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I need some valuable input.....as a Bridal Salon Owner...I am finding many brides want to take pictures of the wedding dresses they try on claiming they love them..price is right...have to show their MOM or fiance, but never return!
I am tempted to stop this practice completely unless they buy the dress..but I do not want to lose customers!
Any advice out there??????????Thank you, Cathy
As a non-salon owner (and current bride myself), I would probably be upset if I couldn't take a picture of me in the dress to make a final decision...and being deterred from doing so would probably make the decision for me whether I would buy a dress at Salon X. I imagine being allowed to take a photo in at least the favorite dress in the day supports the environment of excitement that you would want to nurture.
That said, as a business owner (photo), a few questions:
Please allow me to ask you this question.
How would you feel, being a Professional Photographer, someone coming into your studio taking pictures of your display of your work? Wouldn't that bother you at all? You do have albums of your work..a portfolio showing what you have done....would you like Brides shopping around for Photographers(some are very expensive..but I find the quality and artistic value speaks for their work)taking pictures of your images in your portfolio? It's the same thing...
In answer to your questions:
1. I do take walk-ins(you can't turn away business..you never know who will buy..)most with important people with them, like Mom's, maid of Honor will schedule an appointment and usually make their decisions the same day)
2. The ones wanting to take pictures and we allow them to never return....!
3. Followups are always done no matter WHAT. We always ask for feedback want to know why or why not they purchase. We find they have a "back-up" dress already and are looking around for "something better".
Thanks for your input. Cathy
I think "Davids Bridal caters to another Bridal Customer than what you find in exclusive Boutiques that sell Bridal and designer Social special Occasion. You have to separate the customer who is budget minded from the one looking for "One of Kind" Bridal Gowns and social special occasion. However, both will have budgets! I think "Yes to the Dress" is exaggerated ans somewhat staged and sets the wrong expectations for Brides looking for a dress which I think can be unrealistic. I dont think Kleinfield allows pictures in their salon..that's why they have a program...it's great marketing for them if you can afford it.
It sure is a tough call because the last thing you want is to "deter" a sale, however, most Salons I have shared this question have businesses in large cities with larger inventory and have been in business for years, and they have had a "no photo" policy implemented until the Bride/Bridesmaids/Mothers of the Occasion have actually bought the dresses years before "On-Line Competion" was present. They now have resorted to 1 hour complimentary Appointments, and if it goes after that they charge X DOLLARS PER HOUR. They are also taking your credit card number over the phone when an appointment is booked and charging X DOLLARS FOR "NO shows" and if the appointment isn't cancelled or rescheduled within 48 hours. Some are just charging a fee to measure..as a PROFESSIONAL FEE.
I also have recently spoken with a reputable salon in a city close to me who takes evening appointments who spent several hours with a bride and her group trying, measuring sizing..offering discounts to only hoping to get the sale. Later she found out they bought from another competitor
who undercut her prices by another 10%. She had all the legwork done for her so allshe had to do was order the gowns!!
Most of the Brides I have sold to do not mind the "no photo" policy, but one or 2 get upset about it..but I really don't think those are the customers we want, and they are just shopping around getting ideas, maybe they are skilled seamstresses themselves and will have a relative make the dress for them....
Years ago you would get shown the door if you wanted to take pictures...it didn't even cross my mind when I bought mine as it was implanted in my memory!
I just think since we are Professionals there has to be a line drawn where our services have to be respected....
It seems to me like something everyone might do.
Thank you!!!! I agree with you 100%. There are too many "lazy" people out there stealing ideas opening up stores. I also am a designer and have a line of accessories I sell exclusively and often catch someone when their cell phone once they leak out they "sew" or made a "veil for their niece" trying to steal ideas. Why don't they go online...and look? Now-I am in your shoes-once I measure the client, spend 2 hours with them, and they place the order..then I will give them the illustrations with my dates and signature..I keep the original!! This is the only way to beat the competition and remain exclusive to our trade and what we do best!
That seems fair.
I personally don't allow any customers to take any picture or catalog from my show as they get it stitched from their tailor. So hoard a strict board an let them know about them without need of speaking by you.