Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The wedding dress decision--to keep or not to keep?

This is not a trend yet, but I am hoping it will soon be.  Feel free to leave me your comments on what you think.

Brides buy expensive wedding dress costing sometimes upwards of $1,000.00.  You wear this gown for a few short hours.  When the wedding is over you have this beautiful dress with lots of memories (I hope) that sits in a box or a dress bag and it sits in your closet.

A few years ago there were only a couple websites where brides could sell their used wedding dresses and now there are dozens.  You can even sell your dress on Craigslist or Facebook.  I have read so many posts from brides trying to sell their dresses after the wedding, "reduced."  "cost me $1,000.00 and selling for $300.00,"  "the pictures don't do it justice."  "why isn't my dress selling?"

I had a bridal consignment store and in a year's time I only sold 3 dresses that brides had consigned with me.  Before I opened my store I thought (and researched) this was going to be easy.  If a bride found a dress at David's bridal for $1,000.00 then why wouldn't she want to buy a used dress for $300.00?   Some of the dresses I had even still had tags on them.  So what was the problem?   Well, it apparently was not that easy. I am wondering if part of the whole bridal experience is going to a bridal store (like David's Bridal) and picking out that perfect dress, ringing the bell or saying "yes to the dress."  That it really wasn't about the price, it was more of the experience of it all.

Since I had my store I have about 40 dresses that I accumulated by buying on my own to stock my store from Ebay, Craigslist, and wherever.  I have also been trying to sell these dresses and I am still not having any luck at selling them.

So recently I just came up with an idea that I was going to throw out there an opportunity for brides to rent my dresses instead of buying.  So I am offering a new program in my business.  Now since I already have the dresses I don't see the harm in trying this out and if it doesn't work then I can always just try posting them again for sale.

For example, I have a Da Vinci dress that is new and originally priced at $750.00.  I am trying to rent this dress for $100.00.  So far I have not had any hits off this, but I have only just begun.

I would also like to open this up to bride's who want to rent their dress as well.

So I can hear what some of you are thinking.  But, a wedding dress is not like a used car.  It really doesn't depreciate once you take it out of the store and wear it.  Yes, you paid $1000.00 for this dress originally and you probably won't be able to re-sell it for even half that much anyway.  So I am thinking that while a bride is trying to sell her dress she might as well earn some money on it in the meantime.

Also, I have done some research on cleaning of wedding dresses.  I have actually done my own hand washing of a few of the dresses I have in my inventory.  It's really not that complicated and it really isn't necessary to dry clean the dress after you use it.  The bride is going to only have the dress on for a few hours anyway.  Now if you were to dry clean it and then get it preserved as a keepsake then that is different.  I would definitely recommend dry cleaning and using a professional preservation if you plan to keep your dress for years to come.

So this is my thought.  Any bride who wants to rent their dress through us can do so.  You can earn 75% of your rental fee back and we will have a 25% commission fee.  So basically you are looking at $100.00 rental = $75.00 back to the bride and $25.00 for us.  Rent your dress out 3 times and there is your $225.00 that you didn't have in your pocket before.  Then if you decide that you want to sell it after you have rented it out a few times then it will still be in excellent shape for someone to wear again.

I do have some dresses of my own that I will be renting out for less than $50.00.  These are dresses that may not have the fullness as other dresses but are still pretty and practical for any bride on a budget.

Feel free to give your input and let me know what you think of my idea.  I would welcome feedback on this issue.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Would you plan a wedding without a proposal?

I hope I don't offend anyone by this, but something came to my attention recently that I thought I'd share.

An email came to me the other day from a "bride" who was looking for linen rentals (that's what I do).  She had a date, potentially a reception hall, and other services.  The only thing this "bride to be" was missing was a proposal from him.

I met with her and her "fiance."  They were both very nice.  Good jobs, two children together (which is not unusual nowadays), but no ring.  I didn't notice before until she pointed it out to me.  Sure enough, no ring!!  She said the only thing that was missing was the Proposal from him and she was still waiting after 5 years of being together.

