Bridal shop owner Shannon Martin told Huddersfield Hub a year ago she had unfinished business with TV show The Apprentice.

And on Thursday, Shannon, 35, will appear on the latest series of the BBC show going head-to-head with 17 other candidates aiming to win a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar.

Mum-of-two Shannon, who runs Dotty Bridal and Off The Peg in Holmfirth, was inspired to start her own business when she applied to be on The Apprentice almost 10 years ago.

Though she didn’t make it past the interview stage, producers loved her idea to set up a pre-loved wedding dress store.

With a background in high-end retail including Victoria’s Secret, Cath Kidston and The White Stuff, Shannon opened her first bridal store in Holmfirth in March 2014, named Evelyn Taylor Bridal.

Since then her business has gone from strength-to-strength and now she hopes to be the first to introduce Lord Sugar to the lucrative bridal industry.

Shannon, who lives in Shepley with husband James and children Nori, six, and Elvie, four, told Huddersfield Hub last January she was ready for another crack at The Apprentice.

She said: “Lord Sugar is an idol and The Apprentice helped me decide to leave a well-paid career in retail and go and do it for myself. Lord Sugar has a lot to answer for!”

Shannon admitted she wouldn’t relish living with a bunch of strangers for weeks on end but said the business tasks wouldn’t faze her.

“I have a great work ethic and I would make a great business partner for Lord Sugar,” she said.

The business idea she’ll pitch to Lord Sugar this time is at the opposite end of the scale. Instead of selling pre-loved dresses, she’ll design and make her own.

“My USP is the fact that I’ve got a million-pound business that might hopefully be a multi-million-pound business in the coming months,” she said.

“There are not many other businesses that design and manufacture wedding dresses made solely in the UK, which is exactly what my business plan is. I think it’s a really good opportunity for him.”

Evelyn Taylor Bridal proved a big success offering pre-loved wedding gowns but Shannon would often get asked for new dresses, which led her to open Dotty Bridal in Holmfirth in 2015.

After having her first child, Shannon struggled to manage the two shops and it was decided that she needed to close Evelyn Taylor Bridal to focus on expanding Dotty and manage her work/life balance.

Dotty continued to grow and in 2016 they expanded upstairs to create more fitting rooms and storage space.

In 2017 Shannon felt it was time to open a second store – Off The Peg – that offered the opportunity for brides who didn’t have the budget for a Dotty dress.

Dotty Bridal in Holmfirth

It was a great way to move on the old dresses from Dotty and offer brides value for money. The shop was located in Denby Dale.

Throughout this time Shannon continued to develop relationships with more exclusive wedding dress designers for Dotty. More dresses and more demand meant that they needed to expand further.

In 2018 an opportunity arose for the shop to expand into the building next door, allowing Shannon to create a luxury fitting room and more shop space to display the dresses.

In 2021 Shannon saw an opportunity to relocate the Off The Peg store to the centre of Holmfirth, which had more space to hold the gowns and more fitting rooms. The move was definitely a hit and saw record sales of dresses.

Shannon has written for the bridal industry’s biggest trade magazine Bridal Buyer and also hosts business advice clinics at trade shows.

Shannon will want to repeat the success of Huddersfield entrepreneur Harpreet Kaur who won The Apprentice in 2022.

Harpreet rebranded her Barni’s dessert parlour, which has a branch in Hillhouse, to Oh So Yum! with her £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar.