As some of you know I used to be a buyer for two of the biggest stores in the Netherlands. For me the buying season was the best part of the year because I loved finding out what new ideas brands would come up with every new collection. It never ceased to amaze me that bridal designers could come up with new themes and new styles. To know which dresses to buy comes mostly from instinct and experience but partly from good preparation. Some dresses are obvious choices because they are new or updated versions of the best dresses that you already have in your store. These are your bestsellers and you should get them even though you know that most of your competitors will choose the same. If you all like them so will the brides! Some other dresses are less obvious choices. There are many factors that come into play when creating a good collection. I hope these tips will help you determine what the best dress choices are for your store and how to prepare for buying.
My number one tool for preparing to buy a collection is Pinterest. All year round I am busy on Pinterest. I started noticing that certain dresses kept showing up over and over again. I would save popular dresses and created separate folders as soon as I discovered a trend. If you see a lot of dresses with low cut back-lines on Pinterest then you have discovered a trend that you might want to have in your store for the next season. It is especially great for finding new brands. Maybe you see a new brand that brides are pinning a lot. Try to be the first store in your area to sell this brand. Try to use it because it is a great tool!
- Designer collections
Great bridal designers like Oscar de la Renta or Vera Wang often have more bridal collections in a year, where most commercial brands often only launch one collection per year. Watch these collections closely because the trends that you see there will be copied and used as inspiration for the more mainstream collections. Every bride would love to wear a designer dress but not every bride can afford it. This is why the mainstream brands like to use these designer labels as a source of inspiration so they can offer the bride a similar style for a better price. When designer labels create many fishtail dresses, long sleeve dresses or they use pastel colors in their collections then this will be picked up by the more commercial brands. Websites like Brides, the Knot and Martha Stewart Weddings are great sources to view the latest designer collections.
- Films and television shows
When the great Gatsby came out nobody knew this would be the new trend for brides in 2013. Movies about brides can be very trendsetting. Think about the big tulle Vera Wang gown in “Bride Wars” or the slim dress that Kristen Stewart was wearing in “Twilight”. Always be aware of the power of film and television and make sure you know what brides are wearing in popular movies and television shows.
The British wedding of Kate Middleton was the ultimate example of a celebrity creating a trend in bridal. Copies of the dress and different variations of long sleeve ball gowns appeared in almost every collection after her wedding day. Even now brides are still asking for dresses similar to hers. Keep your eyes on the media. Celebrity brides, movie stars, singers and socialites are great sources of inspiration for new brides.
Image is from on of my favourite collections: Essence of Australia