Wedding Dress Consultants
Wedding dress consultants are specialized retail sales associates who work one-on-one with brides to help them find gowns and accessories in bridal gown shops or boutiques. They measure brides and use their knowledge of fashion trends to help select dresses that will best flatter a bride's body shape and size. Wedding dress consultants often get to work in comfortable retail store settings. However, work might be slow during wedding off-seasons and very busy during peak summer months.
Career Skills & Info
Wedding dress consultants need excellent communication skills, customer service skills, and the ability to use a computerized ordering system and an electronic cash register. A knowledge of fabric types and fashion trends, along with multi-tasking and organizational skills, can also help them succeed in the field. According to Payscale.com in October 2016, bridal consultants earned a median hourly wage of approximately $10.60. Let's take a look at some of the steps involved in starting and advancing a career as a wedding dress consultant.
Step 1: Gain Retail Experience
Wedding dress consultants typically work in fast-paced sales environments, so it's essential for them to acquire 1-2 years' experience in high-pressure retail conditions. An aspiring consultant can seek employment in any retail environment, though clothing stores may best prepare a candidate for selling wedding gowns and accessories.
Work a commission-based job. Many bridal shops and boutiques use a commission-based system to pay their wedding dress consultants. Working for commission may help an aspiring consultant improve his or her sales skills and become accustomed to working on a commission basis.
Step 2: Fashion Design Program
Wedding dress consultants must be familiar with methods of garment construction, types of fabric, and a variety of gown styles. While a college education is not always required, some employers may give preference to applicants who have completed coursework or hold a degree in fashion design. One option is enrolling an associate's degree program in fashion design, which could include courses in fabric and fiber technology, construction and draping, color, design, and sewing techniques. Alternatively, a bachelor's degree program in fashion design will cover the same topics in greater detail along with more advanced studies than an associate's degree program.
Take business and sales electives. Wedding dress consultants must possess excellent sales skills. Taking elective courses in business and sales can help students gain the skills they need to succeed in this industry.
Step 3: Employment
Aspiring wedding dress consultants can find job opportunities through online job postings or by inquiring in-person at local bridal retailers. Consultants will likely receive on-the-job training through their employers to become familiar with what brands stores carry, what computerized ordering systems they use, and what specific sales approaches they prefer when working one-on-one with brides. A consultant can advance within a company by consistently bringing in a high-volume of gown and accessory sales.
Step 4: Continue Education
While no formal continuing education options exist in this field, wedding dress consultants can continue to expand their knowledge of the industry independently to improve their skills on the job. For example, consultants can subscribe to popular bridal magazines and attend bridal conventions or trunk shows hosted by gown designers to see new trends in bridal wear as they hit the market. Along with providing more informed service to customers, these activities can provide wedding dress consultants with the understanding of the business they need to design gowns themselves or open their own boutiques.
Just to recap, wedding dress consultants usually need prior retail experience, after which they may earn a median hourly wage of $10.60, completing an associate's or a bachelor's degree program in fashion design may help them advance in the field.