Average Price of a Wedding Dress Holds Steady

By Paul Pannone

Depending on whose data you believe the national average price of a wedding gown continues to hover around $1,100 dollars.

 

 Pick your poison; the Knot survey results shows the national average price of a wedding dress is inline with other data sources we’re watching.

According to a recent survey conducted by the XO Group reported by Fox Detroit the average sum spent by an American woman on her wedding dress is $1,121. The average price now reported doesn’t differ much from a study conducted by  BRIDE Magazine’s last year when they reported an average wedding dress cost is $1,289; a 20% increase over 2009 when the average cost was $1,072.

eWedNewz continues to follow how online sale of wedding dresses impact the price of dresses in retail store establishments. Most retailers say they’re watching the average wholesale price rise slightly but cannot pass the increase to their customers to absorb the higher cost.

Discussions with planners in metropolitan markets scoff at the number ($1,100) saying their clients spend more on “toilet paper” for their weddings than the national dress average.

eWedNewz continues to watch over companies that supply data to the wedding business that sometimes isn’t flawless.

 

 

eWedNewz

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2012

The Week of April 16th in Review

 

By Paul Pannone

The wedding business says they’re still tying to digest the Brides magazine makeover at Conde’ Nast. Pros and cons of the magazine haven’t been able to give a true read of whether the changes are able to lift sagging sales at the newsstand.

eWNz readers watch, as polls strongly suggest support for American made products, while all is forgotten at checkout counters in retail stores. eWedNewz continues to look at why Americans want one thing but do the opposite when it comes time to support what they want.

Along the same lines prom spending rises, led by families that can least afford it. The jump in spending is welcomed by retailers but most say the added profits goes towards offsetting the higher cost of operations.

The fight against online piracy slowed a bit, as Steve Lang travels to his factories in China. While away the crooks will play; Lang’s company, Mon Cheri, was the victim of thievery.

Demand created for The Situation tuxedo results in interest and rental of tuxedos under the brand. eWedNewz is watching what competitors are doing to combat the loss of business while FLOW ramps up all its lines– including the Situation– for the 2013 season.

 

 

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2012

 

Brides Magazine Expected to get a boost in May after steady Downturn

 

By Paul Pannone

Brides Magazine gets set for a revamp in May, expected to bump business but not before facing some serious scrutiny from the industry. In February eWedNewz reported the changes and has kept close watch over the progress.

 

According to Media Life Newsstand sale of bridal magazines continue to slide.

 

Year to date, Brides total page volume is down by 148 pages. Sources familiar with the story say the next issue, May, will be healthy because of their planned redesign. But sources add the May issue won’t be be healthy enough to make up for all of the first quarter losses. Sources also pointed out the April issue had no JLM ad pages.  There also were no regional ad pages in this issue. “This is the first time that I can recall when no JLM pages appeared in Brides,”  said one source.

An ongoing eWedNewz watch shows steady loss of newsstand sale of Brides and a (nearly) equal rise in subscription sales. Onlookers say it’s amazing no one calls them out on the activity.

eWedNewz continues to watch this story closely.

eWedNewz

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2012

Unprecedented Meeting in New York tries to Unify Wedding Industry

By Paul Pannone

Yesterday’s meeting in New York attended by all major media publications was called an unprecedented event, bringing together competing companies to all work for a common cause. The meeting was part of the ongoing efforts led by Steve Lang of Mon Cheri Bridals. Lang announced he was waging war against Chinese pirates who steal designs, make knock off copies and sell direct to American consumers in March. In less than a month Lang has garnered support from major manufacturers, media and a growing list of accomplishments that may very well put a dent in the assault in this country.

For the first time in history major members of the wedding media came together to support Steve Lang’s effort of fighting off foreign thieves.

 

Esteemed media members of the wedding business including Stephanie Nicolet of the Knot, Jim Duhe of Bridal GuideLinda Korman of Hearst CorporationAmy P. Wilkins Martha Stewart Weddings, Chike Kwobu of Munaluchi Bridal, and representatives from Brides among others attended the meeting.

Duhe told eWedNewz, “This was an unprecedented event; where all the major publications were all in the same room and are working together for a common cause.”

Dollars and pledged support for Lang’s move to unify the wedding industry– not just the dress business– is being met with growing interest.

 ”I am please to  tell everyone that in three short weeks we have raised $almost $120,000 in cash  and $250,000 in media support.  A $370,000 war chest,” reported Lang.

In a follow up telephone call Lang told eWedNewz of future plans to create an organization that would include manufacturers, workers, sales help and all other segments of the wedding business, providing health care options and better programs for American workers in the wedding business. But Lang says his immediate focus is to make it as difficult as possible for Chinese pirates to do business.

 

Lang spoke in a clear, concise tone, valuing each opinion in New York and Chicago. Lang is leaving on a month-long mission to visit his factories in China to inspect and demand full coöperation in the fight against piracy.

