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#1 waskatiemark

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:46 PM

Ok,

So I hope that this won't be seen as self promotion for that is not what I intend.

I live in rural NSW (Central West NSW) am in the process of opening a bridal store which will specialise in plus sized bridal. I will carry "normal" haha sizes, but the majority of my stock 70 % will be 18 +.

I am a size 22, and was when I was married.

I need to know what made you comfortable when you bought your dress. I feel that my brides will be comfortable with me as I am also a big and beautiful lady, and can help them find their dream dress that make them feel stunning.

But an outsiders opinion on what really made you feel comfortable would give me such invaluable advice.

Katie
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#2 pinkbutterfly

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 10:03 PM

I felt comfortable when there were LOTS of dresses in my size for me to try on. Not just hold up size 12s.

Also nice big changeing rooms with big mirrors, so you could get changed and have someone in there with you and not have to parade out to the main part of the store until oyu liked what you saw.

Staff who were knowledgeable and also who had a little idea of the alterations that could be made (eg adding or removeing straps etc) ideas about adding embelishments etc and advice about undergarments.

I went to one store and the lady who assisted me was wonderful, jsut so lovely and gorgeous and helpful, but when I went back the next week, the owner looked down her nose at me and made sure I was put in the changeroom at the back of the store where noone could see me. Needless to say, because of her acts, I tried on every dress I could there and got all the advice I could from her staff, but I went and bought my dress elsewhere.
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#3 waskatiemark

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 10:13 PM

Keep them coming, this is exactly what I am after.

One of my suppliers

This is what I am going to stock. These gowns are designed for plus sized gals, not a dress that is designed for a small figure, but can go up to a size 30. Sorry they don't flatter where they should and hide where they should.

Thanks
Katie
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#4 Becca13

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 10:48 PM

I went to a few stores and I found just the way the different sales people spoke to me, one of them kept talking about my size and what dresses "suited people my size", needless to say I don't need people rubbing the fact that i'm not a size 10 in, like salt into a wound.
The place that I ended up buying my dress at just the professional way the people were, I know that sounds broad, but they did not mention my size they took measurements and sizes were not even mentioned until I asked what size the dress would have to be, otherwise they would have just ordered it and never been the wiser that it was a 22.
I thought that (and this sounds awfully weird even to me) would have trouble buying a dress off a skinny person, some larger people feel inferior and struggle to look leaner people in the face, BUT, I never felt like a "larger" girl, they never made me feel inferior.
Agree with Pinkbutterfly about the large dressing rooms wholeheartedly, big enough for a basketball team ie room to spare if you can do it.
I had no intention of buying my dress at the store that I did, I had my preconcieved ideas about how they were going to look down their nose at me, I was happily mistaken and made to feel like a bride from the minute I walked in the door, they happily showed me every dress I wanted to see and more and I loved every minute of it.
They also remembered me by name whenever I went in there, big plus for me, made it a more personal thing.


#5 Puggie

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 06:25 AM

For me it is about a range of styles. I got sick of being shown the same style in about 10 variations in every store. I'd also suggest it would help to be clued up on variations. E.g. this one can be done with straps / a matching shawl / higher at the front etc.

A GOOD seamstress is essential, too (for the alterations). Anyone can take a dress in - but it takes an artist to pull it in in all the right places to stop a big girl looking like something which should be attached to the prow of a ship wink.gif

If you haven't already, I'd also suggest looking at the +sized Alfred Angleo range as an option to stock. My dress was one of theirs smile.gif

#6 Emma-Jane

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 07:41 AM

Your Stockist is the same designer as my dress smile.gif They truly beautiful and flattering styles. I could rant on and on about them. My dress is design 5226T.

Range is a big plus in a variety of sizes (so nice to put on a dress that has to be pulled in with big clips to stop it falling off wink.gif )

for hoops - make sure you have ones that are not too full and have a stretchy top.

Maybe some accessories like shawls, boleros etc for those who want to hide their arms.

If your shop is on a main shopping parade - some areas that are private from passers by ie. not having everyone being able to see right in the shop IYKWIM

Also Stock some flat or low broad heeled wedding shoes, cause I know personally I cant wear stilletto things for more than 10 mins.

Also affiliate yourself with a shop or business who supplies quality undergarments - nothing worse than a very top heavy girl adjusting her self all night. Plus boddy shaping underwear can achieve wonders smile.gif

Puggies recomendation of a stockist are also lovely - I also liked H3nr1 J0s3ph designs & W3ndy M4k1n as well.

Just on a general note - the best experiences I had was when the assistant was really interested in me, my wedding and all it's aspects, to find a dress that would suit me and my dream, not just the price tag. Also assistants that didn't just push the most expensive dress on me, instead catered for my figure. We big girls are all very different, and what suits one doesn't necessarily suit another - same with any girls really.



Hugs EJx



#7 Puggie

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 07:46 AM

Agree with all the other suggestions.

