Love is most certainly in the air this week as we build up to the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s. A key date for proposals and weddings, plus a very special milestone for our fabulous Sponsor The Little Pearl, as the North Yorkshire bridal boutique celebrates its five-year anniversary.
A glowing achievement by proud owner Diana McMann, who set up her gorgeous business in the picturesque market town of Pickering, back in 2015 and has since grown it into a much loved and successful setting in which for brides-to-be to find their dream gowns.
Key highlights for the boutique have included winning top industry awards, expanding its team and enhancing its spectacular offering of stunning attire and accessories. And to mark such a special birthday, The Little Pearl has also undergone a gorgeous makeover comprising new décor, lighting and layout, with a beautiful print of the boutique’s namesake, Diana’s Grandma Pearl, sitting pretty front of house.
Keen to catch up and raise a celebratory glass of fizz with the lovely Diana, we’ve invited her to the blog today to reflect and the achievements, share all the latest news and toast the exciting things to come. Cheers!
Images by Love Lucille Photography
Can you tell us what led you to open your own bridal boutique and what you wanted to deliver to brides in doing so?
Diana says: I had always wanted to run my own business after watching my later father run his when I was younger. I have a love for fashion, especially bridal and I saw a gap in our local market for an exclusive use boutique with a one to one personalised bridal experience.
How has the boutique grown and developed since you first opened?
It has been five years since I opened the doors of The Little Pearl. It was just me running the boutique for the first three years, and I now have two bridal consultants working alongside me. I have been so proud to win two awards in our industry do date, ‘Best Bridal Boutique in Yorkshire’ and ‘Bridal Boutique for Excellence in customer service in Yorkshire’, alongside being finalists in a number of other national industry and business awards.
We have seen the number of brides whom we have helped find their gowns, increase year on year. As we’ve grown, we have opened up an additional fitting room, expanded into bridesmaid gowns and added on additional services at the boutique, such as our dedicated sale room and dressing service.
Can you give us an overview of your collection of designers and the style of dresses that you offer?
The designers we stock at the boutique are Dando London, Noya by Riki Dalal, Stella York and Willowby by Watters. Our collections offer the best in current bridal trends, from ultimate boho chic from our Willowby collection, to the complete wow factor and sexiness of Dando or Noya. Stella York is for the fashion-conscious bride but who still wants a nod to tradition.
What type of brides does the boutique tend to attract and what can ladies who visit expect from an appointment at The Little Pearl?
All of our #PearlsGirls are down to earth, stylish, girlie girls who love their fashion. They want to have the best bridal experience and be helped and guided along their bridal journey, which is at the heart of what we do here at The Little Pearl.
Every bride who comes to the boutique has our undivided attention. We want to get to know our brides, understand what they want from their wedding day, how they want to look and feel. They can expect our expert advice when it comes to what bridal styles will work for them and how they can build their complete bridal look. The bride and their guests are treated to refreshments and cakes, plus a few extra treats after they have fallen in love with their gown too!
The boutique has recently had a makeover, can you tell us about the changes and how these have enhanced the space?
We are so thrilled with the changes we have made to the boutique, which has just brought us more up to date with current interior trends, but without losing any of our branding or ethos. The reception area now features a canvas print of my Grandma Pearl, whom the boutique was named after. I’ve always had the image just in a small frame on the desk, but she is such a big inspiration behind the boutique, I felt like I needed to make her a bigger feature and it’s already become such a lovely talking point for brides when they come to see us. We now have our name branded on the walls, giving us more of a boutique feel. We’ve created feature walls for our gowns, by adding a warm grey tone, splitting up rails and just a general paint touch ups throughout the rest of the boutique.
Additional lighting has been added to enhance particular parts of the boutique, including LED strip lights to make our accessories sparkle even more; around our window boost our glow in the evenings; and also around our main boutique mirror to create that chic studio feel when the girls are trying gowns on. We’ve had so many compliments about them!
To create more separation between the fitting area and the front of the boutique, we commissioned some beautiful Pampas Grass displays from Minnie Bees, which again are very on trend right now. We’ve also invested in more mannequin displays so our brides can instantly see how our gowns should look the moment they walk through the door.
Finally, on our second floor we have also opened up a second fitting room, which, when we are fully booked downstairs, we can use to run appointments upstairs rather than turning brides away.
How are you celebrating Little Pearl’s fifth birthday?
Our fifth birthday lands on Valentine’s Day, so I’m sure we’ll be surrounded by lots of brides falling in love with their dream gowns and plenty of fizz! We will be offering our brides lots of treats in the boutique during this week too.
What would you say has been the main career highlight since opening the boutique?
Winning the two awards, which both recognise excellence in customer service and are voted for by our brides. That is the best kind of recognition of hard work you can get. Second to that would be building the amazing team I have behind me. They are as passionate about the boutique as I am, and our brides love them too!
And what are your hopes for the next five years?
My aim is to keep doing what we are doing, striving to be the best we possibly can be in what we offer to our brides. I would love to expand The Little Pearl name and maybe have our own collection one day.
What are the key bridal trends that you are a fan of at the moment and any predictions on big trends to come?
I’m a huge fan of alternative colour tones to ivory, so blush, nude, champagne and even grey. All of our designers offer alternative hues and they look utterly divine! Brides are so surprised when they try them at just how flattering they are. The super elegant, clean and crisp look is also a fave of mine, plus a little bit of leg showing! All of which I think will be bigger trends over the next few years.
How can our readers get in touch with you/find out more about The Little Pearl?
Visit our website, for more information and to book a bridal appointment with us. Follow us on social media – Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01751 798080.
Any other exciting news to share?
Yes, we will be part of a Bridal Showcase Evening being held from 7pm on Friday 21st February, at Sandburn Hall, York.
Meanwhile in the boutique, we are hosting a Willowby by Watters Designer Weekend on 4th and 5th March. Finally, we have a new designer landing at The Little Pearl soon – so watch this space!