The Pandemic Pressure That Created The Diamond Of A Dubai Bridal Wear Boutique We’ve All Been Waiting For
In 2015, Jessy Rebekah Pereira started a bespoke tailoring business in Dubai. Combining a head for finance with a hand for the creative, she found an opportunity to provide a service that she had found so desperately lacking in the region at the time. Six years later and Jessy has risen in the ranks of the Dubai bridal industry with her brand becoming a household name for brides to be looking for a bespoke service and quality dresses.
Today, we invite our Bride Club readers to explore the brand new re-launched expansion of ‘Rebekah’s Bridal and Occasion Wear’. This is a true hero story and we couldn’t be happier for Jessy who proved that great things can happen despite adversity, where during a pandemic – she stood up as an advocate for brides finding difficulty in what should be the happiest times in their lives. This new location brings with it the ability to offer some exciting new collaborations and innovative services to accommodate for the current ‘new normal’, fearlessly defending the magic a Rebekah’s Bridal and Occasion Wear experience offers.
What made you start this journey out of the corporate financial advising world and into that of a bridal boutique and dressmaking?
It became apparent to me that an affordable but professional experience for custom made dresses just didn’t exist. I wanted to be able to find someone who could design a dress personal for me and not just make a dress that I could wear. So I decided to create this experience, to offer a range of fabrics, styles and silhouettes to suit the person who would be wearing it through Bridal-wear consultation and designing, not just dressmaking.
What is it that has made Rebekah’s Bridal & Occasion Wear so successful?
I believe there are two sides to our success – the level of attention and appreciation that we have for our customers and our approach to keeping the customer at the centre of our business decisions. For instance, we ask detailed but relevant questions from our customers before a swatch of fabric even passes through our fingertips. We’re also very transparent with what we offer through our social media platforms. Whilst on the other side of the business, we only make partnerships with other providers in the industry that we believe will better our brides (a lot of which we have Bride Club ME to thank for). This includes rewarding clients for referrals, collaborating in exciting wedding projects that best showcase our work alongside others and of course most importantly, taking care of the dream team.
How has the industry changed since you started in 2015?
Social media has definitely had a direct and visible impact on the style industry, causing trends to change rapidly and designers to rise to competition like never before. And this has affected buying trends too, in an effort to remain unique and to stand out as every bride should, they aren’t just looking for that one dream dress anymore, they’re often looking for a second dress or even a single dress with a two-look option; transitional dresses with versatile add-ons have definitely become more popular whilst maintaining a level of comfortability for the bride to enjoy her day as much as she looks good at it. I’ve also noticed a re-modelling and re-styling family gowns of sentimental value which perhaps comes with the welcomed idea of sustainability in the bridal industry. Brides-to-be are definitely more aware of shopping for their shape and not just the in-style now too with a big increase in colour-ways for dresses to include contrasting linings and blush/champagne/pastel tones, adding more variety to what can be offered.
What have you done to keep current?
Well, we’ve always offered detailed consultations for our brides because they know best about how they want to look, but they often might not know how to communicate that. So we include a wedding dress quiz to extract the info we need to get it right. We’ve also expanded our team to include another bridal-wear consultant and hold regular meetings with other industry vendors to gauge current trends and emerging preferences. And of course, we pride ourselves on having the latest fabrics purchased from further than just the local market.
Then of course the Pandemic happened, forcing a lot of bridal businesses to find unique solutions for survival if at all, what was your initial plan of action and did that evolve as time went on?
Creating a safe environment for our customers and staff was absolute of utmost importance to us throughout so bridal consultations were strictly by appointment only. The Rebekah team created valuable resources and checklists to manage, asking questions that brides normally wouldn’t need to think about. We also created an online form to help brides and our team understand what a bride-to-be was looking for in her wedding dress reducing consultation time and then we kept those dresses matching the style and size of the bride specific per appointment. And for brides who weren’t able to come to the boutique, we introduced virtual appointments.
As we have limited the bridal appointments to three persons maximum, there are times when close family members are unable to be present at the appointment. For this, we have full ability to accommodate for Zoom meetings so that extended family members and bridal party can be part of the consultation. We also help brides take pictures and videos to help make an informed decision.
