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.
To open your doors, you need a space, inventory and promotion. The only way to get all of this is money and unless your savings account is fairly swollen, you are going to need small business financing to get you started. This can be obtained in several ways. You can go to your community bank or credit union and apply for a loan. You can also court a private investor to cough up a chunk of the start-up money you need. You can also go through the Small Business Administration, or SBA, for one of the more accessible SBA loans.
The Right Venue
A bridal shop should be housed in a space that is well-lit and ventilated. It should be easily accessible for customers and should allow plenty of room for dressing areas, as well as plenty of room to sit for the family and friends that often accompany brides to try on their bridal gowns. Take special care to set up a display area where your brides can leave the dressing room in their gowns and literally pose on a pedestal in front of a three-way mirror to see their dress from different angles.
Bridal shops specialise in wedding inventory, so beautiful bridal gowns, colourful bridesmaid dresses and row of accessories will get you going. If you want to stand out from other bridal shops in your community, work with a local dress designer to display custom wedding gowns in your bridal boutique. Order unique bridal accessories from national and international wholesalers to give your customers something unique that they can't get anywhere else in town. The more diverse your inventory, the more successful your shop is likely to be.
Once you have the components in place, it's time to let potential customers know you exist. Take advantage of traditional advertising for your bridal shop. However, since yours is a specialised industry, you have to be a bit creative as well. Attend local bridal expos and advertise your shop. Host a grand opening bridal fashion show, where the community can get an intimate glimpse of your inventory; invite as many local wedding planners as you can. The more you can ingratiate yourself with the local wedding industry, the better your chances for success.
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