How to Run a Used Wedding Gown Store

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Used Wedding Gown Store Business Overview:

Weddings are big business, but these days helping the betrothed save money is vital, and here’s where a used wedding gown store can be a great business idea. To start a business like this, you will need a solid chunk of startup capital (think: $10,000 to $15,000 USD) and a retail location for your store. Your location will have to be accessible and large enough to house your inventory of gently used wedding gowns. Speaking of inventory, you can build yours by purchasing gowns outright from individuals or you can work on consignment or even a combination of the two. If you buy your inventory, you’ll want to get the gowns for a very competitive price so that you can offer deep discounts to your own customers, which is why consignment can work so well in this business. It keeps your startup costs in check and still enables your business to profit well with each sale. Because you’ll want to offer personalized attention to each bride-to-be, you’ll also likely want to elicit the help of competent salespeople to run your store and help your customers find the perfect wedding gown. With the additional prerequisites like a business license and permit, plus insurance to protect your assets, you can open your store and watch as brides-to-be find their dream dress at a great price.

A Day in the Life of a Used Wedding Gown Business Owner:

A typical day will start with a check on your inventory and a review of your store to ensure your gowns are displayed in the most sales worthy fashion. You will also want to keep your sales staff up to date on your business goals, and check in with everyone to keep the store running smoothly. Aside from your stock and your salespeople, your calendar will be your saving grace. Each day, you’ll want to make sure you know which customers need their gowns on which days and have them set aside and ready for pick-up. The easier you make this process on your brides, the more successful your store will be. Finally, you’ll have to keep a close eye on revenue and expenses so that you know best how to price your gowns and how many you need to sell to keep your profits high.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be future brides who want to find a beautiful gown for their wedding day without breaking the bank. Some customers might just be in the market to browse, but many will come seriously seeking their dream dress. It’s up to you and your staff to provide them with the same experience they would have in an upscale gown store as you show them dresses with price tags that make them smile.

What You Need to Start:

  • A storefront location
  • A supply of used wedding gowns
  • Business license, permit, and insurance
  • A competent sales staff
  • Financial-tracking software

The Good:

  • This type of business can grow with your experience and can be very rewarding, both personally and professionally.
  • You will be providing a valuable business for brides-to-be and for the local community.
  • You can keep your inventory costs down by having your dresses for sale on consignment.
  • This is a fairly easy business to operate if you’re prepared to provide stellar customer service.
  • There are many accessories and add-ons you can incorporate into your store to increase your profit.

The Bad:

  • The startup investment is enough that you will want to ensure this is the business for you.
  • You might encounter a few so-called “bridezillas” in your shop; providing good customer service to all your potential customers will ensure your shop maintains a solid reputation.


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