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New York Here we come…

So as you can see from our posts we are now going to be heading to the big apple in October to showcase our bridal collection. Its been a long journey to get to here and one which i am looking forward to.

Its takes time to build a brand, especially one in this type of industry.Thats why i always wanted our brand to mean something… As with our fashion label to help women feel empowered the CA label is about brides with good vibes.

Someone asked me the other day what The CA brand stood for and what type of woman do we design for so here it is..

” Caroline Atelier is all about rewriting bridal rules. We are not driven by bridal trends, We make our own rules! Our gowns always tell a story of adventure and passion. A woman who follows her own heart and dreams and always goes her own way! Independent and soulful is how we love our brides to be! Wherever our bride is going, she is going there in style and with confidence!

In a sentence… CA is a young brand, Caroline our creative director and designer is also a fashion designer. Her Ethos was to bring a touch of fashion sparkle to bridal wear. Our collections are all about “Brides with good vibes”

For the past year i have had that feeling in my tummy that NY was going to be the start of our bridal label turning into a global brand… After visiting NY last September and meeting with potential boutiques, i realised that our Brides with Good Vibes was going to be awesome in the US.

So bring on October and all its awesomeness… My goals which i always talk about are hugely important to me, they keep me hungry, keep me on track and always make me feel awesome when i achieve them. Never give up on anything that has the potential to take you higher in your life and business.

Love and good vibes

Caroline x

Believing is sometimes hard to do!

Over the past year i have had some major ups and some major downs… all of which have obviously shaped the person who i am today but it got me thinking…

I got the most amazing news (which i can’t wait to share with you all soon) on Monday and when i sat down to reflect on it, i realised that for the most part of my life, all people see is the smoke and mirrors around what we put out into the world!!!

Not many (actually only very few) people will know the struggles both financially and emotionally i went through to get my fashion collection launched AND in front of important buyers… I very nearly lost a friend over it, lost my finance, then got my finance back and then lost a production team and then managed to secure another one (who are actually amazing, so i guess everything happens for a reason!) all while smiling at everyone and pretending that all was ok. At the time of all this stress and worry i never really had chance to reflect on everything as i kept pushing myself forward, not allowing myself to stop and think about how much i had achieved and how proud of myself i should be… instead all i could see and say to myself was, you need to do this, you need to find this, you need to secure this… all NEED! I finally cracked..

On my way back from Dublin on Monday i sat there listening to nothing… no music, no business audio books no nothing which is strange for me as i don’t often like to be left with my own thoughts too much as they tend to spiral out of control and get carried away.

I sat and stared out the window and just sat!! i had finally pushed myself so much that i had forgotten how to just be and say well done Caroline, look at what you have achieved!!! Earlier on in the day i met with an amazing buyer who has believed in me and the collection for some time now… she always tells me how good it is, how talented i am and how much she believes in ME and my brand. WOW isn’t that just amazing… to be honest, a lot of people come up to me and tell me the collection is good but there are not many people who i know genuinely believe in me and what i do!

Any career that we chose as a female entrepreneur is going to be hard, always feeling like we have to prove ourselves to everyone (including ourselves). Being in fickle and hugely competitive world of fashion is an altogether different dimension, in fact different planet! but on the positive, its super rewarding when the fruits of all your hard work finally start to show… I know i have felt that i always needed to hear from other people how amazing i am, how amazing my label is before i truly believed in it and me.. I know! stupid isn’t it! i have won awards, had celebrity endorsements, got big orders placed and still i couldn’t get it into my head how good i was.. believing in yourself is so hard to do but essential to do.

You can have all the people in the world telling you, your the best thing since sliced bread but if you don’t believe, and i mean really deep down in the pit of your stomach, believe it then you will never truly own it.. its taken me years to get to this point and it took me sitting on an empty train, alone with no phone,laptop… just me and my thoughts to realise that the person who looks back at me in the mirror is F*$@in awesome and super talented..

Don’t ever let anyone climb inside your head and make you not believe in you and what you do.. once you do, its very hard to remove those thoughts, its taken me years but i now believe and I’m so grateful that I’ve finally seen the light on my own..

My fashion label is so important to me, i also think its important to women too, it offers them something different to wear for the day!! something that i think we all struggle with, trying to find something cool,smart,edgy and non corporate for either that corporate or not so corporate job!!

Peace ladies

xx

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What defines our success as women..

What defines our success as women??? Is it the car we drive, the man we love, the job we have or the person everyone sees on the outside…After my last post, and after and unreal amount of comments from women who I knew felt the same way I did but never really truly, spoke out, it was great to hear. I know so many strong women and I love that we, as women do try to empower each other as much as we can but we need to do it more…

As a designer I want nothing more than to make every single woman who walks out of her front door every morning feel like they are rocking it, feeling amazing, saying to themselves Damn!!!! I am smoking hot! Who else can you rely on to tell you this day in day out (To ignore that little doubt in your head which may tell you otherwise is a necessity for all of us).

