Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch party of new pop up store Bella Sorella. Bella Sorella is a beautiful boutique run by Lydia Bright (star of ‘the only way is Essex’) and her sister Georgia. The girls opened their first boutique in Essex 18 months ago and launched an online store 6 months later. Now they are touring the country opening pop up stores in several cities. I attended the launch of their Bristol pop up store in Cabot Circus, which will be open for four days from the 26th – 28th July.
The launch party was a fantastic night. I loved getting a sneak peek at all the beautiful dresses before the store opens. I also got the chance to meet Lydia and interview her…
JJ: What first inspired you to open a boutique?
LB: Our flagship store in Essex was always a big dream of ours. Our family owned boutiques and so it was just something we always wanted to do, we were brought up around our family owning boutiques. So me and Georgia launched ours one year six months ago and then we did so well we decided to launch online six months later, which also went amazing. So for 2013 we decided to hold these pop up stores. It’s just a great way to bring it to everyone.
JJ: How many of these pop up stores are you doing?
LB: We are doing seven in total. We’ve already done London and this is our second in Bristol.
JJ: Are you having fun doing them?
LB: I am yeah. It’s a lot of hard work because me and my sister are the only partners in our business. We’ve got 6 employees but me and Georgia do all the day to day overall running with our expansion and our buying. It’s quite full on just for us two but we are so passionate about it that we are really enjoying it.
JJ: I didn’t realise you were so hands on with it
LB: Yeah it’s just us two that are partners so we do everything ourselves, we funded everything ourselves, we do all our buying, all our expansion, we run our site, we write our descriptions. Yeah we do everything.
JJ: What can people expect when they come into the pop up stores?
LB: They can come in and see our fashion and what we have to sell, we’ve also got our home ware and our jewelry. They can get a picture with me, chat with me if they want to. They can also enter our competitions. So there’s lots to offer even if people haven’t got the money and they just want to come in and just see what we are doing.
JJ: Do you have a personal favourite out of all the dresses?
LB: I’d probably say my favourite out of the stuff we’ve brought here would be the Florence dress.
JJ: That’s one of my favourites too!
LB: It is cute, it’s very fifties isn’t it?
JJ: Do you have any advice or tips for girls who dream of opening their own boutique?
LB: If you are prepared to put in the hard work,because it is very very hard, and take the risk then just go for it. Just make sure you do a lot of research beforehand. Make sure you do a proper cash flow and ensure that you can keep up with the rent and rates. Research your audience and market, what people shop down that high-street, just do loads and loads of research. Attend all the trade fairs as well which are great and they are free of charge. It’s great to go there and meet suppliers and to research what’s big on the high street and in boutiques that season. Owning a boutique is a 24 hour job, you just need to make sure you are that passionate about it and you’re willing to put in all your energy.
Lydia was lovely and an absolute pleasure to interview. Bella Sorella is a wonderful store, there were so many gorgeous items that I loved. I bought a silver and mother of pearl ring which I think is just stunning and
I’m also tempted to go back this weekend and pick up some super cute shorts that I spotted.
If you are in Bristol over the next few days you should definitely pop into the store. Also check out their online boutique you won’t be disappointed!