While we wish we could design our own Strut line of fabulous plus size wedding dresses, we don't yet. So when brides visit our Phoenix bridal store they often look around at the racks of gowns and ask where we get our dresses. Answer: direct from the manufacturers!
Twice a year we travel to the bridal market, where we spend two days meeting with our current vendors, looking at the new gowns, and walking around to find new bridal lines we'd like to bring in the store.
At the end of March co-owner Ann traveled to Dallas to attend the market (co-owner Bob was home with a newborn). While every market is different, we snapped a couple of photos to give you an idea of what we do!
This photo was taken from the center area of the market center. You can see that it's like an indoor mall, with hundreds of vendors on each floor. Some are in permanent showrooms while others set up booths in temporary spaces. You could wander the maze-like hallways for weeks! There is everything from jewelry to furniture to shoes and bathroom fixtures in this building. Bridal gowns occupy space on the 13th and 14th floors.
Most of our manufacturers set up in a room much like the one above. They'll have all of their new wedding dresses on display. Some brands will have runway shows. Other companies have models who will put on any dress you request--we do this to check the fit of the gown. In the course of a couple of days we'll look at hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of gowns. In the end, we pick somewhere between 15-40 new gowns at market (and then often buy a few more between seasons to fill in).
Stay tuned for our trend report--we'll tell you what wedding gown styles will be hitting our store this fall for spring 2012!