David's Bridal Complaint - Vendor's Beware
NILES, OHIO -- When approached to contract with them for their vendor program...beware. I received a phone call saying that I had been "recommended" to Meryl Haberman by a previous bride or one of their employees. When I questioned this at the store they had no idea. I contracted with them for a one year contract (opt out after 6 months) and thank goodness for the opt out. My biggest gripe was "Black Friday" weekend. I had asked if some sort of "trial period" or some really short term (1-3 month) contract was possible before agreeing to 1 year and was told no. I get there that weekend and learn of some other vendors there displaying and showcasing free of charge! What really upset me was the fact that I was set-up off in a corner and these vendors, once again there free of charge, were invited to showcase right in the middle of the store and can easily be seen upon entering and exiting the store.
Don't expect much out of store traffic as they come there with 1 of 3 intentions: 1) Picking out a dress 2) Trying on a dress 3) Picking up their dress. All this is usually within 8 weeks of the reception and they already have all vendors they need booked for their reception. Oh and probably 50% of the store traffic are actually brides, others are bridesmaids and little girls trying on dresses for school dances! When approaching the customers and advertising yourself, you feel like one of those people in the mall trying to sell lotion. The clients just form a big circle around your table, almost as if you have some sort of odor. Very seldom does an employee send one of their clients over to check you out. Most of the store traffic already had a vendor for the service I provide. When you're there set-up at the store, the employees and management act like they paid you to be there instead of you paying to be there. You almost feel like an employee. I was commanded to do certain things that a client of mine would ask me to do instead of being able to work my own magic in terms of promotion.
For the money paid, you would think they would make their employees promote your service, but instead displaying brochures and business cards is good enough for them and they think they did their job. They do send you a copy of the registry once every 2 weeks and I did get some inquiries from that, but if I didn't quote them the Lowest price they’ve ever heard...forget it! When you contact Meryl regarding your concerns you just get "I'll have to check with the management at the store on that". I never did get an explanation about Black Friday weekend! What a waste of hard earned money this truly was! They are willing to take your money with little or no return! Take my advise wedding vendors, the best and most cost effective form of advertising is word of mouth. If you’re just starting up, the next best thing is the web.
Create or pay someone else to create a professional looking website and optimize it for major search engines. Brides today are very tech savvy and will turn to the internet at some point when looking for vendors. You need to reach them when they’re actually looking for you, not a few weeks before their reception when they’re stressed out at David’s Bridal figuring out their dress!