MagnetStreet has composed this professional looking infographic to help navigate the ridiculous amount of choices brides have when picking a spot to read about fellow brides triumph and nightmares. There are probably a jillion more out there, and maybe you have a favorite, but these are the biggies. This infographic doesn't have any statistics, just some descriptions of each and a graphical representation of their popularity.
This infographic could also be called "The Knot...and everything else".
This video is very sweet and the production is awesome. Thanks to Sarah for sharing.
SPOILER ALERT: A BurlapBabe wedding hanger makes a cameo.
Sarah & David from Bella Productions Wedding Films on Vimeo.
The term "wedding hanger" only partially describes what it is you are buying. In, fact, it's probably describing the least creative feature. The real star of the show is the wire that has been crafted against it's original state, into a name of phrase. The name or the phrase is the sentiment being expressed with this wedding favor.
But before I get to describing the relevant qualities of wire, let me get something out of the way...
...THE WIRE BENDS!
I know this seems obvious, but it's absolutely the number one complaint by a mile, which is why I put it up there in all caps. Perhaps when we think of hangers, the wire many of us first picture in our heads is the stiff wire hangers we get from the dry cleaners. You know, the hangers that look like tarnished brass or bronze and scratch the crap out of you when you're not paying attention. The wire is too strong to work with on a regular basis and maintain a decent price. Instead, something like aluminium is used in order to craft names artfully.
The wire is important as it is the medium which the message is communicated through. There are two key factors with wire
- wire gauge
- crafters "handwriting" or font (topic for the next post)
Gauge is a technical term for how thick the wire is. I'd venture to guess that the vast majority (over 90%) of the wire used by crafters making custom bridal hangers, is made from aluminum. Aluminum's pliability and it's price make it the only real option.
Thick Wire (less than 12 guage)
- The phrase is more easily seen and read, both in real life and photos.
- Slightly more stable when attached to the wooden hanger.
- Tough to keep smooth. Imperfections show up more clearly.
- More expensive.
- Fits fewer characters.
Thin Wire (greater than 12 gauge)
- Less expensive.
- Easier to work with as the crafter
- Fits a lot more characters.
- Flimsy...did I mention this before?
- Bends out of shape incredibly easy, especially when shipping.
- Harder to read from normal distances, and photographing is more difficult
I have worked with both 12 gauge and 10 gauge regularly. I like using the 12 as it allows me to accommodate many of the longer phrases or names bride's request. It also installs nicely into the hanger, securely fastening it preventing detachment. In the end, it will depend on what you want your wedding hanger to say, and what vendor or business you've chosen.
There's a ton of information out there about a weddings, and it can be a lot to download. Some of it relevant, some of it not, all of it kind of boring. That is unless it's in the form of an infographic.
You can take the most mundane of topics with boring stats, wrap it up with some cute fonts and images of semi-related items and voilà...super-shiny-interesting-time!
It's on my bucket list of things to do: create an infographic. Please...I know...but don't judge. Some people want to visit the Eiffel Tower, others must see the world's largest waffle iron. It's no "world's largest thermometer" (what up Baker, CA!), but it is on my list still.
Below is a simple and cute one about cakes courtesy of Daily Wedding Planning Tip.
There are always surprises when buying something that is occasion specific and designed for a single purpose. Below is a list of common questions and concerns I field on a regular basis.
- The wire is malleable. It should be obvious that the wire is bendy, how else would a human be able to bend it into a cursive name? They should always be handled with care, but especially when first pulling it out of whatever box it was shipped in. If you can tell where the hanger hook is, pick it up by there and gently remove any packing or wrapping around the hanger.
- Most commercial grade hangers are strong enough to hold a wedding dress, at least long enough for the portion of the photo shoot where you plan to use it.
- Wedding hangers are different from wedding dress hangers technically. These wedding day photo props go by several different monikers, but there are wedding dress hangers that are just big, thick, rounded hangers to hang dresses from long term. Look for the adjectives "personalized" or "custom" when searching online.
- The hanger's shape is a pain when shipping. While it may not be heavy, it's shape requires a much larger box than you would think. And when you take into consideration the malleability of the wire, it adds another factor to consider when shipping. Do not be surprised at how much shipping costs in relation to the wedding hanger. Specifically shaped boxes and packing materials need to be used to ensure it arrives to you in good condition. And the Post Office loves to raise rates almost every single year now that shipping costs are constantly on the rise.
- Personalized wedding hangers are a new staple at weddings and showers. Despite new crafters popping up almost daily, many of them are at least a few days out from shipping if not a few weeks. Bottom line: give yourself time, order one early. Buying a bridal hanger early, whether for yourself or a gift, has the added benefit of allowing for mistakes to be corrected.
This covers the basic considerations when considering buying a custom wedding hanger. I jot them down as they come to me so I will definitely update or repost this in the future.
As mentioned in a previous post, bridal hangers are currently in a boom phase, and are a commodity in Etsy right now. When selling a commodity, usually it becomes a game of who can get their prices down the lowest. When your prices get low, the way you make a profit is by selling A LOT of LOW PRICED items.
