How to Start a Bridal or Wedding Dress Consignment Business?

 How to Start a Bridal or Wedding Dress Consignment Business?

Traditional wedding dresses will never go out of style, which is why you will find a traditional bridal shop in every city in America. What you won’t necessarily find, however, is a bridal consignment shop where women can sell their bridal gowns to others at a significantly reduced price. Service this large demographic of brides and bridesmaids by opening a quality consignment shop with fashionable and affordable clothing and accessories.
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How to Start a Bridal or Wedding Dress Consignment Business?

The following are the steps to start a successful business:
1.    Market Research. Plenty of women have had to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on multiple bridesmaid dresses which they will never wear again. However, before starting up a bridal consignment shop, you would need to conduct a market research to confirm this first. The U.S. Census can provide you with data on your demographic. Online resale sites, where many women sell used gowns, can be excellent resources for getting a feel of the size of your target market. Once your target demographic has been decided upon, develop a business plan that identifies your expenses, staffing requirements, consignment policies, marketing strategy and income potential.

2.    Location. Locate an ideal location which is situated near your target market. If you intend to include used, high end or rare designer gowns, you’ll want to be situated near a middle or upper class neighborhood.  Many landlords price their rent by square footage. When negotiating price, make sure that all of the square footage is usable.

3.    Licensing. You would need to register your company with your secretary of state. Obtain a sales tax permit, federal tax ID, and a certificate of occupancy. You’ll also need to purchase an insurance policy which may include property, liability, theft, business interruption and vehicle coverage.

4.    Inventory. You’ll need to obtain mannequins, displays, racks, mirrors, tables, shelving units, and fitting room curtains which can be purchased used online or from retail shops that are going out of business. Research the most popular industry designers. This will help you establish competitive resale rates. You can also review online bridal consignment shops for pricing guidance. Establish your standards and policies for consigned items before you begin accepting bridal gowns, veils, tiaras, bridesmaid gowns, shoes, flower girl dresses and mother-of-the-bride dresses. Supplement your inventory by purchasing sample gowns.

5.   Operations. In this business, a quality website is a must-have as brides and bridesmaids who aren’t familiar with bridal consignment shops will want to peruse the site. Post pictures of gowns along with detailed information about the measurements, duration the dress was worn, condition of the dress, the designer, color, neckline, and style.

6.   Advertising. Submit your shop to be featured by local talk shows and bridal magazines. Establish relationships with other retailers in related industries, such as wedding planners, florists, dry cleaners, photographers and caterers. If you intend to sell new merchandise as well, consider hosting trunk shows. Keep in touch with your brides, and post updates about them on your website. Capitalize on the fact that your business is eco-friendly by hosting eco-friendly events, participating in the local community, and sponsoring local walks and runs.

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Things Needed
⦁    Location
⦁    Dressing rooms
⦁    Lighting
⦁    Comfortable seating
⦁    Wedding dresses
⦁    Congratulations notes
⦁    Bridal accessories
⦁    Bridesmaid dresses
⦁    Flower girl dresses
⦁    Champagne
Tips:
⦁    While most profits from your wedding dress business will stem from the dress itself, it’s possible to upsell to brides by selling add-ons, such as shoes, veils and other bridal accessories, according to “Starting a Bridal Shop Business.” Other possibilities include selling bridesmaid, flower girl and mother-of-the-bride gowns.       
      
⦁    Renting bridal gowns is another option for people interested in starting a wedding dress business. Purchase new dresses or stock inventory with quality secondhand purchases from consignment stores.                   
           
⦁    Individual wedding dress businesses may have trouble competing with major bridal gown retailers, who in some instances capture up to one-third of the market by offering inexpensive gowns to high volumes of customers. You’ll have to work hard to earn customers by offering superior customer service ranging from free or discounted alterations to champagne toasts after dress purchases.
Cordell Davenport

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Cordell Davenport

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