Conceived in New Zealand and inspired by women from anywhere, Hera Couture and Daisy Brides are proving successful internationally. Designer Katie Yeung explains her inclusive approach and vision.
Love may be universal but each and every wedding has its own distinct cultural context, and this means that how lovers approach their wedding can be wildly different (or just a bit different) all around the globe.
Later this year, one of New Zealand’s most exciting bridal designers, Katie Yeung, will be taking her bridalwear from Auckland to New York, to introduce American bridal boutiques to her unique way of doing things.
Yeung is the designer behind Hera Couture and Daisy Brides, two brands conceived in New Zealand but proving to be successful internationally, with stockists in London, Ireland, Amsterdam, Canada and across Australia. Both brands are elegant, classic and remarkably versatile. Hera is the more formal of the two, with elements that lean toward couture, while Daisy is a more relaxed, off the rack collection.
Yeung learned the basics of dressmaking and construction by watching her mother, a couturier, as a child in Hong Kong, and later launched her business in Auckland, one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities.
Her approach has always been inclusive — her ready to wear designs are offered in sizes 2 to 30 — perhaps because she is completely open to the influences of everyone around her. “Every day I am inspired by the incredible people I meet,” she says. “Women of all different shapes and sizes, sexual orientations, nationalities and religions – we celebrate everyone.”
Interested in “personality over trends”, she has created two labels that aim to be “eclectic and interesting” but also timeless. Yeung welcomes customization so that every bride can feel unique, and every gown is crafted with care, with an extremely high level of workmanship, fabrics and construction.
She has taken a similar approach to her business — working diligently towards each milestone, taking care to be meticulous, and tailoring what she offers so it fits the customer or market perfectly.
Having launched in New Zealand, Yeung expanded into Australia by working with the best bridal stylists and stockists there, and shooting imagery that connects with Australian brides.
“We believe it’s important to reflect the local culture,” she explains, “so that Aussie brides can relate to both the Hera and Daisy brands within their own context.”
This involves the creativity of more than just Yeung. “Our most treasured assets are the people,” she says. “From our highly qualified and experienced team of ateliers, to our stylists and seamstresses in New Zealand and our wonderful marketing and digital team, each person contributes to making Hera and Daisy possible, scaleable and thriving.” A business truly built on love, Yeung’s husband and father to her two “cheeky” girls, Cliff, is also her CFO.
Yeung intends to expand this circle of warmth, creativity and growth even further. An astute entrepreneur with a degree in property and marketing, she has plans for a social enterprise that would see a percentage of her business’s revenue invested in education and employment opportunities for women. “Creating beautiful dresses isn’t my only dream,” she says. “I’ve had the privilege of doing what I love over the past 20 years and I want to help other women have the same opportunity.”
That generosity can be felt in Yeung’s design ethos, in the urge to empower women — all women — at a time in their lives when they might feel especially scrutinised and vulnerable. “Our only prerequisite is being true to yourself,” she says. “If you start there, we guarantee you’ll feel beautiful, elegant, comfortable and confident on your big day.”
You can view Hera Couture and Daisy Brides collections at the showroom at 501 Karangahape Rd, Auckland, online and on Instagram (see below) and via international touring trunk shows throughout Europe and boutiques in Australia.