An award-winning boutique owner was stunned when she received a four-page poison pen letter blowing up her “uninspiring and unattractive” window displays – comparing existing flower arrangements to something out of a graveyard.
Tara Trethowan was stunned when she received the ugly handwritten tirade, which accused her of “wasting a prime High Street position on thoughtless display” and suggested she “don’t bother with brides”.
The 50-year-old, who runs independent boutique The Bridal Studio in Helston, Cornwall, said she received the abhorrent letter in the mail at the end of November.
No part of the ‘unimaginative’ store was left unchallenged, with the window displays, the gray ‘prison cell’ walls, the color scheme, the dresses and the flower arrangements coming under fire.
The rude scribe, who opened the letter with “this is difficult to write”, suggested that Tara’s performances should be “full of joy”, incorporate peachy tones and use decorations from The Range.
The mother-of-three posted the “ridiculous” note online, where it garnered more than 3,300 likes, comments and shares.
Supporters branded the letter an “absolute last B******” while the owner defended the ad, explaining that the pictures were taken on a “cloudy day” when she didn’t have the lights on.
Tara, from Helston, Cornwall, said: “It’s quite ridiculous. When we get letters in the mail, they’re usually from brides with a photo of them in their dress thanking us for helping them find their dress.
“We don’t usually get handwritten letters and to be honest it was a bit of a shock.
“We didn’t really know what to make of it and at first thought it might be a little joke.
“If someone complained about our windows and was so upset about it, why didn’t they sign the letter, email us or write a Google review?
“At first I was disappointed to think that anyone would feel that way about us because I put a lot of effort and love into what I do.
“It’s not a job, it’s really like a calling. I love what we do and feel very privileged to be able to help brides find their dress.
“So, to get a letter like that, my first thought was, ‘wow, god, I really pissed someone off’.
“But once it’s gone, I tend to think maybe it was someone who has a little too much time on their hands, and I got it in the neck for some reason.”
Tara, who has been running her modern, contemporary boutique since 2015, said most bridal shops use gray and white or just white as color schemes.
Others, including her, only stock dresses so brides can imagine the complete look for themselves.
Tara said: “I have no idea why they wrote the letter, that’s the million dollar question.
“I would really appreciate it if you felt as passionate as you do that you should reach out and talk to us.
“You will not be fired, we will not berate you for having an opinion.
“Everyone has an opinion and it’s all subjective, but I’m really curious as to what made her write it.
“If they come in and want to offer us their wealth of experience and knowledge, then we’re always interested in improving our business and we always welcome constructive criticism from anyone, especially if it helps our business.
“You’re never going to please everyone and everyone feels like their opinion is just as important.
“Our target audience and our brides tell us that they are all really happy.
“We have a huge following and really good relationships with our brides. Most of them are recommendations from other brides, so we must be doing something right.”
Tara received the letter on November 30 and posted it on The Bridal Studio’s Facebook page to see if others really found her window displays “boring” or not.
Social media users flooded the post with supportive comments – saying she was also given flowers and cards and received calls and messages.
Christine Woods wrote: “Oh my god this is amazing.
“Everyone has an opinion, but why not add your name to it?
“Tara, your windows are stunning and of course you care about your brides and your business. How many awards this weekend. don’t change anything X”
Sarah Bateman commented: “Obviously written by someone who has extensive knowledge of creating window displays – I mean peach, cream and accessories from The Range!
“This is obviously the work of a let down woman in her 50s looking back on the heyday of the ’80s and ’90s. She’s obviously stuck in a time warp!”
Sam Jane wrote: “I despair of humanity sometimes. So damn rude and thoughtless.
“Obviously they’ve had too much time, Tara… shows what a lonely life they lead! Read all the lovely comments and throw this crap in the trash where it belongs xx”
Charlotte Emily White commented: “This is literally so wild and inappropriate and completely inaccurate.
“How old is this person? Is it a fountain pen? Obviously they don’t realize that gray is a very popular color for weddings!
“When I had my dress fitting I didn’t want everyone staring at me so the privacy of your setup is perfect. This person is ak ***.”
Judith Oliver wrote: “I look forward to seeing your window whenever I am in or passing through Helston.
“I would ignore any letter written by someone who doesn’t have the courage to say their name and who can’t spell ‘really’. I wish The Bridal Studio continued success.”
THE GIFT LETTER COMPLETE
The letter said: “This is difficult to write but please take this as positive advice.
“Your window is extremely drab. It’s empty, gray and cold. The wedding dresses look like they have been thrown onto the mannequin instead of being put on.
“The truly awful plastic flowers above your window resemble long-forgotten and faded plastic flowers from a graveyard. Really, really bad.
“Your window is uninviting and uninspiring. In fact, nearby charity shop windows are much more attractive.
“Your windows should be filled with joy, soft hues of peach, rose and cream.
“Silk bouquets, tiaras, bouquets.
“The clothes should be pinned, maybe with veils, hats, shoes, bags, confetti.
“Drape the window with an arch of silk flowers as a bridal walk through.
“Away with that prison cell grey. It’s totally repulsive. Maybe add a few colors with bridesmaid dresses or pageboy outfits.
“You are wasting a prime high street position with the mindless displays you have.
“Your windows are not intrusive and customers find that.
“If you can’t take care of it, how much attention would you give to a bride-to-be. None.
“Perhaps put a properly positioned gown/bridesmaid dresses in one window and wedding accessories in the other.
“Check out the cheerful decorations in The Range, lots of cheap accessories to brighten up your windows, silver vases, pretty napkins, champagne/glasses, silk flowers.
“Please do something positive to generate interest in your business.
“Please add some joy, color and fun to your window dressing or get advice (Youtube?) on how to do this.
“It would be sad if your business failed but you really have a huge market as there are no other bridal shops nearby.
“Visit other bridal outfitters and see what they are doing to attract buyers. Get rid of gray and plastic white, peach, rose, cream, color and style.”