Anna Wood, from Anna Wood Bridal, explains why she thinks there is no room for exclusivity in the bridal industry.
Anna Wood Bridal was opened back in 2018 after the owner, Anna Wood saw a gap in her local market. With over 15 years’ experience running various businesses, she is relatively new to the bridal industry. We caught up with Anna so she could share her opinion on why exclusivity with designers is outdated.
Read More: Anna Wood, Open For Business
Having worked across many different businesses in many industries, I think the bridal industry is behind the times when it comes to exclusivity. I think the practice not only limits a bride’s choice but also discourages competition.
If a bride-to-be attends a bridal boutique that works exclusively with one designer their choice is most often than not limited. I believe that brides should shop for their dream dress in a place where their needs will be best provided for and, in my opinion, exclusivity contradicts this.
Bridal boutiques should choose their collections based on what they think their ideal customer will like, rather than choosing brands they feel will gain them some attention.
In my opinion, I believe it’s more important to work with brands that you have a good connection with rather than those who are popular. By having this relationship, you know you can rely on your supplier, which ultimately helps you provide your customers with an excellent service.
Furthermore, with the growth of social media and online platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest brides are more intrigued by the style of the dress rather than the designer, so this is another reason why I believe the practice of exclusivity is outdated.
Read More: Exclusivity: Designer Thinking
However, I understand that this isn’t a straightforward matter. Designer exclusivity has been in place long before I joined the industry and I do see the pros and cons on either side. On the one hand exclusivity can stop local competing shops for undercutting each other and cannibalising the brand, but on the other hand, a little bit of healthy competition is healthy. I believe designers should either implement a pricing system or monitor their stockists.
At Anna Wood Bridal we regularly receive emails asking what our best prices are and we never adjust this to undercut anyone. We want to attract customers who want to buy from us because of the service we provide for them, not because we’re slightly cheaper.
Cutting prices is not sustainable over a long period for any business but even so, it wouldn’t bother us if another local boutique stocked the same designers, as we market ourselves from a service point of view.
I think that if designers were to phase out exclusivity this would pave the way for boutiques to step up their game and learn how to market their own business. Additionally, it would make these businesses think of new innovative ideas rather than coasting off the back of a designer.
Perhaps I live in my own world on this one, but I believe that this would separate the wheat from the chaff. Competition has been a good thing in every other industry I’ve worked in and I think it’s time for the bridal industry to catch up.