By Paul Pannone
Vera Wang is making headlines again but this time not with a new dress design but for the honor to try a dress on. According to reports brides-to-be (in China) are being charged almost $500 dollars for an hour and a half appointment to try on Vera Wang merchandise. The fee gets deducted from the price of the dress– if they buy– otherwise the money is forfeited.
We wonder if stars like Angelina Jolie get charged to simply try on a dress before the actual sale. Or do they get paid for mock-up publicity?
Reports say the company is trying to keep from getting knocked off, protecting its brand and designs, much like American manufacturers who’re in a fight for survival against dress piracy in China. It’s unknown whether the Vera Wang company is serious about supporting the fight that was recently backed up by a New Jersey judge or if times are just tight for everyone, including the Vera Wang company.
So far the practice has not hit the United States but sources say Vera Wang is watching the PR and backlash. Last year Dolce & Gabbana drew criticism on Social Networks for disallowing picture-taking by Hong Kong natives but not tourists. The unclear guideline raised some issues that no company can afford these days with the rise and instant reprisal brought on by bad publicity over the internet.
In the United States, eWedNewz bridal sources say they’re thrilled at Vera Wang’s attempt to charge consumers to try on merchandise. Facebook responses included store owners who feel they’re losing sales to online dress companies who undercut their prices.
“Bridal Salon professionals spend a lot of time giving “professional advice” what is in style, how to accessories, negotiate, all these girls, not all, but the majority all they want to do is “showroom” your salon, take pictures, and won’t commit to buy, and they have already tried on 50+ gowns. You mean to tell me a gal can’t walk into a beautiful Bridal salon with boutique quality gowns( not you know who)and can’t find anything in their budget?? This is nonsense, because every store has gowns that should be falling off the racks in sales every day!!! Price…it is what it is…you can’t expect to buy St. Pucchi for $1000 including the veil,” said one retailer.
Similar thoughts given by all responding store retailers shows the deep frustration they feel towards the internet and how it’s affected their operation and ability to charge the needed mark-up to stay in business.
The discussion spilled over into the Wedding Water Cooler where we omitted statements from retailers in the group but focused on those given by sources not in the retail end of the business.
“A few bridal retailers in the US have instituted try-on fees in the past. However, I’m not aware of any fee that’s as high as the fee that Vera is charging. The retailer applies the try-on fee toward any merchandise purchased in the store. It’s a practical and logical policy for name brand retailers. I could be wrong about this but I believe that Kleinfeld’s has a try-on fee. It prevents show rooming for internet sites. In the long run, it may be the only thing that will prevent consumers from going to a retailer to try on a gown that they plan to purchase online. I doubt that this policy will fly in small markets but I can see the benefit it provides: it separates the lookers from the buyers; it allows the retailer to concentrate efforts on consumers who definitely will purchase at the store,” according to one WWC member.
Kleinfeld told eWedNewz they do not charge to try on their gowns but do take credit-card and other personal information to book the appointment. But, according to Kleinfeld in New York City, no money is charged to try on their merchandise and there is no obligation to buy from them. It clearly states on their website, picture taking is not allowed during the shopping appointment.
“We do not allow cameras in the fitting rooms while you are shopping. Once you have purchased a dress, you may take as many pictures as you’d like.”
eWedNewz will continue to follow this story. We ask for your thoughts and opinion.
All Rights Reserved