Retailer Spotlight: GF Bridal Couture
Interview with owner Elsa de Wit in South Africa
13 Jan 2014
We interviewed owner Elsa de Wit from GF Bridal Couture from Johannesburg, South Africa. She told us her goals for the future and what running a top bridal store is like.
1. What was the motivation/inspiration to open a bridal store ? How did it all start?
Believe it or not, I started out working from home doing the books for my family’s petrol garage but I was getting quite bored because I’m such a social person and wasn’t getting the chance to meet new people. I saw an advert in the newspaper for a position available as a sales assistant at GF Bridal Couture and knew that I had to apply. This was my chance to take advantage of my social personality and still be able to spend time with my 6 month old son as the position was only for a half day.
I started as a sales lady but eventually I got so involved that I started doing their accounts, looking at their monthly turnover and their buying. In the end, my boss resigned and, after realising my own passion as well as the huge untapped potential of the business, I took charge. The business grew incredibly well and that lead to us opening a branch in Fourways which is where I’m based now.
2. What are some of the things that have helped your store become who they are?
I think that after 17 years, GF Bridal Couture has truly stood the test of time and has earned the trust and respect of brides-to-be. Brides know that they are visiting an established bridal store with experienced staff who are more than able to help them find the gown they have been dreaming of. I also think that me being involved in every aspect of my business and my passion for the store makes a big difference in the grand scheme of things.
3. Who are the people/staff that make up your store?
● Elsa de Wit & Annelien van der Walt – owners
● Sales assistants - 4 wonderful and fully qualified sales ladies
● Seamstresses - 6 talented, qualified pattern makers
4. What are your plans for the future?
For now, my attention is on expanding my existing business and growing it to its fullest capacity before turning my attention elsewhere. This focus is what lead to my decision to stock the magnificent range of Enzoani gowns which has been a great addition to the GF Bridal Couture brand.
5. What things do you offer your customers that have helped you stand above the competition?
I would say the personal attention and customer care a bride receives when visiting GF Bridal Couture. We realise that a bride's wedding day is one of the most important days of her life and we believe that every bride deserves to look and feel like royalty. Our job is to make her dream a reality which is not always easy as each bride has a different idea of what she wants her overall look to be. The look on a bride's face when she finds 'the dress' is priceless and makes our jobs worth it!
6. What are the things you enjoy about Enzoani?
I love that everything matches, for example, I can match a belt from one gown to another and it looks amazing. I adore the range, the lace is of a good quality and overall there is a good balance between price and quality.
7. Do you have a favourite Enzoani gown or style? Collection? Line?
That's a difficult one because there are so many styles to choose from. I'm mostly drawn to vintage lace gowns which are either asymmetrical or A line.