The National : NOV DEC 2016
minimum of $425 to clean these, and then charge by brand. You should never discount the clean- ing of a wedding gown. They are tricky, demand attention, and the risk you take in accepting one is enormous. “This is not just a dress: this is THE dress, and mistakes can not happen. Any customer complaint is likely to run into big dollars. Toni-Maree: I agree with Stuart, and would add that often we find the gowns are unlabelled, and are regarded as “Costumes” by the designer/manufacturer, with the idea they are only to be worn once and disposed of. They are one offs. We are creating a register of these brands. Shirley: Mark, do you find there is much interest in bridal wear in your area? How do you respond to your market? Mark Husband: “Yes, in fact we (my father and I) go to two bridal exhibitions each year, one in Hobart and one in Launceston, where our plants are located. “I printed some Gift Cards and handed out 500 of them, and got a 40% return. That’s business I didn’t have before, so I am happy with that return. “We find we can give them to the Mother of the Bride, Matron of Honour, and anyone deeply involved in the organising of the wedding party so they can give the Gift Cards to the tuxedo wearing members as well. “We are conscious of local designers and have made an effort to get to know them and give them Gift Cards to give to their couture customers. “Brides feel very safe knowing the designer recommends us. Shirley: “Bridal Fairs, Gift Cards ... how else do you reach your audience, which is by its very nature, fleeting? Stuart Odermatt: “We are doing a lot of social media and have found that many of the younger market had never heard of our brand. Shirley (to audience): This in itself is interesting, given Stannards has been a premier cleaner specialising in bridal wear in Perth for 100 years. They were famous for their glassed display cases which ran the entire length of the shop. Stuart: Brides are often unaware of you until they need you for their wedding gown. That’s why we hit social media hard. We have a budget of $3,000 per month (gasps all around the room!) and our next step is a blog. We hire a profes- sional to handle this for us. Shirley: Toni-Maree, you too spend a sizeable chunk of your income on your website and mar- keting, how does the bridal sec- tion come into it? Toni-Maree: We spend 1% of our bridal wear turnover or around $1,000 per month on social media advertising. “For us, the sale does not end with the wedding gown. We mine the information so we can onsell to customers. We can embroider towels, robes, and even christening gowns when they come along.” Shirley: What do you find chal- lenging about the wedding gown side of your business that doesn’t necessarily show up in other areas? Vivien Samaha: “Emotions! We need to manage the brides’ emotions, explain the limitations of the gown. Just because they spent $15,000 on it doesn’t mean it is made of teflon.” she added dryly. “We try to impress upon them that the sooner the dress comes back to us, the more effec- tive stain removal will be. 34 THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL DRYCLEANER & LAUNDERER NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2016 Good to see the UDS team out in strength. Don’t get too excited – you won’t be cleaning this gown – it’s made from toilet paper.
SEPT OCT 2016