I’ve been thinking about our society as it seems to swirl around us… the strife, natural and man-made disasters, the anger and bitterness between friends and family members, the rejection of honest compromise… issues beyond our control that nonetheless add greatly to our already stressed out brides and grooms.

And I hear from many of you that you’re anxious and worried about these added stresses, that you’re seeing brides increasingly suspicious and short tempered, with unrealistic expectations about the price, process and circumstances of the gown buying experience.

But after dwelling on these reports and thinking through these concerns, it hits me: Same as it ever was.

And frankly, I’m encouraged… because to paraphrase a favorite U2 song: there’s nothing they can throw at you that you haven’t already heard. And successfully overcome.

Though there are plenty of business issues to distract… evolving product niches, changes in how we merchandise and market bridesmaids, mothers and Prom, competing with online sales… it is your ability to create an oasis in the midst of the storm, the training you provide your staff, and the leadership qualities you exhibit that have always carried you through.

The Red Cross sums it up nicely in its instructions to volunteers working disaster relief operations: Do not become overwhelmed by the extent of the loss and depth of need, but concentrate on doing the best you can with the client standing there in front of you.

These times are no different… and in fact there will always be storms and strife and circumstances that we can barely affect and that impact our customers… so if you’re feeling tossed and tumbled, take heart: you know how to weather the storm, to provide the shelter your clients need.