I have read some fantastic info about why picking a niche is super important for your business. Fashion articles, entrepreneur posts, business sites, you name it. It's a common discussion.
What I've also seen is so many designers trying to break in to the bridal industry with the idea that "bridal" is a niche. Goodness gracious, you will you give yourself a headache. Everyday. I promise.
You absolutely cannot design for all of bridal. Here's why:
You'll run in circles - For every person and every style of Ready To Wear, there's a corresponding style in bridal (or should be...there are some definitely under served markets, but that's what we're here for!). You wouldn't expect a RTW designer to design one outfit style for every potential customer. You shouldn't expect yourself to, either. Don't have a mermaid style? That's fine. Hate floaty fabrics. Great. You define the style of your brand. And bridal is not a style. It's an event.
Stores won't know what to do with you - As a buyer, let me tell you. I love knowing exactly what a designer does. Every store goes into market and trade show season looking to fill in gaps. You want to be the epitome of something. Vintage feminine Hollywood style, eco-goddess earthy style, fitted and sparkly, whatever it is, you need a niche. Store owners talk, and they can only recommend you if they know how to describe you. Otherwise they'll recommend someone else who comes to mind first.
You won't do it well - Everyone has something they do better than other things. That includes your style when you design. Whether it's innate talent or just that you connect more with a certain ideal customer, you have a style you can do really, really well. And when you try to go into styles that aren't your thing, you probably won't reach the same level of excellence.
You'll go broke - It would take dozens of styles to truly cover all the bases. No designer should shell out the cash or time to put that many together. Stick to a well rounded reasonably sized collection that screams your brand and keep your overhead low. Wedding dresses are expensive! And they're even more expensive when they don't sell.
You'll blend in - You can't beat places like David's Bridal at their own game. There are companies with billions of dollars and little to no conscience that will beat you in the race to the bottom every time. If your dresses look just like everyone elses', why would stores bother to buy from you? Even assuming you can compete on price, it's still another account for them to handle and not worth the hassle.
It may seem like you won't sell to enough stores or brides without covering all of the bases. I promise, that's not true. This doesn't mean you have to design the same gown over and over again, either. You can (and should) develop as an artist and push your boundaries. You'll eventually be able to expand to other areas as you grow, just like Vera Wang isn't just about her high end minimalistic bridal gowns anymore. But only if you want to!
So what's your niche?
Can you describe your ideal bride?
Do you know what she does, what she loves, her everyday style choices, her shopping habits, and what her home looks like?
Can you pitch your line aesthetic in 15 words or less?
If not, take some time today to figure it out. It will make your next collection easier to make and easier to sell. It's absolutely worth it.