VOW TO BE CHIC
Startup Reshapes Bridal Shopping by
Offering Luxe Looks for Less
Vow To Be Chic (Vow) is the first and only company that rents designer bridesmaid dresses and “Little White Dresses” (which brides wear to parties and receptions) for a fraction of the retail price.
The bridal industry is ripe for disruption: 86% of bridesmaids, who spend more than $2 billion annually on their dresses, never wear their dresses again. Bridesmaids currently spend an average of $234 on their dresses. Vow rents sophisticated designer dresses for $95 to $125.
Founder Kelsey Doorey was responding to an assignment at UCLA’s Business School when she asked herself, “Why can groomsmen rent tuxes while the girls have to spend a lot of money on one-time dresses?”
Doorey’s professors encouraged her to enter the 2013 Knapp Venture Competition. She won, was offered additional venture capital on the spot, and Vow To Be Chic was born.
Launched in 2014, Vow To Be Chic draws national attention because it taps the emotions of the 74% of women who serve as bridesmaids. In February 2014, when Vow’s beta website had 800 enrollees, Yahoo published a story about the company. Twenty-four hours later, Vow had 25,000 sign-ups, and one week later that number had reached 40,000. “This was clearly an option many women – particularly young twenty-somethings with little disposable income – were needing,” commented Doorey.
The company has been featured by national media outlets ranging from InStyle magazine to USA Today and was called “a remarkable ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ business idea” by John Greathouse in Forbes magazine. ABC’s Abbie Boudreau waxed enthusiastic about the selection and economy of the concept on “Good Morning America” — “no more ruffles and tacky taffeta … a more fashion-forward dress — but for less!”
How does it work?
Brides and bridesmaids browse through 56 different dress styles with 183 different style/color combinations, from 14 top bridal designers including Jenny Yoo, Watters, Alvina Valenta, and Nicole Miller. If the shopper needs a little help along the way, Vow’s complimentary stylist serves as a convenient and educated consultant. From there the shopper selects try-on dresses to be sent to them months before the event in two sizes. After confirming the perfect size, the shopper sends back the try-on dresses, and the final dress arrives a week before the event. Once the event is over, the shopper slips the dress inside a pre-paid pouch and dropped into any mailbox – no dry cleaning necessary!
Visit www.vowtobechic.com for more details.