 

In an update Lang said he is meeting with more shipping, financial and political figures who have been supportive.

“We’re getting to the people we need to get to and they’re sympathetic to what’s happening. They see it, not just in our business but in all businesses. This country is under attack, I am convinced of that. This is the only feasible way we can fight these people,” he told eWedNewz.

At the meeting Lang outlined the plan in a consistent, easy to understand way. Throughout the coverage, Lang builds on solid foundation, led by legal standards of operation. He told the gathering proper channels require documentation and cited a recent court ruling in favor of True Religion.

“In my follow-up and meetings being planned, everyone is aware of what happened at True Religion. With that ruling the right channels are listening a lot closer because now they can act and not just be sympathetic,” said Lang.

In today’s follow up to the meeting Lang told eWedNewz how he regrets having to throw one of his colleagues under the bus. Calling Larry Warshaw of Justin Alexander a distraction, Lang says he feels bad for the man.

“I had to warn the people in that room of the attacks and had to put him (Warshaw) on notice with my legal team. Not only are his remarks made against me slanderous, it’s not good for the industry and wanted to be sure they all knew about it. I feel sorry for the guy,” said Lang.

Other members at the meeting told eWedNewz they support Lang, breathing a sigh of relief that finally, something is being done that you can see, feel and understand. Some even took a swipe at the IBMA calling the group an ambiguous bunch that have done nothing throughout their entire existence.

Lack of leadership at the IBMA organization was denounced by several members of yesterday’s meeting wanting to know why they don’t hand over a larger part of the fund they’re holding to support Lang’s campaign. The organization reportedly offered a token donation but has so far not forked over a dime.

Lang told the gathering he’s expending his own resources to get the movement up and running and was proud to announce not a single penny of monies collected has been spent. In his most recent update, Lang reiterated what he said at the meeting:

“Final comment—NOT ONE PENNY HAS BEEN SPENT…ALL LEGAL WORK HAS BEEN ABSORBED SO FAR BY COUNSEL AND NO FEES WILL BE INCURRED UNTIL WE HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE READY TO EXECUTE.”

 

 eWedNewz continues our coverage and welcomes your opinions.

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2012

Conde Nast Comes Clean on Web Site Error; opens up more Criticism

 

By Paul Pannone

The admission of an error by the Director of Communications at Conde’ Nast drew shock and disbelief by ex-employees, advertisers and sources familiar with the “Conde’ culture” that allege they never respond to anything– much less admit to any wrong-doing.

The impenetrable wall of silence is breached, according to multiple sources familiar with the company.

 

In a growing eWNz story, competitors and detractors are said to be fanning the flames, now that the code of silence has been breached.

According to an ex-employee and Wedding Water Cooler member, “Conde Nast has a reputation for NEVER responding to ANYONE regarding criticism.  Conde Nast considers itself above criticism.  You’ve accomplished something that many have tried and no one ever achieved.”

The statement was verified by another member of the WWC that also has a strong association with Conde’ Nast. In the discussions the thought that Conde’ Nast still wields the same power they once did was recanted saying: 

“Things have changed. Market conditions have changed and those that made themselves leaders were and are slow to change. Hence they are now struggling to keep up. When I see a few years ago Brides was selling approximately 300,000 copies and today that number is hovering in the 80,000 (range) it further justifies the reason why their communications department is now ready and available to communicate their position and offer mea culpa to those that are getting the short end of the proverbial stick.”

A major advertiser in the Wedding Water Cooler, Steve Lang of Mon Cheri, that pulled millions of dollars away from Conde’ Nast, was among the first to respond to the eWedNewz story. In shock, Lang applauded the newz of getting any type of reaction from Conde’ Nast, feeling a great service for the industry was accomplished.

“I really don’t think you understand what’s happened. The wedding industry really owes you a debt of gratitude for this,” feels Lang.

 

So far Steve Lang is the only non-competitor of Conde’ Nast willing to be quoted or mentioned in the recent Conde’ Nast coverage. Lang pulled his advertising dollars from Conde’ Nast, opening the door for others to follow.

 

 

Lang himself led the way for other advertisers to follow, pulling millions of dollars worth of advertising away from Conde’ Nast for what he felt was a misrepresentation of the types of dresses brides actually buy for their weddings. According to Lang Conde’ Nast publications featured dresses that were way too expensive in editorial coverage that did not provide the right message or help advertisers. Lang moved dollars from Conde’ Nast to other advertising formats he felt were more receptive and appreciative; but gave consumers the right information.

In the ongoing eWedNewz investigation competitors of Lang stopped short of giving him any credit for the move but admit they are aware of his actions. None would provide a quoteable statement but said they’ve been in communication with Conde’ Nast regarding the web site traffic error.

eWedNewz continues our investigation into this story and welcomes your thoughts. Please post them here or privately at Paul@ewednewz.com 516-312-0090.

