A bride-to-be who was priced out of the perfect wedding dress has turned her nuptial negative into a pioneering business idea.
Katie Lyth, 28, was over the moon when she found the perfect dress and quickly had visions of walking down the aisle in it to wed partner, Chris.
But when the shop assistant told Katie the dress cost a whopping £2,600 – everything changed.
Mum-of-two Katie said: “As soon as I heard the price, I said ‘get it off’.
“I couldn’t justify spending thousands on a dress that I would wear for one day, especially as we had a little boy who we couldn’t afford to take on holiday every year.”
Katie then set about finding her own dress and eventually secured an ex-sample gown for under £500.
Following the success, the thrifty mum considered there was probably a market for brides who wanted to find a designer dress at a decent price.
It would be two years until Katie would turn her idea into a reality, though, as she took some time to have second child, India.
But in late September, Katie finally launched her shop, which sells brand-new designer wedding dresses for under £500.
The shop, in Station Road, Ilkeston, is named after Katie’s first child, Oliver, now five, and stocks wedding dresses from both well-known and up-and-coming designers.
The shop, formerly a hairdressers, also stocks accessories, bridal jewellery and veils.
Erewash MP Maggie Throup was on hand to cut the ribbon at the opening.
Explaining how she manages to get the designer dresses so cheap, Katie said: “Many shops have ex-sample dresses which they can sell for cheap. Sometimes suppliers will have excess stock they will sell at a good price, and you can pick up very good dresses at a reasonable price from up-and-coming designers.”
She added: “I usually get a new dress every two weeks and now have a decent stock of dresses ranging between sizes eight to 28.”
Among the designer dresses stocked by House of Oliver Bridal Wear are those from Justin Alexander, Maggie Sottero, Romantica of Devon and Eternity Bridal.
Katie said: “The average price of a wedding dress is around £1,500 and many brides simply cannot afford to pay that much.
“There’s also a lot of brides who could afford to pay that much, but would rather spend their money on something else, like a holiday. Either way, there’s a big market for what I’m doing.”
She added: “Typically, brides who did not want to spend so much could go to a budget shop, a second hand store, a Chinese seller, or buy a dress on eBay.
“Neither of those options seem very special.
“With me, brides can comes and try the dresses on a buy if they like – so there’s no risk either.”
To make an appointment at House of Oliver, call 07709 544 939.
You can also check out the shop’s Facebook page by visiting www.facebook.com/houseofoliverbridal