We talked to Shannon Martin, owner of award-winning Dotty Bridal in Holmfirth who has turned her store into a ‘concept boutique’ – and her brides are loving it
First some background. What were you doing before bridal?
Before I opened Dotty Bridal I worked in retail as a flagship store manager. I had been a store manager since the age of 18 where I started my career with Miss Selfridge, moving on to work for White Stuff, Cath Kidston and Victoria’s Secret.
When did the original shop open and when did it grow?
We opened the boutique in September 2015 and have expanded three times since then. Firstly in December 2016 when we took on the upstairs part of our building and then managed to purchase the building as a whole. We then opened our sister boutique, Evelyn Bridal & Prom in April 2018. We have now expanded the boutique into the building next door.
What labels do you carry?
We are thrilled with our choices: Pronovias, Pronovias Atelier, Madi Lane, Justin Alexander, Jesus Peiro and Willowby. Madi Lane is our newest and very lovely addition.
How many weddings a year do you dress the brides for?
It is now between 90 and 100.
Value of average sale of bridal gowns across the past year?
How do you reach your brides?
We spend a lot of time on our marketing strategy and planning. We are always thinking up new ideas to push the boundaries of bridal.
Being a normal bridal shop is not for us and I think this is one of the main reasons why we attract so many brides. We spread the message through our social media channels. We also use google ads and have lots of brides who come to us through word of mouth due to the exceptional service we deliver.
So how much time do you spend on your website and on social media?
We have a dedicated marketing manager, Anna, who works three days a week; a big chunk of our day is spent on social media, with stories showing the day-to-day running of the boutique and postings on Pinterest. My phone never stops!
Do you have a distinct target audience?
We certainly do, our bride is an insta queen! She’s a girl who loves the finer things in life and taking a good selfie in the insta-worthy places she visits. She’s aged 24-35 has a degree-level qualification, and a professional/management career. She shops at Zara, ASOS and H&M as well
How did you define her?
After being in business for three years we decided to send out a survey monkey questionnaire to our purchasing brides asking them lots of different questions to qualify exactly who they are.
Now about the new Dotty… tell all
After recently extending our boutique we have now opened a completely unique and quirky concept store. The boutique houses our very own Dotty Gin bar, Dotty sweet shop and a wool selfie wall.
A major thing that I feel makes us stand out is our Luxury Bridal Experience; this gives the bride and up to four guests an appointment in our private fitting room which can seat up to ten guests.
They are greeted with a glass of fizz and some branded sweet treats and during the appointment they will all be offered a Dotty cocktail. If the bride says “I do in Dotty” she will be able to take part in our super-cute balloon pop where she will win a prize from one of our recommended suppliers. These include things like free wedding make up, half-price flowers etc. The bride and her tribe can then have their photos taken for our selfie wall and will receive our Dotty Bride gifts which include our sought-after ‘I’m a Dotty Bride’ mugs and Estella Bartlett pouches.
Why the decision to change everything?
I really wanted to propel Dotty and take the boutique to another level. I didn’t just want a bridal boutique… I wanted to offer a different experience altogether and launch a concept store, where we are innovative with our ideas, industry leaders and trend setters! I want us to stand out from the crowd as the best bridal shop around, the one to visit and not just for the brilliant selection of dresses but for our exceptional level of service.
What inspired you?
I wouldn’t say there was anything or anyone in particular that inspired me but I would say I want to be the best at what I do. I’m so passionate about the bridal industry and customer experience in general that I wanted to make this part of the wedding journey one to remember.
Did you have a pro interior designer or was it all gut reaction?
Nope it was all us! And a little bit of Pinterest inspiration of course.
Will this allow you to take on more labels, more stock?
We already have – Aussie brand Madi Lane and Madison James.
Will your opening hours etc be different with all the change?
We already open six days a week, Tuesday to Sunday, and on Thursdays we are open until until 8pm.
T: +44 (0)1484 950700