Banking on success for bridal business

SUPPORT: Lisa Robey, left, NatWest’s director of business banking for Oxfordshire, and Madelaine Orlando, from Bicester Bridal

SUPPORT: Lisa Robey, left, NatWest’s director of business banking for Oxfordshire, and Madelaine Orlando, from Bicester Bridal Buy this photo

First published in News

NOT being able to find a dress for her wedding prompted Madelaine Orlando to open a bridal boutique of her own.

Four years on, Bicester Bridal has proved such a hit, the former police officer has traded-up from her original shop to one three times the size.

But when Ms Orlando, 37, was starting up, she was turned down for a loan by the first bank she approached.

She managed to borrow £17,500 from NatWest, who asked her to match it with her own cash to reach the £35,000 needed, but has since paid it all back.

Her track record meant when she needed more cash for the new shop, the same bank was happy to lend her another £15,000.

She said: “My original lease was for 10 years but after three, we had no room left.

“We couldn’t get any more dresses on to the shop floor and the store room was bursting.

“Now, the brides have an enormous changing room and a podium with big mirrors and everyone who comes in is wowed.”

Ms Orlando’s experience of being refused a loan was typical in the years following the financial crash of 2008 but banks have started to lend again.

The Government has boosted loans by setting up the British Business Bank last year, which has handed out £782m in its first 12 months. It also launched the Business Banking Insight, an online survey where 5,000 small businesses rate banks by how much they lend.

NatWest’s director of business banking for Oxfordshire, Lisa Robey, who bought a dress from Ms Orlando’s shop for her own wedding last month, said: “Most of the cash we are being approached for is to fund expansion such as bigger premises, new members of staff or acquiring other businesses.

“Maddy has worked so hard to ensure the business is a success and I have seen how much effort she has put in to the new premises.”

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