- 3 years ago
ohkae : I’ll touch on the experience part since you’ve gotten some solid business advice. This sounds very similar to a bridal shop in my area, and here’s been my experience with them. I’ve actually gone twice, since I was previously married about 7 years ago and then just went again last week to shop for a dress for my upcoming wedding.
- These very small boutiques tend to follow trends, so it narrows the market for what a bride is going to be able to try on. In my case, I wanted nothing overly lacy, blingy, heavy, long sleeved, high necked or keyhole backed. That eliminated almost 97% of what was available to try on at this small boutique salon. I pulled 8 dresses, and that was about all they had that was more on the “simple” side. I didn’t feel like my criteria was that narrow, I wanted something light, with a low back and a small amount of detail in a sheath or trumpet silhouette. I was open to straps or strapless, any colors, any brands. But, with only a few hundred dresses (I think she said they carry 300), I only had a few to choose from to fit that need. So in your friends case, I would make the website VERY specific on the types of dresses she will carry so that brides don’t come in there thinking there’s a large selection.
- In addition to that, it was very cramped and I was having to constantly take the dresses off immediately and make a “yes/no” decision so that way my reject pile could get put back on the racks ASAP for those shopping. This was aggravating to me because I wanted to wear it for a minute to see how it sat, how heavy it really was, how it felt to walk around, etc. Also, they would allow NO pictures, so I couldn’t even see if it looked ok from the side or if I liked how to photographed. They used the whole, “the designers don’t allow pictures” things. Yeah— I’m sure Mori Lee would be heartbroken to know her white strapless satin dress was photographed–*gasp*– in a wedding boutique!
- I know it’s not the salons fault, but I seriously hate the questions and “personalization” of it haha. I was asked a TON of questions before the appointment began for my “consultant to help me”. I’m OK with wedding date, grooms name, style preference, price range questions… but they seriously wanted me to put down floral scheme colors and bridal party info and yada yada that had NO bearing on buying a dress. They were trying to create that TV moment by dimming the lights and giving me a veil and a fake bouqet when they felt I was close to making a decision. Not every bride is a first timer, and not everyone is having a pretty princess day… so I didn’t like the whole “this is the greatest moment of your life!” forced happiness from the salon staff. No, it isn’t. I’m buying a dress I will literally wear for 5 hours and take a few pictures in. It actually has no impact on how great my life is!
- The sales pitch when dress shopping really aggravates me. The first time I did this, almost a decade ago, I had a hard time saying no and wound up with a dress that was very nice– but I think part of the reason I chose it was because there was a lot of pressure in the moment to pick something out. The whole bridal industry places SO MUCH PRESSURE on finding “the dress” that you go into it feeling like you must find something and buy it immediately. It’s unlike any other shopping experience, because I found at these boutique shops– they hover, and they are very involved in your entire process. Hell, most of them don’t even have mirrors IN the dressing room because they want you to come out and make it an experience. I don’t like removing that layer of independent thought from it, I am a grown woman, I should be able to put a garment halfway on and decide if I like it or not before being clipped into it and paraded around the whole shop for God and everyone to see!
In the end, I went to Davids Bridal immediately after my appointment with the boutique and found a dress, and bought it immediately. It wasn’t that my experience with the boutique was “bad” per se, but it felt pushy, cramped, and the selection wasn’t what I was hoping for.