Interview with Carla & Hello May

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  1. How long have you been working in the fashion industry / how did you get started?
I have been working in the fashion industry for just over 4 years now. I couldn’t find a wedding dress on the Gold Coast, dresses were either too princess-like or bohemian for me and I just wanted something in the middle. I designed my own dress, then another, and before I knew it, I had 12 dresses in my first collection. MWL was born!
2. Did you study fashion or are you self-taught?
 
No I didn’t! Selt taught, lots of youtube sessions and research. My mum is a dress maker and she taught me what fits / styles work together and has guided me with my designs.
3. What inspired you to start your own bridal label?
 
I just couldn’t find anything out there that was ‘me’. I thought, other girls have to be in my shoes as well! I was to create a personal experience for every bride. I wanted brides to feel beautiful, sexy, and comfortable without breaking the bank account.
4. What’s the story behind the name ‘Made With Love’?
We are a family based business. My mum helps me with the designs and our Quality control team, my twin sister is an account manager for our stockists, my brother is the Director for all the European and UK stockists in London, my Dad is our accountant, my husband looks after the the stockists in the US, my Aunty is one of the many quality control Ladies, my older sister manages the Sydney store. I ran out of family members to employ LOL. We now have 55 seamstresses and 15 in admin / quality control at our head office on the Gold Coast.
5. Where are you based?
 
The head office is above the boutique in Varsity Lakes on the Gold Coast. We have a store in Sydney and Adelaide and another head office in London.
6. Do you have a shopfront / where you do you ship?
 
Yes we have a boutique on level 2 and we ship worldwide.
7. Where are you stocked?
We have 3 MWL stores on the Gold Coast, Sydney and Adelaide. We have 76 stockists in USA, Canada, London, Germany, South Africa, Ireland, Turkey, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and throughout Australia.
8. What five words would best describe your signature style?
 
Classic, sexy, timeless, fun and comfortable.
9. Where do you source your fabric?
All over the world! From New York, to France to Taiwan.
10. Talk us through your collection… (style, pricing, inspiration)
 
We have 3 collections. One from AUD$1200-$1900 which is fun, elegant and affordable. Our next collection price range is between $2000-$2700 which has a bit more detail than our first collection. We are all about low backs, fitted dresses with plunging necklines. Our 3rd collection is our Luxe Collection which takes double the time to make, all hand beaded and the laces are from all over Europe. This collection ranges from AUD$3000-$3700.
11. What is your most popular style?
 
Frankie or Sasha. A V front, V back, fitted dress with a beautiful train. We have seen all shapes and sizes in these dresses and they just look amazing on any bride!
12. What’s your favourite part of the design process?
 
Seeing the dress come to life. I feel like each dress has a personality and matches that personality. I also love directing photoshoots.
13. Who or what are your key sources of inspiration?
 
This sounds cliché, but my inspiration is our brides. The way they style my dresses to their own just makes me push my boundaries when designing. I also listen to what brides are wanting and I always have meetings with my stylists to see the brides feedback on their appointments over the weekend.
14. What are your core values? / What sets you apart from other brands?
 
We do everything with love. Honestly, every email, every design, every bride, every dress, every comment on social media, we pour our heart and soul into MWL and I am so very lucky to have a team who does this with me.
15. Have you had any career highlights that you’re really proud of?
 
Being labeled one of the cool girl brands from Vogue; Vogue also saying we are number 2 in the best kept secrets for Australian designers; Frankie being labeled as the best design from Lauren Conrad; a MWL girl featured in the Vogue magazine; covers of magazine, multiple features in ComoBride, Anthology contacting me to design dresses exclusively for them, Bloomingdales wanting to stock MWL, features on countless blogs / magazines / editorials. We are so appreciative of EVERYTHING!
16. What has been the biggest challenge so far?
 
We have grown very quickly. I mean, we had 5 stockists this time last year and we now have over 75. Moving offices 3 times, warehouses, employing staff. It’s very stressful and overwhelming but we did it!
17. Who would be your dream celebrity client?
 
Kendal Jenner. I know that is cheesy but she is so flipping gorgeous and reminds me of a girl next door! I would love her to wear one of my dresses.
18. If you weren’t designing wedding dresses, you’d be….?
 
Marketing Manager at a company probably.
19. Are you a designer who embraces trends or steers clear of them?
 
We embrace them, but I won’t design a dress that I don’t think will sell. We love receiving feedback from our brides daily and we base the next design on this.
20. What can we expect to see from Made With Love in the future?
 
I never expected MWL to be where we are in my widest dreams. My friends always say, “are your dreams coming true with MWL?” but I cant say that I dreamt of going to NYFW. I never thought I would ever go to NYFW and have over 65 appointments with stores wanting my dresses. It’s so crazy to me still! No matter how big we get, I just want to stay true to myself, my designs and my brides. That all I care about. I never want to not answer an email, or say no to that new photographer starting out who wants to borrow one of my dresses. Because I was there when I started MWL, and I appreciated it so much when people wanted to work with me.
21. What advice would you give to brides who are looking for their wedding dress and don’t know where to start?
 
 
Do your research. Chose a dress that symbolises you. Don’t let your bridesmaids influence your choice, this is your day!
22. Do you have a mantra you live by or a favourite quote?
 
Team work to make the dream work!
23. Were any of your gowns named after real women – maybe a sister, your mum or a bestie who played a role in you becoming the designer you are today?
 
Yes, most of my dresses are named after my sisters / friends. I then ran out of friends LOL I now name them after my brides ????
24. Do you have a personal favourite gown from the current collection / why?
 
Georgie in crepe. Her fit is unreal, you feel like a total goddess in her. She is so simple, so elegant and this dress will forever be timeless and beautiful.
25. Who is your personal style icon?
 
I have a girl crush on Samantha Wills.
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