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Justin Alexander: life in lockdown

We caught up with the team at Justin Alexander to chat about their life in lockdown and the innovative new changes to their business.

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It’s seems like it’s been non-stop for the JA brands. Tell us about what the team have been up to during the last six months.

The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging us all in many ways but it’s also forcing us to innovate and change the way we work. This time is a chance for us all to think even further outside the box to find new, creative and joyful ways to build an even stronger future. Young and dynamic business Justin Alexander took advantage of this opportunity and found ways to provide the best service for their retailers.

Virtual consultations
Justin Alexander does not want their retailers to miss out on the chance to connect with new customers during this time. “We are 100% wholesale and have been training our retail partners to offer virtual consultations in the spirit of relationship-building first and foremost.” says CEO Justin Warshaw. Virtual consultations are an extremely useful tool to help facilitate the gap period right now and a great opportunity to drive sales pipeline forward whether it is starting conversations with new customers, strengthening current relationships or adding to the in-store appointment bookings.

Virtual Trunk Shows

The powerhouse will also shortly begin to host virtual trunk shows for its brides, a first for both the company and the industry during an unprecedented time.

Starting today, Justin Alexander will be showcasing its brand-new Fall Winter 2020 gowns from its Justin Alexander, Adore by Justin Alexander, Lillian West and Sincerity Bridal collections live through the brands’ public Facebook pages. In addition to walking through the collections style by style and featuring videos of the product on models, the creative team will also be giving fit and style recommendations for different body types and tastes, sharing customization options and answering questions from brides around the world.

“We are able to do this because we have hundreds of retail partners globally who are offering virtual consultations,” adds Justin Warshaw. “Our virtual trunk shows are designed to drive traffic and business for our retailers. Naturally, the next step for brides is to connect with the stores one-on-one."

Whether brides are starting their gown search, looking for a second dress, wondering about timing and delivery, seeking alterations or guidance on product care, their local bridal shop is their best resource.

Given the range of services that stores are able to offer and the local restrictions that they are facing currently, virtual consultations take all forms and sizes.

Virtual Collection launch
The Justin Alexander, Lillian West, Sincerity and the new brand label Adore by Justin Alexander Fall Winter 2020 and Spring Summer 2021 collections were launched and showcased during a live Watch Party on Facebook. The exclusive virtual presentations have been held to all our valued retailers tuning in from all around the world. This virtual presentation gave Justin Alexander and the retailers the opportunity to interact and to connect with each other during this unprecedented time. The presentations are still available to watch on the private Justin Alexander Insiders group on Facebook.

Smart Search
We introduced a brand-new function called ‘Smart Search’ on our portal. Smart Search enables you to filter your searches by size, color, brand and silhouette. It also enables you to narrow down your search by the date you need it by, thereby giving you a clear indication of whether you can fulfil an order in time for the actual wedding date.

What programmes/initiatives have you put in place to help your stockists with the impacts of Covid-19?

In order to empower the retailers to develop skills that will help them overcome the pandemic and broaden their knowledge, Justin Alexander is hosting interactive global webinars weekly. Topics o.a. Social media, communication, website optimization, Q&A with CEO Justin Warshaw and selling techniques and tips from top stylists around the US experience sharing on overcoming common objections and turning around a negative experience with clients additional professional training resources will be covered.

Safety concerns and shifting consumer behavior have changed how stores are conducting business now and potentially in the long term.

For instance, shops are continuing to use virtual consultations to pre-qualify clients and help save time in-store. Many retailers are also moving to showing "closed stock," meaning the bride is only perusing and trying on gowns selected by the stylist. Meanwhile, the shops are able to have more open conversations with brides about their needs. We can attribute this to closer wear-dates and hesitation around additional appointments due to safety concerns. As a result, brides are shopping around less, and stores are in turn, closing sales at higher rates. These shops are needing and adding more inventory to sell off the rack to meet the demand.

There hasn’t only been a global pandemic in 2020. The racial injustices across the world have sparked widespread conversation and actions. How are Justin Alexander tackling the lack of representation in the bridal industry?

We muted during the first week of June to show solidarity with the black lives matter movement and in the spirit of #amplifymelanatedvoices. We also stated: "At Justin Alexander, we believe that black lives matter. As a company, we value inclusion, love, and respect for all. We also believe that only collective action can bring about lasting change for a better world. We will continue to listen, learn and support."

As a company, we make every effort to ensure that our values are reflected in the diversity of our workforce and our platforms. To further support and take action, we are donating 15% of proceeds from the National Bridal Sale Event in July towards community enrichment and youth programs here in the US.

Finally, tell us a little about each of your new collections.

This year has impacted brides more than any year we can remember. Many brides chose to wear their gowns at a smaller gathering, others eloped and will postpone the events to ensure they can have the celebration they dreamed of. One thing we know to be true is that couples deserve their moments, and we are here to help them find the gown for any celebration. We find that more and more 2021 brides are looking to express their daring sides at their wedding! Bold beading, dramatic trains, bows, statement sleeves, glitter tulle flattering silhouettes with sultry elements like low backs, illusion and exposed boning bodices are all combined to add a hint of drama to the 2021 collection. For the brides that want to create a more modest and toned down look, that may be planning an intimate ceremony at the townhall, the elegant gowns covered with modern lace will be a perfect fit for them and all our traditional yet fashion forward brides.

Besides the gowns with eye-catching details, our signature rich fabrics and elegance with a touch of Old Hollywood glamour stays at the core of the Justin Alexander Spring/Summer 21 collection. The beauty is in the garment, volume and shape. Our signature delicate mikado silk dresses allow brides to add personality and charm to a simple, chic look.

“We have created a modern woman’s dream collection with gowns that will make her feel special and unique, because that’s one of our missions even a global pandemic can’t change” - Justin Warshaw

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