Post # 1
Hello Bees, I am hoping I can get some imput from all of you brides recently married or engaged. I am about to start a bridal shop in South Carolina and I want to start off of the right foot! So I thought I would go straight to the source, the customers. I would like to know what you women think is missing from bridal shops today? What would you like to see them do and not do? What mistakes or missteps have you seen and what do you feel could be done to correct them? I am open to all opinions, from the silly to the serious, from the big gripes to the little suggestions. I want to get it right, and I know that listening to the customer is the first step! So lets hear it!…………?
Post # 3
Better variety of gowns with straps & sleeves. The strapless gown is ubiquitous these days.
Post # 4
- Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort
I went to a salon once where none of the dresses were out to look at or browse through. You talked to the associate about what you might like adn they brought you the dresses. I didn’t like that. I have no idea if there were other dresses there I would’ve loved but didn’t know existed. At another salon, the fitting rooms were too tiny for me and teh attendant to fit inside comfortably and there and the dresses were pretty dirty. I’d avoid those things.
The best experience I had (though I ended up getting a dress somewhere else) was at a small boutique in Gainesville, FL, with a small, but excellent selection and extrememly helpful and kind staff. They had big enough fitting rooms but down a private hall and then I came out to the main area in the store where there was a huge, long mirror and a stage. It was open and inviting and well-lit. They did not allow pictures (which I totally get) but set up Skype with my MoH and her mom (my mom was at work). They were so patient while I tried on the 4 dresses I liked best over and over. It was wonderful.
Post # 5
@lesjo5480: Samples in alllllll sorts of sizes. Not a million sizes in one dress but enough with the 6/8/10’s, how about also some 14, 18, 22, 26.
This is why *hated* shopping. Nothing fit. “well sorry the only sample we have is an 8.” Really?!?!!? Because everyone is DAMN SIZE 8?!!
Post # 6
I agree with what the other ladies said but I’d also like to emphasize that service is incredibly important. I like to feel special on my day and when I’m preparing for it.
Post # 7
@MrsHart2Bee: I understand that completly! I have had to shop for bridal and bridesmaids dresses as a plus size woman, and I agree that theres not enough to see out there. One of the main focuses of my shop will be special sizes. Not just plus size, but super petite too, because believe it or not, the super tiny girls dont get to see much that fits them either.
Thanks for your imput!
Post # 8
@mrsSonthebeach: I worked at a shop like this for years. They did eventually open their stockroom to customers after it became aparent that brides were becoming more independant and needed to see things for themselves. Thanks for the insight, I will bee keeping an open stockroom 😀
Post # 10
@MrsHart2Bee: which really means that everyone is a street size 4 which is completely unrealistic!
I actually really liked my bridal shop so I will tell you why I did like them:
They never over booked, each person got 1 full hour, the shop was pretty and well lit and enjoyable to hang out in. You got to come in, look through dresses yourself, got the undivided attention of a staff member, or more because no one else would be in the shop at the same time as you, at least not trying on bridal gowns. They had jewelry they sold which they would let you try on. This helped me immensely in trying to figure out coordinating pieces. I didn’t buy it from there but it was nice to have anyway.
one thing I always wish bridal shops would do is offer champagne or allow people to bring it. Who DOESN”T want to enjoy champagne while doing girly things with their ladies or their family!?
Always put the prices on the gowns, no one wants to play the “let me check on that for you” game. Brides know their budgets, they don’t want to mess around with gowns that are out of their price range, just list the price.
Have an alterations person that you recommend that is reasonably priced and reputable, I am so glad that mine had a good recommendation and she was great to work with. She was reasonably priced, patient, and met with me both at her personal residence and in the bridal shop, depending on scheduling conflicts.
And never show annoyance with a bride if you want their or their friends business. Brides get enough people being annoying, or acting like they are being out of line. And bridal word of mouth travels fast and far. I had a few friends deal with my shop in a few different ways before I even got engaged and got poor customer service. Luckily for them (and me) they were always nice to me, and they happened to have the dress that was perfect for me. If my sister in law didn’t know someone that worked there I probably would have avoided it altogether based on other girls’ experiences.
Post # 11
I went to Davids Bridal (ugh never again!) , not only did they overbook the lady helping me, but they expect all brides to share the same mirror with nowhere for their families to sit!!! Also, the sales girl did not help me into a single dress-my aunt did it all. So, I guess my answer would be customer service and one on one service. Good Luck!!!
Post # 12
@KCKnd2: I will try to carry a variety of styles in as many necklines as I can. I agree that strapless has dominated the market long enough! Can we move on please?!
Thanks for the suggestion
Post # 14
i used to work in bridal years ago, a few tips that had our store running on top for the area:
HOURS! brides work/go to school..not all can come in day time. have more evening hrs with more clerks avail.. closing at 5pm is BAD in the business, or half day on sat (the one salon in the town i live in now closes at 1pm on sat! its crazy to get in there!)
rooms big enough for 2 people in them- nad LOTS OF LIGHTING & Mirrors..brides want to see ALL sides in all lights
i agree on the sizes- need more then size 8.
DEF agree on allowing PICS
offer alterations and shoe dying on site, a lot of extra accessories so brides dont have to go elsewhere you want to be a one stop shop- , a line of mother of the bride and flower girl items as well.
have contests to get brides in- go to bridal shows to get your name out there..and have something lil signature for brides/maids that DO get a dress ( like a pin or rose- the one shop used to give glasses of champange but not everyone likes it an you dont want to promote drinking and driving)..and def follow ups and proper staffing
Post # 15
Yes – to your last response! I’m 5’1″ (on a good hair day)… it is impossible to see how dresses fit!!! Dress shopping was very frustrating because of that. We had to determine IF the dress came in shorter lengths and IF the dress could be altered enough in length without ruining the intergrity of the dress.
Another issue that I had while dress shopping… my consultant was clueless. I gave her a list of things that I liked – sweetheart necklines, lace, sparkly things. She honestly just didnt know what was in stock. I dont know if she was just a new employee or just clueless. Thank goodness I had already picked out a specific dress that I wanted to try on – because I dont know if she wouldve been able to pick out a single dress.
Post # 16
Don’t put the dresses out on the floor in plastic bags. It’s impossible to tell what a dress looks like or what sillouhette it is when it’s crumpled up in a bag.
Good luck! I’m so jealous–owning a bridal salon is my dream business!