By Paul Pannone
The Chicago Bridal Market started off slow last weekend but by Monday the aisles filled and traffic was good– not great– according to exhibitors. In a difficult economic climate and other challenges facing the bridal dress world, most store owners are looking for the right manufacturing partner that they can rely on when times get tough. With stiff competition in brick & mortar and online sales, many independent stores say they’re having a tough time deciding who that is.
The tough times are traced back to 2001 and the terrorism that halted the United States economy and forever changed the world. Sources in bridal say it’s never fully recovered since then. Another collapse in the economy in 2008 again sent the number of traditional weddings into a tailspin, but is slowly rebounding.
New trends and shifts caused many retailers renting and selling tuxedos to close or re-define their operations. Tuxedo stores could no longer make it with just renting; some added women’s gowns. But as the competition grew, combo dress/tuxedo store again find themselves in trouble.
Jim and Barbara Resh placed their order for new Ralph Lauren super 120′s retail saying they know the power of the name.
An ongoing eWedNewz investigation into stores that rent torn and tattered garments– some that date back to the 1980′s– maligned an entire industry, including hard-working people who do everything right in business but say they cannot overcome the bad reputation of the worst offenders.
This week in Chicago bridal store owners who began as tuxedo people say they’re encouraged by what they’re reading about retail tuxedos.
People like Roy Skibbe of Gipper Formals in illinois, Jim Gray of Ducky’s, Jim & Barbra Resh of JB Bridal and Tuxedos in Pennsylvania and a growing list of online readers say they’re impressed by the new line of Ralph Lauren super 120′s.
“The name in itself gives class to any operation; and the product is clean, fresh and what customers have been looking for,” says Jim Resh.
Resh says he keeps up with the latest information, following this newZ source for years.
“I read the story last night; that’s why I cam here to the show today, to feel the product,” he told eWedNewz.
Resh placed his order and knows exactly how he plans to deploy the Lauren products in his store.
But the real story comes from small bridal store owners like Cynthia and Robert Stukes of Carolina Bridals in Columbia, SC. Cynthia told eWnZ she knows the power of the Ralph Lauren name.
“I’ll be placing my order when I get back home and settle in,” she told eWnZ.
Tired sales people in the tuxedo business that have been battered and beaten worse than the products are skeptical about the launch. But so far bridal retailers look at formal wear and the opportunity in a fresh, new way– just like the product.
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