White Dress Bridal Boutique
in Walker's Point is expanding its footprint with a new off-price concept, aiming to attract brides with limited time and budgets.
White Dress Off the Rack has taken over a 2,026-square-foot retail space at 196 S. 2nd St., just three blocks west of the business' flagship location on East Pittsburgh Avenue. Dresses are on display inside the space and signs posted on the windows indicate the store is "coming soon."
The store will carry sample designer dresses that have been discontinued and can no longer be custom ordered, and as a result, have been marked down 50-75% off the original price, said Christina Wegner, owner of White Dress Bridal Boutique.
"They're great for a bride who wants to get a designer dress, amazing quality, but doesn't have time to wait the four to six months for the dress to come in, or is looking to spend less than $1,500," Wegner said.
Wedding gowns by a cohort of 12 designers at White Dress' full-priced store range from $1,500 to $5,000, according to its website.
Wegner tested the market earlier this year with an off-price pop-up shop, which operated for a total of 60 days and sold approximately as many dresses during that time.
"What I found was there were countless brides coming in who had heard of White Dress, really wanted to be a White Dress bride, but didn't necessarily have the budget of $1,500 dollars and up but (they were) able to find something," she said, adding feedback from some shoppers was the pop-up was nicer than some local full-priced boutiques.
White Dress had tried to run sample and flash sales in the past, but didn't have as much success, Wegner said.
"The brides who come in to White Dress want the full experience, they want the champagne toast and the sign, they want the whole experience, and that's really what our brand is," she said, "But I cant necessarily say that the other shop won't provide that experience."
When White Dress Off the Rack opens, it will initially have about 150 dress varieties for sale, all made within the past year. Dresses are sold as is, with no returns and no alterations.
Wegner said the off-rack bridal boutique will be the first of its kind in Milwaukee. Common practice at other stores it getting rid of extra inventory or selling it to consignment stores. But because White Dress rotates its inventory twice a year, Wegner said, there's usually not an excessive amount of leftover items that would need to be pitched.