Will you say ‘yes’ to this start-up’s wedding dress?
(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)
Ask any bride (or her parents) about buying a wedding dress and you’ll likely hear the same thing: Wow, those things are expensive. How expensive? Some — even some featured on the popular cable television show “Say Yes to the Dress” — can run into tens of thousands of dollars. Thankfully, the average dress price is much lower — about $1,600, according to a survey last year conducted by The Knot. Accessories (veils, shoes, lingerie), can bump up that price by hundreds more.
“It is such an antiquated process,” Leslie Voorhees told the San Francisco Chronicle. Voorhees should know — she went through it all last year for her wedding and was frustrated by an industry that made it difficult to comparison shop. Voorhees, a former Apple employee, saw an opportunity. So she quit her job and joined up with her husband to start their own company Anomalie, which aims to “change a corner of the retail market that (they say) is continuously exploited for its sentimentality.”
How can they do this?
By offering customers (who are mostly working women — venture capital partners, lawyers, executives) a lower price on boutique-quality dresses because she supervises all of the operations and manufacturing at a factory she located in China. Right now, their dresses are more expensive than average. But that’s not the long-term plan. The couple’s strategy is to grow the business enough so that dresses can be ordered in bulk which should drive prices down to about $1,000 per dress, producing what they claim would be a higher quality product than what bridal stores are offering and with faster delivery dates.
The Silicon Valley company — which raised $1.5 million in funding last December — employs a dozen people, has “grown tremendously” in good part to its strong social media following, particularly on Instagram.
“It’s surprising that people haven’t come in and disrupted this market yet,” Voorhees told the Chronicle. “And we hope it will be us.”