Today is the start of something very near and dear to my heart —
When I formed my business a few years ago, I slowly started to work my way into this little life as a #GirlBoss with regular visits to Indigo grabbing any book I could find with a killer reputation for being inspirational. This year, though, with the formation of the Toronto chapter of the Rising Tide Society and Tuesday’s Together, I’ve realized that some of the people who I could have learned the most from as a business owner, a wedding pro, and even an eventual bride, aren’t just in those books.
Today I’m starting a blog series called “Wedding Vendor Wednesday…”
Once a month (on the first Wednesday) I am going to feature some of my absolute favourite local Toronto and GTA wedding vendors to act as a sort of online vendor recommendation list for brides looking for the best of the best, and also to inspire a few other “creativepreneurs” like myself a few years back who are currently listening to audiobooks in their car right now on the way to their part time job.
This morning, I’m kicking the series off by introducing you to the ladies behind Sash and Bustle!
I first met Andrea and Vanessa (sisters and co-owners) back in September when they were in the process of moving their boutique to a brand new location on the always hustling Queen Street East in Toronto. From the second we met, they immediately blew me away by their clear passion for their work and massive smiles! Any time I walk in to their storefront I instantly feel a sense of magic that makes Say Yes to the Dress look like child’s play and I’m always so excited any time one of my brides mentions that they are looking for their dress at S&B!
Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you ended up running Sash and Bustle together.
Since we were kids we have been talking and dreaming about owning and operating our very own “boutique” on Queen Street. We grew up around entrepreneurs and we were inspired by them, especially our grandparents who immigrated to Canada in the 50’s and are so hardworking. As we grew older our plan remained, however we never knew it would be bridal that captivated us. Once graduating from university, Andrea worked at Sash and Bustle as a stylist and fell in love with bridal and in particular Sash and Bustle’s concept! The opportunity came up to own Sash and Bustle and we partnered up and took the leap! It’s hard to believe its been two years since we became owners of what feels like our forever dream come true. It’s been a beautiful adventure so far and we are so excited for what the future has in store for S&B!
What does a normal day-in-the-life look like for you?
Andrea — I have quiet mornings with my puppy Harvey, then I typically meet up with Vanessa and we chat about the day ahead and sip on coffee. I always fit in a dog walk and then check out what’s happening on S&B’s Instagram — I’m always trying to think of what to share with our followers and keep them on their toes! I’ll then get myself to the shop, immediately change the dress in the window display (have to keep the commuters entertained), and hunker down at my desk and tend to the bride inquiries and daily to-do’s. On Saturday’s, I sometimes run appointments with brides and it’s something that I always look forward to!
Vanessa — I have early mornings with my 2 year old son Avery and puppy Zoey. Avery always keeps me busy and on my toes, it’s amazing watching him grow. Once I drop him off at daycare I meet up with my sis Andrea to catch up and make our to do list for the day. I work better in a quiet environment so I sometimes will go to the shop early to tend to the Sash and Bustle email and bride’s orders from the week before. I work directly with our suppliers and am constantly researching what’s happening in the industry. On weekends I am in the store buzzing around helping the team. I always enjoy popping in on appointments to meet our brides, it always feels so special to know their stories and wedding plans!
What are your current favourite wedding trends?
We are loving the separates, and so are our brides! Separates are great because you get to mix and match and create something truly unique to the bride. We have been growing our separate collection recently, and we find it really fun to mix the different designers together and create something we’ve never seen before. We are also a sucker for a dramatic simple look, the crepe and matte styles that we are seeing a lot of lately are so stunning!
What is your favourite part about running the boutique?
We love shopping for the store! Attending the NYC Bridal Market is the highlight of our jobs! We feel so lucky to have the opportunity to travel to NYC for work, let alone getting to see all of the upcoming bridal fashion for the next season. Even though it sounds glamorous, its always a whirlwind adventure and we crash when we get home. One of the best parts and for sure the most rewarding part of being at Sash and Bustle is making our bride’s dress dreams come true! It feels special to us to be able to provide brides with a beautiful experience as well as a relaxing one!
Whenever I think of Sash and Bustle, a bride with a really specific style comes to my mind immediately. Do you think you have an ideal client stylistically? If so, how would you describe them?
The Sash and Bustle bride is pretty relaxed, she wants to feel like a bride but not a typical one. She appreciates refined beauty and has an artistic spirit. She has a bohemian side with a touch of glam.
Who is your current favourite bridal designer?
Andrea — I love Carol Hannah’s designs! She approaches her collection in a very artistic sculptural way and puts so much love into the construction of her garments. Her collection has a unique balance of whimsy, romance and glamour that I just love! So much so that I’ll be rocking one of her newest creations down the aisle in June for my very own wedding!
Vanessa — Thats a tricky one, all of our designers have been a fave of mine at some point. However at the moment, I would say Karen Willis Holmes is on the top of my list. She has such a variety of styles all with a beautiful drape and hand. In particular I love her beaded gowns and lace overlay’s from the Wild Hearts collection.
What is something completely unrelated to weddings that you are loving lately?
One of our guilty pleasures is reality TV! Some of our faves are The Bachelor and Big Brother. Depending on whats airing we get together every week and have a marathon and drink wine! It’s one of those rare times when we get together and don’t talk about everything weddings — but truly we just love everything weddings!
If you could give one tried-and-true piece of advice to a bride looking for her dream dress, what would you tell them?
It’s not all about the gown, it’s how it makes you feel inside and out! Go with your heart, and don’t think too hard!