, sheer fabric detailing and embellishments.

We chatted with Kimberley to learn a bit more about her story.

What was your inspiration for the business?
When I started my business five years ago, I was working part-time as a bridal stylist, part-time making costumes on theatre and film sets, and part-time making dresses for friends/family on the side. I vividly remember looking at new dresses as they arrived in the bridal boutique I worked in at the time and being shocked by the low quality and high price margins, not to mention the amount of work that went into altering them to fit each individual bride. I knew I would be able to create high quality, perfectly tailored gowns in a comfortable, relaxed environment – without the huge price margins that ready-to-wear gowns have. And so KWD was born!

How did you go about starting up?
As soon as I’d made the decision to open my business up to the public, I quit all my other jobs and focused on my one goal. Probably not the greatest move in hindsight, given the financial costs in starting a business – but looking back I wouldn’t do it any other way! I had one focus, and one dream – to provide a more personalised, affordable option to brides wanting their dream gown. I focused on social media and word of mouth, and quickly the news spread and I was off and running!

What are you offering that is different from the rest?
I think what makes my business different from others is how personally involved I get with every gown – I love getting to know each bride, and I get very attached to their wedding dress! From initial design stage to final completion, I do absolutely every step myself. I know what it’s like walking in to a bridal boutique and feeling overwhelmed, uncomfortable or out of place, so I always aim to maintain a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. I pour myself into each dress, creating it with a lot of love, care and always maintaining the highest level of quality.

Tell us a bit about the new studio you are opening.
My sister and her husband moved to Tamworth a few years ago and have just built their own home – including a studio for me! I love having a home-based business as it keeps the whole process intimate, comfortable, and welcoming for the bride. Mi casa es su casa! While maintaining my base studio in Cherrybrook, the second studio in Tamworth gives me a chance to meet with rural brides for fittings and consultations.

Why did you decide to open a new studio in Tamworth?
We hear so many stories about the lack of resources available in the rural areas of Australia, and I’ve always felt that’s an aspect of Australian life that we need to work on and build as a country. Rural brides are travelling more than five hours each way (often having to stay overnight) in search of their dream wedding dress, and I think it’s time to go to them instead!

What gets you out of bed every day?
I am so incredibly lucky to have a job where I get to do what I love every day, and I don’t take it for granted. I am constantly excited for each day of dress fittings and the prospect of seeing the brides face light up with happiness and excitement as she sees her dream gown come to life.

What do you love about your job?
While I love the actual sewing and creating part of my job, I think the part I love most would take us right back to the initial consultation stage. Brides come to me with bits and pieces of ideas and inspiration and as she tries to develop her thoughts into words, I sketch her gown on the spot. The moment when a bride looks at the sketch and says, ‘Wow, that’s my dress’ is a truly special and memorable moment. I love being able to help each bride (and even mother of the bride) feel comfortable in her own skin, with a dress that’s perfectly created just for them.

What does marriage mean to you?
I think we all get so caught up in the planning stage of weddings that we can easily forget that marriage is the reason we do any of it. Marriage is committing to love and support one another through thick and thin; it can provide strength when you feel weak, it means knowing someone always has your back, and it means setting goals and working (and failing!) together. Marriage is an unconditional, enduring adventure embarked upon with your other half.

Tell us about your favourite experience as a business owner?
A few years ago I made a ball gown for a beautiful woman who had recently endured a double mastectomy and was terrified at the thought of needing to dress up to attend a special event with her daughter. I will never forget the expression of pure thanks, gratefulness and happiness on her face during her final fitting – the memory of that experience will stay with me forever.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out in the industry?
Go for it! Everyone can offer something different that sets them apart from others in the industry, so don’t be afraid to work hard and make it happen!

Carly Tia
Mad Rose Films

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