Mother and daughter team Donna and Sophie started Zolotas Bridal in the spare bedroom. Their current showroom in Subiaco is a far cry from those humble beginnings, but the personal touch is still very much in evidence, as See Subiaco’s recent video featuring the pair displayed in spades.
Gabi Mills finds out what makes this beautiful boutique so special.
GM: Tell me a little about the inspiration behind your store - what vibe are you aiming to create when brides arrive?
Sophie: We aim to provide a relaxed vibe, and always have a one-on-one consultation with the bride’s choice of family or friends. It’s a lot more personal and guarantees that 100 per cent of our attention is on them with no other distractions.
GM: Your dresses have been specifically crafted to incorporate elements of your Greek heritage and originality. What wedding dress styles are particularly popular at the moment - and how have things changed between when both of you were married? What styles were popular then and now?
Sophie: Dresses on trend at the moment are very different to what once were worn -
the fabrics are softer organic cottons with less sparkle and bling (or none at all). In saying that, we believe there is a dress for everyone and because everybody is different, we can find a style which will suit – a flexibility which we love to offer. It gives us a lot of choice in designs to showcase.
Donna: I would say the bohemian vintage flare is something that’s very fashionable these days.
GM: What's the process of buying a wedding dress from your store? Can alterations be made, and how bespoke can a dress be if a bride can't find exactly what she's after?
Sophie: Our gowns are made-to-measure as every body shape is different. We also provide the option for brides to purchase off the rack and if required, the process of carrying out alterations is very easy.
Donna: With a made-to-measure gown we can create any length or add an element of fabric – for instance, we can make a detachable sleeve or detachable train!
GM: What do you love most about running a business as mother and daughter - and what are the challenges?
Donna: We love running a mother-daughter business -the age difference doesn’t affect us at all. We love seeing woman from all ages and walks of life enjoying our collection. We particularly enjoy the way we can make connections with other mothers and daughters in store and enjoy joining in with their conversations as the tell us all about the wedding preparations
GM: How has COVID affected your business - it must have been so challenging for so many brides trying to plan their big day over the past 18 months.
Sophie: It’s true COVID-19 has been a challenging time for brides and wedding preparations in general.
Brides have had to go through a lot of disappointment with cancellations the uncertainty of what lies ahead. We are finding that at the moment, a lot of brides have opted for a more relaxed vibe with fewer guests and smaller weddings. Also brides are no longer pondering when it comes to choosing THE dress. They are making quicker decisions and not planning for one to two years like they may have done in the past. Brides are getting married pronto with six to 12 week turnaround.
GM: What makes Zolotas special and how important to you both is it that the store has a home in Subiaco?
Donna: Zolotas is very special to us - it is in our heritage. We believe family is central to the essence of our business and beliefs. Zolotas Bridal is family-run business for generations, and started in 1972. There are stores throughout Greece, Cyprus Italy, America and Switzerland.
Sophie: To us, Subiaco had the right vibe to make it home for us making it the right place for us to open a store in Perth. Subiaco actually reminds us of being back in Europe with its heritage- listed buildings, amazing coffee shops and warm people.
GM: What makes Greek wedding dresses unique - is it the craftsmanship, the handmade touches, or fabrics, for instance? Which part of Greece does your family come from?
Sophie: Our gowns are all handmade in Greece from beautiful organic Greek cotton The Zolotas head office is based in Athens and is actually the biggest bridal store in all of Europe with four floors of gowns and suits. The store even has a lift inside!
Donna: We have had the opportunity over the years to do a lot of photo shoots throughout Greece and on the island I grew up in Paros. We feel that we offer something unique to Perth brides because the Australian climate is similar to Greece, and all brides tell us how comfortable and breathable they feel wearing their gowns. This is because the gowns are made out of cotton, making them extremely breathable.
GM: What do you recommend brides do to make the most of this special part of the wedding day journey - how do you plan for a wedding dress fitting and what do you suggest brides-to-be do to choose their ultimate dress?
Sophie: For a bride who makes an appointment with us, we suggest she wears something comfortable and wear nude underwear. Feel free to bring her bridesmaids of her choice and we do the rest.
Donna: We will endeavour to make her feel very special and will help her in any way we can on her journey to choosing her dress from Zolotas. We think it’s important that we don’t just stop helping her choose her wedding dress - we always ask if she needs any further help or recommendations with any more of her wedding planning and provide further guidance and support.