Name: Karen Louise Haase
Business Bridal Eyewear by Karen Louise
Location Snaith, East Yorkshire
Name/ages of children: Daniel 12, Benjamin 10, Jonathan 9, Tahlia 5
Tell us about your business and how you came up with the idea of Bridal Eyewear
Bridal Eyewear by Karen Louise is designed to help spectacle wearers feel good about their glasses for all special occasions and to make spectacles an accessory. I came up with the idea when I was going to a black tie dinner at the Dorchester last December.
I contracted Uveitis so I couldn’t wear my contact lenses. I have lots of pairs of spectacles but none I felt were suitable for my dress. My spectacles were too heavy, trendy,funky so didn’t feel like the right image. We didn’t go ( not just because of the glasses) but it was a major consideration.
If I was struggling to find the right pair of glasses I felt others must have the same problem. My sister got married in January of this year and while we were walking around the wedding fayres I didn’t see any glasses for brides. What do brides wear if they can’t wear contact lenses? I decided to source glasses that I felt would be suitable to wear with a wedding dress.
What has been your biggest challenge in starting-up?
My biggest challenge was simply knowing where to start. The wedding industry is an area I had no knowledge of. I have been in optics for over 20 years so I did lots of research on the Internet, went to the British Bridal Exhibition in Harrogate and chatted to suppliers about what spectacle wearing brides did on their wedding day.
This inspired me to change the view of spectacle wearers. Glasses can be seen as face jewellery. You don’t have to be a geek or ‘old’ to wear glasses. They don’t have to be seen as “I have to wear them”. Look at them as part of you, an accessory to your outfit or image. You can still look beautiful wearing the right frame and lenses.
I then found a local photographer who was based in a wedding dress shop in Goole where I borrowed dresses and did my first photo shoot. I used friends and family as models.
What is your advice to anyone starting-up a business for the first time?
My advice to anyone setting up a business is to research it thoroughly, don’t be frightened to ask questions and get help from those in the know. People love talking about themselves and their businesses, and often enjoy helping others especially if it doesn’t cost them.
Meeting and networking with people is invaluable. It’s a constant learning curve and ideas are always changing to improve and move forward.
I have found myself in a totally different world. I can use my optical qualification to advise spectacle wearing brides who might be in a dilemma about their wedding outfit.
If someone told me this time last year that my life would change from such a simple idea, I would never have believed them.
How do you juggle your childcare?
It is hard juggling my children and wanting to be there for them and fitting in work. I work from home most days during school time and work in our practices two full days. I rely on my parents who are fantastic.
The 3 younger children go to breakfast club the days I’m in the practice. I try to keep work and family separate. I will work some evenings when they are in bed and in between putting the washing machine on and doing the dishes!
My husband works six days per week and is often home late. It is hard, but doing something that you enjoy and have a passion for makes it enjoyable and worthwhile.
My husband and I spend most nights swapping ideas or catching up with our emails and social media.
And finally, do you have any advice for brides who need to wear glasses?
My advice would be to make sure you take the time to select the correct pair for you. Don’t struggle through the day without glasses as you may miss many of the little treasures that make your day so special.
When you are choosing glasses for your wedding day, do not put transition lenses as they will change colour in the sunlight. I would also suggest you have an anti-reflection coating on the lenses to ensure we see your eyes in the photographs. And remember the glasses you choose for your wedding day can be used time and time again.
For full contact details of Bridal Eyewear by Karen, please click here to visit her ad in the marketplace