Bride’s Entourage

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Bridal Shop Business Plan

Strategy and Implementation Summary

Bride’s Entourage has the distinct advantage of being the only store of its kind in its market. Our marketing and sales strategies will emphasize our unique advantages for the Multnomah County wedding party: 

  • our wide-range of clothing styles, designers, and accessories
  • the attention we pay to all the female members of the wedding party
  • our wonderful location in a destination shopping area

Our marketing strategy begins with standard print and online listings in wedding media, and continues through networks of wedding consultants. Our location, next to complementary shops and an upscale mall, will generate additional foot traffic.

Our sales strategy is designed to "close the deal" - from the moment a potential customer walks in the door, she will know that her place in the wedding, and her needs, are important to us. We will create an atmosphere that makes shopping for the "other items" as significant as the experience of shopping for the wedding gown. In other stores, mothers, bridesmaids, and other wedding party members are often an afterthought. At Moms, Maids, and More, they will be given as much prominence and attention as the bride receives when gown shopping.

5.1 Competitive Edge

The predominant competitive edge of Bride’s Entourage is that it is the only store of its kind in Oregon state. Most bridal shops focus on the wedding gown itself and dabble in a few other product-lines, such as mothers' attire or bridesmaids' attire. When shops focus primarily on the bride's gown, there tends to be a lack of selection and lack of attention devoted to the other product lines. At a traditional bridal shop, the bride is the primary focus, and everything else is secondary.

Bride’s Entourage offers an entirely different shopping experience. At our shop, the focus is everything besides the wedding gown. This means that our customers will be offered a wide selection of their desired attire, and their needs will be our primary focus. We will have the most comprehensive selection of mothers' attire, attendants' attire, and bridal accessories.

Another competitive advantage is our location. We are located in downtown Portland, which is geographically convenient to customers in the greater Portland area and the surrounding suburbs. Downtown Portland is a destination shopping area, and our store is located directly across the street from one of the largest and most up-scale shopping malls in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, our shop is located on the corner of a main intersection with great street visibility and free parking. We are located in a complex that includes jewelry stores and a tuxedo shop, all of which are complementary businesses. 

5.2 Marketing Strategy

Bride’s Entourage will use the following mediums for its marketing efforts:

  1. Local Wedding Publications - This includes magazines that are used to promote wedding shows and local wedding resource books.
  2. Bridal Consultants - By building relationships with local bridal consultants, we will have a direct referral source.
  3. - This is a web site specifically geared toward people who are preparing for a wedding. Visitors to this site can do state-specific searches for shops and services in their area. By listing ourselves on this site, we will be specifically targeting our market.
  4. Web Links - Most designers offer a "store locator" on their web pages. Therefore, when available, we will be listed on the web sites of the designers whose lines we carry, with a link to our web site.
  5. Yellow Pages - We will be listed under the "bridal" section of the yellow pages, so this will serve as a standard resource for customers to find us.

5.3 Sales Strategy

  1. Customers need to be acknowledged and attended to right away. Everyone who walks through the door is preparing for a big event. They are probably not in our shop to browse or make a casual purchase, so they need to be taken seriously immediately.

  2. Our expertise will help customers stay focused. The process of choosing bridal attire can be overwhelming, because it is such a significant purchase, and because there are so many variables (e.g. colors, event setting, coordinating with the other participants, etc.). Therefore, it will be critical to navigate the customer through the process efficiently. By controlling the process, the outcome (the sale) is more attainable.

  3. In addition to selling goods, we are selling a shopping experience. Because each woman makes wedding purchases only a few times in her life, the process of shopping for bridal attire is quite memorable, and is often a bonding experience for moms, girl friends, and the bride. If the experience is a positive one, word of mouth will grow exponentially.

  4. Sales goals will be set for our employees, and achievement of those goals will be rewarded monetarily.

5.3.1 Sales Forecast

The following table illustrates the forecasted sales for Bride’s Entourage. The forecast reflects sales to slightly more than one percent of the total customer base in Multnomah County, based on the following assumptions:

  1. Total weddings in Multnomah County: 12,000 annually
  2. Two moms per wedding
  3. Four bridesmaids per wedding
  4. A flower girl at 62% of the weddings

One percent is a sensible estimate for the first year of operations. There are currently about 40 shops in Multnomah County that carry some or all of the items offered at Bride’s Entourage. Assuming that the customer base was divided evenly among these shops, each shop would have about a two-and-a-half percent market share. However, because this will be the first year of operations for Bride’s Entourage, that "even share" of the market is not expected right away. It is expected that by year two, the market share will increase to two percent, and by year three, the market share will exceed three percent. This will happen as Bride’s Entourage becomes known as the place to shop for mothers' attire, attendants' attire, and other bridal accessories.

To break the sales forecast down even further, the goal of of sales in year one is equivalent to selling to 160 wedding parties during the year, or to three wedding parties per week.

The table is constructed in such a way that it counts a sale when cash is received. When dresses are ordered, a minimum 50% deposit is required. When a customer receives the item they ordered, the remaining 50% is due. For projection purposes, it is assumed that the dresses will arrive two to three months after they are ordered. So, for example, if a customer orders a $200 dress in January, $100 goes into January's sales, and $100 goes into April's sales. For shoes and accessories, we are assuming that the items will be in stock, therefore, those projections reflect the gross amount of the sale on the day of purchase.

Costs of sales assumes that for clothing, the wholesale cost will average about 46.5% of the retail price, and for accessories, the wholesale cost will average about 30% of the retail price. For the clothing items, there is a two-month lag in cost of sales because the inventory takes two to three months to arrive from the day it is ordered, and the store does not pay for custom-ordered items until they are shipped.

Sales Forecast
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Mothers' Attire $110,500 $193,375 $338,406
Bridesmaids' Attire $101,388 $147,013 $213,168
Flower Girl Dresses $8,650 $11,245 $14,619
Shoes $16,300 $22,005 $29,707
Other Accessories $15,950 $20,735 $26,956
Total Sales $252,788 $394,373 $622,855
Direct Cost of Sales Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Clothing $99,096 $158,553 $253,684
Shoes and Other Accessories $10,485 $13,631 $17,720
Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales $109,581 $172,183 $271,404

5.4 Milestones

The accompanying table lists the critical milestones for Bride’s Entourage from now until the store is ready to open for business. Dorina Thaker will be in charge of each of the completion of each of these items.

Milestone Start Date End Date Budget Manager Department
Business Plan 6/30/2003 9/30/2003 $0 Dorina Thaker Administrative
Licensing and Permits 7/1/2003 8/31/2003 $0 Dorina Thaker Administrative
Site Selection and Lease Negotiations 7/7/2003 10/15/2003 $0 Dorina Thaker Administrative
Secure Start-Up Financing 7/28/2003 10/15/2003 $0 Dorina Thaker Administrative
Secure Line of Credit 7/28/2003 10/15/2003 $0 Dorina Thaker Administrative
Buying Show 9/10/2003 9/13/2003 $0 Dorina Thaker Administrative
Web Site Construction 10/8/2003 11/15/2003 $0 Dorina Thaker Administrative
Accounting Plan 11/15/2003 1/15/2004 $0 Dorina Thaker Administrative
Leasehold Improvements 1/2/2004 2/28/2004 $0 Dorina Thaker Administrative
Personnel Plan 1/15/2004 2/15/2004 $0 Dorina Thaker Administrative
Totals $0