As happy as you may be about the upcoming wedding of your best friend, it is still going to be a hassle figuring out what you are wearing. One company, Vow To Be Chic, is making this an experience to look forward to. With their designer bridesmaid dresses for rent, it will be the easiest shopping experience for a wedding party. Already featured in Forbes and InStyle, the company is making you take the vow…to be chic.
Today we sitdown with founder Kelsey Doorey and to get the inside scoop on the recent round of funding round as well as how their service lets you save big on your next big occasion.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We are very excited to have raised $5M in our series A. Our lead investor is out of New York and has asked to not be named. We have continuing investors including Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Wavemaker Partners, and Anthem from LA. We added new investors including Women’s Venture Capital Fund. We are very excited to have them all onboard for the next stage of our journey.
Tell us about your product or service.
Vow To Be Chic is a designer bridesmaid dress rental company. We give women the option of buying or renting their bridesmaid dresses and their little white dresses for their pre-wedding celebrations. Additionally, we offer accessories for purchase that make great gifts for brides and bridesmaids.
What inspired you to start the company?
I went to a wedding in Colorado and spent hundreds of dollars and more than 3 visits to get my bridesmaids dress. I watched my friend, who was also in the wedding, stop on the way up to the wedding run in and grab his tuxedo. Right then, I knew there had to be a better way.
How is it different?
We are different because we are the ONLY company to rent top bridesmaid designer dresses.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
The wedding market is over a $100B market. For the moment, we are targeting a portion of that in the bridesmaid and wedding accessory category.
What’s your business model?
Our model is one of online rental and reverse logistics. We buy inventory as needed. We provide a white glove customer service experience where brides and bridesmaids can choose how much service they want to help them through their planning and process. They can actually go through the whole process online and never have to speak to anyone. Or, literally be hand-held through it from color choices to ordering.
Does the thought of a larger company like RTR coming into the space, keep you up at night?
Companies like RTR are good for us and the space. Additional companies with like-minded models only help grow awareness for Vow To Be Chic and what we are doing.
What was the funding process like?
As you know, the tide has shifted a bit. We are very happy to have received funding to continue providing women with this option and to keep up with the demand that we are receiving.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Raising can always be a challenge but we were fortunate. We had choices to make and actually deciding to turn down additional funding was our biggest challenge.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our metrics and traction. 10x growth year-over-year. High double-digit growth in the last 6 months. And the fact that our growth came mainly from word of mouth and little marketing spend…those were all facts that they loved.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are looking to build out the team and the systems to be able to better service the demand and our customers. We’ll also open a larger showroom in Santa Monica for women to come in in person if they’d like.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Be scrappy – you hear it all the time but it’s true. Focus on your customers and traction. Start early to get the funding process going. Know when you will need the money and plan accordingly.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’re focused on continuing to grow and expand. The efforts and work to date have been a matter of shear will and muscle. We are looking forward to being able to better automate our systems and processes to improve the experience for our customers.
Where is the best place in LA to watch the sunset?
My personal favorite is from my kiteboard in Malibu. But, you can’t go wrong with anywhere that there is sand under your feet and the ocean in front of you.