Advice on "starting" my business – Bridal shop :)

posted 3 years ago in Career
Post # 2
Member
1236 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - San Francisco, CA

I mean, if it’s your dream … go for it. Be mindful, though, that this is a rough time economically to start a new business. What is your plan going to be if (heaven forbid) it goes under? Also, you’ve never worked in the bridal business, or even in retail, it looks like. You’d be jumping in completely blind. Some people do this and it works out, but those tend to be people with a LOT of business experience. You’ve just finished your MBA and think it would be “fun” to do this.

 

I’m not going to tell you not to do it, but proceed with caution, and maybe try to learn the ropes first?

Post # 3
Member
6032 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

It’s generally a bad idea to buy a business in a line of work in which you have no experience. It’s not going to help that it’s an extremely competitive industry/category, getting worse all the time with so much competition from online retailers, plus very expensive inventory that has to be renewed constantly, and low profit margins. If it were my money, no way would I do this. If it were my money amd I had that kind of experience I probably still wouldn’t do it.

Post # 4
Member
636 posts
Busy bee

Sounds exciting!

When you say profits are not as high, what do you mean? How much is she netting every month right now? If I were you I’d go over the numbers with a few different people who have experience with business and cash flow management (in practice, not just in theory). When you are looking at the numbers make sure you consider how much payroll will cost you (You will burn yourself out being there all the time) and also look at what your place in the local market will be. E.g.  What are other bridal shops in the city doing? How will yours compare? What will be different about yours? I’d highly recommend reading up on positioning.

Post # 5
Member
636 posts
Busy bee

Also, I think that you shouldn’t be discouraged by not having industry experience. That can be overcome for sure. But that said, I think you should do a ton of market research to compensate for it and also get some hands on business training courses (the affordable ones that are very topic-focused). Do you have a local small business association or center? That would be a good place to start. Feel free to pm me if you want, I’ve learned lots (and am still learning) about business but for privacy reasons don’t post about it much here.

Post # 6
Member
695 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I do not have an MBA.  But, I have had my own business before.  Would it be out of line to talk to a couple other bridal shop owners in the area?  I think I would be courious as to what kind of money they bring in.  Isn’t there a way you can find that out?  I thought there was.  I do know of people who have talked to people with the same business across town or further away so its not like direct competition.  And using social media is great but it does not work like magic.  I would just really want to talk to some people in the business.  Everything always looks great on paper until you start really finding out what works and what does not.  And have you checking out businesses in the area you could cross promote with?  Like flower shops, DJ’s, wedding planners?  I would say you have a lot more talking to people to do before you get into anything.  But, none of what I’m telling you should be things you don’t already know.

Post # 7
Member
3044 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Well… In the one hand it is a big risk.  On the other hand, you are going to enjoy it a whole lot. I would suggest making the transition be one where you watch what is currently going on as an “employee” for a couple of months before making the purchase, to make sure that a)the reality is what you want, b) you get along with the staff and are not going to lose them just because new owners- good staff will make or break you – and c) figure out exactly what niche it is that this shop fits that the others in town don’t. once you know that and once you earn staff loyalty so they are on board with changes… You can go and make it work.

 

with changes to the decor… If it is anything major (and by major I mean you will have to take more than one or two extra days closed to do your renovations) I would consider sending the senior staff you would want to keep to a bridal show for industry to see trends and make contacts in your area for you – that way they are still having a day of working and not losing income, and feel important.

Post # 8
Member
1016 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I’m sorry to be a debbie downer, but I would not do this. There is too much competition, it can be quite difficult to set yourself apart from others (ask yourself, what can you offer than no other bridal store in your area can?), and online retailers can charge much less with very little overhead. Unfortunately, many people will use your business, your employees, your inventory to have that dress shopping experience, choose their dress, and they will buy that exact dress online and take it to an independent seamstress for fitting. This will only become more common, IMO. 

I think as long as the western economy is becoming a have-not, while China and counterparts are experiencing incredible booms to theirs, I would not invest in a business that does not provide essential services or products. I’m no expert, but I fully expect North America and China to reverse roles sooner rather than later. Their middle class is growing, what is ours doing? What is your target demographic? 

Post # 9
Member
889 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

JAM1982:  I actually know someone who did this in my area (the UK)…she worked in hospitality management then completely changed everything by quitting her job and opening a bridal store! She did tons of market research but had no real experience and was starting out from scratch, not taking over an established business like you are considering. It’s been about 7 years now and she said its the best thing she ever did. Yes, there were some very hard, stressful times early on and money was tight for a couple of years but she wouldn’t change it and now she runs a very popular, successful bridal store! 

i’m not saying it would definitely be the same in your case but I tend to think we regret the things we didn’t do rather than the things we did and you have a big advantage in that it’s already established, still has room to grow/develop and the current owner is willing to teach you all she knows!

Post # 10
Member
4 posts
Wannabee

Just out of curiousity, what did you end up doing?

 

Post # 11
Member
1568 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Did you buy it?

 

Leave a comment


Sent weekly. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Find Amazing Vendors