Bridonista - Sarah Stöbe, Managing Director of hochzeitsrausch Brautmoden, launches her own collection
Bridal Times had the opportunity to speak to Sarah Stöbe, Managing Director of hochzeitsrausch Brautmoden, about the launch of her new BRIDONISTA collection and the inspiration behind it.
As Managing Director of hochzeitsrausch and Head Designer of the newly launched Bridonista, tell us a little about your background.
Bridal fashion developed into my great passion in a roundabout way, actually I had something completely different in mind for my professional life. My first great love was European politics; I studied at the University of Maastricht for a long time and can call a Bachelor in European Studies and another in European Public Health my own. But as life sometimes goes, I met my husband, Rene, fell in love, and immersed myself in a world of glitter, tulle and lace. Initially, I was just a namesake, but over the years, hochzeitsrausch took a bigger and bigger place in my life until I was appointed as Managing Director at the end of 2017. The special beauty and uniqueness of hochzeitsrausch is not only its rapid development, but also its changeability. As an entrepreneur, I love change, new beginnings, challenges, and most of all, dream women in dream dresses. On my journey through sales and advising brides on a daily basis, I have not only learned a lot about people, but also found myself. I have dabbled in bridal fashion, flown all over the world for dresses, had various designers hanging on my rods; and yet I had the desire to not only select products myself, but also be able to design them. The idea of supporting sales from the drawing board onwards appeals to and fascinates me.
What inspired you to found Bridonista?
My daily work is determined by the search for the dream dress; in doing so, I attach great importance to being an active part of my sales areas; I heartily enjoy going into consultations or supporting colleagues. First and foremost, it's about women who want to express their happiness and rediscover themselves in a world they don't know; secondly, it's about economic success. The magic of bridal fashion for me are those precious moments when we work out the perfect dress and discuss different styles and fits - I would describe myself as a "Sales Floor Girl at Heart".
I founded Bridonista by and for my brides, their wishes and needs inspire me. Not only do I incorporate modern trends into my designs, but my focus is on a good fit and stable corsages. If the dress already fits well in the consultation and offers a lot of wearing comfort, it is much easier for the customer to imagine the perfect look in the dream dress and to say "yes" to the wedding dress.
Long Story Short: Bridonista combines feedback from countless consultations with my expertise, modern product development. I would like to emphasise that I love to learn and to develop and expand my collections in a future-oriented way. Currently, Bridonista comprises three collections with almost a hundred different designs, and further ideas are already under construction.
Would you say that your long experience in a bridal fashion shop had an influence on some of your designs?
Bridonista wants to combine the best of design and sales, and make happy not only the "fashionista" with high demands on design and material composition; but also the "bride" who chooses the dream dress with her heart. I see my many years of experience in selling dream dresses as an essential basis and superpower when it comes to building a collection. Even if sales has not learned the design, we bridal stylists and stylists know exactly which looks are popular and where the respective strengths and weaknesses of the different models can be found. This knowledge flows into my value chain, and my aim is to design modern products with an attractive price-performance ratio. I also see the fact that I can test prototypes on my space and only invest in stock when I consider the designs to be mature and commercial as a particular advantage.
Let's think outside the box! Bridonista doesn't want to be just a commercial product for hochzeitsrausch; it has the ambition to be represented in a future-oriented way at selected bridal retailers throughout Europe.
What are some highlights or trends that have been incorporated into the Bridonista collection? Have you noticed a particular style or trend that is currently very popular with your brides?
Since starting Bridonista about a year ago, I have designed three different collections. Looking to the future, I see these collections not only at hochzeitsrausch, but I would like to move into wholesale - I consider myself lucky to have already received the first enquiries.
The Bridonista Glam Collection stands for couture, lightness and answers the wishes of a real fashionista. From modern designs in lingerie look with transparent corsages to classic lace, romantic 3D flowers and glitter tulle; the bride will find everything to make her heart beat faster. In the last two years, bridal fashion has been led by bohemian and vintage trends, and even though this trend is still bought as a priority; more and more brides want a cool, modern style, without a lot of chichi. The Bridonista Glams celebrate the revival of mikado, satin, and crêpe; with a focus on clean cuts and attention to detail in the design process. As a saleswoman, designer and woman, I love the leg slit found in many Bridonista styles.
My answer to boho is the Bridonista Identity Collection. Here the bride will find 17 lace corsages with modern necklines, all of which can be combined with either a chiffon skirt - with or without leg slit - or a tulle skirt - with or without glitter tulle. In this collection, the bride's natural beauty is at the centre, the focus is on self-confidence and identity.
In the 2023 sale, changeability is a big theme; brides want to be able to help design their dream dress and incorporate individual wishes. For this reason, every Bridonista collection offers a wide range of lining colours, glitter tulle options, and skirts can be changed to suit your taste.
What Bridonista will surprise you with in 2024 and what I would describe as a trend in the future remains my secret - let me surprise you!
Is there one dress you are particularly excited about?
Definitely not, I am enthusiastic about women in dream dresses, and convinced that a dress only shines with its wearer. I see my personal enthusiasm and passion for a wedding dress reflected in the bride's tears of joy.
Of course, I am also enthusiastic about good closing rates and a healthy business, which is why Bridonista is the perfect product for the modern bridal fashion retail trade.
What is your best advice for a bride who is overwhelmed with choosing a dress for her big day?
Be yourself, be brave, try things on and let yourself go. Be unconventional, on your wedding day you can wear whatever you like, whether you stay true to yourself or try something completely new is up to you. But above all, of course, you are beautiful, just as you are! Don't hide, shine bright like a diamond!
When you look back on your professional career and the founding of Bridonista, what are you most proud of?
I am proud of the trust that my partner Rene has placed in me from the very first minute; he is not only my "partner in crime" but also my biggest critic. I grow on him and for him.
Without knowing anything about bridal fashion, I instinctively formed hochzeitsrausch; as a career changer, I didn't always have it easy, for a long time the industry eyed me with scepticism and often didn't take me seriously. I was often told what I couldn't do, but I think I've proved some people wrong and I'm always a surprise.
I would describe myself as a builder, just as I helped build hochzeitsrausch, so I build Bridonista dress by dress. Our valued employees are especially close to my heart; hochzeitsrausch and Bridonista are team efforts, only in community are we powerful and creative. My motto in modern leadership, "under pressure diamonds are created"; talents must be encouraged and challenged, while a healthy self-confidence and support should be the basic prerequisite.
The foundation of Bridonista was a wish of my heart, a wish for entrepreneurial freedom and self-determination. I consider myself very lucky to have a strong company with strong ladies and gentlemen behind me.
Where do you see Bridonista in 2023/2024? What next steps are planned?
I see Bridonista growing in the coming season, with more collections in the pipeline. In addition, Bridonista will open up to the European wholesale market and take many bridal hearts by storm.
We would like to thank Sarah Stöbe for this interview.