Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

walk this way: introducing charlotte mills bridal shoes

June 15th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Prepare to fall head over heels in love (and reach for your credit card) ladies, as we welcome Brides Up North Sponsor, and true Northern gal, Charlotte Mills, to the blog.

For those of you who’ve not come across Charlotte before, this uber-talented lady creates to-die-for bridal shoes that are fashionable, girly and fun. From first setting eyes on her swoon-worthy designs we knew Charlotte would go far with brides unable to resist her super gorgeous heels.

What we love most about Charlotte’s collections is the versatility within; from high stilettoes that wrap around the leg, to cute flats detailed with hearts and stunning block glitter heels, there really is something for all – better still these shoes can easily be worn well beyond he wedding day.

We could go on all day, but instead we thought best to let Charlotte tell you all about her fancy footwear, oh and her lovely new North West boutique too!

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Tell us a little about your background and how you came to be in the wedding industry?

charlotte says: For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to design shoes. I attended Cordwainers at London College of Fashion where I gained my BA in footwear design. I knew I wanted to create my own brand after designing a bridal footwear range for my final year show. This is where the dream began. After university I worked as a footwear design manager for a variety of UK brands until I felt the time was right to launch the Charlotte Mills brand in April 2014.

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What is it about bridal shoes that you love?

It amazing to be able to design something which someone will love and want to wear on their wedding day to show a little bit of their personality. I find this really inspiring.

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How would you describe the style of your collections and designs?

Fun yet stylish shoes, which stand out from the crowd.

What would you say is important in the design of bridal footwear?

I want to create something different to what is already on the market, brides should fall in love with their wedding shoes and not just settle. I find that creating styles which are fashion forward is important. I want brides to be able to wear their shoes again after their wedding day.

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Where do you get your design inspiration from?

I love art deco and art nouveau, so studied heart shapes and also the lines used in the architecture of these eras and gave them a modern twist to create the designs.

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You’ve just opened your very own Charlotte Mills store in Oldham. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

This is something I have dreamt about from the very beginning, so it’s amazing to finally see the idea come to life. The design of the boutique mirrors the brand’s unique styling. The store is an eclectic mix of colour and metallics with, of course, pops of pink and glitter. The fun yet relaxed environment is the ideal setting to find your dream shoes and accessories.

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What can brides-to-be expect from an appointment at the boutique?

We carry a full range of all our styles and sizes so brides can take the time to try on and find their perfect pair.

Where else are your lovely shoes stocked?

We now have 45 stockists, which is amazing, and lots in the North. You can view the full list here.

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What advice would you give to brides when shopping for their wedding day footwear?

I think once you have decided on your dress/theme then you can select your shoes. It’s important to get your shoes before your fittings, so the correct alterations can be made for the length of the dress. That said, we’ve had a few brides who have started with the shoes before they have even decided on a dress – girls after my own heart!

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Do you have a particular favourite design within your collection and what do you love about it?

This is such a tough question as I have nearly every shoe in the collection – I know I’m a shoeaholic!

At the moment I would probably say Ana Rose, the nude and rose gold tones are so on trend and they can be worn again after your wedding day. I wear mine all the time and they look great with a pair of jeans.

Are there any particular trends that you are noticing coming through in bridal shoes at the moment?

Lots of brides are loving the block heels. They are on trend yet still comfortable. Perfect for an outdoor wedding or if you’re not used to wearing heels all day. Our metallic tones are also really popular, especially rose gold, which looks amazing with blush coloured dresses.

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What do you enjoy most about your job?

Spending time designing and visiting the factory. It’s amazing to go over and visit the material suppliers and pick out new leathers and heels, then creating something beautiful. Also receiving pictures from brides – it’s lovely to see your designs featuring as part of someone’s special day.

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What sets your shoes apart from others?

Each shoe is hand finished with a silver sixpence and the leather sole is embossed with the phrase “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” We have covered all bases. The sixpence is also the something old, the something new is the shoe, the something blue is detailed on the insock and the something borrowed will be inside the shoebox. Brides love this old tradition and this detailing is unique to Charlotte Mills Bridal shoes.

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How can Brides Up North readers get in touch/ see more of your designs?

They can visit the website, drop us an email at info@charlottemills.com, or send a message via our contact page.

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about the author

Julia Braime
Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…

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