A NEW bridal store is celebrating its first three weeks of bustling business – led by an ambitious 19-year-old director.
Tia Eddy from Horndean said launching Always and Forever in January was ‘a dream come true’.
The youngster kick-started the venture in London Road, Waterlooville, after graduating with a diploma in fashion from Havant and South Downs College last year.
Now, since bidding farewell to full-time education, Tia says taking a ‘leap of faith’ has paid off.
She said: ‘Everything has been absolutely amazing so far.
‘I’m proud to say business is already going really well and the support from the local community and our customers has been so encouraging.
‘All I can say is it’s proved to be a surreal experience – a dream come true.’
Before setting up Always and Forever – for which she also designs bespoke dresses – Tia said she had to make a tough decision.
She said: ‘I actually had an offer lined up to go and study at the London College of Fashion if I wanted to, but I opted to start up the shop instead.
‘I’m dyslexic and my greatest passions lie in working with design and people, so I don’t think another three or four years of education would’ve been right for me.
‘Some people might see leaving that opportunity behind as a bit of a leap of faith, but I’m really happy it’s paid off.’
One of the aspects that makes her business unique, Tia acknowledges, is her age – as well as the fact she is not married herself.
She said: ‘I suppose what I’m doing is quite unheard of in this line of work.
‘But from a young age, I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life.
‘I became fascinated with fashion design as a girl and as I grew older – and took on relevant internships – that interest extended to bridal wear.
‘Of course I want to get married one day, but because I now know how much goes into planning a wedding – I’m not sure it’ll be an extravagant white one.’
While her business is still young, Tia says its focus for the future is clear.
She said: ‘At the moment, I have three main concerns.
‘I want Always and Forever to be affordable, provide quality bridal products and offer a personal and memorable service.
‘But later down the line, my ultimate goal is to provide a completely bespoke range of dresses.’
To learn more about the work of Always and Forever, visit alwaysandforeverbrides.co.uk.