My name is Gail Bell and I own a bespoke headpiece and jewellery company called Rocks For Frocks. I started my business late in life – 45 and I'm now 57. I got married and had my children quite young. I had been to college and did a course in jewellery making and design, but ended up training in computing.
I worked in computing and office management for a long time, but I always made things as a hobby. A friend was a bridesmaid and showed me some headpieces the bride had looked at and I said – I can make that and I did. At the same time my daughter was studying fashion branding and marketing at university, we came up with the business name, she created a logo and booked me into a wedding fair at the convention centre in Liverpool. I then got a stall at Greaty Market every Saturday for a year while working full time. A chance meeting with another stall holder led me to taking a shop at the Wedding House, it was then that I decided to give up my job and try it for a year; 12 years later I'm still going and my daughter still helps. I started the business with £400.
I am self taught with the headpieces, mostly working with wire, Swarovski crystals and pearls, I realised that there was a market for brides wanting something special and different for their weddings. I sit with ladies and chat about their weddings, look at the detailing on the dresses, talk about hair and what they want to achieve. I want brides to have a lovely experience, have a bit of a fuss made of them and love to hear about their weddings. I have girls who just come in for a chat, sometimes their friends don’t want to hear about their plans but I will listen all day.
I find it really difficult to be creative on demand so there will be months when I don’t do anything new and then all of a sudden find myself making a whole new collection in a couple of days. Find your own style and just do you.
When I first started there was a lot of emphasis on building the business, getting bigger, expanding and that is the way I went. I was given a contract with a national wedding website to supply their headpieces. I thought this was a great opportunity and I was so busy with orders, until I realised that actually I was working for peanuts and stressing myself out. So I decided to give that up and just concentrate on my own work at my own pace. If I rush it's never good, I like to take a bit of time and care with my pieces.
From working as a manager in a construction firm, I realised how easy it is to struggle for cash flow in business and I have always been cautious to pay up front for anything I buy, don’t get into a situation where you end up owing a lot of money to suppliers. I didn’t spend a lot fitting out my shop, I started simple and bought new furniture when I could afford it. I'm a crafty person so I make a lot of the displays in my shop. It works with what I do as well.
Its great to meet up with other people in the wedding business, I like collaborating on photo shoots with other businesses. You will meet people who are fab and remain firm friends, you will meet people who aren't and you learn to realise who they are!
Covid-19 has given me a chance to sit back and reassess life. I have been working at home on the kitchen table and have actually enjoyed it when I didn’t think I would, although being motivated when the sun shines is difficult!
Rocks on Frocks have an offer on the Style Card of 15% across their product ranges through online and instore purchases.
You can contact Gail on:
Facebook: Rocks For Frocks
Telephone No: 0796 239 2557
Address: 3-4 Great George Place, Liverpool, L1 7AG