We are so lucky to have the pleasure of sitting down one on one with Amy Clyne from ALCA LINE bride to talk all things bridal.
How long has the business been running? and where are you based?
How does it feel now looking back at where you started and
how your brand has grown over the last few years.
Our boutique and workroom is based in Caringbah in Sydney's south. I launched in April 2018 and it has been a crazy wild ride but I am loving every minute of it! If I had to use one word, it would be, ROLLERCOASTER!
After 3 years of completing my advanced diploma of fashion design, I had spent over 8 years in the bridal industry working for other designers and decided the time was now or never to do my own thing! So I just decided to go for it! I was (pardon my french) shit scared! And I considered backing out a few times, but once I had reached out to a photographer to shoot my collection, there was no going back. After the first collection was launched, I had to decide what my next steps were. I was still working full time (which continued for that first year until I gradually decreased my hours), I had no base to sell out of and was completely unknown! My collection was published online and I had a few enquiries, then the beautiful Lucy emailed me.
She was from Queensland and was coming to visit her sister in Bondi and wanted to try some styles on. So she selected a few of her faves and I packed them up and took them to her sisters house. After she had tried them on, she mentioned she had a couple of appointments at some boutiques over the weekend and she would let me know how she goes. She mentioned the beautiful Hope X Page (also based in Caringbah) and my immediate thoughts were that she would definitely find something there, but that’s okay! So I spent the rest of the weekend refreshing my emails every 10 minutes and finally saw Lucy’s name pop up saying she would love to go ahead with the dress! All those memes about small businesses doing a happy dance when you buy from them are true! I was so excited!! Someone wanted to wear something that I designed and made on one of the most important days of their lives?! Whattt?! As a naturally cautious person, I then did something completely out of character. I looked into a temporary space for a shopfront. I may have been jumping the gun after only one sale, but I did it anyway.
My first little shop was in Engadine, and I stayed there for roughly 6 months before moving to the Caringbah boutique. It was small and like an oven in summer (sorry to my poor brides that had appointments there, the floor fan just didn’t cut it!) but it will always hold a special place in my heart! I would work full time, go home and sew from the spare room and take appointments on the weekends or at night. Then I stumbled across the Caringbah boutique and it was meant to be! In a cute little block of 4 shops with an organic grocer, hairdresser and cafe.. I was sold when I saw there was a coffee supply just steps from the shop! I have spent the last year travelling to Melbourne for trunk shows (love my Melbourne ladies!) and recently travelled to Margaret River in Western Australia for a trunk show and now officially have my first stockist at the beautiful NOA bridal!(insert another happy dance)
Lately I often find myself in moments where I will just stop and smile because I love my brides and I love what I am doing. With everything going on at the moment with the virus, it has just made me so much more appreciative of all my beautiful brides and growing business. The 13th of April marks 2 years since I launched my little business, and it has been a rollercoaster! Definitely alot of stress and ALOT of work (and maybe 1 or 2 meltdowns) but it is so rewarding at the same time and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Tell us what does a typical day sound like when you’re in the studio.
Fittings, consults with brides, the designing process.?
All our dresses are hand made by us at our Sydney HQ! I am still predominantly a one woman show but have some amazing contractors that work for me. I juggle the workroom; (designing, pattern making, cutting and sewing) with fittings and consults. And then there is the admin and marketing, etc. the list goes on
(and on and on, well it feels like it haha)
No 2 days are the same! Mainly it will be working on brides orders, but at the moment I am working on our new collection which I am super excited about!!
Now tell us all about the added extras that go into the job behind the scenes that we all hate but secretly love, that brides often forget?
eg. choosing of fabrics, the pattern making, samples etc.
When designing and producing in Australia, it is a labour of love. It is a true art and skill set that takes years of training, we love that our brides truly appreciate this! Design conception can be ever-evolving, creating patterns-testing them, hours of sewing (so many hours!) and it is all worth it in the end! It truly is a process, I have been designing the next collection for the last 6 months in my head and now it’s time to finally bring them to life!
There is so much involved in the process that I don’t really know where to start, technical garment construction knowledge is crucial to the design process and supplying a quality product. There is maths behind pattern making and science behind fabric sourcing and cutting which can be influenced by the construction/weave of the fabric. Often all people see is a pretty dress but it is so much more than that, which is why it is so important to support Australian made labels to keep these skills alive in our little country.
As a brand do you only make gowns from the collections or do you also custom make?
We have our signature collections that can be slightly altered, for example, adding or taking away sleeves, lining, etc. or we can design you some custom alca line bride for your special day! Custom designs will still have the alca line bride aesthetic but be designed completely unique to you. This process includes roughly 2 calico fittings to perfect the design and roughly another 2-3 fittings in real fabrics.
Who is the “ Alcaline Bride ” and how would you describe her ?
The alca line bride is authentically herself. She wants to feel comfortable and remain true to her own sense of style on her big day. She has created her own definition of bridal. She is bold, alluring and contemporary.
Who inspires you on a daily basis?
Ooh, all those small business owners out there, both bridal industry and beyond! It's tough but rewarding! All of my brides, I love them all and they constantly inspire me to push myself and remind me that I am doing something right!
And a shoutout to my parents, they have taught me the value of hard work and definitely a constant inspiration:)
(Is it just me or is this is sounding abit like an award show speech, cue “wrap it up” fanfare!)
The best part of designing a gown?
I love how designs evolve, it's something that constantly swirls around my head and inspiration can come from anywhere! The best part is when you have been thinking about it for months and finally see it made up in the fabrics, this also makes me do a little happy dance!
Your most memorable moment of business so far to date?
This is a hard one because the whole thing has been memorable for me so far, seeing brides wearing my designs is pretty special! I don’t think anything could beat that?! I am still at the beginning of the alca line bride journey so I cherish all the moments!
Can you talk us through pricing?
For our made-to-order pieces, they range from $2,400-$5,700.
Custom designs start from $5,000 depending on the design.
Do brides need an appointment to visit you at the studio?
Yes, we are by appointment only. Shoot us an email and we can lock in a time for you to play dress ups! We have samples in a size 10 in store to view and try on. We take appointments on Thursdays and Fridays from 10am-6pm or weekends from 10am-4pm
What can we expect for future collections and when can we expect the next one?
Super excited for our next collection, we are currently in the midst of creating it right now and cannot wait to see it all evolve! The hope was to launch it mid year but with all this craziness in the world, we will have to wait and see! But aiming to release it mid 2020 still!