Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)
Just Say No. I recently went to House of Brides Couture with my four wedding day divas. This past Sunday was gorgeous, simply gorgeous. 80 degrees, sunny skies and an OK brunch at the bistro next to The Peninsula (prices are a bit pricey, but the quiches are tasty…don’t order takeout coffee here, you’ll pay an arm and a leg). We had a 2 pm appointment at the House of Brides, 730 N. Franklin. When I made the appointment, I was told we’d only have one hour. Oh….kay.
Let’s set the scene. You are a bride-to-be, have your girlfriends in town (two of which flew in) and you are spending a Sunday in your favorite American city. The group is one big giggle machine, sharing stories, talking about dress ideas and having a good time. As soon as we reached the House of Brides foyer, that changed. We arrived into a waiting area, nicely decorated with sample dresses, tiaras, shoes, etc. Two women sat behind the counter, asked my name and turned me over to a KIOSK to register. That’s right. A kiosk. The happy mood we were in turned into a somber feeling of being at a museum, scolded by the guards at the door.
My cousin was next to me and tried to hold back her laughter. This ‘kiosk’ was meant to register me, but this is assuming I’d even purchase anything at this store. The machine asked for my name, address, number, wedding date, number of girls…I expected my social security number to come up next. The ladies at the counter sensed my frustration and came over to help me, only to make me feel more like a child being scolded for not finishing the finger-punching into the kiosk. I just wanted to look at dresses. I wanted my girls to have fun, help me pick the look of the wedding and enjoy the day.
After the kiosk exchange, we were sent to the back of the store, had a very brief overview of ‘take in as many as you want, but try to limit it to 5’ and that was it. The whole feeling of that dress area seemed like a hastened rush. As the bride, I was trying to look at all the styles, see what my friends and cousin liked, all while wondering if a sales person would come help us. No suggestions. No feedback on designers. No information on process of the store, ordering, etc. That came later….
We all decided on one style of dress and the ladies were happy. The color was chosen, along with the dress sashes. The person assigned to us, came over, took the measurements and as she walked away said, “Ok, the dresses are $145 and if you get them altered here, that’s $75. 98% of dress orders need to be altered.”
Whatchu talking about, Willis?
What a great way to slip that in, post fact. I was a bit in shock with the poor service and the $75 alteration charge and left House of Brides in a mood 180 degrees from where I was earlier that day.
One of my friends is from my hometown. She reminded me of the nearby phenom salon, Maria’s Bridal, that took care of both her gown and our bridesmaid dresses. Our eyes lit up. After a brief shopping stroll on State Street, Goldie and I went back to my condo, whipped out the laptop and found the exact dress on the manufacturer’s site. From there, we called Maria’s Bridal and BAM, they have the same dress – for $133 without alterations. Not only that, the woman on the phone asked about my wedding, how I met Michael, etc. Basically things that no one asked me at House of Brides. No warm and fuzzy chat, nada.
Thanks, but no thanks. The good news is, the girls will be working with Maria’s Bridal of Rochester, Michigan, giving them new business. House of Brides won’t be getting my business.
Weddings are a big deal and even though your store is in the business of ‘the same ole’ day of showing dresses, your brides aren’t. Weddings happens once in a lifetime for most brides and they could use a little oohing, aahing and how are yous.
(before I wrote this post, I called House of Brides and provided their front desk staff with this exact feedback…after trying to talk to the woman who helped us…then getting disconnected..then calling again).
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