Picture this, people. You’re on maternity leave with your longtime friend, the first-ever ‘break’ from your competitive careers, and you think up a concept/brand/business all in one afternoon stroll while your newborns sleep. Well, that is exactly what happened here, with the now powerhouse accessories label that is Amélie George Bridal.
“Our relaxing park meet-ups quickly turned into late-night designing and business planning sessions,” co-founders and directors Sarah Turner Woolfrey and Alison Clouston tell us in between pictures, snapped by the lovely Miranda Stokkel at AG HQ. Keen to know more? Scroll on, dear friends, and see what happened when we sat down with the duo to chat all things bridal accessories.
What inspired you to create Amélie George Bridal? Alison and I have been friends for many years and often ended up in the corner of a party discussing all things business! At this point, I had been working in the bridal industry for many years after studying design and Alison was straight off the back of her MBA – a match made in heaven. We realised there was a gap in the market for affordable bridal accessories that were in line with the sleek aesthetic of the modern bride, Amélie George soon became our obsession.
From jewellery to veils and silk accessories, can you please explain the evolution of your product offering? Our plan has always been for Amélie George to be a bridal mecca for what we have labelled ‘all things after the dress’. We run intensive planning sessions multiple times a year and have a vision board bursting with additional lines that we believe our brides will love! We concentrated on launching earrings first as the centrepiece of the brand, and additional lines are launched after much discussion about what we feel brides require next. Our veils took a year longer than planned and were a tricky undertaking because we were very specific about the tulle quality we required to ensure they don’t crush and still look perfect when posted to brides around the world.
What is the price range of your stunning pieces? Some of our silk bridal essentials sit just under $20 and our pearl 350cm veils are priced at just over $250.
Where do you draw inspiration for your collections? In terms of our earrings, we actually don’t have what would normally be considered ‘collections’ as we prefer to see our pieces as one offering that we add to about once a year. A big driver when we design is to avoid fashion trends that will date and instead aim for pieces that will still look modern and beautiful when brides look back at their wedding photos in 50 years’ time. Another aim is to modernise wedding traditions that our brides feel are dated or tend to be ‘trinkety’. Our first mission was to modernise the ‘something new, something blue’ tradition and we answered it with a topaz stone set in an anklet that can be worn long after a wedding day.
Hunting for big-day accessories can be slightly overwhelming. What advice do you have for brides searching for their final touches? Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest! Find images of things you love and then build your bridal look around this. Stay true to your style and trust your gut.
Tell us about your creative process from concept to completion… We begin with a commitment to one of our vision board ideas. We are constantly sending each other inspiration or feedback from real weddings which changes the order of what we release next. Once an idea is set we spend a day designing before our production manager creates samples to test. These days are incredible as we don’t often get uninterrupted time away from our babies, so we make the most of the opportunity to achieve as much as possible! They are organised chaos with three conversations running at once as we jump around thought processes to share photos of inspiration or a left-field idea. It’s intense, chaotic, and energising for both of us!
What has been the biggest eye-opener for you since starting the business? To be honest, the biggest lessons have probably been more about life than business. Amélie George was born at an incredibly exciting time in both of our lives, as we truly leapt into the unknown with motherhood and business ownership. Navigating motherhood whilst trying to balance our careers taught us to slow down and let go of the unimportant, forcing us to become incredibly focused and time-efficient. Our husbands used to laugh at our phone meetings whilst nursing our babies. In the beginning, we would compartmentalise a lot of the work within naps, which was good when they were little, because they took frequent naps, but as our babies and business grew, we had to quickly learn to be constantly evolving with time management. Amélie George has grown from a two-woman startup working out of a home office to an amazing team. We have learnt to trust more and let go of things we have no control over so we can raise both our passions and our children side by side.
What are the current bridal jewellery vibes? ‘Less is more’ has never been more important to brides than it is today. We see brides looking for uncomplicated, striking jewellery which allows their natural beauty and dress to shine. As not all guests can attend, video and photography are more important than ever before to share a wedding day with those that can’t be there in person, so jewellery that looks striking in all lighting when documented is very important.
Are there any trends you can’t wait to see the back of? Poached-egg-looking pearls. And for weddings in general, throwing a bouquet to single friends… It can be humiliating to those who aren’t single by choice.
Your HQ is in Melbourne, can you please reveal (and recommend) four of your favourite local wedding vendors? Karen Willis Holmes – Karen is an incredibly talented designer and someone we admire greatly. Photographer Kas Richards captures the most incredible moments in weddings. Makeup artist Sophie Knox is the queen of glowing wedding skin, and Prunella create wedding perfect florals that sing modern elegance.
You can shop online, but where else can our readers find your pieces? We are honoured to be stocked in some of the very best bridal boutiques worldwide. In Australia, you can find us in Karen Willis Holmes, Georgia Young Couture, Calèche Bridal, Ella Moda and in New Zealand we’re proud to have Trish Peng and Yours Truly as stockists. Internationally, we have stockists in France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Canada and the USA. You can see the full stockists list in the ‘find us’ tab on our website.
Check out even more of our exclusive chat with these accessories queens in issue 33 of Hello May, which you can grab over on our online store, or hit them up on our directory if you’re ready to dive right into all things big-day accessories!