Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Start a Bridal Shop Business


(277).Start a Bridal Shop Business
A bridal shop should provide an all-around convenience for a bride-to-be.  
If you love weddings, have an eye for fashion, and are willing to work hard, learning how to set up a bridal shop might just be the business for you.
What better way to spend each day than by helping brides, bridegrooms, and their families plan their weddings? Wedding and bridesmaid dresses, suits, tuxedos, and other wedding items, such as shoes and jewelry, can make a bridal shop a one-stop shopping venue for engaged couples. One thing is certain: Weddings will always take place, no matter what time of year, which makes opening a bridal shop a lucrative business idea. To ensure your shop is successful, you must carefully plan your new venture

What Do You Need to Open a Bridal Shop?
      

Opening a bridal shop requires more than just a few beautiful dresses and some bridal accessories. Because of the fierce competition in this industry, you have to invest in the proper resources to make your shop stand out. This might include custom wedding dresses; unique wedding accessories; on-site expertise for dress fittings, alterations and wedding planning; and competitive pricing for it all.
A bridal shop’s inventory typically consists of dresses, shoes, and accessories intended for the mother of the bride (mob), wedding the entourage, and of course the bride.
You can get your inventory straight from the designer or manufacturer. They usually hold fashion shows to display their wares. See to it that you watch these shows so you can select (before others) what dresses and items you want to order and invest on. Aside from fashion shows, you can also scour the web for possible suppliers or make use of catalogs. Keep yourself from buying too much. The trick is to buy just the right amount of items to fill your stock, no more and no less.
Skills You Need
The skillset required will be similar to any retail business, but also consider that you will be dealing with people who are amidst a very emotional time and are surrounded by conflicting opinions. In addition to selling the right items to your clients, you may end up having to work as a counselor of sorts - but the results will often be well worth it.
Important Points
The location of your bridal shop will be crucial to your success, so do your homework before getting started. You also need understand your inventory costs and pricing, so you may want to avoid purchasing too much inventory to begin with.

HOW TO SET UP A BRIDAL SHOP

Step 1

Name the bridal shop. Pick a name for the bridal shop that reflects your business location. For instance, a bridal shop opening on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, Florida might choose the name “Miracle Mile Bridal.”

Step 2

Register the business with the county and state. Contact the secretary of state to register your bridal shop with the state. Contact the city hall business license department or county clerk’s office to register the business with the county and city where it will operate.

Step 3

Generalize or identify a specialty. Decide if you want to specialize in a specific name brand or style of wedding dresses, such as a specific designer or high-end luxury gowns, or if you want to carry a variety of different gowns. Also, decide if you want to stock bridal accessories, too.

Step 4

Set up accounts with dress suppliers. Contact the dress manufacturers, designers and suppliers. Set up credit accounts or wholesale accounts with each one, so that you can purchase the dresses at wholesale prices and then resell at retail prices.

Step 5

Write a business plan that includes a marketing plan. Write a business and marketing plan for the bridal shop, including where you intend to operate the shop, business hours, goals and objectives and your marketing plans for reaching your intended customers.

Step 6

Set up the store. When you arrange your store, place dresses on rolling dress carts or on closet rods installed along the perimeter of the store. Add couches and chairs for the friends and family members of the bride to sit in while the bride tries on dresses. Install floor-to-ceiling mirrors at different angles so the bride can get a full view of herself in a dress. Include a dressing area that is closed off from the main portion of the shop.

Step 7

Identify and meet with strategic partners. Make a list of referral sources you can use as strategic partners for your new business, including wedding vendors such as wedding planners, photographers, florists and DJs. Contact these referral sources to discuss ways you can work together to refer business to each other.

Step 8

Promote your business at bridal shows. Showcase your dresses and other products by participating in the fashion shows at local bridal events. You can also have a vendor table at the show to talk with brides and grooms and hand out your marketing materials such as brochures and business cards.

OWNING A SUCCESSFUL BRIDAL SHOP

Understanding how to set up a bridal shop involves more than just logistics. Staying on top of the latest trends is imperative. Subscribe to bridal and fashion magazines. Learn about fabric, cuts, materials, and patterns of wedding dresses as well as accessories, like veils, gloves, shoes, and jewelry.
Marketing will be key. Your marketing should emphasize the reasons a bride and bridegroom should purchase their wedding attire from you instead of your competition. Is it lower pricing? Is it the fantastic customer service? Is it the widest selection? Give people a reason to choose you.
Customer service and a willingness to give your customers more than they ask for is essential in a bridal shop business. Weddings are personal. Planning a wedding can be an emotional time and for many people, making decisions about the wedding dress, bridesmaid dress colors and styles, and other wedding party details, is difficult. Gentle guidance on your part will be required.
With each bridal party purchase, add something extra. It is often the little touches that people remember. People expect you to provide beautiful, high quality wedding dresses. It’s your job. They won’t expect that bouquet of roses, though. Give them something to remember.
Build portfolios of previous customers in various gowns and dresses. An album showing real people in different dresses often makes it easier for customers to see themselves wearing the same item. Organize portfolios by price, designer, and style.

EXPANDING YOUR BRIDAL SHOP

Learning how to set up a bridal shop and taking it a step further, into expansion, is a way to give your customers added value and provide you with more income. Some ideas for expansion include:
  • Team with travel agents to offer honeymoon packages at bargain prices
  • Partner with caterers, florists, and limousine operators to ensure customer referrals
  • Add complete wedding planning services


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