As many weddings were postponed and locations changed, we worked hard to speed-track the making of some of the wedding dresses to meet new deadlines of brought forward wedding dates due to short notice closing of travel restriction. This also meant that some of our brides had to alter the dress like adding long sleeves and extra lining as the wedding venue was moved to much cooler climates.
So, whilst others scaled back, you expanded – Was this expansion already a part of your business plan, did you bring it about early, push through as planned or is this something you decided upon because of world developments?
We’ve always believed in operating within a budget and although we’ve grown exponentially over the past five years and although we’ve added some new changes every year, we see this most recent move as more of natural consistent growth than an expansion of business. Before this, we refrained from taking big steps that may not last the test of time and the ever-changing and evolving economic climate. That is really the only reason that there hasn’t been a major expansion sooner. But the time came to be able to accommodate for our organic growth as a result of word of mouth and high customer satisfaction.
We’re happy to have been able to make the recent move well within our existing budget and were able to take advantage of the recent decrease in commercial rental rates. And now, our new expansive boutique space has allowed us to offer wedding dresses from other wedding dress designers for our brides-to-be.
How did you choose your new premise, what are your favourite things about it in comparison to your last location?
We definitely have a lot more space now than ever, this also helps us to maintain comfortable social distance whilst in operation; we have a spacious customer area, atelier, bridal consultation rooms and even a showroom for new designer bridal wear. There’s also a big bonus of convenience added for our customers with its location having easy access to Al Khail road. And importantly, ample parking options with a dedicated parking area.
What else is new?
As mentioned, our larger showroom means that we have been able to collaborate with other dress designers and we’re thrilled to be showcasing the works of Maggie Sottero as the exclusive retailers for Maggie Sottero Designs in the Middle East! A global leading bridal brand, Maggie Sottero designs timeless wedding gowns in various styles and silhouettes at affordable prices. Brides-to-be are most welcome to our boutique to try the Maggie Sottero along with Rebecca Ingram dresses. Designs from the 2021 collection will be arriving at our boutique this month.
Have you noticed any developing trends with brides and their bridal gown requests during the pandemic?
Love wasn’t cancelled! The party is going to happen and it is still going to be fabulous! Where there used to be save-the-date cards, there are now ‘save-the-new-date’ announcements. But now, brides-to-be are giving more importance to creating beautiful and meaningful memories and experiences over aesthetics and sweating over the small stuff as well as including new traditions like epic announcement pictures & wedding styled shoots. With many choosing to go ahead with smaller civil marriages rather than wait or postpone their weddings, many brides have swayed towards choosing shorter dresses, a pantsuit or jumpsuit. There has also been an increase in outdoor, garden and beach weddings for increased safety measures, which are also changing what brides are looking for in a dress.
What is your vision for the future of Rebekah’s Bridals?
I have so many things in the pipeline, but most importantly, The Jessy Rebekah wedding dress label will bring out more styles for the modern yet romantic bride. We’ve planned to be featuring wedding dresses from other international wedding dress designers later this year as well as more bridal accessories and bridal jewellery from international bridal vendors for brides to choose from so watch this space.
And lastly, what advice do you have for our Bride Club readers and those navigating dress shopping during the pandemic?
No matter how it is happening, it’s still your day – your style, but keep in mind the style of the venue. Always shop for your body shape & type, one dress looking fabulous on someone else does not guarantee that it will look its best on you. With things flipping and changing so fast, try to make allowances for your dress to have the flexibility to change if needed with versatile add-ons like sleeves, detachable overskirt, extra warm lining, bolero, cape etc. It will also do you well to keep constant communication with your wedding planner and all wedding vendors, make sure you and they are aware of the government guidelines for weddings in the venue country.
That’s certainly sound advice Jessy and that which we echo! We’ve loved watching your journey thus far and can’t wait to see so many more beautiful moments created by you and your team from your new location. For more information about Rebekah’s Bespoke Tailoring, click on their Bride Club ME vendor listing, or head straight to their website.