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This sample marketing plan was created with Marketing Plan Pro software.

Recycled Dreams is entering its first year of operation. Through market research including focus groups, it appears the idea will be well received and marketing is now crucial for developing visibility. The store offers wedding dresses and accessories for rent. The basic market need is the ability to rent wedding dresses as opposed to the customary practice of having to purchase them for only one day.

Market Summary

Recycled Dreams possesses good information about the market and knows a great deal about the different target customers. This information will be leveraged to better serve the customers. Recycled Dreams will attempt to determine the customer's specific needs, and how it can better communicate with them.

Market Analysis

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Market Analysis
  20022003200420052006 
Potential CustomersGrowth     CAGR
Bridal couple9%114,584124,897136,138148,390161,7459.00%
Parents of the bridal couple8%112,547121,551131,275141,777153,1198.00%
Other0%000000.00%
Total8.51%227,131246,448267,413290,167314,8648.51%

Market Needs

Recycled Dreams is providing its customers with reasonable, practical, alternatives to purchasing wedding dresses. Tradition is the only thing that demands a wedding party purchase the dresses. Practicality is forcing people to reconsider this blindly accepted premise. Recycled Dreams seeks to fulfill the following benefits that are important to customers.

  • Selection- A wide choice of dresses and accessories are offered.
  • Affordability- The pricing structure will provide high quality merchandise at reasonable fees.
  • Customer service- Choosing and fitting dresses is not easy, therefore Recycled Dreams will hold the customer's hand as they journey through this monumental process.

While a few larger cities have seen the emergence of rental dresses, these are primarily progressive cities on the west coast, namely San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. This is typical of many trends, which start on the west coast and move eastward. Because the purchase of wedding dresses is so rooted in tradition, it has truly taken a while to see the emergence of these practical, logical solutions to the traditional squandering of resources for ugly dresses.

This trend is analogous to the trend of tuxedo rentals, begun over 40 years ago. It is understandable why tuxedos began to be rented first, relative to dresses. They are much more standard in appearance, therefore overhead costs are lower because there is not the need for many different styles. While this makes tuxedos more efficient to rent relative to dresses, all dress rental companies operate on a relatively level playing field (in terms of requiring the same amount of overhead) so there is not a relative advantage among the dress rental companies.

Market Growth

This market is brand new. Currently, there are only eight different west coast companies that rent wedding dresses. These companies have grown quickly, from three to eight within a year. Almost all weddings utilize dresses so the demand is there. All that is required is the willingness to be guided by practicality and break away from tradition.

The current pioneers have seen 35% increases in sales per month. The only thing that has been holding them back is awareness. When the right demographic hears about the idea of renting wedding dresses, they are very enthusiastic about this and quickly sign up.

Recycled Dreams has forecasted explosive growth within the industry. Granted there will be a learning or awareness curve as people become familiar with the industry, but once awareness has been generated, growth is exponential.

SWOT Analysis

The following SWOT analysis captures the key strengths and weaknesses within the company, and describes the opportunities and threats facing Recycled Dreams.

Strengths

  • First to market in Portland.
  • A practical, efficient way to have a wedding while minimizing sunk costs.
  • High quality products.
  • Outstanding alterations allowing all products to be fit to the wide variety of body types.

Weaknesses

  • The company lacks visibility.
  • The whole industry is so cutting edge it lacks consumer awareness.
  • The requirement to generate awareness, not only about the company, but for the industry as a whole.

Opportunities

  • Similar companies in other markets have seen explosive growth.
  • Rationality.

Threats

  • Conservatism.
  • Traditionalism.
  • Competition.

Competition

Recycled Dreams' main competition comes from traditional bridal stores. These stores can be broken down into a couple of types:

  • Franchise stores- These shops are national or regional franchises that use the buying power of a multi-shop establishment to lower prices as well as increase selection.
  • Sole proprietor shops- This style is a single outlet. It is hard to categorize much beyond this. There are some high-end independent shops as well as some budget ones. These stores are often relying on knowledge of local tastes as well as being a member of the community.

Currently, Portland has no bridal wear rental facilities (the nearest is in Seattle). There are rental facilities for men's wear such as tuxedos, however, the rental trend has not extended to bridal wear. Entrepreneurs have been afraid to venture into women's rentals out of fear that women are too fashion conscious to be willing to risk a social faux pas by renting a wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses.

As people's finances become tighter and tighter, women are making critical decisions on how they spend their money. As disposable income becomes a scarce resource, they are, now more than ever, willing to sacrifice someone else's petty and inconsequential opinions, and embrace the idea of wearing a rental gown in return for freeing up their cash for other purposes.

Service Offering

Recycled Dreams will provide rentals for all the necessary dresses required for a wedding including the bridal gown, bridesmaid dresses, matron or maid of honor dresses, and flower girl dresses. In addition to the dresses, shoes and accessories will be rented as well. These items are particularly useful for rentals because: the dresses are already chosen for the bridesmaids so they have no say in the matter, the dresses are only worn once for that specific occasion, often the bridesmaids, etc. have to pay for the dress themselves, and lastly most bridesmaids hate their dress so there is little reason to buy it for storage in the closet for the following 10 years. Recycled Dreams has an on-staff seamstress to make any necessary alterations .

The bridal dress, headpiece, and veil can be rented or purchased depending on the whim of the bride. Often the bride will want to purchase and keep these items as there is a strong emotional connection with the dress from their wedding.

In addition to the dresses which can be rented or bought, Recycled Dreams will have formed strategic relationships with local service providers for the following services: invitations, flowers, cake, catering,  photographer, and travel arrangements for the honeymoon. All of these service providers are researched and tested to ensure top-level service. For each referral made to the strategic partners, Recycled Dreams will receive a small commission.

Keys to Success

  • Selection- A wide selection of dresses must be offered otherwise the idea will be shunned because it will be too pedestrian. Customers do not mind renting a dress, they will however mind renting the same dress as their neighbor, and their neighbor, and their neighbor.
  • Professional alterations- While the dresses are to be used by a wide range of people, they must fit each current customer impeccably. If the dress doesn't, then the sub-par nature of the rental becomes all too obvious .
  • Professionalism- When people are making decisions regarding their wedding, they do not want to feel like they are cattle being herded through the corral. Professionalism and customer attention is required to make each customer feel like this is their special occasion.

Critical Issues

Recycled Dreams is in the infancy of an industry and must act accordingly. While the whole business model is quite progressive and risky, business decisions should be prudent. It is one thing to be cutting edge, it is another thing to act fiscally foolish. Recycled Dreams will pursue growth in a rational, prudent manner.

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