By Paul Pannone
An update on the progress of Costco’s deal with Kirstie Kelly to design, market and sell wedding dresses shows progress and a greater move into the business. What started with a pilot program earlier this season is growing into a heavily promoted campaign that is picking up steam.
Because of the terrible economic conditions today’s consumers have no problem buying a wedding dress from Costco.
eWedNewz has monitored the success of Costco since the launch in March and now notices Costco is participating in local wedding shows, selling their wedding dresses along with all their other wedding related products. Email blasts promoting Costco weddings services in local bridal shows are expected to grow in the coming months.
Longtime wedding industry experts in the Wedding Water Cooler are having a difficult time accepting the success of projects like dresses sold at Costco.
Sheryl Davies, a wedding industry expert and editor of Wedding Guide, told eWNz, “Costco is selling tickets for a bridal show? Aren’t they member -driven?So why would they extort money for an event? Simply because they want to be mainstream? Now, there’s a new player in the vast bridal show business. Enough already. I don’t see quality in the same sentence with a cheap wedding gown. Not now; not ever.
No self-respecting bride would buy a gown at a store that is self-service. The mere thought of it is mind-boggling. Can you see her bridesmaids whooping with glee for her in the aisle next to the sampling perogis?”
Davies just released new wedding trends for the 2012 season in a very progressive and up-to-date manner but made no reference to Costco’s impact in her trending analysis. In fact many veteran wedding experts scoffed when Costco first announced their move into dresses.
Other members of the Wedding Water Cooler continue to mock the Costco move:
“I mean how many brides will proudly say I said Yes to the dress from Costco; and while I was there I scored a dozen of eggs. I’m LMAO over here…that is a good one.
I’ve always felt that it is up to us to educate and protect this industry from B.S.; do we just lay down and let all these creeps in to pollute ‘our’ industry? I feel that many Brides don’t know the difference, not for any other reason than they are not well-informed. With crappy magazines, a ton of online mis-information and now retailers too…where do we, as professionals, draw the line. What can we do to eliminate the money-hungry ‘give me a piece-of-the-pie’ part of our industry?”
But Costco may be having the last laugh on this one. Wedding industry veteran, Jim Duhe weighed in.
“Before you fall down laughing at Costco customers, you should remember that this customer isn’t generally a welfare recipient. Generally, Costco customers live well above the poverty level. Yes. They are bargain shoppers — but — aren’t we all. Are you a Costco customer?
In fact, some Costco customers probably will laugh at the bridal offerings. Some may take these offers very seriously. Some will buy into them. I don’t make a distinction in customers: a bride is a bride is a bride. If a bride buys my competitor and doesn’t buy me, I’ve lost a customer. I don’t believe that the divide is as strong as you’d like to believe.
Many years ago, one of the industry’s leading gown manufacturers, Steve Lawrence, President of the BBAA, said to me that “his” customers never would settle for the “tacky” quality of “imported” gowns (at that time, the vast majority of bridal gowns were produced domestically). Today, Steve Lawrence is out of business. Those tacky imported gowns have gained a lot of sophistication over the years. Virtually everyone produces gowns off shore today,” according to Duhe.
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