The cost of a bridesmaid dress now averages $200 (and that’s before alterations, another $40+). For a dress that’s worn once, it’s an expense that not everyone can afford. That’s why Mallory McKewen and Kaleah Baker started BridesMade, an online store that offers bridesmaid dress rentals for as little as $70.
The co-founders plan to shake-up the bridal wear industry by eliminating the need for fittings or alterations, using designs and fabrics made to fit any body type. The startup’s new line of proprietary dresses is set to be released early 2018, giving bridal parties more style options and adjustability. Fuelled by customer inquiry, the line may even include a daring new camouflage pattern.
The renting of wedding attire was once a male exclusive club, but McKewen saw the transferability of the opportunity when some of her female friends started getting married. “I would have friends that when asked to be bridesmaids vent to me about it, which I thought was sad, and the opposite of how it should be – it’s more of an honour and an exciting thing. My brain just switched to ‘how can I make it better?” Not only that, she realized that millennial brides tend to have friends that live across the country or even the world, with no way to get them all in a store together at the same time.
Having entered the Velocity Garage startup incubator just six months ago, the team has already supplied dresses for sixty weddings in southern Ontario, and have a plan for future expansion.
“For 2018, our goal is to have a presence across Canada, and in 2019 we will grow into the US. We definitely know this is a problem in markets outside of North America, and we would love to be the ones to tackle it. We definitely see this becoming a multi-national company.”
To learn more about their new dress line, browse BridesMade’s website, or connect with their personal stylists.