Like many careers, bridal dress sales has its good days and bad days. On the plus side, you get to participate in what is often the happiest time in a woman's life. On the negative, the stress of planning a wedding can cause some customers to spill over their frustration onto you. How much a job in this field pays depends largely on the structure of your sales position.
Retail sales is the entry level position for selling, including positions in bridal dress sales. A worker in this position runs the cash register and answers basic questions for the bride to be. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual income for retail salespeople in clothing stores was $21,580 for 2010. The middle 50 percent of retail sales people made between $17,000 and $28,000 that year.
In high-ticket retail stores like bridal dress shops, many of the employees work on a commission basis. They begin with a low wage, similar to that of the retail counter help, but receive a percentage of the price from each dress they sell. The advantage of commissioned sales positions is that income is limited only by the worker's ability to sell. The disadvantage is that a bad run of luck may mean little or no income for weeks at a time. According to the BLS, mean wages in 2010 for commissioned sales workers were $70,200.
Bridal dress shops are often small affairs, with sales among the responsibilities of the owner and operator of the shop. As with other small businesses, there's no meaningful way to predict the average income of people in this position. Factors that affect how much a bridal dress shop owner makes include the owner's business acumen, the location of the business, industry trends and annual fluctuations in the wedding market.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects retail sales jobs, including those in bridal shops, to grow by 8 percent between 2008 and 2018. That's as fast as the growth expected for U.S. jobs as a whole. They attribute that growth to the close ties between retail demand, the population and the economy.