Ambitious entrepreneur Helen Dickson is realising her life’s ambition as she celebrates the one year anniversary of her bridal boutique in Nottingham city centre.
DressPlace now turns around £314,000 a year and sells more than 40 dresses a month and a total of 500 a year. Owning her own ‘fabulous’ boutique is a lifelong dream, according to Helen.
“DressPlace is my longed for dream come true. For more than 25 years I planned to open my fabulous bridal boutique, and in 2009 I opened the doors to my tiny little shop in Southwell. Originally starting as a dress agency selling pre-loved gowns, we quickly grew attracting customers from across the UK, and made the move to the city.”
Nottingham-based First Enterprise Business Agency – a not for profit organisation providing loans and free business advice to start-ups and existing businesses from all backgrounds and sectors, helped Helen to grow her business with a £20,000 loan.
DressPlace has now been in business for 6 years – originally opening in Southwell, Helen moved to the city centre in 2014.
Helen is determined to make her mark on the bridal industry and said excellent customer service is the lifeline of her boutique.
She added: “My passion to provide excellent customer service is the secret to our success. You can see from the testimonials on our website, that we certainly get it right.
“My passion for excellent customer service first arose when accompanying my three daughters in their search for the wedding dress of their dreams. I discovered that the whole bridal experience could be very stressful, with very poor service from many boutiques and in some cases, downright rudeness.
“The dream of spending a lovely day with my daughters quickly turned into a tearful, frustrating experience, making us wish we had never started. I couldn’t believe that we then had a similar experience whilst searching for my Mother of the Bride outfit. I am not a size 10 or 12, and in one shop I was told I was too fat to ever find an outfit for my daughter’s wedding.”
The business is now going from strength to strength and after working with two apprentices, Helen has been able to employ one full time, thanks to funding received through First Enterprise.
The loan funding has also allowed her to revamp her website and attract new customers.
Neil Millington, loan fund manager at First Enterprise Business Agency, said: “Helen had a clear vision of where she wanted to take the business and an excellent model.
“Her drive to provide the best experience for her customers possible is what sets her apart and has made the business what it is today. We are pleased to have been able to support Helen to grow her business and would encourage others who might be in a similar situation to get in touch with us.”
Set over three floors, DressPlace sits in the heart of the Lace market in Nottingham City Centre. Offering bridal gowns, bridesmaid’s dresses, prom and evening gowns and Mother of the Bride outfits, DressPlace is the go-to shop for all your wedding and special occasion requirements.
It stocks Mori Lee Bridal, Bridesmaids and Prom, Eddy K Bridal Couture, Ivory & Co Bridal Gowns, Veromia Bridal and Bridesmaids, Sonsie & Julietta for Curvy Brides, Jasmine Belsoire Bridesmaids and John Charles mother of the bride outfits.
And Helen has high hopes for the future with plans to take on the big names in the industry.
She said: “I plan to take on high end designers such as Amanda Wakeley and Vera Wang and drive forward DressPlace as the place to buy the perfect dress. We hope to attract those customers who currently travel to Manchester or London to buy them and bring them instead to Nottingham which has its roots in the lace industry.”
Visit the DressPlace website at http://www.dressplace.co.uk/
For more information on First Enterprise Business Agency visit www.first-enterprise.co.uk