Its very hard to “big” yourself up, tell yourself you are sexy, but why the hell not!! Listen I’m not saying its easy, I look in the mirror every day and try to tell that woman staring back at me that she should be so proud of herself, you are living your dream, owning your own business, dressing women and making them feel good all on your own terms, and by the way looking fab too! Cringe as it sounds… its all about you!

It’s so easy to get caught up in what life should be, we make our own rules. There is something just gorgeously sexy about a woman who is comfortable in herself. Who feels great, and therefore looks confident, oozes sexiness and everyone in the room wants to be her…

I decided not to go into another relationship after my last one and really spend some time on ME, finding out who I was and who I wanted to be.. As a woman who had been in relationships since I was 16 it was probably about time (now I’m in my 30’s) I said “Hello Caroline, who the hell are you and where the hell have you been! Sounds silly I know but I hadn’t got to know myself fully,

I started our bridal label because firstly i was sick of seeing the same dresses time and time again, layers upon layers of fabric, boning, structure, to me equalled constriction, but also to celebrate the woman in the dress not the other way round, laid back glamour with high fashion sensibilities is what its about!

If I really think about it, I started the fashion line a year ago, not just because of my deep love of fashion but because I had lost that spark, that self confidence after a number of events happening in my life and I felt that producing amazing, luxury clothes that I and other women can wear (assuming there were women out there who also felt like I did) every day would help their confidence and celebrate you as the woman you should be. Now I’m lucky that I get to wear beautiful clothes everyday and feel amazing in them (with a rising self confidence too!)

But most of all I’m lucky that I get to see women, like you wearing our pieces, rocking the hell out of them and calling us saying how amazing they felt and how many comments they received!! To me that’s what success is really all about, and long may it continue x

I’ll leave you with this..“Define success on your own terms, Achieve it by your own rules and build a life your proud to live everyday”

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We are all beautiful on the inside and out..

I hear it all the time when brides were coming to see us. I want to change this about my body, I need to loose weight before I buy a dress, and I want to make sure I look amazing for my husband. I feel pressure for our wedding day. Even though I’m not married myself, I know that these feelings of self love or loath are a part of most women.

Now, I always say to my boutiques that a women who wants to wear a Caroline atelier gown is a women who is empowered by her own beauty and has the self confidence to rock any gown she chooses and the same applies to our fashion line.
I was plagued with negative self-perception throughout my teens and twenties and if I’m honest so far probably a lot of my 30’s too. This misconception that in your 20’s your still trying to find out who you are and apparently in your 30’s you’re supposed to start to have figured that out. But it’s not always the case!

Constantly calorie counting, exercising, wanting to become this perfect version of myself that I thought would lead me to a perfect version of living and contentment… of course this was a totally crazy perception, but when you listen to the thoughts in your head, you can go off the charts with negativity.

Back then when I first became a designer I thought on the outside I had (kind of) made it, I was living in a country I had always wanted to come to, met a guy who I was completely in love with and had started my own business and was winning lots of awards and getting recognition for who I was becoming as a designer… Roll forward a few years and it all changed. I separated from my partner, moved back home in another country and really had to figure out whether this path I had chosen was one that I wanted to continue with or start a fresh doing something new, even though designing was my dream since the age of 4.

When I think about it now, I can actually reflect on it with a big fat YES! I needed to go through this to become who I am becoming today.. I believe that the universe has a purpose for us all and out of our darkest times comes a newfound perspective and purpose and a strength that I thought I never had, because I had never really had to test it!

I moved back to Ireland, into a new place with someone I didn’t know and began to rebuild my life and getting a studio to work from that I could call me own. Yes I had to come into my little studio up 5 flights of stairs (any past brides of ours will know those painful steps!) and plug in my heaters an hour before a client came in just to make sure there was heat and a lovely atmosphere for brides to come to.. If only people knew..

But you know what, like anything you are faced with in life, I made it work.
I soon rediscovered my love of bridal designing and also my love of fashion and started sketching away to keep my mind active.. Healing had begun and I began to feel good about myself again.

Around this time I bumped into a boutique owner who was from the UK but living here in Ireland and we had become friends, always meeting for coffee, having lots in common and she kept telling me not to give up my passion as I was good at it… Look at the brides who have worn your gowns, look at the awards you have won since you started (which was a short time ago) and look at how happy they are in your designs…

Self love…
After this chat I decided to meet with a photographer friend of mine as I had always wanted to have some pictures taken of me to keep for myself as a little reminder when I was old and wrinkly, that I wasn’t that bad when I was younger… I thought, how hard could it be, I had been on the other side of the camera in numerous shoots and thought yes this would be easy.. How wrong was I, it was one of the hardest things I had done, trying to relax and have someone put all of the focus on me and me at my most vulnerable too..
To cut a long story short, I loved my images (I’ve put a few below but only a few) I felt good at the woman staring back at me and proud of how far I had become!
This is why I love designing and empowering women on their wedding day and also in their day to day life through clothes, you don’t have to have lots of designer clothes that cost the earth to make you feel good, YOU should feel beautiful inside and out in your wedding dress the same as you should feel confident and proud of the women you are in your every day life, the clothes are only there to add to your self love…

