When I first started in bridal, a designer's rep told me you are in bridal for a day or you are in it for a lifetime. I love sharing this with people considering a career in bridal fashion. The day the rep told this I was about five years into my career as a bridal manager. I think I understood what she meant, but I wasn't at place where I was sold on committing to styling brides for the rest of my life.
Fast forward to this summer, I'm sitting in my College Park bungalow driving my husband crazy about whether I should make a career change or not. I thought of working for a wedding venue, being a bridal designer's rep, or getting back into sewing. I was at the point where I knew I needed to be open to change. I'm surrounded by small business owners, yet owning my own business still seemed so foreign. I did some research on my career change ideas, but I wasn't excited. They all seemed like enjoyable jobs and they paired well with my experience. Something just wasn't right. More than anything I was sad to give this all up. To walk away from something I know I'm good at and benefits other people. I made the decision to stay in bridal and continue to help brides find their dream wedding dress. This time it was going to be on my terms. My own bridal boutique. Hopefully, I will be in bridal for a lifetime!
I'm taking far too long to get to "why preowned." Let's get to it! When I made the plunge to open my own bridal boutique (with my amazing business partner, Roberta Noronha!), I knew I wanted to do something different. If I'm going to open my own bridal boutique, it has to be a place that the people I know would enjoy.
When preowned and sample sale came to mind I shut it down at first. I honestly thought I was going to be judged. I came from a very high-end, glamorous world of bridal. What will people think? Then I started asking myself the questions that got things moving. What if I don't worry about being judged, is this a good idea? Are brides asking for this? Does this solve problems? Yes! YES! I had this crazy burst of energy and I could seriously picture every detail of the boutique instantly. It was all in my mind and I couldn't wait to create it so others could enjoy it.
In this glamorous world of bridal, there are a lot of problems. Here are the problems preowned and sample sale designer wedding dresses solve for brides-to-be:
Instagram and Pinterest have you falling in love with a $10,000 designer gown. Thanks to social media we are constantly being fed dresses from all over the world. Some photos say a dress is $300 when really it's a knock off that will look nothing like the photo they are showing. So to get the real deal, you have to dish out $10,000. (I do not judge anyone for spending this kind of money on their wedding dress. I have met plenty of hard working people that save and save for their wedding dress. We all have areas we save and splurge and this is up to the individual.) Preowned and sample sale does help. Sometimes a bride changes her mind and goes with a different dress. She is left with a designer wedding gown taking up closet space. A designer needs a place to send brand new duplicates, editorial dresses, and sample pieces. Preowned and sample sale wedding dresses give us the opportunity to take the same designer and quality and offer brides a savings of 20% - 70% off retail.
Not everyone is engaged for a year. I love short engagements! Some of my favorite love stories are brides who cannot wait to walk down the aisle. They are ready to marry their partner tomorrow. The challenge traditional bridal boutiques have is wedding dresses take 6-9 months to arrive. This does not include alterations time. There are plenty of reasons why waiting a year for a wedding dress is not a good idea for a particular couple. It may have to do with a medical family matter, military commitments, or school. The preowned and sample sale option gives brides a chance to not settle due to time and have exactly what they want.
The traditional way is limiting. There must be over a 1,000 bridal designers in the U.S. It seems like everyday I find a new one on Instagram. The challenge with the traditional wedding dress bridal boutique is you only have access to the designers you carry. Let's say you are going to open up your own bridal boutique. You cannot open an account with a designer by picking up one dress. Most designers require you pick up 8 dresses. Most bridal boutiques carry around 100 dresses and can only carry approximately 10 bridal designers or less. With preowned and sample sale, there are no limitations. If I want one Inbal Dror and ten Ines Di Santo wedding dresses, I can do that. This is everything! It means I'm no longer buying for my store and designers, I'm buying for my client!
In this ever evolving shared economy, preowned and sample sale wedding dresses help restore what weddings are about in the first place. Some glam and a lot of love! While we do carry made-to-order wedding dresses, I invite you to take a look at our Aisle and Runway Collections featuring preowned and sample sale wedding dresses. It's like the Joanna Gaines of wedding dresses! Restoration is a beautiful thing for the heart, soul, and figure!