PROJECT #BEYOUROWN WOMAN: ANNA WOOD
Anna Wood Bridal was set up by Anna Perry on July 2018 with the brand ethos existing to provide brides with an out of this world experience on their wedding day. An extensive range of wedding gowns from designers including Watters, Nicole Milano, Nicola Anne, Kenneth Winston and Rachel Allan. We all know that it can be a daunting task to try and narrow down what you’re looking for in a perfect dress, but Anna’s team use their expertise and knowledge of each of their collections to find the styles that not only suit your body shape but also work with your skin tone and hair colour.
Anna’s #BEYOUROWN WOMAN Story
My name is Anna Wood. I am a mother to two wonderful boys and the proud owner of Anna Wood Bridal based in Long Buckby, Northamptonshire. My journey to my success faced me with trials like any successful entrepreneur, I allowed myself to make mistakes along the way, through acknowledging them I was able to learn and grow. I always knew I wanted to work for myself and have worked for myself in different capacities since 2006.
Anna Wood Bridal opened in October 2018, we have had an incredibly successful first year. We are about to launch our own collection to allow brides to be able to create their own dress from our mix and match dress elements that we have designed. The hard work put in over the past 12 months now means I am in a position where I can work solely on the business rather than being in the centre of it. I have just employed a fantastic lady to take over the day to day managing of the boutique whilst I work on the target of opening a second boutique in the next 12 months.
Success is consequential of an individual’s determination after being faced with trials and tribulations. More recently I have learnt to be kind to yourself. After my relationship of 17 years broke down I kept beating myself up about what I had or hadn’t done and blamed myself for my boys not having their parents live together. I now realise what I have done previously can’t be changed no matter how hard I try, but what I do now for the future is really what matters.
At the start of my career, I worked as a financial planning manager for HSBC, however, I longed to work for myself. One day I was in search of a wicker laundry basket but was struggling to find one that I liked, when I came across one in a wholesale catalogue which came in packs of 8. I decided to make the purchase and sell the remaining seven on eBay – this was the start of my first business. I started retailing on eBay, our own website and I also became one of the first external sellers to retail on Amazon. I had an eye for products which I knew would be popular, for example, the large knit pouffe – I was one of the first to bring this to the UK and is even now still popular and widely available.
In my first year of trading, I was turning over multiple six figures and had many successful years thereafter. As a result, I let my confidence take over, I was convinced I could make millions and the way to do it was to wholesale. I had no idea how wrong I was! Even though I was doing well and had been very successful at trade shows, I was selling my products at a fraction of the retail price. I then found I didn’t then have the cash flow to filter immediately back into retail. It seemed the world and their wife had started selling baskets at the time, so I decided to take a step back, my salary was not what it had been and honestly, it wasn’t what I needed to earn.
I have always held the mindset that if I need money I will do what I have to earn it. I quickly found a contracting role working for Deloitte being contracted into Barclays as a complaint handler. At the same time, my now-husband was a lawyer working for a law firm. I have never been scared of being self-employed, so automatically I questioned why he would work for someone else rather than himself. In 2015 he set up his own law firm and when my contract finished at the end of 2016, I joined him to assist with his finances and business development. I was eager to have my own business again and I missed retail. In March 2018 we got engaged and it was then I saw my next opportunity. I had visited local bridal boutiques and did not get the experience or customer experience that I had expected from bridal boutiques. It was then I saw an opening in the local market and went ahead planning to open Anna Wood Bridal. I have quickly assessed the bridal industry and can already see flaws that I feel need to be addressed to improve the experience brides receive. I’m now looking forward to taking Anna Wood Bridal to the next level, and look forward to what the future holds.
#BEYOUROWN woman means being kind to yourself. To be independent but to value those around you and recognise that you can’t do everything on your own. Being comfortable in your own skin and knowing that you can’t control everything – only your own actions and perceptions. Everyone will make mistakes, you need to be aware that you will make them and that they can be useful to learn and grow from them. It’s thinking and dreaming big, persisting and believing in yourself no matter what! Societal limitations have been removed from women in the 21st century so there is no need to limit yourself.
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