Instagram can be a glorious place sometimes! It can give you great wedding inspiration, you can show off your honeymoon to everyone and in this instance, you can meet some brilliant people. And that is what happened with I Do Silver and Revival Bridal Boutique in Cardiff.
Instagram is where we met and where we starting to build a great relationship that has given us both so many benefits. Including this deliciously funny interview between myself and Sam, the owner and maker of all the dresses in Revival Bridal Boutique.
Sam and I met up in his shop in Castle Emporium in the centre of Cardiff and we chewed the fat for a good hour. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Sam, and he has dropped some absolute belters during this interview. I laughed out loud so much and it is time for you to have a read and giggle through this unique and fascinating interview!
I’ve spilt this interview up into two parts so that you’re not reading too much! In part one we talk about a range of topics, including his business, some of his future plans, what makes Revival Bridal Boutique unique and more great information.
Once you’ve read Part 1, continue the interview with part 2
A Heads Up
I like my things to be real, I didn’t want this interview to be a tame, fake write up that gives you nothing and means nothing. I told this to Sam at the start and he loved it! So, be warned, this is a very real and juicy interview. If you get offended easily, well then…
The interview was firstly recorded and transcribed by a phenomenal person who I am so grateful for transcribing it! It would have taken me days! This being said, I haven’t changed anything that Sam has said, but I have slightly edited it so that it reads better in blog format. I’ve tried to make it as readable as possible for you all. Sam liked to jump from one part of a conversation to another, this I found really fun, but obviously reading some of it might not make sense, but that’s just how the conversation went.
The heads up is done! Now time to dig into Revival Bridal Boutique and Sam!
An Interview with Revival Bridal Boutique
Revival Bridal Boutique
Entering Castle Emporium on Womanby Street Cardiff is like entering a different world of Cardiff. It is a hidden gem that must be visited when you are in Cardiff. With great coffee from Finco Coffee and lots of small boutique businesses with unusual and amazing shops you are guaranteed to find something interesting.
On the upper floor, in one of the corners you will find a bridal shop like no other, and also a truly cracking moustache. There, Sam sits in Revival Bridal Boutique conjuring up new and unique ideas for one-of-a-kind and eco-friendly wedding dresses at are spectacular.
Here, we sit in his shop, drinking coffee with the dresses surrounding us and his magnificently large mirror as our back drop. Now the fun begins.
Sam: So, what would you like to know Robert?
Rob: Easy as, just speak and have fun. Be unconventional and controversial. (According to my transcriber I “*giggles*” at this point! Haha).
Sam: Controversial? So, this isn’t really on the controversial thing but I’m dying to get some men in here that want to wear dresses on their wedding day. I don’t know if anyone out there like wants to? It’s not something I would want to do, but Fi my other half, when he was younger, he used to call himself “trans-fashion”. He wouldn’t call himself transgender but he would wear women’s clothing and he’s got long hair as well so he would style that and blur that line a little bit. So off the back of that I was like… I don’t care who comes into the shop. If someone wants to have a wedding dress, then you should have a wedding dress. I love it. But then that’s what I want to be able to do.
I had a wedding fayre, and I had a woman come up to me. She was South African, she was quite, just very non-British. You know how British people are like “oh I’m getting married in a church hall by blablabla”.
So, this woman said that she was getting married in a ruined abbey and I was like “oh my god”, all of a sudden I was like “I love you”. She said “we’re having a medieval wedding” and she said everyone she’s spoken to had turned their nose up at her and said “no no you can’t do that”.
Basically, her and her husband do Ceroc dancing, I don’t know apparently it’s kind of jivey. But she wants a traditional flowy gown for her ceremony but she wants her skirt to rip off to reveal this sassy sexy number during her first dance, and I was like “oh my god, I need to be a part of this” and I literally went straight into full salesman mode. I just want to do it, we did talk the business side and prices etc. but I’m so hoping that I’ll get an email from her because she was just the quirkiest thing and the fact that she wants a revealed dress for the middle of her first dance, I was like… I need you.
And then she said something about going into some 50s mid-thigh length number with a flowing skirt and I was like…hope you’ve got the appropriate underwear on, you know what I mean… f**king hell.
Question 1 – Tell us about who Sam is
So, born and bred in Cornwall, you know what they say about Cornish boys. Cornish boy, Cornish bred, strong in the arm and good in bed. All true. Except I have no upper body strength, but luckily between the sheets it’s all good. *laughs*
(According to my transcriber I’m “*Rob is laughing pretty f**king hard right now*”)
Then I moved to Cardiff 10 years ago to study costume. I’m originally a costume maker. My gran used to cut patterns for vogue magazine. She used to go to the fashion shows and look at a dress and think “okay how has that person made that”. And would cut patterns for Vogue Magazine that average Joe could sew. This is when people were big into making their own clothes, whereas now we’re all about fast fashion.
So that’s how I got into the sewing thing and then decided to do it professionally. And then I made a wedding dress for my friend maybe 5 years ago, and then I got into the whole wedding side of things and then yeah.
Question 2 – Why did you start Revival Bridal Boutique?
So very boring story, because I’m approaching 30 and I listen to Radio 2 in the daytime. I was listening to Jeremy Vine talk about global warming and I’ve been into single use plastic and reduce, re-use, recycle and all that.
