Interview with Joyce Young in the Herald

Scotland’s leading quality newspaper, The Herald, recently interviewed Joyce on her life and work.

You can find an edited version of the newspaper article here:

A full version of Joyce’s answers to The Herald’s series of questions can be found below:

The Herald Q&A
What is your business called?  
The business was registered  in 1993 as By Storm Ltd but we now trade as Joyce Young
 Where is it based?
We have 2 stores one in Glasgow and one in London and our own production unit in Glasgow
What does it produce/do?

We design , make and sell made to measure luxury women’s special occasion wear mainly  worn to weddings.  Bridal dresses, Mother of the Bride/Groom outfits and outfits for investitures . We specialise in contemporary Tartan occasionwear.

Our main business in made to measure

There are 3 businesses within one business .

First Design of 5 collections

Bridal, Special Occasion, predominantly for mothers of the bride and groom and investiture outfits, Tartan , Signature and Casual Chic day wear.

Second Production and manufacture of all of the above in our own manufacturing unit adjacent to our showroom in Glasgow

Third Retail We have 2 showrooms /salons one in Glasgow and one in London (which also has a workroom) where we show our own bespoke collections to clients by appointment. We also sell some carefully curated wedding dress collections from like minded designers plus bridesmaid dresses and accessories which are bought in .
To whom does it sell?
We only sell our designs from our own shops in London and Glasgow direct to the client  in the UK and overseas . We don’t wholesale the collections therefore they are very exclusive
How many employees?
Why did you take the plunge?  

 I have previously designed for M&S and found that while it gave me a good business grounding, as a designer my ideas were limited by price. Starting with the cost of the fabric and trying to work into an unrealistic price point was very frustrating . I wanted to use my creativity and love of quality, texture and colour in fabrics rather than be so restricted. I didn’t particularly like working in the corporate environment either and wanted to create a collection that would stand out for being different rather than similar to what is already available. I’ve never understood why people want to look the same as someone else.
What do you least enjoy?
The admin and accounting .
I enjoy most aspects of running the business but when it comes to looking at pages of figures my first accountant used to say he could see the shutters come down ! I think in pictures . Even when I write lists I draw illustrations beside the descriptions which makes everything clearer in my mind.

What are your ambitions for the firm?
I am very passionate at the age I am now to help women to find a confidence and a personal style of dress. I have spent almost 50 years designing clothes. I have enormous empathy now with the ladies of an age where their children are getting married. There doesn’t seem to one word to describe us that is flattering ! Mature, older, babyboomers – whatever . We are all girls at heart. It’s an age group which has been overlooked by designers and marketing companies. We’re not catered for and we loose confidence and become invisible. Social Media throws youth in our faces and everything seems to be for young people. In other cultures age is revered.

While I’m not a phycologist I believe that wearing the right clothes for the right occasion gives joy and confidence and puts a smile on our faces and a spring in our step. Bodies change as we age and waists thicken and midriffs expand. Our Casual Chic and Signature Collections are designed to flatter by being well cut to skirt over the tummy but not overwhelm with fabric. The styles are relaxed and can be dressed up or down therefore very wearable and a “go to “ dress in the wardrobe.

Here is where I see the business could grow beyond our bespoke creations which are the mainstay of the business at the moment.

We have no family interested in the business that we can pass it onto and I don’t want it to be dependant on me .
I’m sure collaboration with the right company could take what we have built and move it up a few levels.

What single thing would most help?
Investment and collaboration to expand the daywear collection and the contemporary tartan designs. Both collections address a gap in the market.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned?
You can’t do everything yourself and your business is only as good as the team around you

Where do you find yourself most at ease?
I enjoy most aspects of the business but I particularily love being in our production unit when we are creating new designs. It’s exciting seeing the initial ideas and sketches come to life. The pinnacle is seeing them on the models on the catwalk with the bright lights and music and on photoshoots I feel so proud of my team.

The very best moments are when  our clients collect their dresses and outfits and put them on for the final time in the shop before taking them home before their weddings. I always photograph our lovely mothers at the collection and the pure joy and their disbelief that they can look so amazing is a feeling I just wish we could bottle . Our whole team get such a kick out of the pleasure our clients display when they see themselves in the finished garment. Both in London and Glasgow these are the best moments,. To know that we have helped transform and give so much confidence to ladies who initially come in worried about how they will look on their son or daughters big day seeing  themselves leave as an elegant more confident and very happy version of themselves is just so satisfying.

Our clients are our best adverts I tell them when they leave “Thank you for being such an amazing ambassador for us . Congratulations you are now part of our marketing team “

Most of our business comes through recommendation and the website
If you weren’t in your current role, what job would you most fancy?
I love photography . I enjoy taking pictures of our clients and models and seem to have an eye for a good composition. I used to paint watercolours . If I ever retire I’ll take that up again.
What phrase or quotation has inspired you the most?

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer
What is the best book you have ever read? Why is it the best?

How to win Friends and Influence People . I’ll be honest I’m not a big reader . This was one of the most recent books I have read and the lessons it teaches in communication are so interesting and invaluable. After all absolutely everything comes down to communication . Listening and not jumping in before thinking, finding out what will make the other person happy while achieving your end goals has got to be an essential read for everybody.
What has been your most challenging moment in life or business?

There have been many ups and downs over 31 years since we launched the company. I guess the most scary was the 23rd March 2020 when we were closed down because of Covid. We had hundreds of outfits at various stages of readiness for weddings and no idea what was going to happen.

Weddings were cancelled with some brides having 4 different dates before they finally got married. When we did get back to work it threw our production into chaos as the dates were postponed for one or two years and as we make to measure no one wanted to come in for fittings till closer to the new dates of wedding. The reason being everyone hopes to loose weight for a wedding and after Covid most people managed to go in the opposite direction . It was a challenging time but we survived to tell the tale.
What do you now know that you wish you had known when starting out in your career?

I’m told no one at the end of their life says “I wish I’d spent more time at the office “  As a workaholic I have spent my life living and breathing the business. I don’t regret it as it is my passion and I’m privileged to have been able to have a career that I have enjoyed so much .



designer in studio holding i pad showing sketch

Joyce’s Top Wedding Tips

Download Joyce’s suggestions gained over 30 years of personal experience to help you have the best day ever.

Body Measurement Size Chart

Product Measurements

How to Measure

Size guide

1. Bust
Measure around your back and the fullest part of your bust

2. Waist
Measure the slimmest part below your ribs and above your navel

3. Hips
Measure around the fullest part of your hips

4. Height
Get someone to help you with this and measure from head to toe