Charlotte Balbier is one of the UK’s leading bridal entrepreneurs. She started her company 10 years ago and has grown the business to a success with over 30 stockists in the U.K & Europe. Charlotte was born into the bridal industry, her grandparents owned bridal boutiques across the Country and a manufacturing business. Charlotte’s mother is an award winning bridal designer Amanda Wyatt. Charlotte Balbier had bridal design in her blood and it was only natural for her to start up her own label Charlotte Balbier.
Describe your usual day? I love what I do because the role is so varied, I can be at Charlotte Balbier HQ meeting with fabric suppliers, planning a photo-shoot or doing team meetings for ideas for the brand.
What do you love about being Charlotte Balbier? The brides I dress are the favourite thing about it all. I am blessed to have so many women wear Charlotte Balbier on their big-days and be part of their special day.
How did you deal with set-backs? Set-backs are a part of running your own business. You do get knock-downs but this only makes you strong to succeed.
How did you compete with other bridal designers already in the market place? Charlotte Balbier brought something fresh to, vibrant and young into the market place. In 2003 there were no lace dresses on the market, my first collection and every collection since has always had lace in it and it’s great to see it’s such a popular material now. At my first show, many people commented on how lace just wouldn’t work because it was too vintage at the time. I am glad I stuck to what I believed in with the dresses and my vision for the brand and carried on using one of my favourite materials.
What kind of doubts did you have when starting up the business? I believed in myself and the collection. My only worry was that the collection was quite different at the time and I was worried if people would get it and what I was trying to do…. The 1st few collections I had some resistance but I always stick to what I believe in and it paid off.
How do you keep yourself motivated? I get asked this all the time, as ten years on people can’t believe I am still as passionate as I was in the beginning. The brand growing keeps me excited and motivated. I am a high achiever who always strives to do my best.
What does it take to build a brand? It takes dedication and you have to build up a huge following and client base. I am a big believer that social media has massively helped my brand. I engage with brides who buy the dresses personally and stockists. This added extra personal service has helped grow the brands reputation and name.
How do you achieve a work-life balance? This is one part I have had to work at, getting balance. I have tried to make a shift from the balance being all about work by making a conscious effort to leave at 7pm everyday rather than work late into the evenings and weekends. Working too hard resulted in a lack of personal life and burn-out. I find it hard to switch-off though, and even when I am on holiday I will sneak away from the sun lounger to check my emails!
What are the ambitions for the company? We’ve cracked the UK market and we’d love to continue doing so. The Charlotte Balbier brand has recently entered the French, Belgium and Austrian markets and we’d love to do more across Europe. The big dream is to take Charlotte Balbier over to the U.S.A and then grow internationally. We will be doing shows internationally this year to gain more stockists abroad and internationally. I’d love become a well-known brand across the globe
Any advice for someone who is starting their business? To make your brand and business a success you have to live and breathe it 24/7 and 365 days a year, it’s non-stop! You need to be focused, determined and head-strong. Plus nothing is too much trouble when you are first starting out.
Best advice you have ever been given… stick to what you believe in with your brand!