|Posted on December 5, 2016 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on June 13, 2016 at 1:10 PM||comments (0)|
What's important to know when buying a bridal gown "off the rack."
When it comes to my boutique, the majority of my brides purchase their gown off the rack. Here's a few tips and FYI's for anyone who decides to shop consignment or off the rack.
1. Samples dresses are rarely perfect. They may not have had a bride but they have had a shop life. Be prepared for minor imperfections. Things like loose beads, random strings, faint marks inside and out side of the dress due to makeup, scuff marks from being stepped on or dragging on the floor. These very reasons are why the $1800 Maggie Sottero selling at “regular” bridal shops is now priced below $1000. Most of the imperfections can be fixed during alterations and there for they shouldn't be a deal breaker for the bride.
2. Dresses (veils, shoes and headpieces) that have had brides once before have definitely seen better days. Usually the hems and trains have dirt, grass stains or foot prints. Sometimes you'll find that the seams have been let out or taken in, makeup stains and minor rips (especially in organza or tulle) and for all these reasons is why the Maggie Sottero that usually retails for $1800 new and will sell as a sample for $1000 is now selling for $600. Again, most of the imperfections can be taken care of at the time of alterations if they haven't been done before hitting the racks. We are quite picky about the gowns we place on consignment but from time to time we accept a gown that needs a little bit of TLC - again, all of this should not be a deal breaker for the new bride.
3. Sizing: Ladies it's important to purchase a gown that fairly close to your bridal size. Sometimes our seamstress will alter a gown that was not purchased at our boutique and has to bring it in SEVERAL sizes. This can be costly for the bride and require more then the usual amount of alterations appointments. Which can take away from more time from work or other activities because now you have to visit us for alterations 4, 5 or 6 times. If the gown is more than 2 or 3 sizes larger than your bridal size take caution in the purchase and talk to a seamstress before pulling the trigger. If you have to take I'm a dress 4+ sizes it can and probably will alter the entire look of the dress. From the bust down to the hem may need to be reconstructed. All of this info is completely dependent on the gown a simple chiffon bridal with no beading or lace is easier to alter than a bridal gown that is fully beaded and has lace.
4.Alterations: Whether you purchase a gown off the rack or order a brand new dress directly from the manufacture 95% of brides still need alterations. You can expect a minimum of 3 bridal alterations appointments for a gown that is your size or close to it. You will have your initial appointment when the seamstress will measure and pin your dress for sizing. At your second appointment you will try on to see if it fits perfect or needs a little more work (most do.) The third appointment is USUALLY when the bride can take home her gown! Again, if it's a dress that's being taken in several sizes or needs any custom work like adding sleeves, belts, zipper to corsets etc; it can require a fourth appointment. So please keep this in mind when shopping. You are not OK with driving long distance 3-4 times to get your dress altered you may want to shop close to home.
I hope some of this information is helpful to you!
|Posted on January 7, 2016 at 7:30 PM|
Thanks so much for looking at my blog. I've never blogged before and I'm not totally convinced that anyone will read a blog about owning and operating a bridal consignment boutique. So this may end up being mostly therapeutic!
First let me tell you a little about myself! My name is Cindy Wells, I'm 31 years old and born and raised in Maryland. I'm married to the most handy and handsome fella in the world, Moses and together we live on a boat, have 3 cats and both participate in a local rock band where I sing over shredding guitars and thunderous drums (didn't see that one coming did you.) If you have met me in person one of the first things you will notice is the tattoos! Yup, I'm covered in ink - it's a passion and something that I enjoy very much. Tattoos, to me, are art - my skin is a canvas and I'm all to excited to plaster my precious skin with art work from some pretty amazing friends in the industry. I also own the Miss Tattooed Baltimore Pageant - The last 2 years the city of Baltimore embraced this fun little venture and with the help and support of the fantastic arts and tattoo community Baltimore has, we crowned several ladies who took home fantastic crowns and prizes. This year, I don't believe the pageant will happen. Sadly and fortunately I'm far to busy with the boutique! I've also been a Nanny for the last 9 years and somehow I managed to attend the Baltimore School of Reflexology - One could say I'm a bit of an overachiever!
