The second generation sister team at Moonlight Bridal, Valerie Chin, Creative Director and Stephanie Chin, Operations Director, provided their comments as part of VOWS on-going Q&A series of interviews addressing the impact of COVID on design, industry and consumer preferences.

Their observations... bridal is well suited to adapt to changes in brides, marketplace and industry; is nimble in design, and quite capable of answering the challenge.
Full interview follows.


VOWS: How would you describe the impact Covid-19 is having on bridal and special occasion design?

Valarie/Stephanie: As an industry that is all about celebrating love, Covid-19 has really highlighted the focus on couples celebrating and sharing their day with their loved ones. Although there have been some modifications in the way their day is being celebrated: from scaled back celebration with only immediate family or incorporating more virtual ways to include guests. Love is still THE occasion to be celebrated and cherished during these times.

What trends have you identified, and are addressing in Moonlight's 2021 collections?

Valarie/Stephanie: We have seen an increased interest for affordable micro wedding dresses for scaled back celebrations and then also on trend wow-worthy gowns with statement trains and unique details.

For brides have a growing interest in backyard and micro-weddings, our Moonlight Tango collection is a great affordable option for this budget conscious bride and retails mostly under $1,000. From simple and sleek crepe designs to soft lightweight tulle and chiffon options this collection is affordable and versatile.

In addition, brides looking for affordable lace wedding dresses will find their dream dress with our Simply Val Stefani collection. This boho inspired collection features rustic lace details and soft silhouettes at an affordable price point that retails at $1,200 and under. Both collections are open to Moonlight's signature customization options and expedited shipping is also available for quick wear dates. The shorter trains and streamlined silhouettes make them great for outdoor celebrations.

Aside from the expanded micro-wedding market, we are still seeing brides wanting to say yes to unique lace, sparkle, and dramatic wow-worthy trains.

COVID-19 isn’t holding brides back from finding or buying their dream gown. Brides are still going to social media and doing research on their dream gown and locating a store near them. So having the right on trend gowns are still important because some brides are even buying two gowns. A gown for a smaller celebration and then another gown for the day they can celebrate with everyone important to them.

What aspects of today's bridal customer should store owners be particularly aware of?

Valarie/Stephanie: Everyone is learning to be adaptable. Our industry is experiencing firsthand the impacts from this virus. We need to be each other's support system as we navigate this time together. Being able to make a quick pivot to other technology focused opportunities whether it be more virtual consultations, working with shorter lead times, or dealing with COVID guidelines and regulations.

We can turn these challenges into opportunities that will in turn have our industry thriving again. Moreover, having a strong presence for stores on social media is helpful to answer quick questions from bride-to-be’s on what to expect and get them excited for what they can see in-store.

How has Covid-19 impacted the operation side of Moonlight...and how are you working with stores for dealing with a potential long term disruption?

Valarie/Stephanie: From a business operational standpoint, we have been very fortunate that we have any disruption during this time. Before Covid-19 we had invested heavily in new technology focusing on our website and retailer portal. Our emphasis on technology partnered with our great team has helped us to adapt quickly to the needs of our retailers and today’s brides. We also know that our stores need flexibility and service on their schedule - that’s why we have improved our digital experience for our stores with our expanded Retailer Portal. With our Retailer Portal, retailers have all the information conveniently at their fingertips and on their schedule. 

The final point is that we truly are all in this together, as we are all impacted by COVID-19, and we will continue to be successful by working together. We work with each store individually to understand their situations, and we always arrive at a creative solution. 

VOWS: How has Moonlight responded to this pandemic-caused disruption... and will these programs extend into 2021?

Valarie/Stephanie: We prioritized the well-being of our employees and the larger bridal community, so this past year we have reduced in-person travel to stores and market shows. Instead, we have been creative in using digital tools to showcase our new season’s offerings to stores and brides at their own convenience. We have received great feedback with this approach, and we plan to continue until restrictions are eased worldwide.

Additionally, we continue to offer our Trunk Show program with digital assistance, and we have seen an uptick in engagement for our new collections that we released digitally and has created great return on investment for our retailers.

VOWS: What do you see as the most critical areas for our industry to concentrate on for today...and long term?

Valarie/Stephanie: Our hearts go out to all retailers and industry as we offer you our support while we navigate the COVID-19 crisis together. Outreach to brides and potential brides to instill confidence that their dream dress will be there when they’re ready. It may be difficult to picture now, but once we move past COVID-19, we believe there will be great demand in the bridal industry. Right now the focus should be in streamlining the buying process. Send out a more detailed pre-appointment survey with questions on budget, types of styles they are interested in trying on, event date, and etc. see if they want to do a virtual appointment to browse what you have in store before coming in and get to know your store.

Do you think there are positives aspects for our industry that have come about due to COVID-19...and if so, what are they?

Valarie/Stephanie: When speaking with our retailers, a majority have said requiring appointments has allowed them to better gauge turnout and focus on closing sales. Brides still want to research and "pre-shop" for gowns from social media and online. Following CDC's guidelines are not only for safety, but also beneficial to retailers to set rules for guest party sizes, limit appointments times to allow for cleaning, and narrows down the number of voices helping a bride to say yes.