I am grateful for all the brides and clients we have had who, without realizing it have helped shape the woman behind the label… I know that I, like you are a beautiful deserving woman inside and out… and if you can wear our beautiful wedding dresses on your big day then fabulous, if you choose to wear our fashion just because “you can” then you are the woman I am designing for.. x

Caroline MatthewsPicture: Miki Barlok

Caroline MatthewsPicture: Miki Barlok

Less Stress, More Smiles :)

I had turned the TV on a few nights ago and came across a show on weddings, and how brides see themselves on their wedding day and the pressure that brides unduly seem to put on themselves to have “the best wedding ever”

Whilst watching this show I was constantly wondering why…
I know that every bride wants to look and have everything perfect for her big day, what woman wouldn’t? But the more I watched the show the more I became engrossed in the psychology behind a wedding. There was a doubt when an impulsive bride to be had tried on a dress and decided that there and then this was her dress, she fell in love with it, in love with the whole bridal feeling and of course the dress but then went away and in her own words “the fairy tail feeling wore off” and she decided that just maybe that wasn’t the one, along with other wedding events she had gone to that day (in the end she went back and bought the dress in case you were wondering!)

It got me thinking. I firmly believe that as a woman, weddings should be about the feeling, the feeling you feel inside when you put on THAT dress or choose THAT venue. Every women wants the fairy tail just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Women when she screams to Richard Gere that all she has ever wanted was the fairy tail, and to most women that’s what its about, but we put ourselves under so much pressure to have every detail absolutely perfect that we forget the most important part..

2 people coming together, in love and showing the commitment to each other by getting married.

If you try on a wedding dress that makes you feel all tingly, beautiful, shows off your best assets then why not say I DO love this dress and YES I can see myself walking down the aisle to the man I love wearing it, you don’t need to leave and loose that amazing feeling you had in the boutique or designer studio because your scared as it’s the first dress you tried or it’s the first dress that made you cry! Be impulsive and go for it… most of the time you instinct is right, if you feel good then it’s for you.

It’s the same with all your wedding arrangements, if you love it, can see yourself wearing it, eating it, saying I do in a castle or even a little church near home… just do it! Have no regrets and don’t look back.

Much Love
Caroline x

Aoife & Sean weddingThe Rectory1st August 2014Picture: Emma Jervis

I came, I saw, My eyes were opened

I have finally managed to write another blog after my trip to New Delhi in India for a week. All i can say is what an eye opener… You are either poor or rich in India, unfortunately there is little in between, but what i will say is that Indian people no matter how poor constantly have a smile on their face, maybe we should all take a leaf out of their book!

On arriving to India we were met by a lovely man who we nicknamed Bindi, i couldn’t pronounce his full name so Bindi was our man… Bindi was our saviour for the whole week, he was there when we woke up, apparently served the best tea ever (so my dad said) and brought us toast before escorting us to my week of meetings… He was so accommodating and nothing was too much trouble for him and he wanted nothing in return apart from to make us happy!

I won’t go on and on about my meetings as they were tough, almost Dragon’s Den style at some points but i stuck in there and came away with a sore brain from all the talking but at the same time was so happy that i finally got to see (some) of India… Who knows what the new year will bring but at least it was another thing i could tick off my bucket list, that i saw the Taj Mahal in all its glory and i did it with my dad who is Indian(although he will tell you he is English and he is, but he is also Indian) I got heaps of inspiration and met some lovely people…Here are a few pics to show you all..

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India Here we go…

How exciting…. well we think its exciting anyway. I flew into the UK on Tuesday to start my quick trip to see my family and then travel to India on Saturday for a week of exciting meetings. Its been a long time coming and to be honest i hadn’t even began to think about it properly as we have been seeing some seriously fabulous brides over the last few weeks so this has been a distraction for a while but now its time to focus…

As i look out of the window at the rain and think that i will be in a hugely, densely populated city in less than 4 days time, full of different cultures, smells, colours.. its quite exciting but also I’m feeling anxious, but as the saying goes, whats for you won’t pass you by so that, i have decided will be my motto for the next 10 days. I had a call with my business coach this morning and she put a lot of things into perspective for me as a woman, business owner and just generally an ordinary women who loves fashion and what she does.

She said to me that when i speak to her i should be all about AWESOMENESS. Delighted that i have beautiful brides in my life who i get to make very happy for their big day, also women who want to wear our sister fashion line, Caroline Matthews and look ultra stylish, different and who LURVE leather like i do… don’t mistake my leather comment for something naughty! We mix it with the most luxurious crepes and turn them into pieces that women want to wear from day to night and feel sexy and amazing in… thats my job, every day and will continue to be.

India i am sure will inspire my new bridal collection for next year.. maybe it might incorporate some colour, maybe it will all be about beading, I’m definitely sure it will inspire next years fashion collection for A/W 2015 we will see… I’ll be sure to try and take some pictures to try and inspire you all too!

Taj Mahal

x