Attire and Accessories

Any tips for opening a bridal boutique?

I am dying to open a bridal boutique in my area and would love any advice anyone has to offer! Thanks so much!!

Re: Any tips for opening a bridal boutique?

  • Not sure what your personal aesthetic preference is or how it will influence your shop's merchandise, but I'll tell ya something, if someone would open a boutique that sells high quality vintage/vintage inspired alternative dresses, they would have my money in a snap! (I personally find that a lot of alternative wedding dresses look cheap or costume-y)

    Good luck with your business venture! That's really cool you're following your dream :smile: 
    "But feeeemales are strong as hell~"
  • My friend just opened a bridal boutique last month and and it took her about a year to open. SO much goes into it, it is not easy! I thought you'd just pick dresses and get them and go, but man, there is a lot.

    It is also a HUGE investment, you don't get much a discount on the sample dresses.

    What at area are you located in? Are there other dress stores near by? Most designers have limitations on how many places they will sell their dresses in certain areas. 

  • research your area see what designers are within a 30-1 hour drive from you, some bridal retailers won't sell the same lines if you are within 30 minutes from each other.
    what is the income like in your area middle class low class etc? you don't want to stock your store with high end $5000 gowns and up and your bridal market can only afford gowns in the $1000-2000 range 

    is there a need for larger size gowns in your area do the other salons only stock sample sizes and not plus sample sizes, almost all bridal designers make gowns in size 0-32 with some designers having specific plus size lines 

    specialize in a a few designers to start with many have different collections to choose from. 

    you could pursue bridal websites and do a store search to see if anything is carried in your state close by if they are not you could use that as your marketing advantage, " we are the only ones in the state to carry this designer" or how ever you wanted to word it

    don't go crazy buying one style of dresses ex you  don't want to stock more fit and flare and less a lines, get to know the body types of women and what would look good on them, and then stock accordingly like ex you wouldn't want to have a sample size 26 mermaid when a mermaid might not work on a plus size bride.  

    get a decent amount of samples in a range of styles and sizes to start don't be afraid to ask for plus size samples as a plus size bride when i got married i had a hard time finding samples over a size 18 to try on,  luckily i found a place that had samples from 6-30.  once your business starts picking up and you get a feel for what your bridal market is then you can start stocking more of what they are looking for ex more brides want fit and flare vs ball gowns 

    offer various price ranges go with designers that have budget gowns, mori lee, jasmine, venus, allure, bonny, are all designers 500-2000 range  

    set yourself apart from the competition some bridal salons offer a special package you get wine light snacks and you get extra time in the salon with your guests but you pay a fee for that.

    offer at least two days where you have extended hours, close your shop on sunday and monday's those are days brides to be are least likely to  be shopping.

    also think about stocking bridesmaid dresses i would go with the same designers you got your gowns from most of them do bridesmaid lines as well. 

    offer veils, shoes and accessories

    and hire a seamstress i found that when i was shopping some places offered what i wanted larger sample sizes to try on   but they had no seamstress and i would be left if i got a gown there to go elsewhere to find someone for alterations.

    advertising on facebook putting an ad in the local paper would be great to start also partnering with local business such as florist and wedding venues to get your name out there would also be helpful 
  • Please be open during the week!!! I work weekend and have a he'll of a time trying to get stuff done on weekdays. If your area has a lot of service type jobs, maybe have one day with slightly earlier/later hours.

  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    The shops I had the best experiences in had a dedicated consultant per customer, who helped in dress selection.  They also had a private seating area for the group.

    The shops I had the worst experience in were ones who had one shared mirror area, where my friends and I picked our own dresses, and because there wasn't a dedicated consultant sometimes my friends were clipping me in.

    While the dress isn't the most expensive thing I own, it's the most expensive piece of clothing I own, and it comes with an emotional price tag, especially if you have body issues (and women of all sizes have body issues).

    My suggestion is to focus on the customer experience and how your store can offer something the other stores in your area doesn't.  All bridal stores have white gowns, veils, and jewelry. Few stores focus more on the customer, then on the sale.
  • Know your market and know your customers!  Word of mouth advertising is what will drive your business, if one customer or their entourage has a horse-S experience, word will get out and then some.  Price points - Don't gouge customers!  In the internet era, it takes about 10 seconds from the changing room to google what price they should expect to pay.  Never cut the tags out of the samples - it makes you nonverbally look really BAD!

    Find the deficiencies in your business region and exploit the heck out of them!  If none of the other stores specialize in plus-size, get known as the place with a plus-size section that people are welcome to purchase off the rack from.  Alterations - be the place that any person can come in and have their clothes altered (keeps all your eggs from being in one basket)...  Get familiar with the other businesses that relate to formalwear events (churches, halls, photographers, prom contacts, DJ's, bakers, etc.)..  It's not just bridal clothes, it's other formalwear events (MOB/MOG/Office formal/Prom/First Communion/Quinc/Pageants/etc.).  Be honest with your customers..  The hard sales and "buy today" antics put more people off to doing business with you than help. 

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  • Think about what makes you and your salon special. Why would anyone want to go to you? What advantage are you selling?
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