It's another sad day in the Bridal industry today as another local independent bridal boutique has closed it's doors and left a whole heap of brides without their dresses and unlikely to ever see their money again :(
The bridal industry as whole is in a very volatile position at the moment so let me take a few minutes of your time to explain what you may not understand is happening.
Most independent bridal boutique's are family owned and run, with a small number of staff offering the very best in bridal service and expertise, it's what we pride ourselves on, we go above and beyond for every customer as essentially it is our livelihood and reputation which is on the line every single day.
When you buy from an independent bridal boutique, you are putting food on a families table, paying for a daughters dance classes or a new pair of football boots for a son, it's a personal contribution to someones life and is incredibly supportive of that persons business, with the rise of some seriously big chain stores this is having a devastating effect on these small businesses and the knock on effect to their lives is tremendous.
Each independent bridal boutique will stock a host of sought after designer brands to offer their brides the very best in current bridal fashion, what you don't know is each of these brands demands each boutique order a minimum number of dresses per year, this is not the dresses brides buy but just the samples they have on their rail, and the boutiques have to purchase these themselves, sometimes they can hold thousands and thousands of pounds worth of dresses on their rail which may never be bought, add to that the ever increasing rents and rates they are faced with and the general cost of running a business in 2018 and the overheads are becoming barely manageable.
The ever increasing popularity of people buying online and looking for cheap alternatives for their wedding day is also a worry, not least because it's so incredibly risky to purchase the most important gown you'll ever wear on the internet from China....... it's also illegal as the majority of these gowns are counterfeit, rip-off gowns from the very designers independent bridal boutiques stock!
The rise of the big chain stores though is the biggest threat to the independent bridal boutique, they bulk buy their gowns and sell them at a fantastic price, drawing brides in with their expensive marketing, often ending their service to you when you take your dress away on the day in a conveyor belt bride situation, leaving you to find your own seamstress and complete your bridal journey alone. People think this is a radical move and is finally moving the dated bridal industry in to the 21st century but in reality it is taking it back 40-50 years to the days our mothers bought their dresses in department stores because there was no alternative! and that is exactly what will happen again...... there will be NO ALTERNATIVE to buying your dress in a chain store if brides don't make the realisation that the independent shops are closing at an alarming rate and all you will be left with are the shops you walk in, buy your dress off the peg and leave with it, and if you think the prices will remain low when the chain stores have no competition you're kidding yourselves.
So my plea to you is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE visit your local independent bridal boutiques, see the difference in service and the incredible quality of the gowns they stock, you've waited your whole life for this experience why would you not want it to be the most incredible time with those closest to you?
It's heartbreaking when a boutique closes and brides are left without their dresses and unable to get a refund, but trust me when I say it truly is the last thing the owner of that boutique would have wanted and they would have tried absolutely everything for it not to happen....... the only way we can stop more of this happening is to shop locally and buy from independent boutiques, because afterall when you buy from a small independent business, someone does a little happy dance after you've left (this actually happens!)
Thank you for reading and I hope this has clarified for some of you the way in which the industry works and the pressure small businesses are under on a daily basis.
Until next time.................. Happy Wedding Planning x