With winter turning to spring and thoughts of summer following, one thing is guaranteed and that is the annual return of bachelorette season. While the majority of the country continues to shovel out from the record setting snowfall and the warmer climes contend with rain, springtime begins with future brides holding the annual ritual gatherings of their besties to shower them with thoughtful gifts she (hopefully) doesn’t already own.
As many of us know, bridal season starts blossoming just when the springtime flowers do in late March. With the typical wedding months of May and June following closely behind, many bridal parties schedule their bridal showers a few months before the big day. But many stores also experience a year round demand for bachelorette products and lingerie and those stores adjust their inventory accordingly.
Lingerie is a really big seller for us for bridal showers and bachelorette parties. Several years ago, white was the most popular color but we’ve seen that softer pastel colors are starting to sell more to those buyers. -Carol, Pink Kitty
Charles Craton, owner of three Entice stores in Georgia and Tennessee, stated “For us, bachelorette season is year round. More and more people are not getting married in the typical season anymore and personally, I think the notion on being a June bride is kind of old school. It seems to me that weddings in the summer months are getting rare. Even still, September and August of 2015 look like they are going to be popular wedding months for us in the South.”
Ben Kurbis, the buyer at Déjà Vu in Vista, Calif., agreed “especially here in California, wedding season is year round. I’m sure the weather has something to do with it and that SoCal can often be a destination wedding location, especially during the winter. But I have noticed that we do tend to have stronger bachelorette sales during the typical April through June bridal season.”
Gag gifts and the plethora of bachelorette party supplies have turned into a store staple for just about every adult store and the leaders in this department include Kheper Games, Hott Products and Pipedream. “The best sellers, hands down, are the penis straws,” shared Charles Craton. “Everything else after that is mixed. Sashes, tiaras, light up Hott Products items, and Kheper Games have always been popular. Pipedream has a wide range of funny bachelorette party supplies, too. In fact, they can be used for any fun party and we always keep a good supply on hand because the wedding season can be extended over a period of time. There are the showers, the wedding itself, and the honeymoon so that gives us essentially three different times we can make a sale for the happy couple. We never miss a selling opportunity.”
Kris Snyder, buyer for the Secret Desires and Love Stuff stores in Southern California, has seen bachelorette buyers come in a little earlier this year. “The season usually starts in March but we have had a lot of people coming in for supplies early this year. We always carry these party supplies and our larger store, in Torrance, has quite a huge selection and in turn becomes a destination spot for their parties. Even the smaller stores do exceptionally well with a limited selection.”
Carol, assistant manager of the independent retailer Pink Kitty in Irvine, Calif., feels that the bridal shower and bachelorette party goers begin to trickle in during the first few months of March and continue picking up through April and the beginning of the summer. “We always stock bachelorette products year round but beef up the inventory just before they start coming in. We always have something for them.”
And what is it that these customers are looking for? Besides the aforementioned penis straws and naughty party supplies, the celebration throwers want to buy adult toys from simple to fancy and most likely, want to purchase a sexy little something from the lingerie department, too.
Pink Kitty’s Carol continued “Lingerie is a really big seller for us for bridal showers and bachelorette parties. Several years ago, white was the most popular color but we’ve seen that softer pastel colors are starting to sell more to those buyers. And they usually buy pretty skimpy and sexy ensembles so we always have those available.”
The color palette at Charles Craton’s Entice stores is vastly different. “We will, and always, sell more black lingerie than anything else, even for bridal showers with red being the second best selling color. I think the symbolism of the purity of white for a wedding night and bridal shower is a lost cause!”
Secret Desires’ Kris noticed “Coming off of Valentines Day, there is usually an ebb to lingerie, however this year it has been great as if we’re still in the season. The type of lingerie definitely shifts from something naughty to something less risque.” Regarding the color choice for the new brides, Kris found that “You would think white lingerie would be the most popular, but I find most people want to go a different route and they tend to go for pastel blues, aqua, and ‘baby’ pinks.”
The generous bridal shower gift buyer often doesn’t stop with just a negligee, either, and nowadays, adult toys frequently accompany a purchase of something smooth and silky. Pink Kitty’s assistant manager, Carol, shared, “I found that about half of our bridal shower lingerie buyers also get a sex toy. Which one usually depends on how close the buyer is to the bride. If she’s a close friend, she’ll get something fancy like a Lelo, We Vibe or Jopen toy, something the bride doesn’t have and can share with her partner on her wedding night. What they usually do is make a really nice gift basket with lingerie, massage oil, lube, a couple of toys, essentially something that’s going to really spice things up for their special night.”
Déjà Vu’s Ben Kurbis notices an uptick in buying lingerie and bachelorette gifts yet not so much for toys. “But when we host in-house bachelorette parties in our classroom loft space, the women buy a lot, not only for the bride but for themselves, too. They always have a great time learning from our staff member, are entertained and we make some great sales.”
Charles Craton has observed that bachelorette buying gives people the excuse to shop in adult stores, many times for their first time. “They can say ‘I’m gonna get some fun things for my friends getting married’ and while they are there, they can get their own sex toys. It mainstreams non-adult interested people. It’s a permission slip, like in school. First and foremost is a permission slip to go into an adult store. It’s a great area and every adult retailer should have a lot of it.”
Now’s the time to stock up on that sexy, special lingerie for those lucky brides and don’t forget the guys (Magic Silk, anyone?), and be sure to offer adult toys to excite the happy couple long after they’ve walked down the aisle. You’ll not only get happy buying customers but your store will help create many happy memories for a long life together.