10 Questions with Mindy Woon and Ivan Meza, Co-Founders of Group 868
1. What was your prior work experience before opening Group 868?
MINDY: Buyer and Manager of the Bergdorf Goodman Bridal Salon.
IVAN: Northeast Sales Rep for Pronovias.
2. What Is Group 868 about?
Group 868 is a full service Bridal agency offering consultancy to Designers, Stores, and Bridal Organizations with an emphasis in the U.S. and Canada.
3. How did the two of you meet?
Ivan was Mindy’s Pronovias Rep when Mindy was at Bergdorf Goodman.
4. What type of services does Group 868 provide?
We manage wholesale sales, merchandising, forecasting, bridal business advice, manage designers’ collections, consult with designers, stores, and bridal organizations.
5. What clients do you represent today?
Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week
6. What is important for the designer to know when you select them for your showroom?
The collection needs to be fresh, relevant, and sellable in the U.S. and Canadian Market. The company needs resources and patience. Be willing to invest in marketing and advertising.
7. How long does it take for a new or foreign designer to take?
At least 5 years.
8. What trends are selling now in bridal?
These days a bride can wear anything she wants and not really look out of fashion. Trends seem to be more on the details. Sleeves are popular, light and airy in terms of style as well as weight is preferable. Comfort is important. Brides want to be able to move with ease. Looking as slim as possible especially around the waist to hip area is key as it can make or break a sale. Brides want to be light yet still want structure which in many ways is a contradiction but when designers can accomplish that in a dress they sell. More and more brides are opting for no embellishment on dresses but embellishment or no embellishment is a cycle that comes and goes when people are tired of seeing one or the other.
9. How do you see the direction of the industry?
The brides’ spending is becoming more polarized. They are either buying very expensive or very inexpensive. The middle level is not as important.
Social media is becoming more and more important. Information is moving very quickly and as much as we want the bridal gown industry to move with it, it is only going to move as quick as the factory, fabric and embellishment industry moves. High end bridal gowns still have many components that are hand finished which takes time. We see the industry will either adapt to make certain dresses faster wherever they can or change the way information is being released to compensate.
10. What do you like to do when you are not working?
MINDY: Traveling, reading, puzzling, collecting, antiquing, embroidering, decorating, looking at architecture, watching old movies, learning about history.
IVAN: Traveling, exploring, learning about history, socializing, going to museums.