A HAT shop owner hopes to add another feather to her cap after being shortlisted for the English Wedding Awards.
Liz Devine Wright, of Simply Devine, Tadcaster, is under the 2022 Regional Bridal Boutique and Accessory Supplier of the Year and Specialist Wedding Supplier categories. She had previously won both in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The awards, which did not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, celebrate the best in the wedding industry; from photographers and makeup artists to venues and celebrants.
A spokesperson said: “These awards are now recognized as the premier celebration to highlight those who have demonstrated excellence in the industry.
“The aim is to recognize all those in this industry who have demonstrated skill, commitment and have customer satisfaction as a top priority in their business.”
Simply Devine, which was forced to close as a non-essential store during the pandemic, opened in 2014 to specialize in mother of the bride/groom hats.
Liz also created her own collections and branched out into wholesale as a boutique and bridal wear supplier.
Her company offers bridal hats, wedding hatinators and fascinators, along with headwear for modern, second-time and mature brides who don’t want a traditional veil and tiara.
She said: “Business for everyone in the wedding industry has been particularly difficult. The number of weddings was limited and receptions prohibited, so many couples postponed their fairy tale weddings or went to the registry office with very close family.
“Race meetings have also been banned, so we’ve lost our customers – those who like to dress up for special occasions, whether it’s going to the races or for mothers of the bride or groom.”
Customers started returning to venues in late 2021 as the wedding industry reopened.
“We have weathered this particular storm since we own our premises and inventory and have no debt. Many other high street businesses haven’t been so lucky, even the big stores have disappeared,” said Liz, whose business turns 18 in February.
“Simply Devine also sells its own designs to other boutiques across the country, and as the pandemic hit, we offered to cancel their forward orders that would have shipped in early 2020, as we realized how much this was going to be difficult for other small businesses.
“Simply Devine has always offered online shopping, but realizing the added potential during lockdown, we have opened new outlets on some of the major online shopping platforms, in addition to our own online presence.
“Our hats have been sent all over the world – to the United States, Dubai, Australia, Africa and Europe, but there are vast untapped markets for our beautiful products, so we hope to reach an audience of online customers. much wider in 2022.”
The winners of the English Wedding Awards will be announced on February 21.