A shop that was badly hit by the pandemic is bouncing back.

Bridal shop Happily Ever After in Swanage is this week’s Trader of the Week.

Here, Emma Morgan tells us about overcoming the Covid challenge as Happily Ever After celebrates its first anniversary.

What do you sell?

A wide range of sample wedding dresses and accessories in sizes 8-26, curated from far and wide, all at very competitive prices.

What makes you stand out from the competition?

Me and Sophy launched our small wedding boutique (www.happilyeverafter.boutique) in Swanage, last September. We are the only bridal shop in the local area. Just as business began to boom, March 2020, COVID hit and we had cancelled appointments due to cancelled/postponed weddings. It is a really difficult time for small businesses, especially within the wedding industry, but we are pleased that we are beginning to help brides find their perfect dresses again!

Dorset Echo:

Emma and Sophy of Trader of the Week Happily Ever After in Swanage showing their sparkle by wearing their tiaras!

We celebrated our first birthday with a small socially-distanced party yesterday.

We are both from a background in education and have enjoyed using our transferable skills to nurture our brides, many of whom are very anxious having had upsetting experiences elsewhere. Our reviews say it all!

What is your business best known for?

We love our brides and our brides love us! Sophy and I wear tiaras whenever we can (there is never a wrong time for some sparkle!) and we absolutely love getting to know our brides and do whatever we can to ensure they have an enjoyable and memorable appointment! Our dresses and accessories are excellent quality and excellent value - we are a ‘Unique Bridal Boutique’.

Dorset Echo:

Inside the Happily Ever After boutique

How do you feel at being nominated as trader of the week?

We are so pleased that we are able to share our small business with everyone. It is a joy and a privilege to help our brides with such an important and emotional purchase!

Dorset Echo:

Autumn sunshine adorns the boutique

What makes your customers continually come back to you?

We love what we do! We ensure that our brides have a fabulous experience with us, even if they are not yet ready to make a purchase. When they find the ‘one’, it is a joy we all share!

Dorset Echo:

Comments from happy customers

Obviously, brides don’t tend to need to continually come back to us, but it is a honour to receive recommendations shared with their friends, and we can’t wait to meet more brides!

Dorset Echo:

Happily Ever After's launch in September 2019, at its first Wedding Fair

What would you recommend people buy/try from you?

If you have an appointment with us, come with an open mind.

Brides often fall in love with dress which is nothing like what they first thought they would buy. That moment, the one when they just ‘know’, that’s why we do what we do.

Dorset Echo:

A selection of bridal gowns on sale at Happily Ever After

What is your relationship to the town where your business is?

Our boutique is in the Durlston area of Swanage, which is where Sophy and her family live.

The local area is beautiful and we are so lucky to work in such an incredible place.

Swanage town is very busy during the summer, but quieter off-season, which is why it is so important for there to be a variety of businesses in the local area, supporting each other’s ability to thrive. We have good links with a local seamstress who we recommend to our brides. In the current economy, it is vital that small businesses support each other.