(Closed) Opening a Bridal Shop – Opinions Please

posted 7 years ago in Dress
  • poll: Would you consider shopping at an off the rack bridal shop featuring gowns from chinese dressmakers?
    Absolutely! Great idea! : (16 votes)
    47 %
    Oh Heck no! That would be a horrible idea! : (18 votes)
    53 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    5183 posts
    Bee Keeper

    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 # 5
    Member
    966 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    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
    Member
    3176 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    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
    Member
    5183 posts
    Bee Keeper

    @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
    Member
    4887 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    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 # 10
    Member
    2100 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2012

    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 # 12
    Member
    1137 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2010

    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
    Member
    350 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2011

    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.

    Good Luck!

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