You may remember we blogged about Chez Bec’s new 2011 range last month. Today I have the opportunity to question the owner and chief designer Rebecca.
1. Introduce yourself and your company!
My name is Rebecca Doyle and I own and manage Chez Bec as well as being full-time Mummy to my gorgeous 2-year old twins, Max and Isabella. Chez Bec is an award-winning brand of bridal jewellery and wedding hair accessories. Claim to fame – we won the Best Bridal Accessories Award at the Wedding Ideas Awards 2010. A moment I shall remember forever and ever.
2. What made you start your company?
Up until December 2005, I was a stressed out lawyer working round the clock in London. I studied Law on the advice of my school careers officer but it was such a dry subject and I never really loved studying it. After graduating with a First Class Honours in Law, I took a year out to consider other options. However, nothing obvious sprang to mind so, almost resignedly, I applied to two top law firms and came back from an interview with one of them to find an answer-phone message offering me a job. After a couple of years spent training and another two years working in corporate finance I was working crazy 90-100 hours a week and working under intense pressure which all came with the territory. But the crunch came when my boyfriend (now my husband) booked a holiday to Antigua in early 2005 and my law firm gave me a BlackBerry so I could be contacted at all times. And contacted at all times I was!
I realised that despite the kudos, the career progression and the fantastic salary, this was not how I wanted to live my life and in September 2005 I handed in my notice. Ever since I was a little girl, I had cultivated a love of jewellery and I used to shadow my mum, an antique jewellery dealer, at shows and fairs for years. I used to love visiting the flea markets with my mum and I used to spend my pocket money there. Once I bought a silver locket and I sold it in my mum’s shop in Tetbury. A man bought it for his fiance for Valentine’s Day. That was my first sale! I was seven years old! The never-forgotten kick from this sale, plus a love of pearls, trinkets, accessories and pretty things, together with a wealth of business knowledge gained from my years as a lawyer, put me on a clear and determined path. I knew she wanted to set up my own jewellery business. It was obvious to me that it should be an online business. When I was a lawyer, the ridiculous hours meant that I never had time to go shopping. So I became queen of internet browsing and online purchasing! The relatively low start-up cost of an online shop as opposed to taking premises was a huge incentive, too, and meant that I could get up and running quickly. So in September 2006, 9 months after I left my job as a lawyer, Chez Bec was born. And I’ve never once looked back.
3. Can you give us a typical a day in the life Chez Bec?
I get up at 6.00am (shower, dress and check emails and twitter) before waking my babies at 7am to get them ready for nursery. It’s a crazy hour before I drop Max and Isabella at nursery at 8am and arrive in the studio for 8.10am. It’s non-stop as I have such a lot to cram into such a short day.
I check and reply to emails, speak to brides with queries, order in new components, go through the orders to be completed that day, speak to stockists and liaise with magazines and journalists and arrange samples for photo shoots. Iâ€™m also constantly working on new designs and ideas for new ranges. We’re already well into designing our 2012 Collection and our 2011 Collection doesn’t even launch until 5 January 2011! Before I know it, it’s 3pm and time to pick up my babies from nursery. We then have a full-on afternoon of dancing/singing/playdough/drawing/baking/trip to the park before it’s bedtime for Max and Isabella at 7pm and back to the studio for me. Luckily my studio is in my home so it’s not far to go! I then work until anything from 9pm to 1am, depending on how much there is to be done and what time of year it is. Peak Wedding season for Chez Bec is from the start of January until the end of September.
4. What do you enjoy most or what is your favourite part of your job?
Dealing with brides on a daily basis is an honour for me. Getting to play even a small part in their big days is a real privilege. Every bride is different and helping each one with their wedding jewellery and hair accessories is fabulous.
5. How do you come up with your designs?
I take inspiration from the bridal shows and the leading dress designers’ new collections and use those to spot the forthcoming trends. I also take inspiration from the wonders of Mother Nature and the style of the Hollywood greats. I’m a big fan of the classic films and the bygone era of old-style glitz and glamour.
6. How do you manage to mix your busy schedule with home and family life? Some secrets to your success please!
Having been a lawyer and now a Mum of twins, I’m used to juggling more than one thing at once and can multi-task with the best. I’ve learnt to be a very organised person, I write a lot of lists and I even keep a notebook by my bed for scribbling down ideas and more lists of things to do. I have a blackberry and an iPad (my newest toy!) and both enable me to run my business pretty much 24/7 as well as being a Mummy.
7. Do you manage to ever switch off the phone or laptop, or always sneakily checking emails and calls 24/7?
Never! Running your own business means you never, ever switch off. Not even on holiday, or having just given birth!
8. What top tip would you give couples that are getting married?
Your wedding day is the one day in your life where you get to choose exactly what you want. It’s your day and no one elses. You will never be able to please everyone all of the time so do what you want to do and everyone will respect you for it.
9. What one thing do you wish you’d done differently on your wedding day?
I wouldn’t change a single thing about my Wedding Day. It was the most perfect day of my life. I cannot wait until we renew our vows in 5 years time and to share that special day with our children.
10. What has been your most unusual request and did you manage to fulfil it?
Earlier this year we had the most lovely order from a groom whose fiancé’s father had recently passed away. He had bought her a gorgeous silver locket and put a photo of her father in it and asked us to incorporate it into a bracelet so that his fiancé could walk down the aisle with her father. It made us shed a lot of tears and was one of the most moving things we’ve ever had the pleasure of working on.
11. How long do you usually take from start to finish with a couple? Please explain the process that you run through with clients so our readers can schedule it all in!
We take orders through our website and standard UK delivery takes up to 10 working days to be dispatched. We also now offer an Express Delivery service for UK brides and this means that orders are dispatched within 5 working days from the date of ordering. Bespoke orders take slightly longer and this depends on the time of year and how many other bespoke orders we are working on at that particular time.
Thank you Rebecca, an interesting insight into a very successful company and owner! If you have any further questions for Rebecca or would like to view more of the collections, please visit the Chez Bec website or email.
If you’re a wedding supplier and would like to be featured in our Supplier Spotlight, please get in touch!