Business management

Emma Meek, Miss Bush

As part of our campaign with Getty Images to change the image of female founders, the owner of Surrey-based wedding boutique Miss Bush tells her business story.

Miss Bush, experimental luxury bridal boutique

Miss Bush is an experiential luxury bridal boutique built around the pillars of body positivity, traceability, affordability and an expert fit. The team have been dressing fashion-savvy brides for over 30 years but relaunched in 2014, when managing director Emma Meek built on the existing heritage of the family brand and moved the business to a converted Victorian chapel in Ripley, Surrey.

“My aim was to reimagine retail, replacing a shop window with an incredible digital presence,” says Meek. “Rather than being all things to all women, I focused on becoming incredibly niche. I knew that, at its heart, Miss Bush talked to a psychographic rather than a demographic, so our marketing became more fearless and more focused. We offer a frank, fun and surprisingly feminist take on bridal shopping.”

It was fantastic to receive the recognition that a female-owned business in a female market was a serious, profitable entity rather than a hobbyist’s pastime

Emma Meek
Managing director at Miss Bush

With many brides’ wedding plans thrown into disarray due to coronavirus, Meek and her team rose to the challenge of catering for the new needs of their clients. “We were able to provide a Covid-secure in-person experience, and the showroom has been transformed for ‘big screen’ Zoom calls, allowing brides to ‘bring in’ their global relatives or simply their bride squad,” says Meek. “The Miss Bush buying strategy has always been geared towards our clients, so when micro weddings emerged, our sharp separates and tailoring were perfect solutions for smaller weddings.”

Winning a number of prestigious awards over the decades, seeing the brand grow and developing an enviable reputation are all points of pride for Meek, as was her “surprisingly well listened to” appearance on Radio 4’s Today programme in 2020. But she says her best moment leading the business was undoubtedly buying the “beautiful chapel” where Miss Bush is based. “It was fantastic to receive the recognition that a female-owned business in a female market was a serious, profitable entity rather than a hobbyist’s pastime,” says Meek.

Her advice to other women looking to launch their own business is simple. “Digital know-how is everything,” she says. “If you don’t know how, hire someone who does. My business wouldn’t be where it is without a fully joined-up strategy on all platforms.”

The bank and Getty Images’ Female Focus #BeTheRoleModel initiative is “a fantastic opportunity to shine a light on the positive, retail success stories that can, and do, exist in the UK,” says Meek, adding that Miss Bush’s own strength comes from “a very female mindset, one of positive collaboration with our peers in the wedding industry”.

“It is also amazing to be able to demonstrate that creative, female-first businesses can thrive, even in challenging years.”

Emma Meek of Miss Bush continued to trade throughout a challenging 2020. She utilised technology to transform the shopping experience of her clients and focused on solutions to meet the need for smaller weddings.

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