How to Deal With The Sudden Closure of a Bridal Boutique

On hearing the news of Absolute Bridal Couture going into liquidation, we look at the effects of businesses closing on both sides of the supply chain and how to deal with the issues that arise from this unfortunate situation.

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When a bridal boutique goes into liquidation it’s not only distressing for the brides affected, but it can also harm the bridalwear suppliers, retailers and the industry as a whole.

Private Label By G experienced this devastation first-hand after hearing the news that Absolute Bridal Couture in Manchester suddenly closed. As the only point of contact left for the heart-broken brides, the bridalwear supplier was left with the difficult job of rectifying the situation.

We spoke with Victoria Woodley, Managing Director of Private Label by G to find out what happens when a bridal shop closes unexpectedly and what bridal retailers can do to prevent this from happening in the future.

What should suppliers do when a boutique suddenly closes?

Following the sudden closure of a boutique, it can be left up to the supplier – as the only contact for the brides – to talk them through what will happen next.

As a supplier it’s best to advise any bride in this situation to firstly contact their card issuer or wedding insurance supplier to see what their options are.

Unfortunately, if payment was made by debit card, online transfer or cash most brides will not be eligible for a refund, meaning that the money is lost with closure. Because of the culture of credit and paying on delivery the supplier has no legal obligation to uphold the transaction as there was no binding sale at the time of closure.

However, as the only contact left for the bride, suppliers will usually step in and do their best to help. In many cases, the supplier will contact local boutiques that stock their gowns to see if there are any willing and available shops that can accommodate these brides.

It is ultimately up to the supplier to decide which course of action is best for every individual bride and their business.

Read More: Five Suppliers Share their Relationships with Stockists

Victoria Woodley says, “This is an incredibly emotional time for the bride’s and their families and the first 24 to 48 hours are the worst as they learn the truth about their retailer and the mistakes they have made.”

“We have worked extremely hard to sort this situation out. We have let the brides know that they are safe and we will make sure they are not let down any further. Thankfully we had many of the bride’s dresses here as we stopped shipping to the account when invoices went overdue.”

“However, an incident like this can still have a negative impact on us as our brand has been named and some members of the general public don’t understand the process and relationship between distributor and retailer.”

In general, most bridal boutiques if faced with this unfortunate situation will fulfil their orders and pay their outstanding invoices before closing their shop, however there are a few that do not and this is when problems occur.

So what effect does a situation like this have on the relationship between suppliers and retailers? Victoria Woodley says, “We have a trusting relationship with our stores, as does every wholesaler, so when we hear news like this it is very worrying. We take orders on a credit account agreement and dispatch on a credit amount, therefore we have to trust that our retailers are honest with us and that they will trade with us as per our trading agreement.”

“Lessons will be learnt by this and new policies and agreements will be decided. We ask all retailers to please speak honestly and truthfully to their suppliers as we are here to help and can offer great ideas and advice to help retailers through difficult times.”

What can bridal retailers do to prevent this from happening?

There are many steps bridal retailers can take to avoid an incident like this from occurring. Communication is key when it comes to running a successful bridal business and frequent contact should be made between retailers and suppliers.

If a retailer should find themselves in a difficult situation or is facing some challenging times the best course of action is to contact the supplier and be open and honest. From here a problem may be solved and a solution can be made.

Furthermore, although paying with a credit card gives some protection, bridal retailers should still encourage all of their brides to take out insurance. This will ensure their brides are not left in a regrettable situation if the worst were to happen.

Lastly, It’s important to think sensibly when marking up the gowns in your boutique. Ensure the wholesale price has been covered and that you are making enough profit for the purchase to be sustainable for your business.

Read More: How to Boost Sales

Bridal Boutiques are in a constant battle with the ever-growing high street and internet taking sales at every opportunity, but what sets bridal boutiques apart is the bespoke experience that can be offered, alongside years of experience in the industry.

However, incidents like this can have a detrimental effect on future brides with many of them questioning if the bridal boutique they choose will be trustworthy, thus leading them to purchase dresses they can try on, pay for and take away in one day.

As an industry, it’s up to suppliers and retailers to tackle this problem with clear communication on both ends of the supply chain to keep up a positive reputation and prevent events like this from happening again.

Top Five Tips To Remember

- Communication between suppliers and retailers is key.

- Price the gowns in bridal boutiques realistically.

- Retailers should reach out to the supplier if the boutique is struggling.

- Encourage brides to take out insurance.

- If a bridal boutique is facing closure ensure all current orders are fulfilled and outstanding invoices have been paid.

A lot goes into running a bridal boutique, and if you want to make sure your shop is as successful as possible follow these 10 ways to guarantee success at your bridal boutique.

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