Written by Betsy Abraham and Christy Hinko Friday, 03 May 2013 00:00
A wedding day is one of the most memorable and stressful in a person’s life. In the months leading up to the big day, there are flowers to be bought, cakes to be tasted, and rings to be sized. But for a bride, one of the most, if not the most, important part is picking out the dress they have been dreaming of their whole life.
Bridal Reflections is here to make that dream come true a little easier.
Bridal Reflections has been serving generations of brides, their families and their wedding parties for the past 40 years. The store carries a wide selection of bridal gowns, bridesmaids’ dresses, eveningwear, jewelry and accessories, featuring both well known and up and coming designers. But storeowner Tony Micari says that what really sets Bridal Reflections apart is their customer service.
“Everywhere has good fashion and you can pick and choose where you get your fashion. What cuts the cake is what you do after you order the gown. How do you alter it, how do you service the customer, how do you follow up on detail? These are the things that will set you apart from others in the business who are not serious contenders,” Tony said.
The business’ 80 percent referral rate speaks volumes about its customer satisfaction. Previous clients will often come back with their children and word of mouth drives the business.
“You’re building a relationship over many months and that’s what helps us get so many referrals. Many customers feel that we’re part of their day and family in a sense, and want to continue that tradition of working with us,” said Anthony Micari, Tony Micari’s son and Bridal Reflections’ operations manager.
“If you remember you were treated nicely, when the time comes, you’re not going anyplace else. I feel that’s our strong niche and we appreciate that,” Tony said.
Tony's wife, Maria, started the business 40 years ago, opening up the first Bridal Reflections store in Massapequa. Shortly after, Tony became involved. Business boomed and the couple opened a store in Carle Place three years later, eventually opening a third store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan five years ago. Tony says the business has rapidly changed over the past four decades due to increased selection, more designers, and the different methods of advertising.
“It used to be a relatively simple business,” Tony says. “These days it’s much more involved. The selections you have today and things customers ask for now that didn’t exist then. When we started the business, we were able to do business with just 20 samples, now we have thousands.”
Tony says that while the wedding business may look glamorous, it is a lot of hard work to make sure everyone-which can sometimes include bridesmaids, mothers and grandmothers, in addition to the bride- looks their best and is happy.
“You have to work around all the dynamics going on in a bride’s life for six to eight months before she gets married, so there’s a lot of stress. We understand that and don’t take exception to it. We deal with it and make sure everything is resolved, one way or the other,” Tony says.
Bridal Reflections Vice President Cristina DeMarco says that she loves helping brides find such a special item.
“It’s so gratifying when you help someone find something beautiful and they feel beautiful about themselves. They’re not just purchasing their gown, they’re having an experience with us,” DeMarco said.
“A bride will often come in with such pressure on herself. I think by helping them through the process of trying different styles and helping them think out of the box and showing them something they wouldn’t imagine themselves in, and showing them a fashion they wouldn’t think of trying on, that’s where we make a difference,” DeMarco says. “When a girl goes to our competitor, they just show her one style, but we show something that’s a little more unique. And 90 percent of the time, they’re purchasing something completely different than what they expected.”
The salon also actively gives back to the community. Tony estimates that they have given away over 11 thousand prom dresses to high school girls, and around 500 wedding gowns to women who have served or have fiancées in the military. They recently participated in an event hosted by Chateau Briand, a catering venue in Westbury, where girls from Long Beach High School were able to shop, free of charge, for a dress to wear for prom. Eighty girls were able to pick a stylish Bridal Reflections dress that was in pristine condition.
“We’re fortunate enough to do the kind of business that allows us to have that excess inventory from samples or gowns that were never picked up,” Tony said. “Giving is really a very selfish thing because when you give you always get back tenfold. Our business has continued to succeed and I think we’re very blessed and I think part of it is that we’re in unison with our community in many ways.”