Any bride knows the struggle of wedding dress shopping. Making an appointment takes months, and when you finally book an appointment, finding the perfect dress you pinned on Pinterest is nearly impossible. And top it all off, waiting for months for a delivery really doesn’t help with all the stress.
Luckily, there’s a new addition to the fashion-and-tech world that tackles these exact problems: Floravere, a digital shopping experience which removes much of the burden associated with looking for a dress in-store. Launched just a few weeks ago, it is already turning heads at big luxury bridal companies and magazines such as InStyle, Brides, Tech.Co, Women’s Wear Daily, and Cosmopolitan.
Molly Kang MBA ‘15, founder and CEO of Floravere, said that she got the idea for her company when she was shopping for her own wedding gown. “I had a pretty miserable experience when I was shopping for my own dress. Every step was an obstacle and to add to that, the prices were ridiculous. I created this website to make the process more easier, efficient, and cheaper for women who are looking for bridal gowns.”
The multiple styles and silhouettes of the gowns, designed by previous designers for Monique Lhuillier, Dior, Zac Posen and Reem Acra, are all priced under $4000. Brides can pick up to three styles of dresses to be shipped to the comfort of their homes for only $45. Kang hopes this will help bring the fun back to looking for bridal dresses, through brides having “try-on” parties at their own convenience or in the comfort of their own rooms, rather than waiting months for an appointment at inconvenient time. After trying on the gowns, all the bride has to do is return the dresses in the prepaid shipping material, log on to the website to make any customizations necessary to her favorite style , and the gown will be made to order in 10-15 weeks.
As successful as Floravere has been in capturing the attention of tech-savvy millennial brides striving for efficiency, Kang says it has been a rough journey to getting to the point they are at today. As I asked her about some of the struggles, she candidly replied, “At times, it feels like the entire world is against you. Getting a product out has been one of the most difficult tasks I have ever faced, especially here in the luxury bridal industry. There [are] so many obstacles along the way.
“From facing constant critique because my company does not follow traditional methods, to getting the website built … to looking for talented members to join the team, I’m not going to lie: It’s been a difficult process. But I’m learning more in my life than I ever had. And believing in my idea and realizing that it can help brides has really helped me push past these obstacles.”
Kang advised future or current entrepreneurs at Stanford to keep this point in mind when starting a business. The power and passion behind your idea are what will help you overcome obstacles. Ensure that you aren’t simply starting a business for the sake of starting a business, but rather have an idea that you are truly passionate about.
Kang followed her belief and only applied to Stanford’s MBA after having this business idea in mind, even writing about it in her application. “Going to Stanford definitely gave me an edge in starting my business. There were so many classes catered towards people who have an idea in mind and want to further develop it. One of my favorite classes was called “Start-Up Garage,” in which we designed and tested business concepts. The professor in this class ended up becoming my first investor.”
But that was not the only benefit Kang has gained from going to Stanford. Having an incredibly powerful network has definitely propelled Kang’s business in a better direction. She says, “I made some incredible relationships at Stanford, and whenever I need help my peers have the capability to help me, whether it’s reaching out to one of my friends who works with Facebook ads to asking questions about Google analytics.”
Kang ended the interview with one last piece of advice for Stanford students who are interested in starting their own companies. “There’s this quote, ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can,’ and I’m a firm believer in it. You will always feel like you can be in a better position, but if you have that passionate idea, the best time to start is now.”
Contact Medha Verma at medhav ‘at’ stanford.edu.