Nikki Deeds, sales manager of Allure Bridals, gives us an exclusive interview on the company, its retail relationships and what to look out for over the coming seasons.
Allure Bridals was founded as a family-owned fabric store in Bartlett, Tennessee, which quickly expanded to include a bridal salon under the same roof. Knowledge of fabric and design effortlessly lent itself to bridal gown design, and Allure debuted its first collection under the name ‘Exclusive Bridals.’
This collection was small and unadvertised, curated from the needs of local brides in Tennessee. In 1997, the collection expanded to include the flagship Allure Bridals line, which was nationally advertised. In 2007, the bridal salon officially closed its doors to focus fully on bridal design and manufacturing – an aim which resulted in seven unique collections: Allure Bridals, Allure Romance, Allure Couture, Madison James, Wilderly Bride, Allure Women and Allure Modest.
Other collections for the bridal party include Allure Bridesmaids and Allure Men, along with a Special Occasion collection within the Madison James brand.
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The Wilderly collection debuted the summer of 2017, inspired by the bohemian bride. Our other collections feature specific design elements for our diverse brides and the visions for their respective weddings.
The Allure Bridals line, our flagship collection, is classic and elegant; Allure Couture is inspired by timeless, old-world glamour. Allure Romance emphasizes soft silhouettes with designs featuring lace and tulle. The Madison James bridal collection strives for modernity, all the while holding to a classical sensibility.
Allure Women is designed to flatter a curvaceous figure, while Allure Modest features higher necklines, opaque fabrics and sleeves.
We work to remain true to our initial vision – the vision Allure has embodied for so many years – to design classic and elegant bridalwear. At the same time, our design team is always looking for fresh, new designs for today’s bride. For Allure Bridals, bridal design must keep the classic element alive, but always add that special touch of innovative design.
In terms of operations, we are now operating under a single Allure Bridals distributor. We are organising a fantastic UK team, who will work alongside our US team to better serve our customers abroad.
We have so many exciting things planned for our retailers as we expand the Allure brand in the UK, and we can’t wait to share all of this in the coming months. We do offer designer days and trunk shows to feature our Allure collections. We have found these to be incredibly successful when retailers put together a complete event for brides.
Today’s brides want experiential buying, so for your designer weekend, we encourage our retailers to create an experience for their brides-to-be. For example: bring in a DJ to play music and announce every bride who says “yes!” to her dress.
Work with a local florist to have beautiful flowers in the shop for the designer weekend and offer special deals for your brides who buy that weekend. Have a baker bring in cupcakes. Ask a salon to set up a small station and do a hair and makeup refresh before appointments start – so each bride looks and feels beautiful for all the photos.
Use the gowns we send in, work with local vendors and create an experience that makes brides want to buy her dress from you.
Buying a wedding dress is and should be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so anything that you can do to create that experience will help your sales. Think like a bride. Look at your store from top to bottom as objectively as possible and ask yourself if you are giving your brides a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What is it like for your bride the moment she walks in the door? Is she being celebrated? Are you or your stylists completely devoted to making sure she feels special? Is she being heard, served, and guided throughout her buying process? What about her group? Are they being reminded that they are there with her to support and celebrate? Do you have the right dresses and are you and your stylists confident with the brands you carry?
The bridal industry today is going through a drastic shift that demands change both from manufacturers and retailers alike. In your store, recognise your strengths and build on those; recognise your areas for growth and seek ways to improve, bringing in experts when necessary.
Whatever you can do to make your bride’s experience special and unique will boost your sales and help you continue to find joy and fulfilment in this industry.
Read More: The Best Way to Bring in More Brides.
Successful, respectful relationships are at the centre of how we operate at Allure Bridals. We are eager to build relationships with our retailers and to partner and support in any way that we can. Although it can sound cliché, there is so much truth in the fact that communication is key to building healthy relationships – whether in life or in business.
We want to know both the negatives and positives of your experiences, along with how we can better partner with and support you.We want our stores to be open to hearing us as well so we can work together.
The Allure team knows the work our retailers are doing with brides creates once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and we are working to do the same for our stores.
We are extremely excited about our plans in the UK! We are currently putting together a fantastic local team to better serve our UK stockists.
In London this year, we are thrilled to have a catwalk presentation as well as a beautiful stand to present our new collection.
Register for London Bridal Fashion Week here.