Every article in VOWS has one focus: to help you be the best bridal salon owner possible.
    Individual topics vary but our goal never does. 
     To that end, we interact with, observe and hear about thousands of stores. Patterns emerge. . . and they are interesting indeed.
     On pg. 160 of our September/October 2018 issue we present a guest column, “Five Reasons Bridal Stores Close Down Today” by Kristina Klein. Kristina has been a part of the international bridal industry for more than 10 years and as a sales rep has had the opportunity to visit countless stores; her column is the result of observations made throughout the years.
     In the same way, I’ve made some observations of my own throughout my more than a decade editing VOWS. Really successful stores tend to share certain traits. These similarities are so striking in fact that I thought it would be interesting to put together a list. . .
1.    The owner is present. This one is non-negotiable. Now, “present” doesn’t necessarily mean “working the sales floor like an employee every day”, although many owners do this. But it definitely means being available in-store on a regular basis to get to know brides, observe and counsel consultants, stay on top of any minor issues that arise, and act as the face of the brand.

2.    They treat their employees well. It is far easier to retain than retrain...and they know it. As such, they pay well, offer competitive benefits and incentives, plan occasional bonding activities, exercise flexibility in scheduling, and in general treat employees like family.

3.    They know their numbers. Inside and out; up and down; cold. And they make buying and other business decisions based on these numbers, not instinct or emotion (side note: the latter can be valuable in certain situations. It is never ignored but rather acknowledged and treated cautiously).

4.    They care. You can hear it in their voice, see it in the actions they take toward a bride or employee in need, notice it in nearly every aspect of their stores, from its level of cleanliness to the promptness of their correspondence, to even the way their social media and website looks.

5.    They are not afraid of change. Or, if they are, it doesn’t show and it definitely doesn’t prevent them from moving forward and trying new things when the situation calls for it.

6.    They own, not rent, their building. This last one isn’t always true. . . but it comes up often enough I thought it was worth mentioning. Many times an owner has told me that owning his or her store outright is what got them through rough economic times or a slow sales patch. Not to mention the extra benefits that come from building of equity and the stability of a fixed loan payment as opposed to dealing with often unpredictable rising rents.
Extra Credit (not always
present but definitely
7.    They have a side business. This doesn’t mean in another industry. Rather it takes the form of a clever, complementary addition to their bridal salon. Perhaps they form an industry group, offer retailer training, conduct weddings, sell custom-made displays in-store, run a café adjacent to the bridal salon or even operate a modeling agency. . . all things I have encountered throughout the years. The purpose of the side business is typically two-fold: expand their reach as an industry expert while bringing in addition revenue to counteract the slow times.
    The above list is not all-inclusive, nor are all of the items mentioned a requirement for success. Certainly there are extremely successful stores that rent their spaces, do not offer a side business, or have any number of variations.
     That’s the thing about generalities. . . they may be a good benchmark but obviously do not apply to every situation.
    Nonetheless, it’s intriguing to identify and compare yourself to certain traits of success. After all, as the famous American author and life coach Tony Robbins says, “If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.”