The Honesty Loop
Before I dive into the juicy part, I want to provide some background info and context.
The Truth... we all know sometimes it hurts. Everyday, we are faced with the decision to tell the truth and potentially hurt someone's feelings, or telling a little white lie because we are afraid of how the comment might come across. In our minds, it usually starts with, "How do I say this without sounding like a complete meanie?" Or, "How do I say this without destroying this persons hopes and dreams."
Hopefully, you aren't uttering that second line too many times! Nobody wants to smash hopes and dreams, but when someone is emotionally invested in something, it can certainly feel that way to the receiving individual.
As Bridal Consultants, we are looked at as style experts on many occasions. Actually, when we hire new consultants, personal style is a must. Not to sound uppity, but we judge the applicant when she comes in for her interview, based on the outfit she chose to wear. Why? Because we aren't just in the fashion business - we are helping women everyday attain that bridal look they've been dreaming of for so long. One of our interview questions is literally, "Take me through your current outfit, and explain to us what style you are hoping to achieve and how you paired everything together."
I'm saying all this because in pretty much every appointment, Bride's ask us for "honest opinions" about their dress choice, or how they plan on wearing their hair, whether or not the style of the dress goes with the venue, etc. And we have a rule in the shop - honesty is King. Because reflecting on your appointment, and realizing that the consultant was just trying to sell you anything they could, is one of the worst feelings a Bride can experience post-purchase.
This all leads to a memorable story of a wonderful, beautiful Bride who had fallen in love with two dresses at our shop. She could see herself getting married in either, which is important, but they were different shapes (one was a fit and flair with a low back, the other was a strapless A-line).
Now, this Bride had a pretty interesting tattoo on her back that wasn't outrageously big, but it was of an elephant. She didn't mind if her tattoos showed (she also had her full arm covered) however there was a visual problem with how one of the dresses cut the tattoo. The fit and flair dress half covered the elephant, where only the trunk of the elephant was visible.
One of our consultants was working with her - and I was running dresses. At one point I was asked to come and provide an opinion on what dress I liked better. Well... when I saw this tattoo... my mind went to a dark place. Picture an elephant, and picture covering up the entire elephant except its trunk, now if you then forgot that it was actually an elephant, what male body part would it resemble?
TERRIBLE... I know... but I didn't know it was an elephant! And literally I couldn't stop looking at it, trying to figure out what it was actually a tattoo of. In my mind I was debating... do I say something? Or do I not.
I contemplated this for several minutes as she was changing into the next dress. And, well, I decided to say something. Because all I could think of was this Bride getting her very expensive photos back and it looking like what I saw. Plus, for any guest that didn't know that tattoo was an elephant, what would they think the same thing? Or was it just me?
Before she went into the changeroom, I snapped a pictrue, and then pulled the consultant aside and asked her what she saw. It took a few seconds, and then a worried look crossed her face. She didn't even have to say it... I knew.
So, when the Bride came out in the second dress, I allowed her to express her thoughts between the two, and then when she looked me dead in the eye and asked which one I like better, I said without a doubt this one. I then paused, and proceeded to show her the picture I took and asked her, if she didn't know it was an elephant, what did she see.
The Bride BURST out laughing. I'm talking about almost fell off the pedestal. I was prepared to lose the sale completely, but instead, this Bride thought it was the funniest thing. "OMG... OMG" was the only thing out of her mouth. Like, what!? I couldn't believe she took that so lightly. But thank the stars, because she completely agreed the dress made it look like she had something very bad tattooed on her, and she bought the A-line gown.
We've had a few instances where honesty has cost us a sale (like the Bride that wanted 3 dresses... girlfriend... you can only wear one at a time!) But overall - honesty has been our friend, and when it is used in the best intended way, everyone is happier in the end.