Bridal Business Profitable To the Handbag Department
Gus Mayer, New Orleans, and Stearns Company, Boston, Through Inter-Departmental Cooperation, Make Handbags an Important Part of the Wedding Trousseau.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Because the marriage rate is increasing rapidly and stores everywhere are capitalizing on trousseau business, we thought you might be interested in knowing what handbag buyers are doing to get their share of this profitable business. All indications point to the fact that bridal business, at least for the duration, will be a twelve month proposition.
Gus Mayer Promotes a "Two-Bag Wardrobe" for the Bride
An annual merchandising program whereby brides receive benefit of special fashion consultation service with regard to honeymoon wear has been the basis for a successful two-bag average sale for the handbag department, managed by Miss Kate Brown, at the Gus Mayer, Ltd., department store in New Orleans, La.
Bridal business has always been difficult to obtain, according to Miss Brown, chiefly because the bride is likely to let handbags go until the last when making up her honeymoon wardrobe. However, by close cooperation with the ready-to-wear department, and promotion of the "two - bag wardrobe" theme, Miss Brown has been able to realize a handsome volume of larger-unit-sale business with young brides. Handbags are important in the store's bridal displays, and consequently, from six to eight choices are always shown in the window, carefully matched with travel ensembles, including luggage, shoes, suits and coats. "We try to indicate to the bride that it will help her to embark upon marriage if she has a fresh new wardrobe to begin with," Miss Brown explained, "and tie our handbag suggestion in closely with the fact."
Approximately 85 per cent of all bridal business is actually developed from the ready-to-wear, corset and lingerie departments, where most brides come for advice. Various wardrobes are worked out according to location of the honeymoon. Here lies an excellent opportunity to make the handbag sale while the customer is most open to suggestion.
Whenever a prospective bride comes into the store, she is always "steered" from the apparel department to the handbag section, or if the customer wishes, several handbags for correct accessorizing with her travel outfit will be brought up for personal demonstration. With a keen eye on fashion trends of the year, Miss Brown has been able to key the styles of bags presented to brides closely with almost any apparel, and consequently, finds her suggestions well received.
"There are actually two markets for handbags in connection with bridal sales," Miss Brown said. "First, since most honeymoons are spent at resort locations, we point out that along with her new accessories, she will enjoy a brilliant or gay-colored bag for versatile use through the day and evening. We suggest fabrics in bold colors, with wooden or plastic trim and in novelty forms for this purpose, and next, portray the other side of the handbag picture by suggesting a well-made handbag for more formal occasions, traveling, and longer use.
Stearns Keeps an Eye on Bridal Angle in Sale of Bags.
The selection of a handbag trousseau is part of the service offered by Mrs. Lucile Craig Reed, wedding consultant at the Wedding Embassy of the R. H. Stearns Company, Boston. Mrs. Reed is the bride's ambassador to a store-wide staff, each an expert in his or her own specialty. Miss Mary A. Noonan, handbag buyer, and her assistants cooperate with the "Embassy" by calling attention to details in the manufacture of certain bags, the practicability of some leathers and the fact that an inside pocket is a "must" in the going away bag which is part of that bag trousseau.
First essential is the going-away bag. Problem number two constitutes shopping for the dressier bag. A bag suitable for the bridge date, tea dance or cocktail hour is an intriguing assignment. No bag trousseau would be complete without at least one new evening bag. A safe suggestion is the seed pearl bag, which lends itself satisfactorily to the majority of evening gowns.
One would imagine the bag trousseau had been covered from all angles but Mrs. Reed informed us that another all important service was to select the proper bag for the bride's mother to carry to the church ceremony. Petit point bags in a price range from $5.95 to $50 are always in good taste for the matron.
page 53 LUGGAGE & LEATHER GOODS for June, 1942