Why are wedding dresses so expensive?
Have you ever wondered why the price of wedding dresses are so high? I want to elaborate on the pricing of Indiebride London dresses as business transparency is an important part of the sustainable and ethical way I conduct my business. So here we go!
There is a difference between bridal wear and fashion in general
There are a few points that must be clarified before discussing wedding dress prices in depth. Despite the fact that they are all goods that you wear, the world of bridal wear is significantly different from the rest of the fashion industry. This is why.
- Everything that is mass produced is almost always far less expensive than something that is handmade to order, and by cost I obviously mean the price tag but also, I'm afraid, quality.
- Whereas a big high street brands can produce and even sell hundreds of wedding dresses a day, it takes hours and hours for a small business to produce just one dress and as we are meeting brides face to face we are physically not able to sell that amount of dresses a day. This obviously affects the price of wedding dresses made by small businesses. We may not have expenses as high as these businesses, but because of the volume of gowns they are able to sell, they can justify charging less for them. They might also sell casual items in addition to bridal gowns, which helps them cover their expenses and turn a healthy profit.
- When it comes to wedding dress pricing, it's crucial to keep in mind that the wedding industry is seasonal and that there may be weeks when we don't sell any wedding dresses while our overhead costs remain the same. Even while we generate profits for a portion of the year, there are quiet months when we may only just break even or even make a loss.
- Something else to note as well is that we bridal designers and boutiques don’t have returning clients. In comparison to major high street businesses, this means that the advertising expenses are high and the return on investment is low.
What the price of our wedding dresses consists of
The cost of a wedding dress is largely shaped by the materials (composition and country of manufacture), the quantity of details (more details require more labour), and the location of the dress's production. Local manufacture in the UK, and particularly in London, is far more expensive than it is, say, in Asia. There are countless brands that all charge their wedding dresses in a variety of ways and I can only speak certainly about what I am familiar with, which is our ethically produced, sustainable wedding dresses, but usually the price consists of the following aspects.
We use high quality materials and most of them (with the next collection all of them) are sustainable in one or more ways. Our materials cost up to £50-meter. The dresses need 7-12 meters of fabric, zip or elastic or both, lace trims, buttons, zippers, interlinings, thread etc. All the components are carefully sourced, tried out and selected. You can read more about our materials here.
To handcraft a wedding dress from scratch takes hours and hours or work and involves many steps, including pattern cutting, fabric cutting, interlinings, mountings, sewing, hand stitching, steaming, pressing, fittings, unpicking, pinning and hemming. It calls for knowledge and expertise that have been developed during years of study and employment in the bridal wear sector.
Material costs and labour however are only a small part of the price. Other expenses are what the price mostly consists of. The gross profit goes towards overhead costs (rent, insurance, advertising, equipment maintenance, office supplies, packaging, accounting fees, internet, phone, web hosting etc.), developing the website, SEO of the website, taxes and my time for running the business. The net profit stays in the bank account for future investments (new machines, bridal shows etc.) and as a safety net for the rainy days (or rainy years, like a pandemic!).
The time I spend running the business includes among other things answering queries, drafting and sending quotes, admin, updating the website, writing blog posts, creating social media content, marketing, training, designing the dresses, cutting patterns for new styles, sourcing new materials, sampling etc.
We have high standards
Running a small business and making wedding dresses in a sustainable and ethical way brings up the prices of our dresses but I’m not willing to cut corners when it comes to our ethos. I hope this post helped you understand better what you are paying for when choosing to support a small business. You won't be funding someone's third vacation home when you purchase from a small boutique or designer brand; rather, you'll be enabling us to support ourselves by doing what we love and excel at: assisting you in finding the dress of your dreams and providing you with an unforgettable experience before one of the most significant days of your life. You are paying for the outstanding personal service we provide, the high quality and eco-friendly materials used to make our gowns, as well as the design and the process of having your dress handmade specifically for you from scratch.
I feel blessed with every order we receive and will be forever grateful to my brides who put their faith in us to create the most significant dress of their life.