Bridal brand Augusta Jones have announced they are to close at the end of the year
Following a visit to Hong Kong this week, Christine Marchant of Augusta Jones has announced to stockists and the wider bridal industry that Augusta Jones is to close at the end of the year. The brand will remain open until the end of 2018 to ensure that all current orders are fulfilled and correct.
“Times have changed and we have had the most challenging of years," says Christine. "I have been dreading this day but have got to face our current situation realistically and head on. After much hand wringing, endless discussions and wishing for things to change, we have decided to close our business at the end of this year."
Charlotte Leung, Director and Owner at Augusta Jones, explains more: “The retail industry has evolved in ways one could not have imagined. The sheer volume of reasonably priced goods that can be found via the internet, with fast shipping and generous return policies, has changed the face of shopping for the foreseeable future.
“Brides are far more price conscious and have far more options. Our investment into the people who work directly for us and the running of a fully equipped factory, can no longer be supported nor sustained with ever dwindling returns. Falling exchange rates for Pound Sterling and the Australian Dollar add to the challenge. Our business model no longer works as well in this dynamic and changing environment.”
“The final decision was made for us this weekend," Charlotte explains. "The latest news is that Trump’s administration will be applying 25% tariffs to all goods made in China. This means that all goods will cost 25% more when they enter the US. Based on this, we have come to the very real and obvious conclusion that the business environment, as we know it, no longer works for us as a small business.
“We cannot continue to hire staff, rent factory space, and invest and upgrade in equipment in China with this hanging over us. The reality is that US tariffs as high as 25% would cripple us. As a small business, we haven’t the resources yet alone margins, to weather such a blow. We simply have no choice but to bow out before we sign our new contracts with landlords and renew staff contracts. This was the final blow that decided it all."
Charlotte would like to share the following message to clients and stockists: “Thank you for your valued business over the past 20 years. It has been an incredible journey to have built a small business, doing the things we love, around super talented people and a group of the most amazing stores. We were so lucky to get our start and find our feet when bridal was still a cottage industry.
“After informing our agents of our intentions this week, we have made solid plans now to ensure a smooth winding down. We will have just under four months left to complete and ship all outstanding orders. We can take new standard orders until the middle of October, for delivery in November. We will push all our orders up so most will be shipped by the end of October.
“Our agents will have further information for you on the details and time lines as well as revised payment terms of your goods. We will start shifting deliveries earlier so you have time to work on fittings with your brides.
“This has been a tough and emotional decision, taken after painstaking consideration. We want to thank you again for your amazing support over the years. It has been a privilege working with such a professional and dedicated group of peers. We have had a great run, but times are changing and now it seems, so must we.”