Happy Birthday my Love White Concepts Part II

It seems like the most impossible task to describe what’s been going on at WHITE CONCEPTS in the past 2 years. It just felt like a roller coaster ride in light speed – exciting, magical, grueling, hopeful. Feeing invincible and confident to be taking all the right paths towards success on some days and absolutely ready to crawl back into bed the next – that pretty much sums up the crazy last few months. I really really really wanted to avoid the C-word in this post at all cost but the reality is this: I have been working at WHITE CONCEPTS for 25 months – 7 of which were not shadowed by the pandemic. My day-to-day in this wonderful Job is shaped by it. The pandemic – so actually the P-word – has been our faithful companion for the past 18 months. We got used to it although we refuse to come to terms with it.

Ilka Schischke – Store Manager at White Concepts

When I first started working at WHITE CONCEPTS there were so many things I got to enjoy, things I have come to appreciate even more now. During my first week we had a lovely visit by a sales representative of a new label we were considering for the showroom. He arrived in the hottest weather with two massive suitcases full of lovely wedding gowns, we chatted over coffee and were able to See and feel the beautiful dresses. During my first fitting appointments with future brides I felt the sheer magic of this Job – I saw their faces light up, beautiful women radiating in their dream dress – we often hugged as we said goodbye afterwards. That fall our favorite designer from Berlin came to visit us and we hosted a Designer Day in the showroom. Shortly after we celebrated our 2nd birthday – with amazing guests, delicious food and fabulous love music. Sometimes it appears all of that happened yesterday while also feeling like a lifetime ago.

At this point it almost feel normal to simply give our brides a smile as we say hello and goodbye, a smile which they can only suspect under our masks. It feels normal to meet new designers via Zoom, see new collections via Zoom. To fear and feel with our brides when their wedding dates are in jeopardy because of new restrictions. To tell them “hugs and kisses” instead of hugging them for real. Delivery dates are now as flexible as promises by our government concerning financial aids for small businesses. But I really don’t want to bitch about the struggles we have had in the past months. Instead I want to highlight the beautiful moments and learnings and tell you what we can’t wait for once all of this pandemic-bs is over.

Emotional moments in our Bridal Showroom

Ilka Schischke in the White Concepts Fitting Room

To convey and See emotions is not easy when everyone’s face is half-covered by a mask. We have learned that it is not just us who can convey a feel-good atmosphere but also our showroom itself. That’s why we spent our time in lockdown and after rearranging and redecorating – putting lots of love into revamping our fitting room. We have also gotten more susceptible to people’s behaviorisms. Face masks have taught us to look into each others eyes more often and to look for that spark that ignites all over a bride’s face when she finds her wedding dress. That being said we can’t wait to welcome our guests with a handshake or hug our brides when we feel like it. So get ready for a lot of hugs & love!

Taking care of and adding to our White Concepts collection

Neither Sarah nor me have worked as buyers before WHITE CONCEPTS. Sarah was a sales representative and I worked in sales & merchandising. Both of us are enthusiastic women who love pretty things. As far as picking our labels we had set standards before the pandemic: it has always been important to us where the dresses are made, production standards and high quality materials were always on our minds when looking for new designers. But we have learned a great deal since the beginning of the pandemic. We have learned how incredibly valuable it is to work with labels who always deliver the highest possible quality because that means we could be confident ordering dresses we had not seen or felt before. We work with some amazing women who have been and are still building their own brand and legacy and who understand the struggles of small businesses during the pandemic. Seeing them pushing on and making everything possible for our brides has made us stronger and incredibly thankful to be part of this wonderful network of women. There were some moments of fear, some delays or last-minute changes and we have defintely become more patient and strong-willed. We have experienced so much flexibility but also faced some challenges. Who knows if we would have learned everything we did about buying and taking care of our collection without the pandemic. We truly cherish the collaboration with all our designers and can’t wait to meet/see them in person once we are able to and make decisions together for our future.

weddings dresses at White Concepts

White Concepts Team Love

When Sarah & I met in April 2019, both of us instantly felt good about working together. Until then Sarah had managed WHITE CONCEPTS on her own, with some support here and there but she was free to make all decisions on her own and only had to take care of herself, only had to rely on herself. I on the other hand was used to others making the big decisions for me in my place of work. I was a small one small wheel in a big, global machine which was the main reason I wanted a change. Sarah had to let go a little bit and I had to be more brave. Starting work at WHITE CONCEPTS was like jumping into the deep end and I don’t really feel any closer to the shallows now as we are in the middle of a situation no one has experienced before. There is no handbook for running a business during a global pandemic. Things might be chaotic, frenetic and we do not agree on everything all the time, we have found our groove together and build a very strong working relationship, full of trust and hope for a bright future ahead of us. Our positive attitude brings us together and I can’t wait to see the incredible base we have built blossom into something great and amazing without the restrictions we are currently facing. To travel together in the name of bridal, to plan ahead knowing the success of our endeavores is entirely in our own hands. I can’t wait for those days ahead of us as a team.

What’s next for WHITE CONCEPTS?

I can’t really give you the specifics, but I can promise you: we have some great, amazing plans. Our team just grew by another amazing woman, we are talking to new labels… we will stay true to our minimal, modern, understated approach to bridal but feel it might be time for something a bit more dramatic 😉

Apart from that we cannot wait to meet all our future brides and execute amazing projects for them 🙂

Sarah Bien & Ilka Schischke of White Concepts – The Bridal Showroom

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *