COUTURE was fortunate enough to chat with White of Dublin Co-Founder, Diane Bond, to see how they are preparing for market! Bond opened her boutique in Dublin, Ohio back in 2011 along with Co-Founder Heather DiMasi. With a quaint, yet luxurious, atmosphere and intimate, personalized experience it is no surprise that White of Dublin is a prime target for our designers!
COUTURE: As a major bridal salon with years of bridal market experience, what are the top 3 goals you go into market looking to accomplish? BOND: (1) Strive to keep current with (if not ahead of) the bridal fashions (2) Strive not to exceed our budget. (3) Try to fill any gaps in styles/silhouettes/price points to be able to reach our brides.
COUTURE:How many bridal markets do you attend each year and do you have different goals for each?BOND: We attend two markets each year - one in Spring and one in Fall. Our goals are the same for each but on a smaller scale in the Spring.
COUTURE: How many people from your team attend NY Bridal Fashion Week? (i.e. buyer, top sales person, owner, manager, etc. ) BOND: We have two people attending market - owners and buyers.
COUTURE:How many appointments do you make prior to market and how many visits are drop ins? BOND: Approximately 75% of our appointments at market are made prior. We always enjoy dropping in on new designers to see the latest trends!
COUTURE:Do you come to market with a specific spending budget and how flexible are you in exceeding it? BOND:We do come to market with a general budget range. However, we are comfortable flexing that budget somewhat if we agree that it would be profitable in the end.
COUTURE:What are the main focuses a designer should stress during each appointment? What should they come prepared with? BOND: Each designer should be prepared to showcase their top sellers and convince buyers that their styles will sell in their stores. Therefore, designers should know their buyers and the store's customers. They should do their homework, too.
COUTURE: What issues are critical when evaluating a new designer? BOND: For our boutique, we stress a designer's ability to work closely with us. We also look closely at the wholesale prices versus the quality of dress. Ultimately, both of those issues trickle down to our brides. A happy bride reflects positively on both the store she bought the dress from and the designer's dress that she chose.
COUTURE:You currently have strong relationships with many designers. How open are you to exploring new collections? How can these designers grab your attention? BOND: At each market, we take some time to drop in on new designers. We are always open to working with new designers in case they are able to offer something fresh. When considering them, we look to see how much marketing is already in all media outlets for that particular designer. We also consider if brides are seeking those designers out for their collections. And lastly, but very importantly, as well, we look to see how viable the designer is as a business.
COUTURE: How do you determine if these new designers are viable? BOND: Designers should be prepared to answer questions like: Where are their materials coming from? Where is their production facility? What is the turnaround time on an order? Do they have a business plan implemented? Overall, we need to be confident that our production needs will be met before we can consider investing.
COUTURE: What advice would you give to salon owners attending market for the first time? BOND: We advise new store owners attending market to take their time in making decisions. It is perfectly acceptable to go to all of your appointments first before making any purchases. Feel confident and comfortable stepping back to make your final decisions when buying. You will stay in your budget and not make rash business decisions that way.