(Closed) Question for “plus size” brides

posted 9 years ago in Full Figured
Post # 3
Member
778 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

Opening up a plus size store may be tricky.  If you were open a bridal store that carried two sizes of every dress, then you can have a larger clientele base, and it wouldnt’ seem like you are a going to the “fat” bridal store.

My cousins and I were all “plus-sized” and we had lots of issues dress shopping two of us bought our dresses at the Pronovias Flagship store in NYC because they carried two dress sizes of most of their dress.  Usually a 6 or 8, and then a 14 or 16.  This allowed us to actually try on our dresses and see what will actually work out.

Now let me answer your questions:

1. Yes, I would go.  My only option before Pronovias was David’s Bridal.  I went there to see what silhouette I would want, since I could actually zip up those dresses!

2.  If you are only doing plus size dresses than yes you should allude or outright state “plus-size”.   You can also say something to the effect of We carry sample sizes to fit most women up to size (XX)

3.  Depends on your area and what the average is.  You should remember that your largest competitor would be D/B so maybe you would want to have some dresses at a higher price point.

4.  Visit some local places and see what you like and what you don’t like.

Post # 4
Member
7174 posts
Busy Beekeeper

1.  Not sure on this one.  If I wasn’t finding anything I loved any where and someone told me about this one magic store – that would definitely influence my decision.

2.  Yes, definitely advertise as such.  This is your niche market, after all and you need to be clear on why you stand out (it’s your specialty!!)

3.  I would have a diverse selection available – as you will have brides with all sorts of budgets.  Don’t limit yourself to cheaper dresses, but certainly don’t eliminate them either.

4.  I haven’t gone dress shopping yet, so I’m already wishing your dress store was open!! 🙂  (I’m street size 12-14). I think you have an excellent idea on your hands and the concept has a lot of potential (just look at how far plus-sized stores have come in the last decade).  

Best of luck to you!

Post # 5
Member
112 posts
Blushing bee

There is actually a plus size dress store nearby: http://www.rubenesquebridalgowns.com/index.html

I didn’t go there because their dresses were all out of my price range (budget $500)

 

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1. The store is an 1.5 away and I was ready to go until I got the email about their price points. I would probably be willing to drive 3 hours for dress shopping

2. Definitely advertise as plus size. I did many google searches “plus size wedding dress minneapolis”

3. I would have a wide range of price points. Nicer bridesmaid dresses to $2000? Maybe do some research and see what the average person in your area pays for a dress.

4. Market yourself well. Have an easy to navigate, pleasant looking website. 

Post # 6
Member
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

1.  I would definetly go to the store, It is hard to try on dresses and see what they will look like when they don’t even zip.  I am also street size 16.  Plus be nice to go into a store not standing next to the size 2 brides and make me cry.  I would go probably even 8 hour drive away

2.  I would find a way to yes label it a plus size store, but maybe not those words.  I don’t know.

3. I would definetly have a very wide variety of prices.  For me I have a low budget, but there is always people out there that have higher budgets.  Depends on where you are opening the store also.

 

4. Just remember customer service is key. Davids bridal sucks at that.  Someone will buy from someone they like and trust.  Just really make the women feel special and gorgeous when they are in there:)  I think you should have an online store also.:)  That way you would have a bigger audience if you could handle both.  Just keep quality merchandise and great customer service and you will be in:)

Post # 7
Member
195 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

1. Yes, I would go to one! There is such a limited selection at the other stores; I would love to be able to actually try on more than 3 dresses. I would be willing to travel up to about 5 hours for one. If it was further away than that in a cool city, I might plan a getaway there.

2. Yes, definitely advertise as plus size, so your clientele can find you.

3. A range of prices would be great. I’m certainly willing to pay more for quality, but a $1500 dress is just not in my budget. If you carry bridesmaid dresses too, it’d be great if they had a wider range as well – most of the places I looked at were $275+.

4. Definitely market yourself well and make sure people know you exist! Establish a web presence and have your satisfied customers spread the word.

Post # 8
Member
1020 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I agree with Chela429 – I am not plus size, but even I would appreciate a store with two sample sizes of each dress rather than the one. I suggest not necessarily opening a “plus size” store, but an “all size” store. You could have 2 (or even 3?) sizes of each dress – one plus size, and one a normal sample size.

Post # 9
Member
1980 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Oh gosh I wish one of these existed. I went to the “largest Bridal Salon in Austin” last week and there was not one dress that I could zip up. NOT ONE. Their largest bridal size was a 20, and I wear a street size 16 and I couldn’t zip it! It sucked! I felt like I was asking them to accomodate me and it was a big deal for them to do so. I wished I had been able to try on the dresses I loved and actually see what they looked like on. There were probably only 10 or so I could even get over my head…. keep me posted if you decide to do this!

Post # 10
Member
732 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010 - The Tower Club

Silver Lining in Atlanta is a pretty successful plus size bridal store. They also have a lingerie boutique. They have fashion shows and post pictures of the women in their gowns, and apparently it’s a good thing for the community there.

