I have been threatening to write Lucy’s blog post for months now. Leah has entreated me not to do another thing before I start, finish and publish.
Lucy probably doesn’t know the position she occupies in Miss Bush history. Work life balance is a myth; my personal life, my family, my bread-winning, my business are all one and the same. Intrinsically linked and tangled. One informing and involving the other. Lucy was one of the first brides to be ‘Old Bush’ and ‘ New Bush ‘ We first met at the first Brides the Show, our first appointment was at the old shop and the last fitting was under the vaulted ceiling of The Chapel.
My annus horribilus that was 2014 saw the worst rain in years tear through the dilapidated structure of the old shop and wreck our alarm and comms. Our old credit card provider held a gun to our head effectively demanding £300k with menaces. We were hit by an £8000 shoplifting spree by career criminals,. A ceiling collapsed due to the slow drip of a leaking water tank bringing with it the ghastly reveal of unsafe structural timbers. An agonising visit from the loss adjusters brought to light that were woefully under-insured, our lease was murkily impenetrable and our old landlord intractable. The vast sums of money spent make me shudder. This was trumped with the most nonsensical legal claim (eventually thrown out of court by a judge after months of torment and solicitors fees) from a previous bride that included a final sting claiming loss of earnings… The old shop suddenly had bad karma and was dragging us spiritually down with it.
Our move to The Chapel was a visibly a glittering success carved out by an invisible, exhausting & extended family effort to burn the midnight oil, the dawn oil in fact any kind of metaphor involving candles at both ends will do. From a non existent budget we created a very special place.
Would spirituality and kindness seep into the stones of a Chapel? Does design vision coupled with a committed family work ethic create a more nurturing environment?
Lucy was drawn to Miss Bush by Chromium yellow capes and dramatic stripes on the Brides The Show stand where we had designed and engineered a fully experiential stand design. From smell to sight, touch and taste a new concept of retailing was being born – the candle designed to scent the stand now perfumes the Chapel.
At Lucy’s last fitting, her standing standing in her platinum Jenny Packham dress with dramatic Biba jacket and flame red hair I realised that the most brilliant thing about my experiment with ‘contemporary experiential retailing’ is that it’s not a an experiment. This is a personal vision that attracts like minded brides and that is pretty much perfect. For us.
I haven’t been able to write for some time as the horror of the previous year made me fearful of the keyboard. Nobody needs to read about collapsing to one’s knees with exhaustion. Nobody need to hear me railing against ‘the man’ and the many faced morally bankrupt legal and financial institutions I have had to deal with. I may not have been trusted to be balanced or fair – or worse still not funny!
Now, a year on with balance I can start to write again. To take time to enjoy what Miss Bush creates for brides. I can remember as clear as it if yesterday marveling at Lucy’s show choices – helping with the jacket selection, lusting over her Mum Rebecca’s Prada MOB dress and bridesmaid Chelsea’s cute as a button bridesmaid dress. The intimate discussion about bras, the faffing with headdresses – the little luxuries and the closeness that make bridal retail sometimes the best job in the world.
Maunsel House, the venue chosen by Lucy and Tim is just lush in the greatest sense of the word. Decadent, relaxed, unique – the perfect Bohemian, hippy luxe paradise perfect for creative arts-loving couple.