The Week of September 26th in Review

By Paul Pannone

The Chicago Bridal Market was the focus of attention for the wedding business leading up the DEBI awards on Monday night. The market was dominated by Mon Cheri where the company unveiled David Tutera on a runway show that highlighted all Mon Cheri’s designers. Mon Cheri took three out of three DEBI awards for which they were nominated.

 

Tony Bowls accepts the second DEBI award for Mon Cheri.

 

The still unexplained closure of Encore Studios that left stranded brides and vendors out in the cold is sending shock waves around the world. Accounts as far as the United Kingdom say they have been affected.

A new way of advertising has tuxedo business owners scared to death, realizing they can no longer hold manufacturers hostage or keep great products away from consumers. A marketing deal between FLOW Formal and The Situation has broken down the barriers of what buyers think and is getting the word out to average consumers; tuxedos have been updated. eWedNewz is following the story that cannot deny that both Situation supporters and haters are suddenly aware– tuxedos exist.

 

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2011

Winners and Whiners at Chicago Bridal Market

By Paul Pannone

The Chicago Bridal Market 2011 is called the most attended and exciting in years by some of the most successful bridal manufacturers of the business. As expected, AllureCasa Blanca, Mori Lee, Maggie Sottero and other well-established companies creating designs that favor platinum budgets saw brisk activity at their booths.

According to some buyers, the higher-end of wedding gown pricing hasn’t suffered proportionately as much as the middle, where the most congestion and competition exists. Although some of the higher-priced suppliers have added collections that take into account the current economic challenges, there are some that will argue the point by saying the luxury level has suffered just as much.

Buyers at the show told eWedNewz they’re placing their orders more carefully than ever before, considering the reliability of the company, marketing and advertising budgets and support of the products. With a sea of products available– and more reported to be launching– the daunting task of knowing what to buy from whom seems nearly impossible.

“If you add all the name brands together — there are about 1,000 different brands to know and review! These numbers aren’t exact, but this is my best guess: Bridal Gowns — 300 Maids — 130 Headpieces — 75 Accessories — 80 Mothers — 80 Prom — 95 Shoes — 40 Quinceanera– 30 Special Occasion — 105 Jewelry — 65.

That means that if a retail buyer wanted to see all 1,000, they would have to see 200 brand names a day at the Chicago market — or about one brand name every 2 and a half minutes for eight hours a day with no breaks,” according to Jim Duhe.

According to Duhe and others, attendance at the show was better than expected. Earlier this year the Las Vegas  Bridal Market was canceled due to lack of interest. Retailers and manufacturers cited the weak economy and the over-saturation of shows, along with growing competition from places like Costco in a shrinking market. Moderate traffic in Dallas, despite aggressive measures taken to fly in buyers and put them up in hotels, showed the weakness of the market earlier this year.

Buyers told eWedNewz they wanted to hold on to orders and see what the season was going to be like. Though many say sales have been “good”, no on is jumping for joy.

“This is an exciting show for us; as you know we unveiled David Tutera and boy, has it really caught on,” according to Steve Lang.

In the way of buzz and promotion, Lang led the pack and was rewarded by winning three DEBI awards for which Mon Cheri was nominated.

“Steve really does a great job with everything he does and deserves everything the company works so hard for,” said Philip Cornier. Cornier was at the show representing Magnolia Bridals in Brooklyn, New York, that recently expanded into bridal gowns after years of making bridal veils. “These days you have to do it all to be successful; there just isn’t enough business for the growing competition, so I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he told eWNz.

Philip Cornier helped to launch gowns for a veil company this season, handling everything from design, photo shoots,  web presence, publicity and sales. Gown by Magnolia tuxedo courtesy of FLOW.

 

Cornier and others said traffic at the show started off a bit slow but grew as the weekend progressed. Some wondered about how New York market will be.

“The problem with these shows is the timing. We’re already in production because we started selling way back in May,” according to Larry Warshaw of Justin Alexander.

Warshaw told eWedNewz he was a bit disappointed with the traffic in Chicago but very pleased with his business, overall. Warshaw told eWedNewz he flies selected accounts to exotic locations and shows, including Barcelona, Spain, with no obligation to buy.

Sara Morris, owner of the Something Blue shop in Alabama, says she was flown to spectacular places with zero pressure to buy. She gives Larry Warshaw and the Justin Alexander team a great review and cautioned about some of the other companies that aren’t as conducive to the success of smaller operators.

 

Larry Warshaw joins other manufacturers that weren’t happy with attendance agreeing the majority of buying is all but over by September. Sources from both the manufacturing and retail side of the wedding dress business, as well as adjunct businesses including tuxedos, say they don’t know what is going to happen to trade shows in general.

Several companies have contacted eWedNewz wanting to know more about internet marketing and direct sales to consumers. None would give their permission to be quoted but admitted traditional methods are fast becoming a thing of the past.

 

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2011

The Week of September 19th in Review

By Paul Pannone

The week of September 19th, 2011, was dominated by the sudden closure and despicable acts coming to light by one of the most respected wedding invitation companies, Encore studios. An ongoing eWedNewz investigation is uncovering lies and a deceitful game played with trusting vendors that looked to Encore’s track record of reliability.

But the record came to a sudden halt when brides left in the lurch were told they would not be getting what they paid for.

Kendra Kroll exhibiting her products in Chicago told eWedNewz she feels terrible for brides that are now scrambling to make other arrangements for their wedding invitations.

 

 

“They are the real victims in all of this. I am so proud of my fellow members in the Wedding Water Cooler that came to the defense of the brides and are reaching out to their resources to help,” said Kendra Kroll, exhibiting at the Chicago Bridal Market this weekend.

Kroll and others at the market are stunned at the Encore failure and commented on how an ex-employee wanted understanding for his former employer.

“That is just plain wrong and loses sight of future ramifications; how brides will be more cautious than ever to turn over a deposit. For vendors, they should be very wary of whom to work with. Encore was not some fly-by-night organization, they were a market leader,” said Sheryl Davies.

Davies, Kroll and other “Coolies” including Samantha Goldberg and Stacie Francome are helping brides fill orders and doing their best to right the wrong turn taken by Encore.

eWedNewz continues to gather more responses from vendors that allege Encore accepted orders and payments for website programs up until the week of the closure.

 

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2011 

The Situation Tweets about Tuxedos and Jim’s Formal Wear’s at Chicago Market

By Paul Pannone

Since making national news  the Situation continues to promote tuxedos, revitalizing the tired look that has fallen out of favor with younger users. Since the Situation’s deal with FLOW Formal, his interest in tuxedos continues to grow. The television reality star is seen wearing his line everywhere, increasing exposure and the possible use of the garments beyond the few lifetime events that limited how tuxedos could be used.

Mike the Situation Sorrentino can be seen wearing tuxedos everywhere. eWedNewz has learned he will be appearing in high-profile publications wearing his new line.

 

On his Twitter feed the Situation promoted Jim’s formal wear’s participation at Chicago Market .

 “Come see my Situation Tuxedo on the runway @ the Chicago Bridal Market @JimsFormalWear booth 9058! jimsformalwear.com

 

Jim’s and most formal wear stores are adding the Situation line for the 2012 season, lifting the ceiling and limitations that have kept tuxedos old and farty, exchanging the image for new and exciting. Consumer interest and reaction is being tracked in all forms of Social Media forums.

According to FLOW sources the Sitch is getting behind all of his products and regularly mentions them to millions of his fans.

eWedNewz will bring you highlights of the Chicago events. Follow eWedNewz on Twitter

 

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2011