Behind the Brand - Frill Factory
Alison Bell is 28 years old and like many young women, faced with the ever-growing and exorbitant cost of getting married. However, in a day and age where it's estimated that the couples are spending an average of £20.000 plus on their wedding, Bell is behind the brides that neither want to go into marriage in debt, nor compromise in quality. Championing her brand, Frill Factory - we speak to Bell about the new social enterprise aimed at relieving the financial burden placed on many engaged couples. "The calling to start my own business has always been strong, but it was a series of challenging and traumatic life experiences that really pushed me to take the next step. I come from a visual communication and illustration background, so when I got engaged and I began to realise I couldn't afford the cost of a typical wedding, everything clicked into place for Frill Factory."
Taking a look into Bell's past, she is another in the line of recent entrepreneurial success stories coming from Gray's School of Art, however - her focus wasn't always on weddings. Prior to her exploration into the wedding industry, Bell explained her interest in working to help improve deprived areas:
"In my final year of studies, I decided to move away from fashion and styling topics. I looked to improving deprived areas with art. In my head, if I could help to improve somebody's day in a run-down area, even for just a second, that meant more to me than anything."
Utilising budget-friendly paper installations, Bell had found her niche and proceeded to spend the next few years working to help regenerate local communities in Glasgow across 14 different social enterprises. Bell's work was recognised and awarded with various industry accolades, including a notable Social Impact Award.
Frill Factory - Beyond the Dress
A wedding social enterprise is certainly a novel idea - after all, how could something that's so typically associated with commercialism in the modern day age, really be all that social?
"Frill Factory isn't just a place to buy an affordable wedding dress - I want to build a community and a culture that's focused on promoting marriage without debt. If you look at the biggest factors in why people get divorced, it's often financial. Why start a marriage with that strain? As a result, people end up just not getting married - and that's just not right. Asides from all the obvious things, life really is easier when you're together."
Of course, for many brides to be, the cost of a bridal gown alone proves to be crippling, with many reaching into the thousands. Thankfully, Frill Factory will help to address this issue with the launch of a six-piece bridal capsule collection in early 2016, designed by local talent, Holly Baxter. The collection will be built on two-pieces as opposed to a single outfit, allowing brides to mix and match according to their style, with the added bonus of being able to split the items for every day wear after the big day.
"Every bride wants to have that 'dress shopping' experience. We don't see why brides should have to compromise on that - as our pieces are made-to-measure, brides will be able to enjoy all the tailoring and excitement of trying on their dress with Frill Factory - just without the alarming price tag."
But there's more to Frill Factory than just wedding dresses:
"I'm fed up of seeing the same airbrushed "perfect moment" wedding idea. Moving forward, with Frill Factory, I want to be able to offer styling solutions to make things affordable for couples again. Hiring a blank canvas like a village hall for instance, and using cost-effective, but stunning paper installations to make the place look phenomenal. It isn't the commercial "airbrushed" moments that make weddings. It's devoting the time to not settling for less that does."
To find out more about Frill Factory, head on over to their website here.
How do you think Frill Factory could help brides further? Share your thoughts in the comments below!