Day in the life of
Bridal Stylist – Ann Campeau
I’m the owner of Strut Bridal Salon, a size-inclusive bridal store with locations in Tempe, Arizona, and Long Beach, California.
My Typical Day
A typical day in a bridal store includes a wide variety of tasks. Always front and center is working with brides, bridesmaids, moms, and, in some stores, tuxes. Fitting clients is always a hands-on process and can also be time-intensive since bridal appointments are typically one on one and last about 90 minutes. During that time you sit with a bride (or other client) to find out about their needs, hand select dresses to try, help them into gowns and fit them (using clips and clamps, and sometimes pins), and work with their family and guests to find a favorite. This requires detailed knowledge of designers, fabrics, silhouettes, and even alteration and modification options. While it’s fun to work with the gowns, this position also requires sales ability.
Other daily projects include follow up to brides, creation of social media content (typically it’s the staff that actually tries on the wedding gowns and accessories and also shoots the photos and videos!), cleaning and repair of gowns, general upkeep of the store, and lots of phone calls, texts, DMs and social media comments.
- Working with beautiful gowns and accessories
- Always getting in new inventory (plus sometimes team members travel to market and meet the designers!)
- Great wages, if you can sell and earn tips and commission
- Job is considered glamorous and employers love to former hire stylists (it has a reputation for being a tough job to be at long term!)
- Must be comfortable hearing no and overcoming objections
- Have to work with a variety of personalities, and yes, sometimes clients yell
- If you can’t sell, it’s not a good fit, although some stores have lower paying non-sales positions
Many students who have graduated from a fashion school or program consider joining the bridal industry. Often considered a “step up” from regular retail jobs, bridal store job typically pay a slightly higher hourly wage and often include commission pay and, more recently, tipping.
Advice to aspiring Bridal Stylists
One of the things that’s so difficult about becoming a bridal stylist is the training period. I tell my new hires that it typically takes three months to feel comfortable and six months to be good. So one of the things I look for on resumes is job hoppers – and I decline them quickly. Because the training period is so long for bridal stylists, we really look for people who have some longevity at previous jobs.
I also look for high end retail (such as Nordstroms, jewelry sales, etc) experience when hiring, but that’s sometimes hard to get into. So we’ll also consider people with basic retail experience who have held that job for a year or longer. We’ll also consider stylists who come to us for an internship. And sometimes the students get school credit for it!
The best way to get a bridal stylist job is actually to reach out directly to the store and express interest (you can usually find someone to email directly through the website). It’s too easy to get lost (and declined) with online applications. I look for a cover letter, with excellent spelling and grammar, from someone expressing their interest in the industry and in my store in particular.
One thing to really consider, though, is that selling wedding dresses is often less glamorous than it looks on TV. And stylists do a little of everything around the store, from cleaning the store to repairing gowns. And to be successful in bridal you have to be able to sell. And selling, asking for the sale multiple times, can be hard. We also have to provide an “experience” for brides and their families and friends, so that can be challenging for introverts or quiet people.
It is important, though, to find a store that’s a good fit for you. Watch their social media and look at their staff. How do they dress? Are they more professional or more casual? Do they have diversity on staff? People with piercings, visible tattoos, brightly colored hair? Look for your tribe and you’ll enjoy your time in the store more!