22/07/21: Dereham bridal shop to open after council approves grant

A new bridal shop in Dereham will hold its official opening this weekend, after a grant from us helped make the business owner's dream a reality.

Nikki Finch, the owner of LEH Bridal Dreams, will be opening her bridal shop on Norwich Road with her friend Steve Hitchman's photography studio under the same roof, creating a one-stop-shop for anyone planning a wedding. Cllr Roy Brame, the Chairman of Breckland Council, will attend the official opening this Saturday (24 July).

The fledgling business is set to open its doors after receiving funding and advice from our business support team. "My initial application for a grant was unsuccessful, but I wasn't going to be defeated so I took on board the advice the council gave me, rewrote my business plan and tried again," says Nikki.

"The officer who advised me was lovely and so helpful: Steve and I have also both taken one of the council's e-commerce courses; the trainer was really good, he tailored the training to be bespoke to our businesses. I learnt a lot, it was a bit of an eye-opener."

As well as having a photography studio on-site, Nikki will be working with a range of other suppliers to create wedding packages. Steve's studio is there to meet the photography needs of Nikki's bridal customers in the form of engagement shoots and wedding day packages, in addition to the family and pet sessions he will be offering.

"I want to cater for people who want to get married without spending tens of thousands of pounds," says Nikki, "which is why I decided to stock a selection of pre-loved wedding dresses, shoes, centrepieces and artificial bouquets. What happens to everything you buy after the wedding? - you shove it in a cupboard. Reuse in this way is more sustainable and it makes the dresses more affordable. I buy dresses outright, or sell them on behalf of the owner. I'm happy to accept donated dresses - I'll give 80% of their price to charity."

And what would Nikki say to any other local people with a similar dream? "Any other person who wants to open a business who's scared and doesn't know where to start, my advice is look really hard at what help is about: go to your local council. I've wanted to start this business for years, and now I'm so pleased to be one of the innovative businesses starting up in Dereham after lockdown."

Cllr Paul Claussen, Executive Member for Economic Development and Growth at Breckland Council, said: "Our business support programme is designed to help people with great business ideas get started, as well as supporting existing businesses to develop and grow. As a council we're planning for the future of our district's towns and high streets, and local people with exciting ideas and determination are exactly what we need: I wish Nikki and Steve every success."

The grand opening of LEH Bridal Dreams on Norwich Road will take place at noon on Saturday 24 July, featuring a flower arch, a model wearing one of the gowns, a sweet cart and more.

Find out more about the range of support available to Breckland businesses

Last updated: 19/08/2021 13:16:07