Brideside co-founder and CEO Nicole Staple predicts there will be a wedding boom as the threat of coronavirus subsides. “We are seeing pretty overwhelming data that suggests women are postponing — not canceling — weddings,” Staple said on the Glossy Podcast.
But she isn’t sitting back and waiting for the upswing. Launched in 2012, the company went from selling bridesmaid dresses exclusively to offering wedding dresses, as well, both via e-commerce and showrooms — that is, until the pandemic hit. Now it’s working to bring the physical shopping experience online.
“We decided on a Thursday to shut down our showrooms that weekend, and by Tuesday, we had a fully launched virtual appointment platform,” Staple said.
Brideside has done about 1,000 virtual appointments in a six-week period, according to Staple. She also talked about the need in the market for inclusive sizing, the outsized importance of Instagram and the fact that there may be more “groomzillas” than “bridezillas.”
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
The wedding industry is down, but not out
“During Covid, we think marketing is more important than ever. People are having to postpone their weddings, but we’re really looking to the future and saying, ‘How can we come out of this as a better brand and a better business?’ And that means staying top-of-mind to consumers and meeting them where they are right now. We think wedding planning is actually a form of escape. We tried to coin this ‘wedding shopping from home’ [concept] to say this is a fun thing you can do with your time.”
Making bridal wear and the shopping experience more welcoming
“We’ve really found our voice. A lot of that has been being unapologetically transparent and authentic in who we present ourselves as. The wedding industry, in particular, needed an update. It needed an update on the types of women that you show in marketing, the way you talk to women and people you [show] falling in love and planning a wedding. As we become a bigger brand, we think a lot about how we can open up the community to as many people as possible.”
Instagram is where it’s at
“Over 85% of our brides are telling their bridesmaids, ‘Choose what you want. Here’s my vision, but find something you like.’ And that’s why personal styling is becoming more important. But the other huge change is where women are getting their inspiration. The bridal magazines played a much more prominent role in the past, and now we we see a large majority of people — which we never would have expected even five years ago — choosing vendors over Instagram. A lot of what we’ve tried to do on the marketing side is allow customers to do the full vetting process on Instagram: What do we offer, what do customers say about us, what is the personality of our brand, and what do our stylists look, sound and feel like when you work with them? That all has to be communicated in a very concise way, and I think that’s one of the cool challenges of being this sort of new age wedding brand.”