Name: Elly Louise Costa

Location: Cheltenham, Melbourne

Company: Creative Director/ Elly Louise

What was your first job out of university and how did you land that position? 

Wardrobe Assistant at Nine network.  I was doing 2 weeks of industry placement there and they offered me a job at the end of it.  I spent 6 amazing years working there.

What inspired you to create your business? 

I have always loved weddings so for me once I had gained some experience sewing for other people it was a no brainer.  I absolutely love creating wedding gowns.

Take us through a day in the life of your business?  

First thing I do is check emails and social media. I then go into my studio put my music on and look at my sewing schedule.  Depending on what day it is, I might have a fitting scheduled in that day & then otherwise I’m cutting & sewing up gowns.

Has anything surprised you about the journey to creating your business?  

How long it takes to build your own business & the power of word of mouth/referrals.  I have been so lucky that all my brides pass on my details with such lovely things to say about my work.

Obviously, your business has grown! So, let's talk money. Tell us about the intimidating process of finding funding for your business. Any advice for women who need to find funding for their own startups?  

My husband and I funded my business ourselves as it was something we wanted to do.  Having an investor would have been amazing but I took my time building my business on the side before it transitioned into full time work.

Your business has developed quite a following. Can you tell us a little bit about marketing your business? How did you spread the word? 

Initially I relied on word of mouth which has always been fantastic but recently I was a part of the One Fine Day Bridal Fair which was a great experience that has led to meeting new brides and therefore more bridal gown orders.

What do you think is the key to the success of your business? 

Persistence & patience.

I have been building this business for many years realizing that things don’t happen overnight.  Long hours and hard work really do pay off. 

Your favourite bridal trend at the moment?

Tulle sleeves! Loving the soft, floaty look of tulle being used in dress bodices and sleeves now, not just in the skirts.

Tell us about your current collection. 

I created gowns for the modern bride keeping in mind all those brides that have destination weddings that don’t necessarily want the big gowns.

The pearl beaded sleeves are my favourite detail.

Best advice you ever received?

Don’t lease a shop straight away, keep your overheads low to avoid the stress of paying for a commercial lease.

I wish I knew how to ….. Draw well, I know how produce gowns but my sketches are not my strong suit.

What is your coffee order? Latte, one sugar

TV show do you wish was still on the air? Gossip girl

Next travel destination? Sri Lanka for Christmas as my brother is building a hotel there.

What advice would you give your 23 year old self? There is no rush, you have plenty of time to build the business you are dreaming of and have all the things you want.