It’s official, Rachel Simpson Shoes is in love! Every now and again we come across some absolutely amazing companies in the wedding market and inevitably we end up working with them. With vintage inspiration being very high on our agenda, when we met Kate Bowl from the brand new vintage bridal boutique Queens and Bowl, we were literally bowled over and once we’d managed to regain our composure, we grabbed some time with our new friends for a chat…
Tell us a bit about your company
My company is called Queens & Bowl and we specialise in vintage-inspired wedding shoes, jewellery and headpieces; we’ve been running since May 2010 (yes, 1 month!) The boutique is 100% online-based and caters for busy brides looking for a glamorous, vintage look to their wedding but who are either too busy to go from shop-to-shop searching for what they want or who aren’t quite sure what look to go for. By providing a selection of different brands in one place and also offering an ‘inspiration area’ on the site with ideas and tips, I hope to be able to make the process of shopping for perfect wedding accessories a lot less stressful.
How did you get into the industry?
I spent nearly 10 years working in marketing for some very large online retailers, so I’ve learned to spot a good site from a bad one. When shopping for my own wedding accessories in 2007/8, I was working full time and heading off to hen weekends most weeks – I had a clear idea of what I wanted but no free time to commit to tracking down, so the internet was essential. However, try as I might, I just couldn’t find any sites that sold quality, vintage-style pieces in an environment that was easy and safe to shop. Sites were either selling tacky merchandise, were painfully slow, difficult to navigate or just seemed untrustworthy. So in the end I bought my accessories from a few different U.S. sites and had them shipped over. After the wedding I decided to put my knowledge and firsthand experience into setting up a site that not just sells beautiful accessories, but is also a breeze to shop.
What’s your best seller?
As we’re quite new it’s hard to say, but the hair bandeaus from Stephanie Browne have had a lot of interest.
Which designer from your industry inspires you and why?
When it comes to bridal accessories I am a big fan of all of the designers we stock (of course!) but I also love what Jenny Packham is doing with bridal accessories at the moment – they are big, bold, statement pieces, but still feminine. They are unapologetic and most definitely not an afterthought – they really do make the outfits stunning.
Celebrity shoppers, anyone we know?
Not yet (give us time!), but I would love to see a modern Hollywood starlet in some of our pieces. I really like Katherine Heigl’s red carpet style – she definitely takes inspiration from the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s, with her hair set in waves, red lipstick and dresses cut to flatter her hourglass figure.
What are you looking forward to for the rest of the year?
I’m looking forward to adding more brands to the site, but not too many, as I think it’s important to only choose the cream of the crop and keep a boutique feel. I love going to trade shows and speaking to new designers.
Describe your personal fashion style
My style tends to be feminine, but not in a floaty, floral way – I just always try to dress to flatter my hourglass shape. I have dark hair, so am a big fan of rich, jewel colours however I’m loving greys and nudes at the moment. I do often worry that I’m overdressed when I go out but my husband says there’s no such thing!
What is your biggest fashion faux pas?
When I was about 14 I was a BIG fan of crushed velvet and remember going on a school trip to London wearing crushed velvet leggings, voluminous white blouse, black waistcoat and cherry Doc Martens with red tartan laces. Nice!
Think back to your first ‘shoe’ purchase when you were younger, tell us about them.
I remember when I was about 13 pestering my mum to contribute half the cash so I could buy these bright red stilettos from Marks and Spencer. Talk about all dressed up and nowhere to go – I think I wore them around the house for months.
What is your favourite pair of Rachel Simpson shoes?
I LOVE the Marilyn style in mink – colour is beautiful and the bow looks so sumptuous and delicious you could eat it! I also think the Mimi style in ivory is just perfect for any vintage theme.
Describe Rachel Simpson Shoes in three words
Unusual, covetable, memorable
Image of Kate supplied by Imag1ne.com.