Name: Alera Kingham
Job Title/role: Director, White Lily Couture
Tell us a little about White Lily Couture:
White Lily Couture is an exclusive, by appointment only, bridal store on Park Road in Milton, in Brisbane’s inner west. We offer a broad range of designer bridal gowns from around the world in a luxurious, relaxed and private environment. White Lily Couture moved to Park Road in Milton about four years ago and the two storey frontage works beautifully, filling our boutique with natural light. We are one of the few bridal stores in the region that work strictly by appointment, allowing use to provide our brides-to-be with personalised, one-on-one service.
You only recently bought White Lily Couture, what attracted you to the business?
My background is in wedding planning and styling and I also worked in retail management for some time. The opportunity to take on White Lily Couture felt like a natural and easy progression and allows me to combine my passions in the wedding and service industries. We also fell in love with the space and the potential that such a unique business offered.
What were the first changes you made?
We had a rather long list when we took over last August and I’m quite proud of what we have achieved in what feels like such a short time. The website was a priority as we wanted to refresh and modernise our online image. Last year more than 95 per cent of customers found White Lily Couture via the website so it was crucial to us that we got this right from the very beginning!
We also gave the boutique a sophisticated and luxurious new look which, I must admit, was a lot of fun … I’ll never get tired of buying beautiful new pieces of furniture! I’m an attention-to-detail person so being able to personalise the store was a real thrill and it gives me great satisfaction to see our clients enjoy the space.
Sheen Media designed your new website. How has it gone since the launch?
We are incredibly happy with the response to the website. On the first day we launched the website we received an immediate surge of traffic and enquiries. It was instantly noticeable that brides were liking what they found! Combining our new look image with an easy to navigate, simple design has worked wonders. I love the fact that we are up front and transparent and our clients have picked up on this. By providing an abundance of images, along with detailed information about each gown and a pricing structure, there are no unwelcome surprises when brides visit us in store. The SEO has also played a large role in ensuring that our clients can find us with ease.
What was the main thing you set out to achieve with the new website?
We wanted to set ourselves apart from our competition; we wanted brides to be able to ’browse’ our collection before they set foot in the door. We saw it as our chance to showcase the unique quality of the business and create anticipation. It also goes without saying that increasing traffic and enquiries was at the top of our list!
How do your customers use the website?
We’ve noticed a definite map in which customers browse the website which is just as I had hoped. Every bride wants to see images and their appetite for inspiration is never ending. Having an image-based site enables our clients to browse our collections until their hearts content and then follow some simple prompts to schedule an appointment.
Besides investing in a new website, what other ways do you market your business? What hasn’t worked for you?
We have remained unique by limiting our marketing and advertising to online mediums. Ten years ago it was all about the bridal magazine and the more magazines you advertised in the better! These days brides are more savvy and the internet provides them with an endless selection of bridal gown images to search through. What better way to place ourselves than by focusing on the places where brides are shopping, browsing and planning—right there on their desktop, iPad and iPhone.
We have noticed you are very active on Social Media. What tips have you picked up along the way?
I’m a big believer in social media. Our key demographic are using Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, not to mention other social media apps, so being on these sites allows us to share what we do in a progressive way. I love the fact that every time I post something on Facebook or pin an image on Pinterest, I’m actually advertising … It’s a much friendlier way to be on your customer’s radar without slapping them in the face with your brand! However, I do limit my social media avenues and prefer to choose two or three sites to focus on and do really well, rather than try and spread myself thin over too many other sites. Otherwise, I worry that I risk leaving myself with no life whatsoever!
What exciting plan do you have for White Lily in the future?
We are excited to bring some new and exciting designers on board that are not yet available in Queensland. This is always a thrill and gives our brides even more of a reason to visit us! We also look forward to further expansion to ensure that our business continues to grow and evolve.