Young entrepreneur launches specialist occasion wear boutique in Cardiff city centre.

With experience in the bridal industry, Naomi Vaughan decided to take the plunge and set up her own pop-up boutique selling occasion wear for special events including weddings, proms and pageants. With help and advice from the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service on starting and running a business, Naomi was able to successfully relaunch The Pretty Perfect Boutique in October 2019 in Cardiff’s Morgan Arcade.

  • successful launch
  • 1 job created
  • advisory support and workshops

Introduction to business

Set up by Naomi Vaughan in 2019 in Morgan Arcade in Cardiff, The Pretty Perfect Boutique offers occasion wear for all events including weddings, proms, pageants and celebrations. The shop also specialises in the all-important purchases before and after the wedding dress, including mother of the bride or groom outfits.

Why did you decide to set up your own business?

I decided to start my own business, The Pretty Perfect Boutique, in 2018 and officially started trading in January 2019. I had worked in the bridal industry for nearly 5 years at Laura May Bridal. I loved the industry, was passionate about designer dresses and enjoyed helping brides find ‘the one’. I was inspired by the ladies at Laura May who started their business back in 2011. While working for them, I realised that there was a demand in Cardiff for a special occasion-wear store. We had so many people come in daily looking for mother of the bride or groom outfits who didn’t want to travel outside the city centre, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to offer all types of occasion wear all in one place.

The difficult part was starting up, but this is where Laura May gave me the opportunity to open a pop-up boutique within their shop in the city centre. I was really lucky to have the opportunity and enjoyed working for them so much!

I’ve always been ambitious, I’ve acted on opportunities and wanted to start my own business – I just needed a great idea.

What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge I faced was sourcing funding and the ins and outs of starting a business. I had my own personal savings, started out small and learnt a lot along the way as I grew. I tested my business idea at Laura May before I took the plunge to go alone and opened my own store last October in the Morgan Arcade. I made some money from the trial stage and then entered a competition at Cardiff Metropolitan University called Countdown to Launch. Apart from winning an award at the competition, I met an investor and was able to secure some further funding. Everything started to happen from there.

Getting known was a big factor and still is – focusing on marketing and getting people to find out about us, recommend us, has been a main challenge. As I’m doing everything alone as a one-woman band, I have struggled juggling being in store and promoting my business.

Business Wales support

Business Wales’ Growth Adviser Miranda Bishop supported Naomi with general business advice on the main aspects of starting and running a business including marketing, financial forecasting and HR, enabling The Pretty Perfect Boutique to successfully relaunch in October 2019.

Outcomes

  • successful launch
  • 1 job created
  • advisory support and workshops

Cardiff Metropolitan University and their entrepreneurship scheme, Laura May Bridal and Business Wales have all helped me get to where I am today. When my idea became reality, I took every opportunity of help that was available to me. Miranda has personally helped me in all aspects from just general advice to HR, marketing and financials, and I’m continuing to meet with her regularly.

Business Wales has been there for me to answer any questions I’ve had, which I’ve been unable to find out myself. They have also pointed me in the right direction for any extra training or courses that are available to me.

Future plans and ambitions

In the next year my focus will be to build a good reputation for the business and to become more well-known within and around the Cardiff area. We want to continue to grow the business and become the place to shop for occasion wear in Cardiff. We would also like to build on the experience within the store and offer a more diverse selection of styles to our customers! Who knows what else will happen, we are open to taking every opportunity that comes our way.

If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/case-studies or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.

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