To answer your questions:

1. YES, I would go. I live in a major city so I wouldn’t travel quite so far (like from Dallas to Atlanta) but I’d drive up to 5 hours, which is the distance between me and the next major city in my state.

If the customer service was good, not only would I purchase a dress there but I’d probably feel more loyal to the shop and thus purchase other accessories there as well. 

2. Advertised as plus size? Maybe not… that way if you needed to expand your clientele, you could.

However, there are too many stores that carry dress lines that go up to size 24, and they advertise this way, but when you get there all the samples are size 10 like everyone else. This is NO HELP.

So, maybe some subtle advertising letting people know that we can actually try on dresses closer to our size. Maybe in your advertising, include pictures of happy plus size brides shopping in the store.

3. Personally, I feel that there are lots of dresses available to plus sizes in the sub-$1000 range, and that’s great! But in my case, I’m looking for “mid range couture” and it’s next to impossible to find in my size.

The type of dresses I’m interested in are from companies that are more likely to staff snobbish salespeople in their salons, or ship their samples in a size 4. It would be great to see high quality, plus sized wedding dresses.

This is a great idea, I hope it works out! 🙂

Post # 11
Member
5273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

I wear a street size 14 and it was a PAIN to truly get an idea of how a dress would truly look on me, I got most dresses on, but it would be all bunched up and couldn’t pull the dress over my behind and hips. I heard that most stores carry like a 14 (which I know bridal 14 is like a 10 in real life) but I found that most places I went to carried mostly 10s (which is like me trying to squeeze into a size 6 or 7, when Im a 14/12!)

Its one of those things that when it comes to bridal and you wear a size 14 you end up getting a dress thats an 18 or a 20, which is considered “plus size” most girls know not to really look into the size, so I don’t think “plus size” bridal would turn anybody away. Although I don’t consider myself “plus size” I would go anywhere that I can try on dresses without being stuffed like a sausage 🙂

Post # 12
Member
2030 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Before you proceed further, I would look into whether you will actually be able to obtain larger size samples of current styles. I don’t know how the industry works, but if the manufacturers only make one sample size, you may be out of luck. You might be limited to past season dresses, where you could actually order a larger size to use as a sample, and that could be a difficulty for brides who are looking for a dress they saw in a current magazine.

Post # 14
Member
751 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I think that is a great ideah and make sure you put plus size bm dresses too lol

Post # 15
Member
967 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

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1. If there was a “plus size” (street size 12 and up, so wedding dress sizes 14 – 32) salon in your area, would you go to it? Absolutely!! I would travel by car a few hours!

2. Would you want it advertised as plus size? This is a tricky one – Sometimes I hate carrying a torrid bag or lane bryant because it points out the obvious fact that I can’t fit into normal stores, but at the same time, your clientele needs to know. Maybe something more generic like “Women’s sized” bridal dresses or “curvy gals welcome”. You know, something a little more cute and sassy!

3. What pricepoint would you buy in? Should I be looking at dresses under $1000? Or would you pay more if you couldn’t find it anywhere else and were blown away by the outstanding customer service? I would stock mostly under 1k but have a few stunners above that. Some ladies with the money to spend would appreciate the options!

4. Anything else I should consider? I always feel more comfortable when the staff at plus stores are actually plus gals themselves. Not to be biased, but I don’t feel as uncomfortable saying I need a certain size, or how do this look, etc. 

Post # 16
Member
251 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 1990

When I was looking for a dress, I would have flown to a store like yours!  I ended up finding a lot of plus sized options at Alfred Angelos and David Bridal but I’ve heard so many horror stories about it that I wished desperately for a plus sized bridal store like what you get with street clothes stores like Lane Bryant and Avenue.  I think its a fantastic idea to have a store like yours.

To answer your questions:

1. If there was a “plus size” (street size 12 and up, so wedding dress sizes 14 – 32) salon in your area, would you go to it? If it was a distance, how far would you travel (across town, a 5 hr drive or short plane ride, or doesn’t matter, I’d cross the US)?
If it had a great reputation, a great website with a lot of options to view the dresses on actual plus-size models (very important), I would fly across the US.

2. Would you want it advertised as plus size? I don’t wear plus size, so I’m not sure if that would be a turnoff to others, or just me.
As someone who works in marketing, you should absolutely advertise the store as specializing in “plus size” wedding gowns. That’s how your customers are going to find you.

3. What pricepoint would you buy in? Should I be looking at dresses under $1000? Or would you pay more if you couldn’t find it anywhere else and were blown away by the outstanding customer service? I like mid-range couture, but I don’t know if, again, I’m the only one that likes a dress that’s a bit “different”.
My budget was $1000 for the dress before alterations but I was hoping for anywhere from $500-$800, which I found at Alfred Angelo ($649 on sale).  I would have a wide range because there are women who are plus sized that also have higher budgets.  However I would imagine most plus sized women are going to want something less expensive, otherwise they could afford a custom dress and wouldn’t need to go to a plus-sized bridal boutique.

 

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