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The RBA: What to Expect This Year

As the new year is upon us, the Retailer Bridalwear Association reveals what it has in store for 2020

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The RBA was formed in 1995 and is still considered the Gold Standard of Trade Associations. Many other ‘offshoot’ organisations have come and gone over the years, but for many shops, the RBA remains the aspirational organisation to become a member of.

We caught up with the team to find out more about what we can expect from them in 2020.

Read More: The Best Dates for Bridal Shows – The RBA View

We have exciting plans for the RBA in 2020. We believe we have the strongest UK independent bridal shops in the industry as members and they are members because they had to meet certain criteria;

  • Trading for a minimum of five years
  • Trading from a dedicated retail premises
  • Minimum turnover of £18,000 including VAT
  • Good account history with suppliers
  • Passed stringent credit checks

As well as hoping to grow our membership and welcome more of the best and strongest independent shops, we are working on bigger and better benefits for our members. We are constantly striving to raise standards within the bridalwear industry by strengthening and promoting strong relationships between retailers and suppliers, as well as addressing the concerns of our members.

Read More: RBA points brides in the right direction to avoid disappointment

This is an area we are passionate about dedicating more time to and are planning to meet with key suppliers to address these issues. Hopefully, we will find solutions that are so desperately needed in these uncertain times.

As independent retailers, we can often feel isolated and as if we have little support around us. The RBA continues to work hard to change this and has given retailers a chance to join together to combat common issues and talk through difficult and often frustrating situations.

An area we started work on this year and want to take to the next level is business mentoring. The Executive Committee, a team of long-standing bridal retailers who have a combined experience of over 100 years, are eager to visit more of our member shops and offer advice and one-on-one support. Times are tough in retail and now is the time to pull our resources together and help each other succeed.

Another benefit we are looking to improve for 2020 is our ‘Brides Protection Scheme’. The BPS was introduced in 2011 so that brides could ‘Buy With Confidence’ from an RBA member store, and that, in the event of an RBA shop closing involuntarily before a bride has collected her dress, the RBA will endeavour to locate a replacement gown or refund the deposit where possible. The BPS has given wonderful peace of mind and been a great selling tool, but we feel we can do better – so watch this space for new and improved insurance!

Read More: The RBA’s latest report

We have held some brilliant training days over the years and have decided to run more in 2020. Back in October, we hosted a highly successful social media training day with media professional speaker, trainer and coach Warren Knight.

The all-day event was well attended by our members and they came away with invaluable knowledge on how to use social media to transform their business. He covered everything from mastering Instagram and Facebook posts to blogging, creating an engaging website, branding, getting the content right and telling us step-by-step how to create a personalised 30-day social media campaign.

In fact, Warren taught us so many indispensable tools that we’ve decided to offer the two-hour presentation on a memory stick to non-members for just £75 + VAT. To take advantage of this great offer please email

It’s going to be hard to beat our RBA Awards bash last year on the Cutty Sark, which was deemed one of the best ever, but we’re pulling out all the stops for an even better party in 2020! London Bridal Fashion Week incorporating White Gallery is promising to be a fantastic three-day event in the capital and we’re looking forward to meeting up with our colleagues and toasting the best in the industry on the Monday evening.

If you are interested in joining the Retail Bridalwear Association, we are offering a special New Year discount of £250 + VAT, plus a free copy of the Warren Knight social media training presentation. (Normal yearly membership is £330 +VAT) For more information contact the team here.


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