Dress shops, bridal stores experience delays from Chinese suppliers due to coronavirus
Wedding dresses that would normally take 6 months to order, could now take up to a year
Some dress shops and bridal boutiques are experiencing delays from their Chinese suppliers they've never witnessed before amid the coronavirus outbreak.
If a wedding dress would normally take six months to arrive, some brides-to-be are now waiting eight months, perhaps up to a year. Even though the gowns are designed in North America, just about everything Nelly Semaan sells comes from Asia, predominately China.
"I had to turn a few orders away because I couldn't get them in on time," said Semaan, co-owner of His and Hers Wear and Bridal in Windsor, Ont.
The boutique has been a family business for more than 50 years. Semaan said she's never witnessed delays to this extent ever before.
And she's not alone. Other bridal shops in Windsor are also experiencing delays in getting dresses on time.
Since wedding dresses are ordered so far in advance, Semaan isn't worried about any of her current brides. Plus, she has a lot of stock on-hand that can be tailored.
"We're a small store so a little glitch in things, a little bump in things, it affects us tremendously."- Tricia Xavier, owner of the Purple Pansy in Chatham, Ont.
However, even prom gowns and bridesmaids attire are being delayed upwards of three months. Before the coronavirus outbreak, she could place a rush order and receive it within weeks.
"Usually I could, but now because of the coronavirus I'm sorry I can't," said Semaan. "You're going to have to make due with what's here. We're going to have to figure things out."
Even area florists are worried how they'll function if these factory shutdowns in China are prolonged.
"It's very concerning because if we're not finding it from there, are we able to find it anywhere else, or what's going to be the cost of it," said Tricia Xavier, owner of the Purple Pansy in Chatham, Ont.
She orders roughly 80 per cent of the stores product from China due to the low cost, aside from its fresh flowers, which are sourced much closer to home. Things like containers for floral arrangements, artificial flowers and silks, Christmas garlands and wreaths all come from overseas.
"We're a small store so a little glitch in things, a little bump in things, it affects us tremendously," said Xavier.
Just last month she attended the Toronto Gift Show. She quickly learned one of her suppliers can't go to China to shop for products that she would receive in store months down the road.
"This stains our livelihood," she worries, if it trickles down to her small flower shop.
Roughly 30 per cent of her business also supports weddings.
Searching for new suppliers
Even though some factories in China are operating again at half capacity, Semaan has already begun scoping out new suppliers in Europe in the event these delays are long-lasting.
"Hopefully, you know what, this can come back to North America," said Semaan. "Years ago, goods were made in Montreal, in New York, in Toronto. It would be nice to get that back here."
Forced to 'scrounge around'
She's even run out of custom-printed garment bags that are made overseas because of delays in shipping due to the coronavirus, forcing her to "scrounge around" to fill the void.
Semaan watches her email closely as she's been getting daily updates on the delays for the dresses she sources from China.
Luckily she hasn't had to tell any brides-to-be or potential prom queens that the gowns they already ordered would be delayed, as she always plans "way ahead of time."