The Fall 20 season in the bridal business is over - good riddance; and I am happy to report that a new season has officially begun. Spring 21 kicked off with my first ever Popup Show in Weehawken, NJ in early September. It was a GREAT substitute for the cancelled NY Market and over 50 stores attended. It was nice to have some “face to face” contact with buyers after being stuck at home for the past 6 months. Thanks to all that attended; especially for wearing masks, social distancing, and being so respectful of the other stores’ space. I was able to show all 5 new collections in one ballroom and the product looked great. My stores were writing their orders and leaving paper… which doesn’t usually happen at the NY market. The buyers I worked with liked the smaller venue (there were only 2 other companies showing in the hotel) and seemed to feel more relaxed being that they didn’t have to rush off to another booth. My hope is to repeat the show in March.
Once the show was over and considering that there will be no markets, I needed to plan on how to work with the rest of my accounts. I usually head to New England the first week of the season so I made up a call list as I usually do. I just wasn’t sure if store owners were going to be comfortable having a salesman visit their store this season. It was encouraging to be able to set up some appointments… but some stores did say that they would be more comfortable working virtually this season. I totally understand and appreciate their candor. My philosophy has always been that “I can work with a store in any number of ways”. The good news is that everyone seemed to feel that they needed to place an order this season since they didn’t order anything for Fall. I will continue to be flexible with minimums and I have 5 strong collections with varied looks and price points. This season I am showing only the strongest pieces from Fall plus a smaller group of new designs… and the combination(s) look very strong.
When I get back from Boston next weekend I will be contacting everyone who didn’t come to Weehawken to evaluate how many more in-store appointments I have left to schedule. My guess is that there won’t be too many. To help prepare for a "virtual" meeting, I sent out emails last week to my active accounts (and a few leads) with images, videos, and price lists for all of the new fashion. It’s become obvious that stores who were used to going to market needed something more than “still” images to make their selections. I’m happy to report that all 5 of my collections shot live video for all of the new styles this season… and these are available for social media purposes as well as to help you make your selections. I’ve been using dropbox for several years now and it’s a great way to store and keep organized all of the images and price lists… and last week I sent out an email presentation with links to my shared folders. I AM concerned that it may be difficult for the buyers to keep track of everything (especially if they carry more than one of my lines) so I’m in the process of setting up a Google Drive that will consolidate all of the files in one spot - and will be emailing you this week with some details.
I realize how challenging it is for everyone in the bridal industry right now, particularly the bridal store owners. My companies and I will continue to do whatever we can to support you.
On a personal note, I turned 66 last week. I’m not on Facebook anymore and there is very little that I miss about my decision. It is nice however to be contacted by one’s friends and colleagues on their birthday, so Carol posted on her page that it was my birthday. I’m ashamed to say I “peeked” on her page and want to thank everyone for the likes and nice comments.
It’s been almost 4 months since my last post and I’m happy to report that all is well with the Grass Family. My 4 sons’ families have “blended” with us, so we (all 15 of us) have been able to spend the summer weekends by the pool… and we realize how blessed we are to be able to be together in these unprecedented times. We also decided to keep our reservation at the Outer Banks this summer, and most of the Grass Family had another great week at the beach in late August. Our family vacation is a very important week for us; and the beach is my special place (See the link below for my blog post of August 31st, 2015 titled “My Happy Place).
When I look back on my 66 years, I feel like the luckiest man on the planet. Despite the last 6 months, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing.