A WEDDING planner duo have opened their own bridal boutique with the help of a council scheme.

Joanne Holmes and Sophie Rispin launched Sophia-Jo Boutique on Friday January 11 with a glitzy event full of fizz and canapes.

The boutique, situated on Church Street, Guisborough, had faced weeks of refurbishment to become a suitable retail space, having previously been an MP's constituency office.

The pair applied to Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council's High Street Support Scheme which matches funding to bring empty units back into use.

Joanne Holmes, 37, said: “We received the full £10,000 grant from the High Street Support Scheme. It paid for installing new electrics, structural alterations and shop fittings.

"The boutique looks fantastic and we’ve had loads of compliments from our guests.

“We couldn’t have opened the business without the High Street Support Scheme.”

Sophie Rispin, 28, said: “Joanne and I both worked as wedding planners, so we know the industry inside-out.

“The key was to find where we could offer something that our competitors can’t. No one else in this region is offering what we are – a luxurious boutique experience to meet the realistic spend of a north east wedding."

Councillor Bob Norton, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said: “Congratulations to Joanne and Sophie on launching their business.

“The retail world needs more female entrepreneurs who can use their skills and knowledge to run businesses. The brains behind Sophia-Jo clearly know their stuff and I’m sure all the brides and their mothers will have complete faith in getting the right dress for their special day.

“I’m thrilled the High Street Support Scheme has played such an important role in helping them set up the business which I’m sure will prove to be a huge success.”

Sophia-Jo are are currently offering their customers who buy a bridal or prom gown a complimentary make-up application with local make-up artist Nastassia Holmes until the end of February.

For more information about the boutique, visit facebook.com/sophiajobridal