This is big news to all aspiring brides and grooms. Ibadan, now has a classy wedding store called Cecy Lawry Bridals. Stocks the very best in wedding gowns and wedding dresses you will not find anywhere else in Nigeria. And it is owned by a lovely wedding specialist, Funmi Fatoberu, who started out as a Lawyer in Lagos, before she veerred out to flow with her dreams and passion of making brides look regal. She now lives in Ibadan.
She has always had a soft spot for fashion and last year she decided to specialise in wedding dresses. So, what she does at her T. Obasanmi Olakanpo Street, Off Adeyi Street, Old Bodija, bridal store in Ibadan is to cater to the taste of bride and her train. She also runs a unisex Ready-To-Wear line, called House of Z. A few months back, she spoke with City People’s Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE, about her new bridal store.
Congrats on your new bridal store. How did the idea come about?
The idea came a few years back when a cousin of mine was getting married and we could not get wedding dresses that could match the taste of my cousin in Ibadan, I could not find any. Then, we had to go to Lagos where we found what we wanted. So, I thought of what happens abroad where you have a series of bridal stores. We don’t have that in Nigeria. So, I just tactly told myself “okay why not do something about it”. And if I live in Ibadan, there is an opportunity for bridal dresses business. There was a market for that. That is how it started this year.
How has it been?
It’s been fine. We have got many people, who often go abroad to source for wedding dresses now coming to us. Initially, we said By Appointment Only, people felt it won’t work because in Ibadan, they are not used to bespoken service. I noticed that in Ibadan, you don’t get to try on dresses.
They just tell you, put it on your waist or put it on you, it should look nice. But what we did was that before you come in, you book an appointment by calling a number, then you make a deposit of N5,000. The N5,000 allows you to try on 3 different dresses. If you buy any of them, we would deduct N5,000 from the cost of the dress you are buying. If you don’t buy any of the dresses you will lose the N5,000.
Initially, people were wondering if the policy would work, but they have seen it working. All we are trying to do is to make sure we deal with serious customers. For you to pay N5,000 deposit shows that you mean business. It’s been good. We introduce rentals too. It has really picked up. Basically, what we do is to try to make wedding dresses affordable. With the high exchange rate of dollar, you have a dress going for N300,000. And the person will say wow! Thats expensive. And then you say pay oo, it’s just 500 pounds and the person is excited and he takes it off you.
How do you come up with your designs? Do you do all of that in-house?
No, not all of them. We bring in some from the UK as well. Apart from bridal outfits, is it true that you also do ready-to-wear clothes? Yes, We do Ready-To-Wear for men and women.
What led to that?
We actually started with bridal outfits, then we got a group of people to work with us to help design, to sew. At the beginning, they were not so busy. So, instead of siting down and not doing anything and getting paid, we decided to introduce Ready-To-Wear to keep them busy as we have designers in-house. People, who can sew are in-house. We started from there. We get the fabric, do the designs and just sew. I get ideas of designs staying close to TV, watching Style Network and other programmes. When I travel abroad, I used to watch catalogue of dresses in vogue on television. Once you watch and read such catalogue you will know what is going on.
What makes your bridal store different from other stores?
We are different in the way we handle our customers. We take our time to study our customers.
Once we know you are coming for an appointment as a bride, we would run our checks on you, we would have got some details on you, such as the colour you have in mind, whether it’s white, ivory, champagne, then the dress style, is it a mermaid, a ball gown or A-line. So, we are ready for you. Some people come in with an intention of getting a white ball gown because that is what their dad and mum would approve, but when they come in and we see their physiques, we sometimes advise that their body type can’t go with what they wish to chose.
We could suggest that why could they not go for A-Line. We also offer Consultancy Services as part of what we do. We don’t charge extra for that. So, the way we operate is: you call us to book an appointment, and when you do that, we send you a form, which you will return to us.
You can do that via email. You will tell us your proposed wedding date, are you the bride or bridesmaid, bride’s sister and of, course, the colours you have in mind, the dress type. And then we take it from there. We also have after wedding party dresses.
How do you cope?
I cope because I love fashion. When you love fashion it makes it easy for you to deal with. I like to dress people up. It’s in me. Right from my days in the university. I used to dress people up. when there was a party, my friends would ask me to dress them up.
They would say to me: I have this Gold dress what can I use to accentuate it? So, I put things together for them.
It’s interesting that you didn’t study fashion and here you are doing it full time. Yes, I didn’t study Fashion. I read Law. But right now, I am studying Textile Designs.
How did your parents take your decision to leave Law for Fashion?
My dad is actually late now. But when he was alive, he had this idea that his daughter was going to end up being a Judge. My mum is happy about it because I took after her in a way. My mum is feeling excited about it. I moved to Ibadan in 2014 from Lagos. I schooled in Ibadan. I went to secondary school in Ibadan, but I was in the boarding school. I went to St. Louis Grammar School, Mokola, Ibadan. My bridal store is called Cecil Lawry Bridals. I coined the name of Cecil Lawry Bridal from my mum who is Cecilia and my father is Lawrence that is how I got the name.