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What is the best way to do research wedding second hand store?

    • 15 posts
    January 15, 2009 4:55 PM EST
    I have a new business idea and I am not quite sure how to go about researching it. I am thinking about starting a second-hand/ consignment wedding decor shop. After posting some wedding decor on craig`s list to sell to recoup some of the cost, I noticed that there were quite a few postings of the same thing. I know second hand stores are hot due to the economy and I have not been able to find any stores like it, except second hand wedding dress stores. Does anyone have any idea how to best research the profitablity of this kind of store? The only thing I can think of is posting on wedding blogs to get current brides thoughts.
    • 15 posts
    January 19, 2009 4:46 AM EST
    My thoughts were more of a brick and mortar store where a bride can unload all of the items she has instead of having to babysit their craig`s list posting. The wedding items I have are due to my niece not having the time to deal with getting rid of the items other than throwing them away or sticking them in a closet. I have yet to find a local consignment bridal store in my area, which I think is strange since I am in quite a large city. I did interview a couple of brides-to-be when they bought my product and thought the idea was great. I did find one seller on E-bay, but they were also new in the re-sell business and could not provide me any info. as to their success. The problem I think I am finding with Craig`s list is that the majority of the people are looking for items that are free and dirt cheap. I also thought that I could incorporate more green into the business by offering recycled candles by melting used white wedding candles and re pouring them. It`s sad to think what goes into the trash that can be reused.  My thoughts are to offer the new Mrs. a place to unload her slightly used decorations without the issue of having to deal with having to selling it herself . The new brides-to-be will have a place to find low cost items for their wedding and possible re-sell the items back to me. There are a lot of DIY brides out there who can not afford to rent and choose to buy in hopes of recouping some of their money. My store would help them with that process. My thoughts on pricing where if I could offer the used decor at and or around what they could but it on sale with the prospect of re-selling back to the store could motivate a bride to buy from me. I just don`t know where I could do more research on the if this kind of business would work. I don`t think I would have a problem finding sellers, it`s the buyers I am worried about.
    • 15 posts
    January 19, 2009 12:59 PM EST
    My thoughts were the same about, if it`s not out there already then maybe it`s not profitable. I agree with you that there are a lot of brides out there that want a everything`s new wedding. I feel that in this economy that there are going to be fewer brides that are going to be able to afford everything new. Rentals are definitely not new and if I can provide an outlet that the items look new without the price tag, I think it could be profitable. 
     
    My thinking is to model the business after a bridal dress consignment shop. My initial investment would be rent, insurance, racks, signage and marketing, ect.. The inventory would come from the sellers which I would spit the profits with once the item was sold. My thinking is that a soon-to-be bride would more interested in a discounted centerpiece that maybe she could use as is or tweak it to her specifications. When organizing my niece`s wedding, we looked at rentals and decided for the same price we could buy the same item. Labor was free and we didn`t have to worry about putting down a deposit. Our thought was that we could try and recoup some of the money after the wedding. She was also fortunate to have a co-worker who had table cloths from her daughter wedding and another friend who had glass cylinders from her wedding months previous. We were able to utilize everything to create a very nice reception. Not every bride is going to have these outlets, thats where my store would come in. I know there are brides out there doing the same thing. I want to provide both the soon-to-be bride and the new Mrs. a place where they can sell and buy things items that were used for such a short time.
    Like any consignment shop there would be rules as to what was being taken in to be sold. For example, a new Mrs. brings in her 20 vases from her reception, we price them for $7.00 a piece. Once the vases are sold, the seller would receive anywhere from 40%-50% of the sell price and I would receive the remainder. I would let the buyer know that if the vases are still in good condition when her event is over, she then could turn around and consign the items again. In doing the math, if the items are maintained by the new buyer, her cost are really only 50% of the purchase price once the item is resold. Once the item was worn or dated it would be priced accordingly and could not be returned.
     
    I thought that I could advertise in the yellow pages, craigs list, wedding planners, churches, all rental halls( i.e., VFW, community center, etc.), bridal shops, bridal web sites and of course, word of mouth.
     
    As of current, I am still doing research for this adventure! I have found some retail space in a old downtown area that is running about a $1 a square ft. Though the property is on the edge of the downtown area, my thought is that the business would be a destination store and would not have to depend on foot traffic as my only customer business. I will need to create a business plan and a budget and maybe find a business partner. I thought about trying to run it out of my house until I could get enough traffic to justify renting retail space, but I don`t think my neighbors would like it too much. My husband would have a cow!
    • 355 posts
    January 16, 2009 2:35 PM EST
    I use to work for a string of wedding chapels.  Very little second hand items were used or available.  Usually tuxedos and dress were the primary recycled items.  Everything else went to the couple, back to the caterer or wedding chapel. 

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    The older we get, the more excuses we make for not chasing after our dreams. But truth is, goals are attainable at any age.

    • 19 posts
    February 7, 2013 2:44 PM EST

    If there are no second hand wedding dresses from family, the next best thing is to check with antique and consignment shops.

    • 1 posts
    February 7, 2013 2:43 AM EST

    Did you end up opening this business? If so, how is it doing? My sister and I had almost this exact idea about a year ago, but like you, unsure about the market. However, we live more in the country & kids are getting married right out of high school and usually can't afford to buy everything new. 

    • 331 posts
    January 18, 2009 11:04 AM EST
    not sure about the wedding ceremony itself but i assume you mean the whole nine yards? for example, chair covers, sashs, center pieces etc can all be recyclable unless you are using fresh flowers and such.  there is quite a bit of competition out there isnt there? what will differentiate your business from the rest?

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    • 331 posts