One other thing I just thought of? A 'modesty panel'. E.g. when you have those clips which hold the back of the dress shut (when the dress doesn't do up) just a bit of white (or whatever) fabric to put beneath so you can come out of the changeroom without your derrière being on display to all and sundry tongue.gif

#8 Swarles Barkley

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 07:53 AM

When I was looking at dresses, I liked the stores that had massive change rooms, where i could have someone in with me, and a mirror. If i felt hideous in that dress there was no way I was going out in front of 6 other size 10 brides!

The store I went to had their change room (and runway as I called it, was a collection of those boxes that make you stand on) seperate to their shop, so general customers couldnt see in. It made me feel a bit more comfortable.

Most of all, I liked stores that were friendly. The store I brought my dress from had friendly staff, with the exception of one, and it made all the difference. I went to one store and the woman looked at me and spat that "she only had one dress that would fit me, and even then it would be too small". We left in a hurry as there was no way we were giving her any money
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#9 Vik

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 12:13 PM

I think it's also important to carry a variety of dresses, not just strapless dresses.

While some larger brides are comfortable in a strapless dress, some prefer to cover up a little more. I don't just mean provide shawls or wraps, I mean actually have some dresses with short sleeves, 3/4 length sleeves and long sleeves to help people during the selection process.

I definitely agree with Puggie that a modesty pannel is a great idea.

Best wishes with your business venture. smile.gif
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#10 waskatiemark

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 01:58 PM

Ladies,

Thankyou so much for all of the feedback keep them coming, however small.

Emma, Yep it is a stunning range, can't wait to start getting them.

Puggie, I can't stock AA as there is a stockist within the exclusion area. Oh well.

I am planning on carry about 20 (when fully stocked) dress in sizes 16 + and about 10 in smaller sizes.

So my ladies will have an extensive range of gowns to try on. Not just 2 or 3 which is what drove me mad when I was shopping.

Vik, thanks for the advice on sleeves. Will do that.

Sort of similar to Curvaceous bridal, but I will need to carry smaller sizes as well.

Katie
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#11 MrsStobe

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 05:46 PM

Please please please stock plus size Bridesmaid dresses! It's ridiculous that larger bridesmaids just have to guess their size by measurements and hope their dress looks the same as the skinny girls.

That said, when I bought my dress I had the most fun experience of my life, and it was all because of the staff. The young woman that sold me my dress asked me what sort of thing I would like, went and picked out about 20 and took her time with me trying them all on, putting them on perfectly, asking mum what she liked... she put the ones I liked to the side so I could try them on again and NEVER made me feel rushed..and this was a liquidation sale so the store was packed but she never took her attention off me.

She was SO knowledgeable on what would suit me...she picked one dress and I wasn't too sure I liked it and she joked around saying 'trust me its the one' and i put it on and OMG it WAS the one! So someone who knows what they're doing.

And I hope this comes out right but I wouldn't be hesitant on having smaller dresses and hiring smaller people to work there..whilst I do agree its nice to have someone your size who knows what problems you face, I'm not sure but i think sometimes shopping in a plus size shop where everyone and everything is plus size can make you feel bigger, if you know what I mean, rather that normal in a shop that has things for everyone INCLUDING you. I know I felt good being in there with girls of all sizes...and I even had skinny girls oohing and aahing over the dress I had on and then trying one on themselves. It can make you feel more normal rather than singling you out as overweight..so maybe more of a 'we specialise in all sizes' thing..but that might just be me.


#12 CRose

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 06:01 PM

I had no bad experiences but I did have better experiences - having said that I rang and asked about how much they stocked in size 18 so that I wouldn't be wasting my time and it was easy to gauge over the phone their attitude to plus sized gals.

QUOTE(Becca13 @ Apr 21 2009, 10:48 PM) View Post

The place that I ended up buying my dress at just the professional way the people were, I know that sounds broad, but they did not mention my size they took measurements and sizes were not even mentioned until I asked what size the dress would have to be, otherwise they would have just ordered it and never been the wiser that it was a 22.
I thought that (and this sounds awfully weird even to me) would have trouble buying a dress off a skinny person, some larger people feel inferior and struggle to look leaner people in the face, BUT, I never felt like a "larger" girl, they never made me feel inferior.
Agree with Pinkbutterfly about the large dressing rooms wholeheartedly, big enough for a basketball team ie room to spare if you can do it.
I had no intention of buying my dress at the store that I did, I had my preconcieved ideas about how they were going to look down their nose at me, I was happily mistaken and made to feel like a bride from the minute I walked in the door, they happily showed me every dress I wanted to see and more and I loved every minute of it.
They also remembered me by name whenever I went in there, big plus for me, made it a more personal thing.



QUOTE(Vik @ Apr 22 2009, 12:13 PM) View Post

I think it's also important to carry a variety of dresses, not just strapless dresses.

While some larger brides are comfortable in a strapless dress, some prefer to cover up a little more. I don't just mean provide shawls or wraps, I mean actually have some dresses with short sleeves, 3/4 length sleeves and long sleeves to help people during the selection process.

