From professional to personal: how relationships lead to success
There’s a theme that runs through all the testimonials on Glamour Bride’s website. “They made me feel like a princess”. When you take into account the stress levels that often accompany weddings, accomplishing this is no small feat. But Pat Giuliano, Director and Owner of Glamour Bride, says that her secret is simple. “I treat my brides like princesses,” she reveals. “I give them my time and honest advice, and I build a rapport with them. We chat about their wedding plans, but also about their job, family, and all the things that matter most to them.”
Of paramount importance to Glamour Bride’s success is great relationships. They are the nucleus around which this successful business grows. Whether it’s with her customers, her suppliers, her designers or her bank, Pat emphasises how essential relationships are to the success of her business.
“My suppliers are hugely important,” she says. “I’ve built up strong relationships with all of them by being friendly, honest, and paying my bills on time.”
In addition to her own designs and off-the-rack gowns, Pat also stocks two designer labels – DeLanquez and Justin Alexander. “The DeLanquez gowns are absolutely impeccable in quality and design,” she explains. “Having met the designer personally that was fabulous, as we are very like-minded.” Similarly, Pat adores the Justin Alexander range. “He’s a New York designer, so they have international appeal,” she says. “His designs are contemporary yet beautiful and timeless.” Pat’s relationships with both design houses are essential to her business, as they supply most of the gowns she sells. “I value my relationships with them immensely,” she says.
The most complex and intimate relationships in Pat’s business are, of course, with her customers. The rapport she builds with each of them greatly influence the outcome of their dream gowns. “It’s SO important,” she emphasises. “When a bride comes to me, she’s very emotional. I’m thrilled to be a part of her day. It’s a privilege and an honour. It’s not just about the sale to me, it’s about the emotional connection I have with my brides. Some have become lifelong friends.”
The store opened in June of 2014. Since then, Pat describes her relationship with ANZ as the lifeline of her business. “Having the many services that ANZ offers is invaluable,” she says. “I use internet banking all the time, as well as the ANZ GoMoney app on my phone.”
In addition to the challenges of building and maintaining many relationships, Pat says that being in a highly competitive shopping strip with many other bridal shops meant it was difficult to find designers who were willing to supply gowns.
Along with solid legal and financial advice, Pat says that the most valuable counsel she’s received is to not allow failures to prevent her from continuing. “Look at problems as opportunities to learn,” she says. “Also, read books by successful business owners – learn from them and be inspired.”
When it comes to her own advice for small business owners, Pat again emphasises the importance of relationships:
- Social media – “that’s where your customers are,” she says. “So make sure you’re on it.”
- Know your customers – “who is going to wear your designs? It’s no good coming up with designs that appeal to no-one but you!”
- Be honest – “don’t make promises you can’t keep. Integrity is very important in business. Customers need to know they can trust you.”
- Get advice from professionals – “don’t think you can do it all on your own. People like accountants, lawyers and bankers are there to help you. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Chris at ANZ.”
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