We are just back from our first buying trip of 2014 – and it was amazing! Usually we visit all of our designers in one location, a large exhibition centre, but this year some designers have decided to break away and do their own thing and I am all for it as it means we can focus on one collection at a time with no rushing around. Plus their hospitality is fantastic.
This weekend we visited Sottero and Midgley, in their UK base of Chester. We were put up in a gorgeous hotel, taxied about at their expense, were treated to an amazing dinner with a free bar and live entertainment… did we mention the incredible catwalk show?! Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – we could get used to being wined and dined.
The catwalk show itself was spectacular, the production was so slick and professional, and the dresses themselves were incredible. We saw 35 stunning gowns sashay down the catwalk, each one more stunning than the last. If we had had an unlimited budget, we would’ve ordered them all.
To be considered a stockist of a particular label we are expected to buy a ‘minimum’ number of dresses from each designer each season, with two seasons per year. This time we had to buy five dresses, but we genuinely struggled to narrow down our choices since they were all so beautiful – we ended up buying seven. At this point, I feel it’s important to tell you that yes bridal businesses buy every dress, and no we don’t get discounts. There are a considerable number of our customers who believe that we get our stock for free – I wish. So buying seven dresses is a considerable investment – thousands of pounds.
We went in armed with a list of what we wanted – more back detail, straps, sparkly lace, and also what fabrics and sizes we felt we were missing in our collection. So we knew what we were looking for, but in all honesty that went out the window as soon as the catwalk show began.
We ended up picking a real mixture of dresses – the only theme that stands out is that we’ve chosen warmer tones (champagne, antique gold, blush etc) with lace, sparkle and back detail. At the catwalk the dresses were not what we were expecting – they were even better and I just know our girls are going to love them!