bridalexpert

Archive for 2009|Yearly archive page

Quote of the Day

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Customer: “Can I have your store hours please?”

Employee: “Sure. Monday through Friday, we’re open until 9:00 PM. Saturdays and Sundays we’re open until 6:00 PM.”

Customer: “Oh, those are the only days you’re open?”

Tip of the Day-How to Handle The Bluffing Bride

In Tips for Bridal Salons on April 15, 2009 at 12:25 am

This one is for salon owners who are new to the business. Of course every new business owner expects everything to go smoothly with your customers. If not, you at least hope that your calm demeanor, reliable experience and (sometimes sickly) sweet voice will help you solve any problems that may arise. But often times, no matter how nice you try to explain something, no matter how clear your point may be, no matter how specific your store policies may be, you will always have the bride who cannot be reasoned with. Let’s discuss her background for a moment.

First of all, she’s the bride-which automatically means she knows more than you. She will let you know this. Now as soon as the problem is presented, you will discover that her mom is a seamstress, her father works for a TV station, her sisters are all wedding planners, her brother is a lawyer, and her friends all work in retail.

Over time, you will find out that most, if not all brides, are just bluffing. Her mother is a seamstress only if you count sewing badges on her Girl Scout vest when she was 8. The closest her father comes to working in TV is watching the nightly news. Her sister may have already planned her wedding in the past, thus making her a “wedding planner.” And her brother’s favorite movie may be My Cousin Vinny, but in real life, he’s nowhere near an attorney.

So as soon as I hear a bride (or bridesmaid) use the “Give me what I want or I’ll ruin you” scare tactic, I know that our conversation is almost over. I simply respond “You do what you have to do then.” I guarantee that she’ll either be out of my store (or slam the phone in my ear) within the next 5 minutes. Most of the time, I’ll never hear from her again, except if she decides to write a review about her experience online. But chances are you’ve lost her at that point anyways (and an even better chance that she’s in the wrong, which is why is why you didn’t give in to her in the first place.) But we’ll discuss these evil online reviews and how to fight back against them next week. In the meantime, don’t worry when a bride tells you that you’re going to hear from her lawyer. If you want to have a little fun, ask her what law firms he works for and watch her eyes dart in panic before she avoids the question and stomps out of the store. 🙂

Things Overheard in a Bridal Salon, Part I

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 at 7:46 am

“Do I smell funny?”

“We don’t want your help!” (in response to an innocent “How can we help you today?”)

“Can you watch my child?”

“Have you seen my child?”

“But I haven’t finished my drink yet!” (In response to our no food or drinks policy)

“Can you tell me some other bridal shops I can go to?”

“I dont like the dress my daughter picked out. Can you tell her that you like the other dress better?”

“I’m not wearing any underwear.”

and…

“My boyfriend likes me without underwear.”

aaaaand….

“Ive gotta grab my underwear from the car.”

“You forced me to order this size!”

And finally…

(over the phone)

“Hi, do you sell wedding gowns?”

More Rudeness-East Coast style

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2009 at 9:34 pm

March 27, 7:45 PM, Closing Time….Almost

I’ve already turned off the lights and I’ve got my keys in hand, when the phone rings.  It never fails-someone always knows to call at the very last second possible, just when you’ve already shut your mind off for the day.  It’s like clockwork. I wish my lottery numbers were this reliable.

I drop my purse and run to the nearest phone to answer.  An irritable sounding woman with a heavy New York accent starts to speak before I’ve even finished my greeting.

“I’m looking for an Allure dress in Brides magazine. It’s the May/June 2009 issue, and I need a price on the dress.”

“Ok, and what’s the style number of the dre–?”

“There IS no style number in the magazine.” She adds “And DON’T tell me to go on their website!”

Hmmmm. Most designers don’t give you the style number of the dresses they advertise-they want you to go to their website so you can browse through the rest of the dresses until you find the one you’re looking for. Sounds like this woman already talked to another bridal shop, maybe several.

She continues. “I’m just going to describe it to you.”  She begins giving me a detailed description of the dress-the cut, the fabric, the way it doesn’t fit right on the model in the picture…while the whole time my mind is screaming “We have over 1,000 gowns in here-are you really going to expect me to know which one you’re looking at by your description?” I still can’t get over the fact that brides will actually call and expect us to know a dress just by describing it, completely oblivious to the hundreds of bridal gown designer and thousands of dresses currently out there. It must be nice living in their simple little world.

