Hi, my name is Ilka, I am the Store Manager at WHITE CONCEPTS – the Bridal Showroom. Welcome to our Blog! Today I want to tell you my story that led me to White Concepts and what I love about my job.
How did I get here?
Growing up I had a LOT of ideas what I wanted to do as a Job – working in bridal was not one of them. In terms of picking a career I was and am the clichée millenial: I tried some different directions at university, studies that sounded intriguing on paper, followed different career goals, did a lot of internships and worked hard to get my degree – only to do something completely different afterwards.
Fashion always had a special meaning to me and so no one was really that surprised when I decided to take a Job in the fashion industry after getting my bachelor’s degree in art history. The Job I had before WHITE CONCEPTS was great and I enjoyed doing it until the end, even if I did not enjoy the circumstances. The bridal business always had a very dusty, old fashioned image for me until I accompanied one of my oldest friends to her bridal fitting in Cologne about 5 years ago. We went to a small, independent boutique, the dresses were modern and beautiful, nowhere near the stuck-up princess gowns one always had in mind when thinking of wedding dresses. Not only the dresses were beautiful but everything else was amazing too: the showroom was elegant and cosy, the service was very warm and easy-going – you really felt the love in every detail. I imagined how dreamy this job must be – to help brides find THAT dress in such inspiring surroundings.
Instagram made me do it
That was years before that dream became reality for me – WHITE CONCEPTS did not even exist yet. I became aware of Sarah’s wonderful boutique on Instagram and walking past the store window. It was an Instagram post that alerted me to the available position as Assistant Store Manager – something that still makes us laugh today. I wrote my appilcation full of hope even though I constantly tried to keep my feet on the ground: I did not have any experience in that field at all and I was sure there would be plenty of applications from people that did. I had applied for a number of jobs before that but no offer was good enough to make me leave the good conditions I had at my previous employer. I went to my interview thinking “Just listen to what she offers you, but would you really give up your secure, well-paid Job for this?”
Love at first sight
Enter Sarah Bien.
Those of you that have met Sarah – as a bride, fierend, colleague – know how much she loves her job and how she brings this feeling across – she just radiates joy and sunshine and passion for everything bridal. It was love at first sight for the both of us. I was just feeling it and immediately I wanted nothing more than to work here. Naturally I spent the next few days worrying Sarah might go with someone else. It turned out she felt the same way and so she called me only a few days after our talk and it was settled.
The Happy Now
It’s been 18 months and it feels so far away and like yesterday all the same. After 2 months of working together Sarah left for her maternity leave and left her first baby WHITE CONCEPTS in my hands. She trusted me a lot, but it wa shard for her and it was an exciting time for the both of us. Soon Maja joined our little team and helped me out during these crazy first months. It did feel like learning to swim in the open ocean but there was one thing that always gave me a sense of security: the wonderful encounters with our amazing brides. It is such a beautiful feeling to be a part of this joyful, exciting time in a woman’s life, preparing for their wedding. Every bride is different and you learn something new with each one. The most important thing Sarah taught me was the feeling we want to bring across: we want every bride to feel comfortable, safe and loved in our showroom. we want to create a personal, familiar atmosphere and just have the best time together.
Every now and then someone asks me if it was hard to go from previous job, that had basically the same routine every week, with a big, international employer to a small start-up where no day is the same as the day before. If I ever doubt I made the right choice. I have to say the decision was a lot easier than I had imagined because I just felt it and I have absolutely no regrets. Of course there is chaos here and there and we do worry about our small business and our jobs more than we would like to admit, especially in these uncertain times we live in, but we are united by our positive attitude and our creativity. It feels incredible to be a part of a small team of strong women who support each other’s ideas and endeavors. I would not change it for all the money and christmas bonuses in the world 😉