The Grace Loves Lace brand journey
19 Jul 2019
Megan Ziems, founder and creative director of Australian bridalwear brand Grace Loves Lace, details her journey from start-up to global success
Megan Ziems moved to Australia when she was three-years-old, after her adventurous and driven parents sailed there from the UK.
Megan's mum owned a lingerie label and her childhood was spent in work rooms surrounded by lace rolls and helping the cutters lay the fabrics. However, it wasn't until Megan's own wedding in 2010 that she saw a gap in the market for unique, luxurious and accessible wedding dresses that were comfortable.
With an aim to revolutionise how gowns were designed and sold, Megan set up Grace Loves Lace in a bid to liberate women from the traditional bridal shopping experience through an e-commerce model. The rest, as they say, is history.
Here, Megan shares her story and offers business owners inspiration to achieve their dreams.
What inspired you to set up Grace Loves Lace?
I have always been competitive and determined - I think I owe my strong work ethic and drive to my parents. My career had always been predominantly in sales and marketing, so I was already engaged in the world of fashion. After struggling to find a dress for my own wedding, I was so empowered to shake up the bridal industry. I really wanted to provide women with a new and exciting bridal offering and give them the choice they deserve.
How did you transform it into a global brand?
When I started Grace Loves Lace, we launched an e-commerce model as I really wanted to change the way women shopped for their dresses. I am a big believer in online shopping and wanted to make the process as simple as possible, and provide women with the confidence to buy a wedding dress online.
Our gowns have been purposefully-designed for e-commerce. We employ a versatile and innovative approach to fabrics and patterns, including the use of luxurious stretch fabrics for an easy and effortless fit. We grew completely organically and quickly had the demand to open showrooms. From the beginning (with a strong background in fashion wholesale), I knew I wanted to keep GLL gowns extremely exclusive by selling to women only though our own channels. This way we can put just as much emphasis and care into the experience.
Above: Inca by Grace Loves Lace
Above: Rosa by Grace Loves Lace
What sets the brand apart from the competition?
I take a lot of pride in the fact that noone was doing bridal the way we started it, so we really do have that authenticity in everything we do. We create for the woman, not the bride or the wedding day - we are fiercely dedicated to women and bringing exciting, liberating designs and creativity to their world.
We are known for our service and quality. Our care for our customers is something I know doesn’t exist everywhere - we have won countless awards for our business excellence, quality of product and service. We don’t mass produce or wholesale, we have minimal to no waste and we hand-make each gown in our own studios in Australia.
Our designs and fabric choices, along with our garment construction, truly celebrate women. We don’t restrict or manipulate body shapes by using rigid fabrics and structure. We wholeheartedly believe in comfort and being confident in your own skin. Grace Loves Lace was built on the belief that you shouldn’t have to pay a fortune for a wedding dress and we remain focused on delivering luxurious, handmade products at an accessible price point.
Above: Alexandra by Grace Loves Lace
Above: Song by Grace Loves Lace
Define the Grace Loves Lace bride and how she inspires the brand.
The Grace Loves Lace woman is one of effortless style, substance and passion. She’s authentic, down to earth, interesting and has strong values. She’s certainly not the traditional bride on her wedding day; she’s exciting and she dresses for herself. The passion and soul that we infuse in everything we do is completely in line with our customer.
What is your favourite Grace Loves Lace dress?
It changes regularly. In the new La Bamba 2019/20 collection, I adore Song, Summer, Loyola and Farrow, while our iconic signature gowns - Alexandra, Inca and Rosa - are perennial favourites too.
I am also completely obsessed with our new veils, hair buns and socks. And being an earrings fan, I have added one of everything from the La Bamba jewellery range to my personal collection.
Above: Farrow by Grace Loves Lace
How do you keep up with changing trends and ensure your designs are at the forefront of bridal fashion?
We go to Paris annually and create concept boards throughout the year for fabric and design ideas. For us, it's less about finding the inspiration and more about ensuring we create and release them at the right time. We have so many ideas. We are very in tune with what our woman wants, so we feel confident with our own ideas and stay away from trend forecasts. We are heavily inspired by music and art so a collection usually starts from there.
How do you juggle working life and parenthood?
I am a mother of two and we are very lucky that my mother-in-law helps care for the boys while I’m at our head office from Monday to Wednesday, and working from our home office on Thursday. I generally take Fridays off to have a ‘mummy’ day as my youngest is still so little. As I’m sure all parents appreciate, it’s a hard juggle but I’m lucky to have such great family support.
It’s been a steep learning curve but prioritising is key and I now make sure I keep work ‘after hours’ to a minimum. Whatever that concept of ‘juggling’ looks like to you, I’d encourage all women to cut themselves some slack. Just do your best, be a good person and do the right thing by others and try to stay organised! Don't sweat the small stuff.
What are your future plans for the brand?
We have more Grace Loves Lace showrooms in the pipeline and are working on some exciting new ideas to transform the world of weddings. We can’t wait to share more with you soon – watch this space.
If you hadn’t set up Grace Loves Lace, where would you be now?
That's a tricky one. I would say my passion is health and fitness so most likely something in
that area. I have always thrived in a creative but strategic role. I love being in business and
growing something that has a real purpose.