Real Weddings

Kelsey Genna: a name to remember


Kelsey Genna is a name we should all remember. Though a relatively new kid on the bridal wear block her designs are so captivating that they are bound to become a household name. We are so glad we had a few moments with her to talk gowns, self-employment and love.

When did you start your stunning label Kelsey Genna? I was 16 when I launched my label. I started out on Etsy in 2007, I sold handmade floral panties and prom dresses whilst I studied a BA in Fashion Design. When I graduated in 2011 I spent a couple of years creating a mix of daywear and eveningwear trying to figure out what I really loved. Over time my label blossomed into bridal. These days I work fulltime as a bridal designer making made-to-measure pieces. I am now 22 and based in the countryside of New Zealand. I sell my dresses to brides all over the world through the internet.

 Was getting started hard work? Looking back starting something like this from scratch did require a lot of hard work and dedication, but there has never been a point where I haven’t loved what I have been doing which always makes any task a lot easier. I think the biggest challenge for me has been working on a limited budget. I started with just a sewing machine and $20 worth of fabrics I bought in a clearance sale. Having lots of ideas of where I wanted to take my business but limited means was and is a really big challenge, but it has also helped me grow my label slowly rather than really quickly and perhaps not properly.

 What style of wedding dress would you say your label specialises in? Bohemian and flowery pieces for the feminine bride who is looking for something a little different.

 We are so excited about your new collection. Any chance you could tell us a bit about it? My 2014 collection will be my second collection, and over this past year I have learnt a lot about which pieces work well and which don’t. I’d like to play around with a little colour in this new collection and develop some of my most popular pieces from last season. I would like to be able to sell my next season around the $600-1000 mark. I think that weddings can become a really expensive occasion, and I want to offer beautiful pieces which are accessible to as many brides as possible.

What does a typical work day look like for you? I usually spend Monday to Thursday in my studio, working on orders and new creations. Friday and over the weekend I will often spend out of town. Although my job never really stops I will always have emails to answer and often have shoots and meetings over the  weekend.

What do you do on your days off? When you are self-employed it can be a challenge to create a balanced lifestyle, I think this is something I’ve found this year. I spend my days off visiting friends and family, spending time in the outdoors or in the city hopping around my favourite cafes.

How do you handle a bad day? Yoga can always turn my day around, although if I was having a really rotten day I would probably head to the DVD store and buy a block chocolate!

How do you live life to the full? Creating and making the most of opportunities, taking risks and not caring what others think about what you do and how you choose to live your life. Also being kind to yourself and others.

 What does love mean to you? I think this is a subject I am still learning in. I have always liked the quote “Love is patient, love is kind …” I think that is something good to aspire to.

 Something about you other people don’t know?  This November (post finishing my new collection) I am spending a month exploring Bali. I think it’s important to take time for yourself and away from the busyness of daily life. I hope to spend my time doing yoga, eating well and making new friends.


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