5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Saying "I Do" to Opening a Bridal Shop Franchise

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wedding dress franchise

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

Opening a wedding shop in the UK is an excellent investment. For many brides-to-be, going wedding dress shopping is one of the most exciting periods of their life. The experience is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, with friends, family and complimentary bubbly making up part of the day.

The bridal shop sector

Weddings are becoming increasingly elaborate affairs, as many couples are willing to spend a considerable amount of money to ensure they have the perfect day. That means bridal shop franchises benefit from significant demand. Brides, on average, spend £1,385 on their wedding dress, so there is scope to make a healthy profit if you have a great product. If you sell shoes, lingerie, headpieces and other accessories, you can help brides find everything they need in one convenient place and boost your profit margin even further.

Last year, the bridal shop sector made £380,000 in revenue, and it should make even more next year. Since 2013, the industry has been growing at a rate of 2.1 percent every year, so its a great time to join it.

Starting your own wedding shop business 5 things to ask yourself

Becoming an owner of a bridal shop has plenty of advantages; most notably, youll get to see the joy on your customers faces when they find the perfect dress. But you wont get to a happy ever after point until youve made a few tough decisions. There are a few things you need to consider before you launch your new bridal shop business, so lets take a look at five factors that should be at the forefront of your mind.

1. What does your dream bridal shop franchise look like?

Its easy to picture your dream bridal shop in your head, but the real answer to this question will depend upon your ideal target market. Although all bridal businesses are aimed at soon-to-be-married couples, youll need to work out the type of customers youd like to attract if youre to choose the right franchise for you.

Also, your price bracket can have a remarkable impact on how you set up your business. If youve got your heart set on selling more expensive, high-end dresses, youll need to be willing to run a brick and mortar store, as people wont spend large amounts without being able to try on the dress.

However, if youre interested in appealing to those on a tighter budget, it may be possible to operate remotely as an online business. Either way, knowing your price range will help you identify the type of store youre likely to run.

Finally, you should think about the type of person youre targeting; their personality and preferences. This will have an enormous impact on the way your store will probably be styled. For example, if a franchise is trying to appeal to a fashionable millennial crowd, it will probably stock a broader range of dresses from independent designers and dedicate time to keeping on top of the trends. But, if its looking to target those on a lower budget, itll need to stock inexpensive or discounted dresses.

Working out who your ideal customer is will help you identify the types of franchises you should be looking out for and the type of business you are likely to run in the future.

2. How will you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

Although there are lots of opportunities for new wedding companies, the industry is remarkably competitive, and businesses need to make sure they stand out if theyre to succeed. Franchises can do this in numerous different ways, and a savvy investor should have a keen eye for these little USPs.

Its often the case that you dont know whats special about your business until it all gets started and youre up and running. However, its a good idea to think about how you as a franchisee can make sure your business stands out from the crowd before it launches.

In fact, this process is usually a necessary part of developing a business plan, and this is where local market research comes in. When you apply for finance, lenders will expect you to have already researched your competition and understand what you need to do to differentiate yourself.

3. Can you form partnerships with other wedding businesses?

If youre opening a business that specialises in one particular product or service, it makes sense to partner with other local businesses in the sector. For bridal shop franchises, this might mean creating alliances with local wedding photographers, make-up artists, caterers and florists.

Developing a network of wedding professionals that you know deliver a high-quality service every time will enable you to give informed recommendations to your customers. It also allows for a reciprocal arrangement, as the businesses you partner with may refer their customers to you too.

Of course, you should think carefully about how youre going to develop your business and whether these types of relationships are beneficial in the long run. If youre hoping to expand your outlet to incorporate floral arrangements or encompass a more general wedding planning service, for example, you may not want to give competitors too much of a leg up. However, if youre keeping things simple, these strategic alliances could help push a lot of customers your way.

Finally, dont forget to discuss partnerships with any franchisors you may be working with before you sign on the dotted line. They may be reluctant to grant you permission to create business alliances, so just make sure you actually have the opportunity to do so, should you join the franchise.

4. Can you cater to more than the bride?

While wedding dresses alone can generate substantial profits, you may also want to think about offering other products or services. For instance, you could opt to join a franchise that also stocks bridesmaids dresses. Appealing to a larger market should, in theory, increase your income, and it may also have the added effect of creating leads; after all, most bridesmaids will one day become brides. So, if you provide exemplary service and ensure that the bridesmaids walk away happy, theres a good chance theyll return to your business when their time comes.

However, its important to remember that, if youre going to stock a range of products, you should put as much care and thought into your other items as you do to your bridal dress selection. Dont treat them as an insignificant added extra to top up your monthly paycheque.

To run with our example, theres no point in rushing through bridesmaid dress fittings youre not really invested in. If your customers arent completely satisfied, theyre unlikely to recommend you or use your business for their own wedding dress, and youll lose money in the long run.

Become a bridal shop franchisee

Joining the wedding services sector can seem like a dream come true for those who are romantics at heart. The huge range of options for prospective business owners means there should be a franchise to suit every type of entrepreneur.

At the moment, were offering opportunities with photography franchise Venture Studios; click here to find out more about the business and how you can get involved.

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