The last 10 years have been incredibly special. I launched my own business, Y.A.P Bridal Boutique, back in 2010 and since then it’s grown into one of the most successful and prestigious bridal retailers in the UK.
I can’t describe how proud I am of what it has become. I opened its doors in memory of my beloved parents, who signed off every card, love letter and note to one another with Y.A.P, which stands for ‘you are precious’. One of their original letters, alongside their wedding photo, sits pride of place in the boutique today.
Selling the boutique in the spring of last year was a hard decision to make, but it just felt like the right time for me to move on, both professionally and personally.
I’m delighted, though, that it’s now in the safe hands of my wonderful manager, and dear friend, Danni. I now spend my working week consulting all over the UK and Europe, training and supporting boutique owners and their staff to help them become even more successful. I also judge at national industry wedding awards, write for regional and national bridal magazines and offer my services at business clinics at world-renowned bridal fairs.
One of my most recent career highlights has been partnering with world-renowned bridal designer, Maggie Sottero, who is an absolute visionary in the industry. Together, we have created a bespoke training programme for bridal retailers.
The training covers everything from how to build a successful and sustainable brand, how to create a personalised and unique shopping experience, how to best build designer knowledge, how to overcome obstacles, how to connect with your bride and anticipate her needs, and lots more.
My new line of work involves a lot of travelling – in the last 12 weeks I’ve visited 48 bridal boutiques in six countries – but it’s fantastic to be able to help others in the industry reach their potential.
Every boutique I visit is so different, but they all have the same goal – to help make brides’ wedding dreams come true. Passing on my knowledge and assisting them in achieving their goals fills me with so much satisfaction. And when I’m not on the road or in the air, I love nothing more than being at home, in Birtley, Gateshead, with my wonderful family. Quality time together is so precious.
Alongside consultancy, I also work as a modern day celebrant, which is by far one of the most humbling, satisfying and joyful parts of my job.
I qualified last year and now help couples across the region make their wedding, or civil partnership, ceremony as personal and as symbolic to them as possible. Being such a central part of a couple’s big day is a total honour. Celebrating people’s very own love stories – what could be better?
Catch Jo at The Bridal Retail Success Academy, as part of London Bridal Fashion Week, in March 2020, where she’ll be on hand to offer advice to both business owners and brides.