So the question I have is how many women would plan a wedding without that one small little detail?
They both seems secure in what they were doing.  He wasn't opposed to the planning process and was even taking part in the planning--calling and emailing vendors, etc.  Just the words have not gotten out yet.

So I found this article on google from brides.com.  So apparently it is not totally unusual.

I have no doubts that these two will get married next year.  It may not be the date they picked out--March 28, 2015, but I would think that sometime next year they will get married.  I joked that there were a few major holidays coming up soon that maybe he would spring it on her as a surprise.

Maybe he has something really awesome planned for their engagement that they didn't share with the rest of the world, let alone, me, a stranger.

Monday, October 13, 2014

How to correctly redeem a Facebook offer

 I use Facebook for my business and one of the nifty things is the Facebook offer.  this is where you can "offer" a special to your potential customers.  I have used this often in my business, but I have been unsuccessful at the # of redemptions from these offers.  Let me explain.

When you set up the offer Facebook has you fill in some details explaining what your offer is.

Title:  (easy enough, right?)
Description of your offer:  ie:  25% off (easy enough, right?)
Image:  (easy enough, right?)
Expiration date (how long do you want to run this offer)
Claims limit:  (if you are smart you will choose "no limit.")
More options:
Terms and conditions:  this is the place were you put the terms of your offer.  Like the restrictions or rules to the offer.
        Online redemption link:  Ie:  your Facebook page or website address.

so, now I have created my offer.  Facebook even sends me an email with the preview of my offer.

My offer is published and it is on my page for people to see.  This is where time and time again people are unsure about how to redeem the offer.
Facebook even keeps a tally of how many people have clicked on your offer.  By clicking "get offer" you have now added a tally to that number.


Here is a copy of a recent offer I put on my Facebook page.  Do you see the little padlock at the bottom of the page?  It says "your information hasn't been shared with  Best Dressed Bridal and Linens."
I can have 500 people click on this offer but if you don't contact me with your offer then I have NO WAY of knowing who has clicked on my offer.

I understand the privacy policy of Facebook, but I also am frustrated by the number of people who look at my offer and click on it and then I never hear from them.  It kind of is a waste of time and trouble for me to go through all this posting and then never hear from a single person.  


How do you properly redeem an offer on Facebook.?  Go to where it says "click here"    This will take you to my Facebook page and enter your comments at the bottom of the offer or you send us a message and say "I would like to offer you $X for this rental package please."  Thank-you.

See the small print at the very bottom?  These are my terms for the offer.  "Make an offer of $30.00 or lower per table............"

To use the offer online, click here and enter "Make an offer" at checkout.
To use the offer in-store, visit Best Dressed Bridal and Linens and show this email.
Best Dressed Bridal and Linens

Make an offer on rental

complete table linen packages. Normally priced at $30.00 each table.
Like Offer
Share Offer
Expires October 31, 2014
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52405
Your information hasn't been shared with Best Dressed Bridal and Linens.
Make an offer of $30.00 or lower per table. Includes table cloth, table runner, chair cover, and chair sash, and set up for all rented items. Mileage is separate if you are more than 50 miles from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Deposit is required of at least 50% of your total. Send us a message with your offer to the facebook link provided or text to 319-423-1917. 2014-2015 events are eligible. Free table napkins when you pay your entire balance upfront. Not all offers will be accepted. we will send you a message with a counter offer or denial of your offer.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Table skirting issues

I have been in this business for about 7 years and things definitely do change.  Lately I have been having issues with my table skirting.  My clips do not fit on the tables correctly (too small).
The lip (side edge) of the table is thicker if the venues are using newer or plastic folding tables.

If you decide to rent a table skirt that uses clips make sure that you check the width of your table and let us or whoever you rent from know.  Also, it would be helpful to tell us what your table is made of --wood or plastic.