 

 eWedNewz

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2011

Conde’ Nast Responds to Allegations about Brides.com

By Paul Pannone

eWedNewz continues our investigation involving allegations asserting Brides.com favored some advertisers over others on their website. Manufacturers that were mentioned in the eWNz story discovered the allegations and contacted representatives at Conde’ Nast, owners of Brides.com, wanting to know what was going on.

Repeated attempts by this newz source to communicate with anyone at Conde’ Nast were ignored. But as the eWNz investigation moves forward someone from Conde’ finally replied and issued the following statement:

“I understand you’ve been trying to reach us and I wanted to address your question directly.  Many thanks for being in touch for our p.o.v.. it is very much appreciated and you are always welcome to reach out to me directly – I am always accessible and my contact info is below.

And to answer your question:  As you know, web sites continually evolve and are updated frequently. As a result of a recent update, an error occurred which has now been corrected.  Believe me, this was not intentional, as it doesn’t behoove us to send consumers to salons that don’t carry the dresses they seek!  We’ve been in communication with our advertisers directly and have put additional checks in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again. 
 
Michelle Panzer
Director of Communications
Condé Nast / Brides

 

Condé Nast, parent to Brides.com and 25-plus magazine brands led by Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Gentlemen‘s Quarterly, announced May 17, 2011, it agrees to move its corporate headquarters to New York’s Freedom Tower. The skyscraper being built on the site of “Ground Zero”. Plans to move into the building move forward and won’t be until 2013 when the tower is completed.

 

eWedNewz continues our investigation and speaking to other manufacturers involved in the discrepancy.

 

 

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2011

Sketchy Reports Around Brides.com Allege Inappropriate Behavior

 

By Paul Pannone

eWedNewz learned of a sketchy report surrounding store listings on Brides.com alleging the company diverted traffic to preferred advertisers as a value added exchange for print advertisement. The allegations come from a competitor of Brides.com and Brides magazine, both properties of Conde’ Nast.

According to a posting made in Bridal Support and individual emails to dress manufacturers, “There’s a major problem on Brides.com.  Consumers are being referred to David’s and Angelo stores to find gowns by Allure, Impression, Essense, Eve of Milady, Anjolique, Aria, Casablanca, Forever Yours, Jasmine, Jordan, Justin Alexander, Mary’s, Private Label, Eden, Rivini and others. You probably haven’t noticed, but you have a serious problem with retail listings on Brides.com. Consumers interested in your gowns are referred to retailers that don’t sell them.  Don’t take my word of it.  Go to Brides.com and check it out for yourself.  The site isn’t easy to navigate.  A consumer led me through the process:

INSTRUCTIONS
Click on the bridal gown image labeled “Wedding Dresses” on the Brides.com homepage.  This brings you to a list of all bridal gown designers.  Click on Allure.  Now you’re on a page that spotlights your gown images.  Click on ANY image.  The new page features an enlarged gown image and description.  To the right of the image, you’re offered an opportunity find a “bridal salon in your area that sells Allure.”  Click on the offer and you’re on a page that asks you to identify a vendor by region (I clicked Dallas as my test market).  This takes you to a page labeled “Dallas/Ft. Worth Wedding vendors” and a pull down bar to “find a vendor.”  Click on Wedding Gowns.  Specify Dallas, TX as “near city, state, zip code.”  Finally, you’ve arrived at a list of twelve (12) retailers that presumably sell Allure gowns in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  Here’s the list:

Bridals by Demetrios, Frisco, TX
Priscilla of Boston, Dallas, TX
David’s, Mesquite, TX
Alfred Angelo, Frisco, TX
David’s, Dallas, TX
David’s, Frisco, TX
David’s, Hurst, TX
Brides & Beaux, Collegville, TX
Alfred Angelo, Garland, TX
David’s, Ft. Worth, TX
David”s, Lewisville, TX
David’s, Arlington, TX

This same list appears for Paloma Blanca, Impression, Justin Alexander, Jasmine, and Eden among others.  The list DOES NOT APPEAR for Mori Lee, Venus, Group USA and more.  Someone at Brides made a conscious decision to include these listings with your brand name and not with some of your competitors. 

Brides offers images on its site as a Value Added exchange for a print ad commitment.  Therefore, you’re paying for the error that drives consumers to David’s and Angelo to find your gowns.  Every customer that is diverted away from an authorized, full service bridal retailer represents a sale that is lost to you and lost to your retail partners. 

Gown images on BridalGuide.com are offered free of charge to all manufacturers.  Retail listings are free to print Retail Co-Op participants.  Alternatively, we link to your site for a list of authorized retail stores.”

 

Assertions by a competitor say Brides.com knowingly diverted traffic to preferred advertisers.

 

Discussions with the source of the assertion said, “The people who manage their web site aren’t the people who sell.Therefore, they probably don’t understand the impact of what they’ve done.”

Attempts to reach Brides.com management via e-mail and telephone for a statement remain unsuccessful but are ongoing. eWedNewz continues our investigation into the allegations.

 

 

eWedNewz

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2011