And because I love sewing as well, I thought why not do glamorous recycling as well and recycle wedding dresses? And it kind of snowballed form there really. Also in that same couple of days I found this place (Castle Emporium). I came in and they had units to let and it all just organically happened from there really. Without sounding too w**ky, it was the right thing at the right time. How pretentious does that sound? *laughs*.
Question 3 – What was your process in creating the business and have you got any advice for other people who want to create a business in this space?
I think the key is to not spend too much. I didn’t have a huge amount on capital, but I had a lot of dresses donated to me from my mum, my friends, my gran’s loft. My gran’s got a lot of vintage fabrics and she was like “you won’t want to do it when I’m dead so you might as well do it now”.
It’s really nice with this business because I’m not tied to this place for like 5 years, so it’s a bit of trial and error. I haven’t had any business coaching or anything like that. I’ve just begged, borrowed and stolen information from everyone. My mum works in PR and HR so she does accounts and stuff so she’s been looking after my books for me.
Fi’s quite good on Photoshop so he’s been putting together ads and bits on social media. So it’s just using everyone, drawing on everyone’s strengths that don’t mind giving their time to you so that you can try to keep costs down until obviously you can get things going a bit.
So yeah just use people around you, use their strengths, but make them feel good about it *laughs*.
Rob: Are you sure you didn’t do philosophy in university? *laughs*
Sam: *laughs* No no I just come up with all this proverbial quotes s**t.
Question 4 – What makes Revival Bridal Boutique Unique?
So, our uniqueness is that all our wedding dresses are eco-friendly, ethical and bespoke pieces. So, there’s only one-of-a-kind of them, you won’t see any of these dresses anywhere else.
When brides come to us, they know that the dress that they say yes to will be the only one of its kind, so that’s something I like to pride the business on.
But also the fact that they’re essentially looking after the planet. There’s so many fabrics that are still so amazing that aren’t being used, and they can do their bit to stop wasting water, chemicals going into the environment, bloody slave labour… not slave labour… what do they call it? Unethical… factory workers?
I was at a wedding fair and it was the first one I’ve done where there was another bridal boutique there. So, I went to chat to her because obviously I don’t run a conventional boutique in the sense that brides don’t come in and yell “that dress” and order it in a size 16 and take it in. It’s a very creative experience here.
And she even said to me “to be honest most of these dresses are made in China anyway so I get them dirt cheap” and my reaction was “that’s exactly what I don’t want to be”. Getting cheap dresses in and flogging them for £2000, and the people/person who made have been paid less than £10 and being treated really badly in terrible working conditions. The dress has thousands of air miles on it just for her to go and sell it in her boutique.
But that’s essentially what I didn’t want from my boutique, so it’s completely different to any other bridal boutique in the sense that you don’t have the air miles, unethical trade or the chemicals going into the environment. And we also don’t use any single use plastics. I try to limit things in my life that are used once and then thrown away.
But yeah with certain things it is inevitable so I don’t push the fact that I’m completely zero waste because there are things beyond my control that I use that are single use plastic. So, I don’t want to pretend that I’m not you know? Don’t want to be that person!
Question 5 – What are you trying to achieve with Revival Bridal Boutique?
Sam: I just want to make my millions *laughs*.
Rob: *laughs* Don’t we all.
Sam: *laughs* You know what, it’s not even a money thing. It’s more of an ethics thing. God, I sound like I’m on top of the f**king moral high ground don’t I, I’m really not that kind of person. I just really want to bring a different avenue of reduce, reuse and recycle to the community.
The dresses aren’t hugely expensive for what they are; some have been made from scratch, and I probably could be charging a lot more. I want it to be open and accessible for everyone so we can have a wider target market. I want to highlight awareness of the water, chemicals and ethos beyond fast fashion. A lot of wedding dresses follow the same concept of fast fashion; where they get worn for a day and I want to eventually highlight that as an issue as well.
You know just because you’re getting married doesn’t mean you have to have all of these single use items. And yes it is about the dress, and when people come here I want them to feel special and it is a big thing to choose your dress, but also to be more conscious of the impact and the environment.
Don’t get me wrong, some people do just want a big fat gypsy wedding and have a dress made in China and pay £80 for it on eBay but that’s up to them. I’ll be waving at them from the top of my moral mountain *laughs* I’ve never felt preachy before now but all of a sudden I feel like a Jehovah’s Witness banging on someone’s door ramming the bloody bible down people’s throat but anyway.
I think Cardiff, where there’s been vegan restaurants opening now, and Ripple opening. There has been movements recently and that’s a culture that’s been growing where people are more aware of where their products etc, are coming from.
End of Part 1
Where to find Sam and Revival Bridal Boutique
You can find Revival Bridal Boutique in all the usual places online. Sam has made a great Instagram account @revivalbridal. He also has Facebook @revivalbridalboutique and Twitter @revival_bridal, but he has said he doesn’t really use that!
Make sure to read part 2 of my interview with Revival Bridal Boutique and Sam. In Part 2 we will be talking about his favourite dresses, weding advice he has for brides, wedding stories and more.
As you can read, Sam is an absolutely great guy and if you are looking for something unique and different for your wedding or a more eco-friendly dress then check him out!
So you know, there is no affiliate link between I Do Silver and Revival Bridal Boutique. I just want to bring you great content from truly awesome people within the wedding industry. If you believe you offer something different to people for their wedding day then please get in touch. At I Do Silver we love collaborating and getting to meet new and interesting people.