I did find a site online that sold banquet tables that said in the description how thick the table skirt clips needed to be to accommodate their tables. It appears that most were 1 1/4",  Which may not mean much to you, the bride, but it means something to us--the rental company.  It means that all these little skirt clips that I paid $1.50 each for do not fit the newer banquet tables (mine are 1").

I was at a venue two weeks ago and ready to put on the table skirting on their (6) head tables and found that my clips didn't fit.  Luckily I came prepared and had brought just large table cloths that went to the floor.  They weren't as nice as the pleated ones but at least we were stuck with nothing considering I was almost two hours from Cedar Rapids.  The other plus was the bride had Cinderella skirting that went over the plain white cloths so my fabric for that skirting covered up the plain white tablecloths anyway.

Here are a couple pics of some banquet tables and table skirt clips so you can see what I am talking about.  I guess I will be on the search for different table skirting clips now.
You can see this plastic table has a thicker lip around the edge of the table
this one is more like what my clips will accommodate

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Re-structuring of Best Dressed Bridal and Linens

Change is good.  I like change.  I think that too many times we get complacent and get too much in a groove that we forget the reasons we are doing things for.  I love my part time job (outside the wedding biz) because each day is something new.  I look forward to new challenges and all the new people I am going to meet.

For those of you who don't know I have been battling some health issues for about a year.  This has made me very complacent and very unwilling to change anything.  Now that I am feeling better (through help of doctors and medicines) I have a new focus on life.  And I am starting my new focus with my business.  So I have some exciting news to reveal.  I have some changes going on that I am going to start implementing.

First off, I wanted to say that when I originally started this business 6 years ago I had big dreams and ideas of wedding dresses and a consignment store.  I tried this venture about 2 years ago and was sadly unsuccessful.  Why was it unsuccessful?  I believe it was because of cash flow.  I started this business with $6000.00 and that was quickly eaten up by leasing fees and utility costs.  Besides the fact that I shared a business space with someone who stiffed me over $2000.00 and I never was able to really climb out that and get into the "black."    I also quickly came into more debt and had to move my business back into my house.  since that time I have put every dime back into the business and seemed like I have gotten no where.  But, the optimist person that I am said I have gained so much experience from everything that I have done.  I want to continue doing what I do, but hoping to step it up a notch or two.

I realized also that I have established a lot of things with this business' name and the thought of changing everything (the name) has gotten kind of overwhelming.  But I really am excited about what I am doing so I am going to take the plunge and slowly work my way into the new business name.  Facebook pages can be re-established, websites can be re-established, credit card processing can be re-established, etc.

Oh, by the way.  I already have a new business name picked out.  We are changing our name to A+ Reception Connection.  For the time being we are keeping our Facebook page the same  (Best Dressed Bridal and Linens).  Currently I am working on a new website that should be up and running shortly.

I have no desire to sell wedding dresses or do consignment anymore.  I will probably just continue to try selling the dresses I have in stock and give back the ones that I got from people on consignment.

We are still providing rentals on linen for the DIY brides.  We are stepping this up a notch and providing more high class linens that will be higher priced to rent.  We still plan to keep the DIY and budget friendly linens available to those brides who want to do their own decorating and set up of their rented items.

NEW THINGS:  We are hoping to add these items eventually to our rental items.
High quality items like arches, columns, and candelabras.
Catering equipment
Photo booth equipment
Chairs and/or tables for rent
Custom made centerpieces for rent or for sale

We are also looking to sell linens as well as rent them. So for those brides that want to buy their items instead of renting can have this option in addition to renting.  So this will mean buying in bulk to offer purchasing  prices.

The biggest and most important thing is I want to go to more bridal shows.  Currently I have only been able to afford two bridal shows in my business.  I think this is a vital part of success in this business.  i feel like getting out there and meeting potential clients at bridal shows will be very advantageous.

so if you currently have contracts with us, nothing will change.  We are still in business. This is just a restructure.  So if you see our name anywhere on the internet give us a shout out.

Stay tuned for more news about or progress.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Wild about Chevron!!

