Buyer Beware: Purchasing Authentic Bridal and Formalwear

Buyer Beware: Purchasing Authentic Bridal and Formalwear

Photo from www.knockoffnightmares.com – see more at their website or Facebook page.

“While online shopping is always risky, buying a wedding dress online may be biggest gamble of them all. Still, many brides-to-be will scour the internet in search of tempting discounts or convincing counterfeit gowns. But if you dare to order that dream dress online, you may well receive a truly unrecognizable garment in your mailbox — not to mention, it probably comes from a sweat shop.” –Amanda Scherker in The Huffington Post, January 2015

This is a little bit of a touchy subject because some people might think we’re just out to sell dresses. That is how we make our living, and small family businesses are constantly fighting “the big guy” to stay afloat, but that’s not what this is about. This is about YOU: a current consumer in the bridal or formalwear market being bombarded from all directions by ads and people out to sell you something.

This is a message to inform you of what’s out there, so you can avoid stress, disappointment, and a waste of money. We have seen time and time again customers come into Hope’s at the last minute DESERATE to find a replacement dress. Why? Because the dress they thought they had scored a bargain on was NOTHING like they expected, if it even came in at all! At least on a monthly basis, we have the opportunity to help ladies who are dealing with these (admittedly, first-world) crises, but no one should have to deal with this!

When you change your status to “engaged” on Facebook, look up that first Sherri Hill prom dress, or Google “mother of the bride dresses” you are immediately tagging yourself as a potential customer to thousands of online sellers and unauthorized retailers who are not reliable. You will see pop-up ads, suggested sites, and may even start receiving emails you never asked for.

What’s so enticing are the prices, I know. Mom taught me to be a true bargain shopper, and I have fallen for some online “too good to be true” deals myself. But, PLEASE, if you are buying a dress for one of the most important days of your life, be wise. When you buy an authentic designer dress from a reputable bridal shop, you are making an investment that is worth it. Bridal shops like Hope’s haven’t been in business for over 40 years by swindling people out of their money; we know how to take care of our customers and we provide quality merchandise at a fair price.

When you purchase a dress online or from a discount retailer, you have no recourse if it is not what you expected. From cheap or damaged fabrics to incorrect sizing or colors, you likely will be unhappy when your garment arrives on your doorstep. Sure, there are exceptions, but too often customers are not satisfied with the “designer” (AKA: knock-off) dress that they receive at 75% savings. And what’s even worse- sometimes those dresses never even show up! We have heard from customers more than once about a dress that never arrived, and when they went to the website to file a complaint, it had DISAPPEARED. Wow.

So, I don’t want to preach to you. You are smart and can make your own decisions, but I want to share some snippets from some of our designers’ websites below. See for yourself. Please, please, please check that who are buying from is an authorized retailer. It will SAVE you. It will save you time, heartache, and money in the end when you know for certain you are buying authentic bridal and formalwear.

Faith, Hope & Love,

From Maggie Sottero/Sottero and Midgley:
“The number of counterfeit products in circulation is rising constantly. Counterfeit Maggie Sottero products are being offered on websites (E-commerce), in web auctions and in unauthorized retail locations. In some cases, suppliers from China claim they produce genuine Maggie Sottero products. These products, however, have proven to be counterfeit and have been the cause of great dissatisfaction, disappointment and regret.
Authorized Maggie Sottero Retailers provide a high level of service and support that their customers deserve and Maggie Sottero expects. Authorized Retailers are free to set their own prices. If the price of a Maggie Sottero product is significantly below the prices generally prevailing in the market, it is highly likely it is not a genuine Maggie Sottero product.”

From Mori Lee:
“Any time something is in high demand, we see counterfeiters spring into action, ready to take advantage of those who want a good deal. Unfortunately, this could result in you being cheated when you look for one of our gowns or dresses. We don’t want you to get scammed, not just because it’s a financial blow, but also because our one desire is to ensure you have a dress you’ll feel amazing in.
Always committed to maintaining the highest level of quality and remaining true to the intent of our designers, we strongly recommend you purchase your attire only through an authorized Mori Lee retailer where one of our trained bridal consultants can help you. Our dresses are made with consistency in mind, which keeps pricing stable across reputable distributors. As the wise old saying goes, a deal that looks too good to be true probably is.”

From La Femme:
“Authentic La Femme dresses are made with quality materials and constructed by hand. Prices will be consistent across all authorized retailers. If you find a shop or website offering a La Femme dress substantially lower than other retailers, it is most likely a low quality counterfeit item they are selling. Please do not be taken advantage of and report the site.”

From Sherri Hill:
“Sherri Hill, Inc. is highly devoted to minimizing the sale and distribution of counterfeit gowns and in March of 2013, the company was featured on The Today Show to discuss their work with fighting knock off designer goods. Don’t forget to buy from an authorized retailer and register your dresses on the Sherri Hill website to ensure authenticity.”

From Kitty Chen:
“Kitty Chen and KittyChen Couture labels purchased from unauthorized sources, either a unauthorized retail location or on the web can involve certain risks including but not limited to:
– The products could be copies, knock-offs, counterfeits or imitations that are certain to be of inferior quality.
– The gown may not be delivered even though a deposit has been made or the gown has been paid for in full.
– KITTYCHEN COUTURE can only assist brides in the delivery of their gown if the gown is purchased from an Authorized retailer.
KITTYCHEN COUTURE authorized retailers provide a high level of service and support that their customers deserve and expect.”


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