Sarah Shuttle, Creative Director of Sarah Shuttle Creative shares some essential advice on what you can do with your business right now
The coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID-19, has affected businesses worldwide, no matter what industry you may be a part of. While we navigate our way through this unexpected and unprecedented time, we can also use this period to step back and reflect on our businesses.
As a bridal boutique owner, your shop will be a lot quieter than usual and this is something that none of us have control over. But you do have control over how you spend your time working on your business, rather than in it. This is your chance to pause, pivot and allow for positivity, offering your bridal studio the chance to grow and flourish once normality resumes.
Many bridal businesses take a while to slip into the role of a brand auditor and it can be surprisingly difficult to feel comfortable exploring and critiquing your own work. But ultimately, it’s vital that you understand that it will be beneficial in the long run and this is probably the first time in a long time, that you’ve got space within your schedule.
Reflect on your branding, website design, website copy and social media platforms. Then ask yourself, ‘are you due a refresh?’ If you no longer feel that you are reaching and engaging with your ideal client, your bridal business may be ready for a rebrand. Your brand - from the logo to the mood board, to your web design and visuals – should all be taking you in the direction you want to go and helping you to achieve the level of luxury that you are aiming for.
But don’t be fooled, it’s not just about your website, branding and marketing strategies. It’s also imperative that you apply the same questions to the boutique itself. Do you feel that your studio represents you as a bridal business? You’ll need to consider the store as a whole before thinking about the smaller details.
When brides walk through your door, are they your target market? The boutique’s signage, interior design and layout will all affect the feel of your studio, the bride’s experience and therefore, your brand reputation. Don’t forget to think about whether or not the gowns gracing your rails will be of interest to your targeted customer – do they call out to the brides you really want to work with? You may want to use this quieter time to reconsider the bridal designers you’re stocking, or embark on researching newer, high-end labels that will upscale your bridal brand.
If you’re upscaling your bridal business and achieving the label of ‘luxury’ is on your radar, you need to consider your target market. Who are they? Who do you want them to be? What do you need to do to reach them? Ask yourself whether your current bridal business speaks to an all-inclusive, multi-cultural audience.
If you want to appeal to brides of all shapes, sizes, skin tones and cultures, make sure your marketing and promotion strategies reflect this – you’d be surprised as to how unintentionally limiting marketing collateral can be.
Your social media platforms should be carefully curated to instantly attract your ideal client, welcoming brides to take a step further and delve past the ‘shop window’ into your website to then book an appointment. If you no longer feel your website design and branding align with that of your ideal client, or that actually the definition of your ‘bride’ has completely changed, now is the time to consider the next steps to take.
Rebranding can feel overwhelming and it can quickly be something that you add to the bottom of your to-do list, whether that’s because of time, investment or not having enough direction as to where you actually want to go with your bridal business.
Make use of this quieter time and take something positive from the experience – explore various avenues and routes that you envision your bridal boutique taking and make that happen. Rebranding can transform your business, including how you feel towards it.
During such an uncertain, unsettling and downright frightening time, it’s easy for a fight or flight reaction to take place, particularly towards your business. Instead, focus on where you want to be afterwards. Determination, grit and an unrelenting passion for your bridal business and the service you offer to brides will help you to adapt, overcome and succeed. Focus now and flourish in the future.
If you enjoyed this, take a look at these five ways to expand your bridal boutique.