I have seen hangers sold for as low as $4.50, before shipping of course. Even if we consider that in this special case, that the supplier has found the materials for FREE, there's still the crafters time; it still takes time to craft a name into a piece of wire. In addition, you then have to attach the wire to the hanger to make it a wedding hanger. If you can make 4 in an hour, you have $18/hr. From this $18, you have to pay...you know what, this is a subject for a different post, if any post at all. The point is, you have to sell larger volumes of wedding hangers if you going to bottom out the price and drive down the value.
An alternative is making the wedding hangers I make, different. So I add to them, I embellish them as tastefully as I see fit. Burlap flowers, pearl lining, felt bow ties, feathers, netting...I take any ideas I have and try to make the prettiest, most attractive bridal hanger I can.
Embellishment can be a 4 letter word. Well, no, it's always a 13 letter word, but some people really hate it. To the haters, it means gaudy, over-decorated, knick-knacky slop. In a lot of cases, they aren't wrong. In my case, they are. The idea of designing and creating new and tasteful wedding hangers is consistent with my mission to provide the best quality, and best experience when customers shop with me.
For a long time, I had a single place I purchased walnut (the darker finish) hangers from. The sturdiness was solid, color was rich and accurate, and they had the size specifications I was looking for. They also delivered in a timely manger, I never found myself wondering where the shipment was.
As each box arrives, I count and sort them. What started out as an acceptable attrition rate, crept up over time. I let my standards slip a little and shipped a few hangers that were questionable. At first, clients and customers made no mention of the quality of the bridal hanger they received. So logically, those I formerly deemed "questionable", now became "acceptable". And now I promoted a new batch of "unacceptable" to "questionable". Quality control can be the definition of a slippery slope.
Eventually feedback from customers popped up. Even though the name of phrase bent into wire is the focus of a wedding hanger, the hanger itself is still the frame of the whole piece. The frames were now distracting from the primary focus; a complete failure on my part. And if these customers were the ones proactive enough to contact me, how many more sat in displeased silence after receiving their custom wedding hanger?
I did two things immediately:
1) I apologized to each customer who contacted me with a concern regarding the quality of the hangers, and did whatever I could to rectify the issue.
2) Began using ONLY the best hangers, without twists, marring, or scratches.
Custom wedding hangers have quickly become a commodity. A new Etsy shop pops up almost weekly selling your standard plain personalized bridal hangers. I have control over my service, quality, and creativity. There will always be a cheaper hanger, always. Confounding cheap in some cases. I will choose to find another way to distinguish my brand other than price and hopefully customers will eventually see that.
You have a business. In this business, you (hopefully) have some revenue. In the simplest reduction, there are two ways to increase your profitability; raise prices or reduce costs. With raising prices, it is evident to the customer as they are the one footing the final bill. Whether or not you need that dollar to cover cost or line your pockets, all the customer notices is the increase in the amount of money they must pay for your product. Reducing costs however, affords you the luxury of choice; keep the savings as profit, or pass it along to the customer. Of course there is a spectrum and you can choose to keep a percentage and pass along the remainder, but these are the two basic options.
With BurlapBabe's wedding hangers, I have elected to always choose quality, and this frequently comes with an increase in cost. It doesn't always translate to higher prices, but in general it means BurlapBabe wedding hangers will be more expensive than the cheapest options out there. I know you have a budget, I know you have a loooong list of services and products to purchase. When you purchase from me, I guarantee you that I am putting all the quality and care into your wedding hanger, that you would if you made it yourself.
I want to make the best quality wedding hangers. At every turn, I look for opportunities to increase or better the quality of my materials, tools, and craft.
Custom Wedding Hangers have been around for a few years. If Etsy can be used as any sort of historical record, the oldest shop selling these items was opened in 2007. Prior to this, there is no doubt that brides and bridesmaids took to the DIY ethic and made their own. Even as recently as last year when BurlapBabe's Esty shop was first opened, there was only a handful of vendors, crafters and artists were making and selling bridal hangers. Twelve months later the landscape has drastically changed.
As of this post, entering "custom wedding hangers" in the search field on Etsy's homepage brings up 44 different items on the first page of results. 41 of those listings are for clothing hangers (most of them are technically "top hangers"), the other 3 for door hangers. Each one of these listings coming from a different shop. I'm composing a table detailing the vendors in order of their appearance on the results page.
||Jan 6. 2009
||Sep 19, 2011
||Jul 11, 2011
||Dec 8, 2010
|High End Hangers
|Row 7 Col 1
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|Row 8 Col 1
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|Row 10 Col 1
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|Row 11 Col 1
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|Row 12 Col 1
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|Row 13 Col 1
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|Row 14 Col 1
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|Row 15 Col 1
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|Row 16 Col 1
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|Row 17 Col 1
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|Row 18 Col 1
||Row 18 Col 2
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|Row 19 Col 1
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|Row 20 Col 1
||Row 20 Col 2
||Row 20 Col 3
Reviewing this table after entering in just a few vendors, there is an obvious need to include a for more pieces of data, especially the price of an average wedding hanger, as well as shipping. Quality is subjective, but there are obvious standouts when browsing these listings.
At the end of the day, the purpose of this post is tell you...buy your wedding dress hanger here. The quality is very high and the style can be tailored to your needs.