BUSINESS is booming for Sofi Designs Bridal – so much so that the business has recently doubled the size of its premises in Basingstoke.

Like many entrepreneurs, Fatma Sofi noticed a slowdown in business due to the tough economic times.

But the innovative businesswoman has been able to ride out the double-dip recession by doing what she does best – providing great customer service and listening to her customers’ needs.

In addition to offering leading wedding dress designer names and wedding accessories, she now offers a line of mother-of-the-bride outfits.

Fatma said: “We had mums coming in with their daughters, who’d say ‘I would love to get everything in here, why don’t you offer mother-of-the-bride clothes?’ “So we looked for suitable outfits, starting with designers we know personally, like Ian Stuart – one of the biggest wedding fashion designers in the country.

“Then we added others, such as Condici and Spanish names like Zeila and Carina, and Sarah Danielle from America.”

The new line proved to be a great success for the business, based in Telford Road on the Houndmills Estate.

“It’s because of this that we had to have an extension,” explained Fatma, whose easy-going manner makes it easy to understand why she has such good contacts in the world of wedding fashion.

Set up 12 years ago, the enterprise was initially a wedding jewellery and accessories business, with Fatma travelling all over the world, attending wedding trade shows.

It was then that she started building some lasting relationships with some of the world’s best designers.

This proved to be a boon when, in 2007, Fatma decided to focus the bridal business on wedding dresses.

Now the shop stocks leading names, attracting calls from all over the country for those looking for dresses designed by particular designers.

Customers have come to the shop from as far as Scotland to see Fatma.

The shop offers dresses to suit all budgets, and Fatma is always on hand to offer good honest advice.

Fatma said: “We have to be considerate and do our best, because it’s for a very important day. The whole experience of the wedding will stay with our customers forever.

“If they have a good experience trying dresses, where they feel relaxed, this will stay with them and that is why they will recommend us to everyone else.”