A boutique in Goring, run by two sisters and best friends, is offering a lucky Herald or Gazette reader the opportunity to win a bespoke prom dress.
Katie and Amy Sykes, at Velvet Birdcage in Goring Road, Goring, have ten years’ experience turning dress dreams dresses into reality.
Their business came about after bride-to-be Katie struggled to find dresses for her five bridesmaids.
“It turned into a nightmare,” she said.
“I had a specific design in mind and all of the bridesmaids had different body shapes.”
She decided to task her sister and best friend Amy with designing the dresses herself and the success led to the start of Velvet Birdcage.
Starting out as a home-run business, the pair moved to the centre of Worthing before setting up at their Goring Road premises around two-and-a-half years ago.
In store, where the sisters have created ‘a fun and chilled environment’, visitors can browse more than 80 ready-made dresses.
But the pair’s speciality is letting their creativity run wild and designing dresses for bridesmaids, brides and prom goers from scratch.
Katie said of the job: “No day is the same. No person that comes in wants the same design and no body is the same. That’s what I like.”
However, the role has its challenges. Katie said: “It’s the most important purchase that anyone will ever make. The pressure is on to get it right.”
But it all becomes worth it when the dresses, which are designed in store but mostly made elsewhere, are tried on for the first time.
“It’s really exciting,” Katie said. “Some girls come in with not a lot of confidence.
“We take them through a process and get them to a point where they feel really good about themselves.”
Prom dresses are becoming increasingly popular among customers, with many orders already filed ahead of the summer season and dark red proving to be 2018’s most fashionable trend.
Katie said of the girls that come in to design a dress: “It’s so important to them. They get so involved, it really means everything to them.”
The pair are giving one prom-goer the chance to have their dream dress designed – a process that usually takes 12 weeks – and while girls themselves can enter, so can their parents, grandparents and other relatives on their behalf.
Dresses are designed around the customer’s body shape and can be based on a mix-match of existing styles, inspired by a magazine photo or drawn up from scratch.
Katie said of the process: “We want to make them feel amazing in something.
“If it doesn’t do that, we’ve failed. That’s what it’s all about.”
To find out how to enter, pick up a copy of this week’s Worthing Herald, Shoreham Herald, Lancing Herald or Littlehampton Gazette.