Say ‘I do’ to a Wedding Shop Franchise Business

02/12/2018 08:00 | Start a business

wedding shop

The UK wedding industry generates a considerable amount of income for a diverse array of businesses up and down the country. While some specialise in wedding photography, others provide decorating and venue design services. However, one of the most popular options is a wedding shop or bridal boutique. With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at five things you need to think about if you’re considering opening a wedding shop business.

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Wedding shop UK

Opening a wedding shop in the UK is an excellent investment. Currently, the wedding industry is worth a remarkable £10 billion a year, and this is only set to grow. This is due to the way in which weddings are becoming increasingly elaborate affairs with many couples willing to spend a considerable amount of money to ensure that they have the perfect day.

Wedding shop for sale

A popular way of going about opening a wedding business is by looking for an existing wedding shop that is up for sale. This approach boasts many benefits. Most notably, the buyer will usually be able to purchase old stock and will also have a ready-prepared store. However, there are some downsides, too. Significantly, you’re restricted in choice and aren’t able to select a precise location.

Starting your own wedding shop business – 5 things to ask yourself

If you do find a suitable location and are willing to purchase the store, there are a few things you need to consider before you launch your new wedding franchise business. Here, we take a look at five factors that should be at the forefront of your mind.

1. Who is your target market?

Your target market is the most critical consideration for any would-be wedding shop owner. Though all wedding businesses are aimed at those getting married, you’ll need to target a far more specific demographic if your business is to thrive.

For instance, a wedding shop will have to target a specific price bracket. This can have a remarkable impact on how you set up your business. If you’re selling more expensive, high-end dresses, you’ll need a brick and mortar store, as people won’t spend large amounts without being able to try on the dress. However, if you’re appealing to those on a tighter budget, it may be possible to operate remotely, as an online business.

Similarly, your target demographic will have an enormous impact on how you style your store. If you’re trying to appeal to a fashionable millennial crowd, you’ll have to stock a broader range of dresses from independent designers and keep on top of the trends. If you’re looking to target those on more of a budget, you’ll need to stock the most cost-effective dresses possible.

2. How will you distinguish yourself from the competition?

Though there are still plenty of opportunities for new wedding companies, the industry is remarkably competitive, and businesses will need to make themselves stand out if they’re to succeed. Franchises can do this in numerous different ways, and a savvy manager will have a keen eye for these little USPs.

It’s often the case that you don’t know what’s special about your business until it all gets started and you’re up and running. However, it’s a good idea to consider ways in which you can stand out from the crowd before the business’ launch. In fact, it’s usually a necessary part of developing a business plan. When you apply for finance, lenders will expect to see that you’ve researched your competition and understand what you need to do to differentiate yourself.

3. Can you partner with other wedding businesses?

If you’re opening a business that specialises in one particular product or service (e.g. wedding dresses), it may make sense to partner with other local businesses in the area. Developing a network of wedding professionals that you know deliver high-quality service every time ensures that you’re able to give informed recommendations. It also allows for a reciprocal arrangement, where they’ll recommend your business as long as you also push custom their way.

Of course, it’s necessary to think carefully about how you’re going to develop your business and whether these types of relationships are beneficial in the long run. If you’re hoping to expand your business to encompass a more general wedding planning service, you may not want to give competitors too much of a leg up. However, if you’re keeping things simple, these strategic alliances could help push a lot of business your way.

4. Can you cater to more than the bride?

While bridal dresses alone can generate substantial profits, you may also want to think about other ways in which you can generate revenue and improve business in the future. For instance, wedding shops that also stock bridesmaids’ dresses generate greater revenue and also create leads. After all, most bridesmaids will one day become brides. If you’ve provided exemplary service and ensured that the bridesmaids walked away happy, there’s a good chance that they’ll return to your business when their time comes.

However, this does mean that you need to stock a more extensive range and that this expanded range must be of an exceptionally high standard. There is no point in stocking sub-standard bridesmaid dresses to earn a little extra profit now. If you don’t satisfy these future customers, they’re unlikely to use your business for their own wedding dress. In this sense, stocking sub-standard dresses is a false economy – eventually, they'll lose you more money than they'll earn you.

5. At what point do you want to start franchising?

Finally, all future franchisors need to consider how their business is going to grow and try and establish a timeline for its development. Do you want a few company-owned stores before you begin franchising? Or are you hoping to jump into franchising immediately? How long will it be before you attempt to franchise your business? A year? Five years? When you've made a certain amount of money? Think carefully about how you want to grow into franchising, as it's necessary to plan ahead if your business is to thrive.

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