I let the woman finish so I don’t appear rude. “Well,” I start. “It doesn’t sound like a dress we have in our salo-”

“Well the magazine says you do!” She’s flat out yelling at this point.

“Ma’am, that’s an advertisement-they just list the salons that carry their line. It doesn’t mean that we have every single dress that they make.”

She lets out an annoyed sigh. “Are you by a computer?” she demanded.

“Yes.” I know what she’s going to ask next.

“Then go on their website and see if you can find the dress on there.”

I sigh. “Ma’am, they have over 500 dresses on their website. I can’t go through them one by one-”

“Just forget it!” I can already feel her voice fade away as the receiver moves from her mouth to the phone’s cradle.

SLAM! She hangs up.

I hold the phone in my hand, listening to the dial tone, already feeling my anger starting to build.

“Asshole BITCH!” I slam the phone into the cradle. My mind starts shooting off thoughts like electrical impulses, firing off in every direction, with more than one thought/comment/insult running through my mind at the same time.

Really? That’s how it is? This is how conversations take place in your world?  I can’t help you so you talk down to me like scum and hang up the phone when I’m proven useless in to you? So you behave like an ignorant moron? And what, you just had to do it on my way out too, huh? You couldn’t have called me in the morning, or in the afternoon-you just had to wait until the very last second, with my hand on the door to call me with your ignorant, rude, insolent behavior, just so you could purposely keep me angry the rest of the night, asking myself what happened to the civilized brides we used to have. The ones that had manners, and respect, and kindness, and would be horrified if they ever caught themselves acting the way you just did. And you, you probably don’t see anything wrong with your behavior. It’s completely normal to you, isn’t it?!?

I grab my purse, lock the doors, and stomp across the parking lot to my car, the last one left.  I don’t even hear the radio because I’m muttering to myself the entire way home, now thinking about all the other annoying phone calls, insults, or arguments that brides have brought up in the past.  Which is common when you’ve been in this business too long. One little thing that sets you off will bring up years of old memories of bickering brides you’ve worked with, some of which you haven’t thought of in years. But that’s all it takes.

I realize that I’m already in my driveway. My heart is beating furiously, like it usually does when someone gets me riled up. I try to force the bad thoughts out of my head, already trying to forget the conversation, the idiot on the phone, the way she acts like she knows more than I do…yeah, and the way she thinks she can behave any way she pleases…oh, and the way she kept yelling and demanding and…damn it! I’m doing it again!

Eh, maybe I’m just too sensitive.

Attn Bridal Salons-Discount Websites to Watch Out For

In Tips for Bridal Salons on March 26, 2009 at 10:43 pm

A bride I’ve been working with called me this morning and told me that she had found the dress she was planning on purchasing from us cheaper on a website that she had come across. She emailed me the website and asked if I could match their price. I went to this website, http://www.topbridaldress.com, and discovered that they make exact replicas of well known designers. What’s disturbing is that their basically selling the dress at our cost prices. And I’ll tell you, from the pictures I saw, it was damn hard to tell the difference between the original and the fake (especially when they take the picture directly from the designer’s website-an act that’s prohibited by the way). And to the average bride, especially the budget conscious, I doubt they’ll be able to notice-or care-for that matter.

Alfred Angelo #1516 Their price: $319.99. MSRP Price: $849.95

Maggie Sottero “Sabelle” Their price: $623.99. MSRP Price $1560

Salons, contact your sales reps immediately and let them know about this website. Times are hard enough as it is-someone should have told these websites not to sh** where they sleep. Websites like these think they can cut out the wholesaler and the retailer and go directly to the source.

Here are some other websites that may be competing against you:

http://www.topbridaldress.com (replicas)

http://www.bestbridalprices.com

http://www.discountbridal.org

http://www.houseofbrides.com

http://www.cheap-wedding-gowns.com

One of our brick and mortar competitors was constantly selling designer gowns for ridiculous prices on her website, despite that the fact they they were violating the strict MSRP policies from that designer about discounting dresses. After some hassling (and lost sales) from our end, we were able to convince our sales rep to talk to the right people, and they ended up pulling the line from that store. We’ve also had the same luck with a few other vendors who didn’t realize what kind of websites were out there until we opened their eyes.

Hopefully websites like these will fade away over time (or head into a nice bankruptcy like Bridesave.com!), but we have no way of telling how much business they’re taking away from us in the meantime. If you know of any other websites I haven’t mentioned, email me and I’ll add them to my list.