It’s only been 2 weeks since my last post but it was 9 months before that so…
Relatively speaking, very few people read my blogs. I’ve been writing for years now (30 or more issues of my Grass Clippings Paper Newsletter and about 20 blog posts) and I do enjoy it. The purpose of my writing is many facetted. Sometimes it gives me a chance to express myself and “get stuff out”. Other times it allows me to reflect on my life (and it’s blessings). Occasionally it lets me pontificate on things that interest me, including mindfulness, health of mind and body, charity, etc. And sometimes it allows me to express proudly (hopefully not brag) about my sons - and the family Carol and I have built and nourished. And hopefully it informs the reader about my take on the world of bridal and bridal retailing - an industry that I love and have worked in for over 30 years. At the very least, I hope my writing gets the reader to think a little, and reflect on what is on my mind.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this particular article as it touches on a complicated issue, and it’s important to me to maintain my positive approach to life - and what lies ahead. The coronavirus is a very serious issue that we all should be thinking about. I have no doubt that this pandemic will be “in the past” at some point soon… and that things will get back to “normal”. The questions are: “How long will it take?” and “What will things be like until it’s over?”
From an overall perspective this effects people lives, their health, and that of their families. It is a “world” problem. I firmly believe that if you remove the governments (and maybe the religious institutions) from the equation, that people are basically the same all over. North Korea (just as an example) is a terrible place to live but the North Korean people themselves are very much like us. Their lives and health are no less important than ours and I feel for them and worry about them as fellow human beings. As of today there are very few cases of the virus in the US and I am thankful for that. But the number will probably go up before it comes down and there could be some short term effect on how we need to live our lives - depending on where in the country we live.
But this a bridal blog. Our industry is in fine shape and we should be approaching this from a “business as usual” standpoint. Girls are going to continue getting married and the large majority of bridal gowns are still being purchased in brick and mortal bridal stores. That being said… most bridal gowns are made in China and China is the country that has been hardest hit so far - by far. New brides are going to be walking into your store every day and they probably will have questions. So you need to be prepared. A candid conversation with all of your suppliers is appropriate (and necessary); you need to know that the dresses you already have on order for your brides will arrive as promised… and certainly “in time”. Almost as important is what about new special orders placed today. While I can only directly speak to the effects (or lack thereof) on my lines… it is obvious that several manufacturers ARE
being affected. Some have increased their lead times substantially, and some have eliminated rush service. There is even talk of companies “suspending” the acceptance of new orders until further notice. As is always the case…you and your staff must be prepared to know what you can show your brides depending on their wear date - and promise them (with confidence) that their dream dress will be in when you say it will.
To further cloud the waters, things are very “fluid” in China right now and can change quickly. Hopefully vendors will begin to return to their normal lead times very soon. But things may also get worse before they get better, and this information is vital to your day-to-day operations. An open line of communication is critical.
Here is the latest information I have:
Paloma Blanca and Mikaella Bridal have experienced no issues. They manufacture 100% of their garments in their factory in Toronto, Canada - and continue to offer 10 week delivery (if needed) on special orders with no rush fee, and can still accommodate rush orders in as little as 6 weeks (and in most cases sooner).
As of today - Calla Blanche and L'amour Bridal are are on regular shipping schedules; 16 weeks for a regular special order and 12 weeks with a $100 rush fee. (I even requested a $250 super rush for a store today and was given a 2 week ship date.)
Both company’s Fall 2020 Collections have been designed and photographed... and are on schedule to be launched well before the Chicago Market on March 15th.
As a new season approaches let's all be optimistic. Even though it is Fall… tons of brides are going to be shopping this summer and will expect the latest fashion from you. My new collections offer that and more (see below). They offer products you can count on for quality, value, AND
on-time shipping. Being a bridal retailer is tough enough without this added stress but the coronavirus is real and we must deal with it. I assure you that I will be honest and open with all of you - and notify you should anything “change”.
I pray for continued health for everyone and a speedy recovery to anyone affected by this. We are all one village…