A New Way to Shop for a Wedding Gown-Nearly Newlywed

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 11.23.52 AMABC’s Shark Tank

I was recently catching up on my stories on Hulu Plus and there was an older episode of ABC’s Shark Tank (it originally aired November 2012. I know, I know I’m behind on my tv!) that caught my attention. If you’ve never seen Shark Tank, let me give you the premise. Entrepreneurs bring their business whether new or relatively well known and explain their business plan in front of a panel of wealthy “Sharks”, established millionaires and billionaires who will invest their personal money into a business in exchange for equity (ownership) or royalties on a brand or company.

A small bridal business called Nearly Newlywed, owned and operated by Jackie Courtney was looking for $35,000 capital in exchange for 10% equity in her company. According to the Nearly Newlywed website, “Nearly Newlywed is an online boutique for modern brides to buy, try and sell ‘nearly new’, fashion-forward, hard-to-find dresses.” THIS IS A BRILLIANT IDEA! As someone who looks a bridal gowns all day long, lusting over gowns that are clearly out of budget because discouraging or are seasons old and no longer available at any boutique, this is a super solution.

Unfortunately, the “Sharks” didn’t think this way. Tech tycoon Robert Herjavec told the story that when he got married 23 years ago, his wife found a dress she loved that was in her budget. He kept talking about spending $900 for a dress you like that you keep forever and cherish that is yours rather than buying a consignment dress, although still moderately expensive, not nearly the original price. While I understand his¬†sentimentality, that dress is just going to sit in a box and turn yellow while it waits 20+ years for an auditioned to either be worn again or taken apart and redesigned. Style is so fleeting that chances are, the designs will change but the memory the bride felt wearing that dress won’t. My mom still looks at her dress and loves it, but the chances of me wearing it are slim. She was half my size for starters and hoop skirts aren’t really in at the moment.

Mr. Wonderful, “Shark” Kevin O’Leary made an excellent point. Couples today would rather spend the money that would be spent on an expensive dress on the down payment for a house. He’s right, but that doesn’t mean my style will change. “Shark” Daymond John, creator of the clothing brand FUBU also pointed out that this is the one moment for a woman to make a purchase without having to rationalize it. But what Nearly Newlywed is providing is the chance to not have to compromise on either. Getting a dream dress (that is in the same condition as a sample sale dress btw) and saving loads.

The one female “Shark”, real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran just couldn’t see it as a business where she would get her money back. She did wear her wedding dress from her first marriage to her second wedding. Despite having a “sell back” option for most dresses, Barbara couldn’t imagine how she could make money when the value of a dress goes down. Much like a new car driven off the lot, the value of the dress decreases drastically. That was a turn off for most. Dallas Maverick’s owner “Shark” Mark Cuban didn’t have much to say other than the business plan wasn’t quite broad enough to include more that her tastes.

She did get a deal from O’Leary of $35,000 for 40% equity stake in her company. Courtney politely declined to have more control of her company. She had a vision and it was incredibly in tune with the way the wedding market has been going. Obviously that was a smart move as Nearly Newlywed is now partnered with Kleinfeld’s and writes a blog for Brides. With more and more people seeing “Shark Tank” and more brides looking for alternatives to paying full price for their dream dress, those “Sharks” should be kicking themselves now for not getting into this business to begin with.

Below are a sample of dresses available on Nearly Newlywed:

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Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 12.29.03 PMAll photos and dress descriptions via Nearly Newlywed

These are just a sampling of the unique and in demand brial designs on the market. Some of the dresses can be sold back to Nearly Newlywed for 50% of what the cost was. Even if it means getting back a couple thousand dollars, that’s a couple thousand dollars that can go towards the mortgage or a car payment after the honeymoon is over! That is budget and bridal stylish. When looking at the dresses, there is only one of each dress, so make sure you look at the measurements before you purchase anything. Always go up a size so the dress can be altered to fit you. I know I’m not an “off the rack” kind of fit, so really make sure you know what you’re buying. They do have a 5 day return policy on most dresses, but look carefully.

I hope to see more dresses on Nearly Newlywed as it is the perfect way to recycle and upcycle dresses. Happy Hunting!

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