So at this point you may be asking, "How is this lady qualified to own a bridal boutique?" Good question - now the answer! My first bridal job was when I was 16 years old. After school and on the weekends I worked part time at Cameo Bridal in Glen Burnie. At the time it was just a job, something for a bored 16 year old to do. But once you're in the business it's hard to get out! Over the next several years I found myself at a bunch of little bridal shops from Glen Burnie to Parkville...All except Cameo are now out of business. I spent so many years helping brides, bridesmaids, grooms and groomsmen find and fit the perfect attire for their special day. But eventually a time came where I was no longer happy working for someone else. I had all the responsibility of a manager/owner but none of the authority or pay! Even though I was young, at the time I felt like I could run the business better then they could. So, eventually I left bridals to begin working in child care. I went on to receive my certificate in child care and child development and spent the next 9 years raising some pretty awesome kids! I was with my first family for 4 years and I'm still with my current family, this year will mark my 5th year with them! The reason why my shop is closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays is because I'm busy drawling, playing and watching Nick jr with the kiddos, then I have band practice (most the time.) A part of me always knew I would be back in bridals, but when I did come back it would be on my own terms!
About 3 years ago I started writing up my business plan to open the most luxurious bridal boutique Maryland has ever seen....Did I mention I'm an overachiever?? BUT the funds were not there to do so - so I had to scale it back a bit. My wheels got turning and I was hell bent on figuring out a way to open my own bridal shop with out having to risk mine and my husbands well being to do so. Like most people, I didnt have a lot of capitol to do so. I asked myself - "How can I open a bridal boutique and not have to take out a traditional loan???" CONSIGNMENT!!! Consignment will get my foot back in the bridal industry as an owner with lower over head than a traditional bridal shop. Far from my business plan but sometimes the universe leads us in directions we had yet to consider - BOOM!!! Love & Lace Bridal Consignment and Boutique was born!! And it was much easier to launch than a traditional bridal shop. I haven't received any traditional loans or any loans from family or friends - there hasn't be any "Go Fund Me's" or Kickstarters to propel this boutique. Proudly I say to you that this has been all out of pocket since day one!!! It was RISKY to say the least - But here I am almost 8 months later and already on my 2nd larger location, Wedding Wire rated and a 5 star boutique! See folks, risk is sometimes worth the reward!
Although my shop is a little different from my business plan, the way I wanted it to be run is dead on! I'm well aware of the competition of other bridal shops, especially the "big box" chains. But I knew that the experience I wanted to give to my brides would set me apart from all the rest and I believe I've accomplished that so far. Sure, one day there will be a bride, bridesmaid, mother or friend who just plain ol' didn't like my shop or me, I will swallow that pill when/if the time comes. But I always go into every appointment aware of what the bride wants (I was a bride recently myself!) - sure she wants a great gown, but how about a great experience, a confidant consultant, someone who listens to what she wants and what she doesn't want, someone who will respect her budget and not make her feel small or unimportant because she either doesn't have thousands to spend on a bridal or simply doesn't want to spend thousands on a bridal. An environment that is warm and welcoming and when all else fails A SMILE - yes a smile. I know, I'm crazy but being at my boutique make me HAPPY! It's my favorite place to be (besides next to my husband I surely wouldn't have opened a very time consuming, energy sucking, late nights on the phone bridal boutique if I didn't really want to do it! There is so much that I love about my shop, but I'll leave that for another blog!
For now I will end this one on a thank you!! Thank you to all my brides who have trusted me to help the find their dream dress. Brides who took a chance on a tiny little shop in the heart of downtown Annapolis, in the back of a building, in a room hardly big enough to be called a bedroom. Thank you for giving me that opportunity to help you - and for allowing my business to grow. To all the brides and friends who took just a few moments of their time to write a 5 star review. Those have helped my boutique more than I could ever express.
To my future brides - please know that I will be here to help you the same way I've helped by brides who have already purchased their gowns. You deserve the experience of a lifetime and I will go above and beyond to provide that for you and your loved ones. It's what I wanted from my bridal shopping experience and I wouldn't have it any other way for my brides!
Love & Lace Bridal Consignment and Boutique