How To Start A Bridal Boutique

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Image of a bridal boutiqueBridal Boutique Business Overview:

Even during a slow economy, people are always going to be getting married.

This isn’t really a market that comes and goes. People get married every day, and there will always be a lot of potential customers no matter where you set up shop.

You should decide what segment of the bridal business you’d like to take part in.

For example, you may want to become a retailer, selling and tailoring dresses to, brides to be, or you may want to put your design and sewing skills to use and create wedding dresses. There is a wealth of opportunity in the bridal industry.

When selecting dresses for your stock, keep an eye on fashion trends. (As of the time of this writing, strapless wedding dresses seem to be in vogue, but don’t count on that remaining true by the time you read this!) Keep up to date in the bridal world.

Working in the bridal industry requires a bit of a passion for fashion, but keep a wide variety in stock so that your selection can appeal to a wide variety of customers.

If you’re talented enough to create wedding dresses from scratch, you’re looking at cutting your startup costs for your inventory in half. The bare materials of a wedding dress can cost literally hundreds of dollars less than the completed dress.

You will, of course, have to be willing to invest more time than you would if you simply bought your stock from bridal gown distributors, but really, this can be the true profit.

Something that’s been in vogue lately, and looks like it’s here to stay, is the custom bridal dress industry. There are billions of women in the world, and every bride has her own idea of the ideal wedding dress. If you have the imagination and skill to pull it off, custom wedding dresses might be perfect for you.

Skill Set:
  • Ability to work with nervous people
  • Patience and ability to create strict deadlines and reschedule when necessary
  • Helpful, easy-going nature is desirable
  • High attention to detail, organization, prioritizing skills
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • Meet strict deadlines
  • List of Common Business Skills
Employee and Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase or In The Future:
Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

If you have a retail shop, you will hold general retail hours; however, if you have a home business or operate online, your hours will fluctuate according to tasks.

Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:

In addition to our list of common business expenses, your bridal boutique will require a budget for the ongoing cost of acquiring dresses and accessories.

Licenses:

See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:

Bare essential – $5,000-10,000. The startup costs for setting up a small shop depends greatly from location to location and depending on your goals, but you probably won’t need much more than a modestly sized location to start (you can upgrade later) and a decent collection of dresses and other items.

Tips and Considerations:
  • Constantly keep your knowledge of wedding trends and etiquette up-to-date. Read magazines to keep you up to date of various trends in the wedding industry.
  • You also need to learn about wedding and reception decorations, starting with flowers. Catch up on the latest trends of wedding attire.
  • Take time to attend other weddings in order to learn other great ideas that you can use in your business, as well as the big mistakes and fiascoes that you need to avoid. Attending bridal shows is also useful. Be sure to collect your ideas and record them.
  • Strive to improve your people skills. A wedding coordination business is people intensive: your success will greatly depend on how well you work with your clients. The bride and groom, as well as their families, can be nervous about getting everything ready for the big day. You need to maintain a cool head and possess social graces.
  • Establish a network of suppliers that you can rely on. Research the vendors that provide food, beverages, entertainment, clothing, and supplies for weddings within your region. It is important to know who is available and what they charge and to be acquainted with their reputations. Establish relationships with your potential suppliers and negotiate for the best possible price.
  • Build a portfolio of satisfied clients. The wedding consulting business is built on reputation. Potential clients will want to look at your credentials and record of accomplishment in managing and organizing weddings. To help you build a portfolio of your work, organize weddings for families and friends. Be sure to get pictures from the photographer and a recommendation from the bride.
  • Understand start-up expenses for a bridal boutique. Starting can be expensive. Expect to spend about $30,000 on inventory and about $1,000 for office expenses. Plus, if you need to build displays and dressing room areas, this can add costs of up to several thousand dollars.
  • If you have an impressive portfolio of work that you’ve done, you might not have to put much into this in terms of startup costs. You can simply work out of your home and advertise in the local papers or on classified ad websites like Craigslist.org, dealing one-on-one with new brides.
  • Discuss ideas with your clients and show them plenty of preliminary sketches of what you have in mind, and your revenue can be funded entirely by commission, with each job paying for itself.
  • If you want to deal in retail, selling online can be great, but bridal business customers often prefer to be able to try things on and talk one-on-one with the retailer.
Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • It is an exciting and lucrative business
  • Extremely easy to expand into other bridal industry niches
  • Can be worked in cooperation with wedding planners, florists, and banquet services

The Cons:

  • Has a tendency to be seasonal
  • You deal with people with fluctuating emotions
  • Can be highly competitive
Statistics:

Weddings are big business. The Association of Bridal Consultants estimates that consumers spend a whopping $33 billion on their weddings every year. In 2015, the average wedding cost approximately $21,000, and many more couples spend on top of that amount.

Although it’s difficult to put an exact number on how many wedding consultant businesses there are nationwide, the best guess is approximately 10,000, according to Gerard Monaghan, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC).

