David’s Bridal, a key player in the world of wedding attire, started its journey down the aisle in 1950, founded by David Reisberg. Over the years, it’s had its fair share of gown-changing ownerships, evolving to meet the ever-shifting wedding industry trends.
The company faced challenges due to changing trends, filed for bankruptcy in 2018, aiming to reduce its debt load and reposition itself in the evolving landscape. The company emerged from bankruptcy with new ownership and a reduced debt burden.
Despite these efforts, the wedding industry faced further disruptions due to the pandemic, with weddings and related events postponed or scaled down. David’s Bridal had to navigate supply chain issues and adapt to changing customer demands.
Despite these obstacles, David’s Bridal continued to fulfill customer orders and serve brides but ultimately filed for bankruptcy again in April.
The company has now come out on the other side thanks to CION Investment, which acquired the retailer’s assets and restructured the company.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Kelly Cook, president, brand, technology and finance at David’s Bridal, dives into what that looks like and the new future of David’s Bridal.
“With the support of CION, we’re taking a new shape — one that takes the best parts of the old David’s and incorporates them with a fresh perspective,” Cook said. “We are using the insights we have gleaned from our 70 years of meaningful customer relationships to reimagine our role as the nation’s leading bridal, bridesmaids and special occasion authority.”
Cook noted that David’s Bridal is redefining the bridal industry by combining fashion, fit, quality and price. One way to serve customers is to improve the wedding planning process with the all-in-one app Pearl.
“Our extreme focus on her, our customers, is one of the reasons David’s, as of 2022, had the highest NPS score in retail. Serving her is everything,” Cook said.
Another approach involves launching a fresh line of luxury bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses that blend cost-effectiveness, with bridesmaid dresses starting at $99 and bridal gowns at $199, and value, boasting layered designs and figure-enhancing materials. Additionally, David’s Bridal looks to maintain a inventory of thousands of dresses, to ensure they are available whenever brides need them.
David’s Bridal reports that 67% of brides who enter their stores find their dress. To build on that, Cook says the team has a plan.
“Our plan is simple: We will leverage all of the insights and data we have gleaned from decades of meaningful customer relationships with brides across the country and meet the modern bride, bridesmaids, and all occasion customers where they are, how they want, and when they need us. Bridal has evolved, and we are doubling down on our exclusive designs, with new styles launching later this year,” she said.
“Since we are always speaking to her, we are continually amazed by her input,” Cook said, pointing out that a bride once recently told David’s Bridal, “I cried when I put on the bridal gown … it was the first time I’d ever seen my waist.”
Cook said that based on feedback, David’s Bridal has broadened its style options to accommodate the trend of the “same color, different dress” aesthetic among bridesmaids. The move comes as brides are now offering their bridesmaids the flexibility to select dresses that suit their individual body types while maintaining a unified color theme for the bridal party.
With that, David’s Bridal has not only enhanced its black dress selection but also introduced a variety of options in champagne, green, and blue hues to cater to the evolving preferences of brides and their bridesmaids.
According to Cook, the Diamond loyalty program has become a favorite. To date, Cook reported there are about 3 million members in the Diamond Loyalty Program, and based on recent research from Diamond members, Cook said the team plans to expand its offerings in 2024 including more rewards and more perks across the shopping journey.
Additionally, David’s Bridal is preparing to introduce Apple Pay and Google Pay before the year’s end, and the company is extending its buy now, pay later program in collaboration with Affirm.
“Brides and bridesmaids trust us because we care about them and their entire experience, and we have the track record to back it up: We have never missed a dress or an event. In our 70-year history, we have dressed more than 70 million women for the best and most memorable moments of their lives, and we expect to be dressing millions more for decades to come,” Cook said.