Judging from boutique reports of a brisk opening of the season and (for many) “record sales,” and equally robust comments from apparel and accessory manufacturers, the U.S. bridal industry appears to be poised for dramatic growth in 2022-2023.
   Additionally, this surge in business is not solely based on pent-up demand. . . early reports indicate that the engagement season of late 2021 may have been record-setting as well.

The good news is that rising interest rates, increasing inflation, product delivery snafus and worldwide turmoil do not appear to negatively impact our brides or the brisk store business and sales we’ve witnessed these past few months. . . with little impact throughout 2022.
   We will, however, continue to be plagued by staffing issues, product availability questions, lengthening production and transportation/delivery schedules, as well as increasing shipping, component and finished goods costs throughout this period as well.
   Essentially, we’ll see continued and periodic price increases and transportation surcharges from brands/manufacturers, the bulk of which will probably hit within the next six months and continue through year-end.
   So a suggestion: increase your prices now in anticipation of what’s to come.
   To be clear, I am not advocating major increases that take advantage of the circumstance, nor those that appear to gouge brides.
   It is, however, wise to reflect on the cost increases you have recently received from your designers/brands, anticipate additional increases in the coming months, and take those steps necessary to stay ahead of the admin headaches that unexpected cost increases can create.
   In addition to staying ahead of those costs, of any time in our industry’s history this is a moment in which there is little-to-no pushback from brides against the cost of their gowns and accessories. They are very well aware of increasing costs of everything they purchase, yet for bridal continue to equate the cost of their gowns with the value of the experience they have in your store.
   Don’t be hesitant; be proactive. Acting now will help alleviate some of the stresses you’re bound to face later.