I definitely agree with Puggie that a modesty pannel is a great idea.

Best wishes with your business venture. smile.gif



QUOTE(MrsStobe @ Apr 22 2009, 05:46 PM) View Post

Please please please stock plus size Bridesmaid dresses! It's ridiculous that larger bridesmaids just have to guess their size by measurements and hope their dress looks the same as the skinny girls.

That said, when I bought my dress I had the most fun experience of my life, and it was all because of the staff. The young woman that sold me my dress asked me what sort of thing I would like, went and picked out about 20 and took her time with me trying them all on, putting them on perfectly, asking mum what she liked... she put the ones I liked to the side so I could try them on again and NEVER made me feel rushed..and this was a liquidation sale so the store was packed but she never took her attention off me.

She was SO knowledgeable on what would suit me...she picked one dress and I wasn't too sure I liked it and she joked around saying 'trust me its the one' and i put it on and OMG it WAS the one! So someone who knows what they're doing.

And I hope this comes out right but I wouldn't be hesitant on having smaller dresses and hiring smaller people to work there..whilst I do agree its nice to have someone your size who knows what problems you face, I'm not sure but i think sometimes shopping in a plus size shop where everyone and everything is plus size can make you feel bigger, if you know what I mean, rather that normal in a shop that has things for everyone INCLUDING you. I know I felt good being in there with girls of all sizes...and I even had skinny girls oohing and aahing over the dress I had on and then trying one on themselves. It can make you feel more normal rather than singling you out as overweight..so maybe more of a 'we specialise in all sizes' thing..but that might just be me.


These three posts cover it all for me - you just want to be treated like anyone else, have a wide variety of dresses to choose from (I don't like styles that focus on covering up your "bad bits" I like to show off my "good bits), staff that know what suits different body types - I did end up having a horror experience in the end with my bridal shop but my original assistant was amazing and selected "the one" for me to try on. If you are in a rural area - you'll want all shapes and size to visit so, make sure you advertise as a premier bridal shop and just mention that you stock a large range of sizes.


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#13 lizzums

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 06:33 PM

QUOTE(Emma-Jane @ Apr 22 2009, 07:41 AM) View Post

for hoops - make sure you have ones that are not too full and have a stretchy top.

This was a huge problem for me. Of the many many many stores I tried dresses on at only 1 store had the stretchy top hoop which was just brilliant. I tried so hard to find somewhere to buy one of those I ended not wearing a hoop in the end. So stocking these woud be brilliant!

I agree on the mentions about staff. People that actually care is a good start. Also if I heard one more person say "well for your size" I would have been going loco!

Sounds like a wonderful and well thought out business and I wish you all the best.

#14 waskatiemark

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 09:43 PM

Mrstobe,

I am going to be promoting as a new bridal salon that carrys all sizes 8-30 with an extensive range for those curvy ladies, available to try on instore.

Or something similar.

Bloody hell I just got an email from that stockist, crap they aren't cheap. I will end up pricing myself out of the market.

Regional brides, generally, don't want to pay much more than $1500-$2000. There are maybe 3 in that range that I can price in that area the rest are well over the $2K mark. Bugger.

I am going to try and get in contact with HJ and see what they are like. Ther gowns are lovely and some of those would be really nice.

Back to the drawing board, sort of. Have two suppliers nailed down, just hoped that they would have been my main one.

Katie

PS thanks for them, keep them coming.
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#15 Emma-Jane

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 12:45 PM

QUOTE(waskatiemark @ Apr 22 2009, 09:43 PM) View Post


Bloody hell I just got an email from that stockist, crap they aren't cheap. I will end up pricing myself out of the market.

Regional brides, generally, don't want to pay much more than $1500-$2000. There are maybe 3 in that range that I can price in that area the rest are well over the $2K mark. Bugger.



They are a bit more on the pricey side, but I wouldn't disclude them - they have ALOT of work & detail in each gown and you could promote them as your "top end" and "designer" gowns.

I paid $2350 for mine, and to be honest I wasn't going to spend that much originally, but nothing else compared to it. The quality of the cut and the fabrics was just so much superior to others I tried on. I found the cheaper dresses circa $1000 to $1200, just didn't hold me in and up as much.

Offering payment options will allow girls to pay off their dress. Believe me - it is the one area of a girls wedding where the heart will 9 times out of 10 win over the budget.

Another thing that you could look at, is being that we are bigger brides, we are more than likely going to have bigger mothers - hence larger MOB outfits - you promote it as the ultimate mother daughter experience smile.gif It may be something that will come later down the track.

As a few of the other girls mentions - seating is definatly a plus

The modesty panel is also a great idea - good one Puggie smile.gif

You could also seek out some local designers (up & coming or established) and see if they could create you a Plus size OOAK, and you could cross promote - allows you to have free or cheap stock, and it would be exclusive. Then you allow your brides to have access to a designer couturist without having to travel to the big city.



Hugs EJx






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