Post # 1
Fist of all, I would like to say I am not a vendor troll! lol I am a bride currently planning my August 2011 wedding.
In the process of planning I have researched the Replica Dresses from China extensively! (and found a TON of useful information on weddingbee!) I know there are some who do lovely work, but the scary part is ordering it sight unseen and praying for the best. So here is my idea.
I am considering opening my own bridal shop featuring gowns from some of the best Chinese dressmakers. It would be an “off the rack” kind of store where a bride could come in, try on actual gowns and buy one she likes and take it home with her.
Being a plus size bride, I am frustrated with the lack of Plus Size gowns available to us. Yes, I know they are out there but when you go into a shop they maybe have one or two in a sample to try on. I would like to cater to plus size brides.
What I am asking…does this sound like a feasable venture? Is this type of shop something you would consider looking at for buying a gown?
Any and all opinions would be welcome.
Thanks in advance for your honesty and openness.
Post # 3
I think you might get brides who will shop at your store, unfortunately I am not one of them. I love my designers and I feel like no one can truly replicate a dress for them. You might run into some issues with replicas because it is sealing a design that I am sure they have a patent on. I also am not in need of any plus size dresses and the determination of if your store would prosper would be dependent on your location. Also, what your store has to offer would be the fact that you get to try it on…you would have to up the price of the dress to cover the store and other things. A bride will be faced with the option of buying with you and trying on or buying direct from china for cheaper. People might actually come and try on with you and buy from them. I don’t think it is a great idea. Good luck to you with whatever you decide 🙂
Post # 4
@MrsNeutrino: Thank you for your honesty. I will have to research the implications of selling dresses which have been inspired by other designers. I would want to run the business in an ethical and legal manner.
Yes, I would cater to plus size brides but would also carry all sizes and I still believe the prices would remain low as I would be able to buy wholesale from China at a substantial discount as opposed to an individual purchasing just one dress.
My thought was perhaps it would take the hassle and stress out of buying online/ebay, etc and brides would be able to experience the quality of the fabric and fit of the gown prior to purchase.
And you bring up a good point. Perhaps brides would come in just to try on the dress and then order it from someone else. However, I believe all bridal shops run that risk even if it is trying on a gown and then going to a company like RK Bridal, Pearl’s Place or Netbride. I guess that just comes with the territory.
Post # 5
The problem of buying from China are shipping times and never being 100% certain that the cut and quality will be the same. I’m pretty certain this is what one bridal shop in my town does. Mind you, with them I would have been better off ordering online (seriously, my off-the-rack dress would have been available sooner.) I know I’d pay extra for the guarantee of what the dress looks and fits like.
Post # 6
Not loving the China idea but thats just me. Having a store that caters to Plus size though I am looooving! While I am not plus sized I can see where it would be a struggle. Every bride should get a wonderful experience and be able to TRY ON dresses.
Post # 7
@cincychick35: no prob!definately look into the legal aspect. I did not even think about the wholesale aspect! good catch! As for the time aspect, I waited (am still waiting) for my dress to come in..it has been like 6 months and I don’t expect it until july! So I don’t think that might be a problem, its expected that you have to wait. You might also want to consider bridesmaid dresses in a major way. A lot of brides are not willing to skimp on their dresses (too risky) but will put their girls in less expensive dresses with the same design for numerous reasons!
Post # 8
I don’t think I’d go for a Replica/China shop, but maybe you could consider simply opening a “designer” plus sized shop that also offers the less expensive brands and features gowns in the $200-$700 range. I wouldn’t touch selling replica dresses with a 10 foot pole, to be honest. Many of the reasons are already listed, but I just think you’d find it easier to appeal to the masses if you went the true brand route.
I’m a small business owner myself, and I’d recommend doing tons, and tons, and tons of research before opening your own store. Get a small business advisor, a lawyer, and really consider your location. Keep your recurring costs as low as possible without sacrificing location, and be prepared to sink every dollar of profit back into your business for at least the first year. Good luck to you!!!
Post # 9
Good points! Bridesmaid dresses would be a wonderful addition (duh). I know places like David’s Bridal has Plus Size Dresses…but IMO they have a limited selection. I found a beautiful gown I loved in their catalog…only to find out it didn’t come in plus sizes…I just think that is cruel. I believe ALL brides should be able to have the dress of their dreams without breaking the bank and without sacrificing style.
Post # 10
Just a thought but have you looked into doing a consignment/(sample)off the rack store that specializes in plus sizes. That way you could have an attractive price point and cater to a specialized marked and then if it is successful branch into custom as well
Just a thought and good luck!
Post # 11
Yes I have thought of that. Do you think there are brides out there who would not mind a “used” wedding dress?
Post # 12
The reason that dresses from China are so cheap is because they have very little overhead. In the US, once you factor in the cost of rent, utilities, marketing, taxes, and a living wage salary for yourself and your employees, the cost of your dresses would have to go up significantly to cover your expenses. I’d start with an expenses spreadsheet and see how many dresses you would have to sell each month at what mark-up to make a profit. Then go from there.
Post # 13
I guess there’s lots of nay-sayers from reading the other posts. But I think if you offer competitive prices like the Chinese knock-off dressmakers do on their websites with the added benefit of girls being about to actually feel and try on the gowns that would be a great idea. As long as it’s very clear that they are not designer gowns but look-alikes.
I toyed with the idea of buying one of those knock-offs because all the gowns I liked were from super-expensive designers. But in the end I decided just to pay for the designer gown because the idea of wasting money on something I hated and then buying the designer gown anyway seemed a waste. If I had had the option of trying on a knock-off first-hand I would have seriously considered that instead of the designer gown.