They’ve become the must-have of global bridal fashion, with demand for wedding day face masks in pandemic-impacted America and Europe helping at least one Australian bridal brand multiply its international cult following.
Based on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, Grace Loves Lace founder, Megan Ziems, said the business responded quickly to the global pandemic by creating the bespoke lace bridal face masks.
“Brides, particularly over in the US, were interested in face masks to match their wedding dress,” Ziems said.
“We have had more interest from the international market as COVID-19 has been more prominent overseas.”
Ziems said the bridal masks were made from the fabric and lace offcuts from a bride’s wedding gown.
“Due to the nature of our on-shore manufacturing, we were able to turn these masks around very quickly.
“Each mask is layered with comfortable, breathable material to ensure there is no irritation on the skin. We do recommend to our brides that they also wear a medical grade mask underneath their bridal mask for full protection.”
The masks have become coveted among international brides seeking Australian-made gowns and the romantic, boho laid back vibe of Grace Loves Lace for their big day.
Ziems said the growing popularity of the brand meant that even amid global pandemic lockdowns and restrictions that forced the postponement of many weddings, the business had forged ahead with Australian and international showroom openings.
Following an expansion last year beyond its Gold Coast home to Melbourne and Perth as well as new locations in Dallas, San Diego and Chicago, Grace Loves Lace unveiled a flagship showroom at The Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney’s inner west early this year before the pandemic hit.
Since then Grace loves Lace has opened further international showrooms, taking the total to 11, with two more to open in Denver and Miami before the end of the year.
The openings have coincided with an increase in showroom as well as digital sales. In the 12 months to June, which included the emergence of the global health crisis, Grace Loves Lace international sales increased by 260 per cent, with 48 per cent of sales coming from the USA.
Being based in Queensland where coronavirus had been kept largely under control was of huge benefit in enabling the business to continue to grow, Ziems said.
Manufacturing in-house, which was a major point of difference to many bridal fashion brands, also meant there were no delays in production.
“Our manufacturing has not experienced delays, like so many other brands. Over 80 per cent of the world’s wedding dresses are mass produced in offshore factories, so very early on with COVID it shone a light on wedding brands that are not honest about their manufacturing process,” she said.
The “digitally native” nature of the operation also allowed it to seamlessly continue to grow online.
“It’s not new for us to offer virtual consultations and appointments,” Ziems said.
“Wedding dresses are not the type of garment, when designed and constructed traditionally, that can be ordered with confidence online so we really are the unicorn for this.”