Alfred Angelo started in 1933 and would become a leading manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer of bridal apparel. Up until about a week ago.
What went wrong?
First, Angelo got involved in retail. Instead of going into different unserved markets, the company placed themselves in the same markets as their wholesale customers. They essentially made themselves competitors to their own customers. Wholesalers dropped the line.
Top rent was paid for Alfred Angelo’s retail locations. In 2013, sales associates were paid a small $7.50 an hour wage plus commission. Commissions weren’t paid until the dresses came in. Employees might have to wait three months or more for their commission checks. As a result, Angelo couldn’t keep good employees.
Retail is declining. JR Little, a strategic planner, said from 2013 to 2017, America’s clothing retail stores suffered 64,000 job losses. From January to June of 2017 alone, general merchandisers saw 31,000 jobs go away.
In addition, Michael Shettel, founder of Gaither and Gown, described how brides want a different shopping experience in his interview with Brides Magazine.
“Over the last few years, Vincent (Piccione) and I noticed a change in the shopping habits of brides and wedding parties,” Shettel explains. “Today’s generation of tech-savvy shoppers doesn’t want to purchase a dress and wait several months for it to arrive. They want a fast, easy shopping experience. They want to try on the dress next week, not next year!,” exclaimed Shettel.
Why didn’t they close some of their underperforming stores? In retrospect, Alfred Angelo should have gone away from retail and focused their efforts online or in wholesale. Losing key employees and hiring CEOs with retail experience, but little or to no understanding of the bridal industry was the final straw. The bridal industry is its own animal.