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Bridal firm hopes to go global after concession move

AN upmarket bridal ­accessories business is hoping to build on a listing with House of Fraser in Glasgow by rolling out its products to more locations at home and abroad.

Bella Brilla, only founded in February last year, was selected as the preferred accessories stockist to go along with the Etiquette Bridal concession in the city store in November.

Now the company will be meeting national buyers from the store in May to look at further expansion. That may include looking at establishing its own concessions within the shops.

Kirsteen Connell, founder of Bella Brilla, said: "We are seeking investment to move into our own concession model. So we would have our own [space] sitting alongside the bridal concession and that is a discussion I am going to have with the store manager in Glasgow."

Bella Brilla uses a pool of 15 UK-based freelance designers who hand-make and customise individual collections. Its range includes jewellery, tiaras, purses, millinery, hosiery and corsets, as well as kilt pins and cufflinks for men.

Ms Connell, who trained in silversmithing and ­goldsmithing, said the ­"ultimate plan" would be to have an in-house design school in Scotland.

However, she said the freelance model employed at the moment allows her to help promising designers get exposure while keeping costs manageable.

As well as looking for UK growth, Ms Connell has plans to attend the New York Bridal Week trade event in October this year.

She said: "Ultimately, we want to get over to America as there is a huge market over there.

"A lot of UK buyers actually go to New York Bridal Week, which is why it is so important we get over there.

"For example, I [recently] took a trip down to London to speak to the main bridal boutiques. It was good for brand awareness but the general consensus was that they buy in New York."

Ms Connell also wants to extend the company into further product areas but said the focus will remain on bridalwear.

She added: "There is lots of product development we want to do and [new areas] we want to bring in.

"We are trying to capture the couture luxury side of the bridal market. There has been no one in bridal accessories who has taken it to that superbrand level."

Bella Brilla has gone through the Entrepreneurial Spark start-up programme and has now moved into the organisation's Nest initiative. That will see the Glasgow company continue to receive support and mentoring for another year.

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