Wild about Chevron pattern linens for rent from Best Dressed Bridal and Linens.

choose from table runners, overlays, napkins, and chair sashes.  Finish off your decorations with decorating tape to add to florals and vases.

Several colors to choose from to coordinate to your wedding colors.
For more info visit http://www.bestdressedbridalandlinens.com/chevron-pattern.html
contact us for more info about renting/purchasing items for your event.

Black/white Chevron pattern on white chair covers and white  table cloth
Black/white Chevron pattern on black chair covers and black table cloth

Chevron pattern satin overlay in 54" square, 72" square, and 90" Square
Several colors available
Chevron satin chair sash
Chevron satin table cloths in 120" round and 132" round only!
Chevron pattern satin napkins 20" X 20" square

chevron pattern should not be only used for weddings, but would be great for birthday parties as well.  

16" Chevron pattern paper Chinese lanterns for sale
Chevron pattern paper straws for sale

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to request a quote

In order to process quotes from brides to be I need to have information from you.  I recently had a bride that was frustrated with me because she was wanting a contract emailed to her with a quote.  this is what her request consisted of:

19 rectangle table cloths in white
5 round table cloths in white
24 table runners
140 chair covers
140 chair sashes.

Okay so this is not a problem for the first quote I am going to give you, but the bride was ready to put down her deposit and wanted to know what her total was.  Here is the problems I have with this quote. I have put the incomplete information in green.

19 rectangle table cloths in white
What size are these tables?  6 ft or 8 ft?  How far do you want these table cloths to drop to the floor?
5 round table cloths in white
What is the diameter of the tables?  Do you want these table cloths to go to the floor?  what are these tables being used for---guest tables, cake, etc.
24 table runners
What color?  What fabric?
140 chair covers
What kind of chairs do you have?  Banquet chairs? Folding chairs?  What color do you want?  What fabric?
Does this include your head table?
140 chair sashes.
What fabric? What color?

What is your wedding date?  
Where are you located?  
How do you want to pick up your linens?  How do you want to return your linens?

She was kind of in a time crunch because her wedding planner wanted the details of the rental so they could proceed with the venue, etc.  At many attempts through email with my questions about the incomplete information I finally just threw out a number for her and told her that this probably was not accurate until she answered my questions.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help me help you by giving me complete info.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not get frustrated when you are not getting the answers you want from me when I am not getting the answers I need from you.  If you do not know some of the information I am requesting please let me know.  I have no problem with going to your venue's website or calling the venue directly to get this information.  Sometimes I talk in "bridal business lingo" and you may not understand what I am asking you, like what  a "drop" is.  If there is anything you don't understand please ask.

Also, I am a small enough business that I know how many banquet chair covers I have.  So if two brides want the same chair covers on the same day I need to know if I have enough to supply both.  Also, the type of chairs is important because if I bring you folding chair covers and you have banquet chairs then there is going to be a big problem!!  Folding chair covers do not fit banquet chairs.

Your date is also important because of the chair cover issue and also I would like to know for the deposit.  I have had a lot of brides rush, rush, rush into getting a contract and quote and they are impatient and I am thinking their wedding must be soon and then they say October 2015!!  I appreciate your wanting to get your quotes and information, but sometimes the messages read to me "911."  Also, if your wedding is May 1 and you are contacting me on April 20th there may be a little rush to get things done, but it definitely not to late for me to rent to you.  I have had brides email me on a Thursday and I delivered the chair coves on Saturday morning before their reception.

Wedding season is quite busy for me.  I am the sole employee of my business AND I have a full time job outside my house.  Sometimes I am answering phone calls and emails 20 times a day during the wedding season.

Let's work together to get you the correct items.  I have had mistakes made because of rushed orders and incomplete information and had brides and bride's mother yelling at me because something major wasn't right.   Like the wrong kind of chairs!!  Although it appears to be my fault in their minds I walked away feeling bad and knowing I was not the only one responsible for the mistakes.