Girl Meets Dress

Anna Bance, co-founder of the designer dress rental service, tells us about the business.

Pitch us the concept... Girl Meets Dress is a disruptive eCommerce business with a mission to democratise luxury – believing that everybody deserves a Cinderella experience. We provide millions of women the ability to rent designer dresses and accessories for a fraction of the retail price, allowing them to look and feel, beautiful for all of their special occasions.

The idea of collaborative consumption is now making a big impact around the world, whether it is somewhere to stay (Airbnb) or a car (Whipcar) – and now designer clothing.

We came up with the idea when... in 2009 when I was working as UK PR Manager for French Luxury brand Hermes - and like my previous roles in the fashion industry, it involved lending the collection of dresses and accessories out on a daily basis to fashion magazines, shoots, celebrities and journalists…

I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be amazing if we could all borrow dresses for just one event, and wear a different designer for every event in our calendar?"

My co-founder, Xavier de Lecaros-Aquise and I looked into the market and we saw that no one was doing it. We were the first company to rent luxury fashion online and it is wonderful that Girl Meets Dress is now pioneering the way for rental as a new and exciting ecommerce category of its own.

The biggest challenge is... When we started, ensuring we have a full team in place while bootstrapping was no easy feat. We were lucky to find so many hardworking and ambitious staff to stick with us and the vision.

Becoming knowledgeable in so many different areas is challenging but it definitely helps to have two co-founders with complimentry and different skill sets.

Fulfilment and logistics is an area which has to evolve and improve all the time as the company grows and orders increase. New processes and staff roles have to adapt to demand for the product to maintain efficency.

The average day is spent... As with anyone running their own business, variety is massive element. On a normal day I will be in the office catching up with emails and working with the team to improve the various areas of the business. Some days I am popping in and out, to meetings with designers, a marketing partner or a supplier, or interviewing a potential new GMD team member! Some weeks are very hectic, if I am speaking at an all day ecommerce event, or attending fashion week (Thank God everything can be managed from a phone!)

The wonderful thing about an ecommerce company is the exciting variety of team members with extremenly different skills / backgrounds..., all working together each day to make our customers happy. Our customer service team is currently the largest section. We also have Marketing, PR, Graphics, Buying, IT, Social media, Content etc. We are growing fast!

In five years we’d like to be... Without giving anything away, Girl Meets Dress is proving the potential to be huge! We have ambitious and exciting plans for the year ahead. We want to continue to grow the collection of stock, the team, and to innovate within the wider fashion space.

We will continue our leadership of this emerging space and be in a position to wow our customers in every way possible and to forge a brand and quality of service which women will wonder how they managed without, giving women access to the biggest closet in the world!

The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date... The biggest ones are yet to come I hope and 2014 has a lot of potential for exciting news for the business!

I am really happy with the fact that we’ve created a fantastic product for all women to have their Cinderella moment. We all need to feel amazing for life’s special moments and Girl Meets Dress democratises fashion, enabling millions of women to afford luxury every day.

August 2013