A former fashion student from Havant & South Downs College is celebrating her success after opening a new bridal store in Waterlooville.
Tia Eddy kick started the venture in London Road at the beginning of the year and has said launching Always and Forever has been ‘a dream come true’.
The young director graduated from HSDC last year with a diploma in fashion.
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 proven 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.”
Speaking about her time at College, Tia said: “I really enjoyed my time at College and my lecturers were very supportive. I particularly liked the fashion show at the end of Year Two, it showed off how far we all had come in the time.”
To learn more about the work of Always and Forever, visit alwaysandforeverbrides.co.uk.
For more information about fashion courses at HSDC, click here.