According to Monaghan, one out of every eight retail dollars is spent on wedding-related products and services. That makes the wedding industry a $42 billion business, although some estimates put that figure as high as $70 billion.

Also, see Wedding Central and The Knot for a variety of current reports.

Resources

Day In the Life of A Bridal Boutique Owner

A Day in the Life of a Bridal Consultant | Savvy Bridal

Day in the Life of a Bridal Sales Rep | The Budget Fashionista

Day in the life of Rachel Attwell | Luella’s Bridal

A Day in the Life of Soliloquy Bridal Couture | Soliloquy Bridal

Bridal Boutique Owner Interviews

Get That Life: How I Opened My Own Bridal Boutique

How This Bridal Boutique Owner Landed Her Own TV Show

Bridal Store Owners: How Do You Handle Brides Who Have Changed Their Mind On a Dress?

 

Starting Your Business

A List of Important Steps You Must Consider When Starting A Business – Take a couple minutes to go over this list of issues to consider when starting a business.

Questions To Consider Before Starting A Business – 10 key issues to look at before starting a business. Starting a new venture blindly is asking for headaches! Know what to expect before you start!

 

Business Plan:

Bridal Shop Business Plan Sample – Executive Summary | Bplans

 

Bridal Articles:

Become A Bridal Salon Owner | FabJob.com

What Do You Need To Open A Bridal Shop? | Chron.com

Setting Up Shop | Bridalbuyer.com

Q & A: Wedding Gown Boutique Owner Megan Bubalo Becomes | Tampabay.com

Bridal Fashion–Starting A Bridal Fashion Business | Entrepreneur.com

Get That Life: How I Opened My Own Bridal Boutique | Cosmopolitan.com

How To Start A Bridal Boutique Business | Ehow.com

How To Start A Bridal Gown Rental Business | Gaebler.com

Live Q&A: How Do You Start A Wedding Business? | Theguardian.com

Starting A Bridal Shop | Startupbizhub.com

Forums:

The Knot

Discuss Wedding Planning, Wedding Themes, Wedding Etiquette | WeddingWire

You & Your Wedding | Wedding Forum

Wedding Forums | Project Wedding Forums

Discuss Wedding Planning, Wedding Themes, Wedding Etiquette | WeddingWire

Wedding Planning Forum | Weddingbee Boards

Wedding Forum & Vendor Directory | BridalTweet

 

Books:

50 Marketing Ideas for the Bridal Boutique Business

How to Start a Bridal Makeup Business

Bridal Profit Explosion: 12 Keys to Help You Make a Quantum Leap in the Bridal Business

How to Start a Bridal Shop Business

How to Open Bridal Shop, The Essential Guide to a Successful Retail Bridal Business

How To Build A Bridal Shop Business (Special Edition): The Only Book You Need To Launch, Grow & Succeed

How to Advertise Your Bridal Shop Business on Facebook and Twitter: How Social Media Could Help Boost Your Business

Bridal Business Blueprint: How to Build a Solid Foundation that Attracts Busy Brides While Standing Out from Your Competitors

Start A Bridal Shop: Businessbooksource.com

Wedding Niche Ideas:

Startup Wedding Planners Explore Niche Markets to Stand Out | Entrepreneur.com

Why You Need To Be Clear On Your Wedding Business Niche | Bookmorebrides.com

4 Untraditional Wedding Marketing Ideas for Profiting In a Booming Market | Upserve

 

Wedding Sites:

Weddings, Wedding Venues | WeddingWire.com

Wedding Planning, Wedding Websites, Registries & Ideas | mywedding.com

Team Wedding Blog | Top Wedding sites.com

Altar your thinking with Offbeat Bride’s wedding ideas | Offbeat Bride

Your source for wedding advice | BridalGuide

Wedding Dresses, Wedding Ideas, and Style, Real Weddings | Brides

Wedding Ideas, Expert Wedding Advice | WeddingWire

Wedding Planning – Wedding Websites – Wedding Ideas | Wedding.com

 

Wedding Associations

The Association of Bridal Consultants | bridalassn.com

The Wedding Industry Professionals Association | WIPA

American Association of Certified Wedding Planners | aacwp.org

Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants | cpwc.com

Bridal Association of America | Bridal Association of America.com

Assn for Wedding Professionals Int’l | Afwpi.com

Franchise Opportunities:

Franchise Opportunity | Myweddingmydress.com

Fabulous Frocks | Fabulousfrocksbridal.com

Franchise With Us | Bridal Reloved UK

Bella Franchisees | Bella Bridesmaids

Franchise Opportunities | Bridal Wardrobe

Bridal Shops For Sale:

Bridal Wear Shops For Sale in US | BusinessesForSale.com

Bridal Shops For Sale | MergerNetwork.com

Bridal Shops for Sale | Globalbx.com

Wedding/Formal Rental and Retail Businesses for Sale | BizQuest

 

The Latest Bridal Boutique Related Videos

How To Start A Bridal Boutique

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Bridal Accessories

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