The co-founder of GirlMeetsDress on how she went from working at fashion mags to founding a tech company.
By Anna Bance (Co-founder, GirlMeetsDress.com)
After completing my degree at The London College of Fashion, I worked at InStyle magazine, The Telegraph magazine, Harpers Bazaar, and then joined luxury French brand Hermes as UK PR Manager where I stayed for three years before launching Girl Meets Dress. 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: “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?” And so Girl Meets Dress.com was born.
I met my co-founder, Xavier de Lecaros-Aquise whilst I was working for Hermes (I hired his company to cater at the event). Prior to launching Girl Meets Dress, Xavier was leading the UK digital media efforts for an Investment bank, whilst my background has always been in fashion, so our different skill sets were a brilliant way to launch the company without needing to hire a full team on day one.
Our first steps, as with any business, were to confirm demand for our product. So when we looked into the market and saw that no one was doing it we knew potential existed. 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.
Don’t Over Think It
If you’re looking to start your own business, don’t over think it. There will never be a perfect time to leave your secure job, risk your salary decrease, take a chance on an idea which might not work – but what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll go back to your previous role until you come up with the next idea!
The road to success is never easy, and up until the summer we had 100% bootstrapped the company and been self funded it to date. In August we received an undisclosed round of financing from Global Founders Capital, the new $200M fund from Rocket Internet’s Samwer brothers and former Delivery Hero co-CEO Fabian Siegel, which has enabled us to accelerate our growth. This partnership has limitless opportunities and GMD has the potential to be huge!
There is no doubt that launching when we did was perfect timing for the concept and it enabled us to provide a timely and innovative fashion solution during the recession. Our customers have a love for high-end fashion and have turned GMD into a guiltless addiction! The proliferation of social media, including Facebook has a lot to do with an increasing social pressure which has heightened the growing desire for people to make a statement with their fashion and for a women’s inherent desire not to wear the same dress twice. We are growing at over 100% and our customer demographic is very varied and exciting, ranging from a 14-year-old girl off to her school prom, to young professional women who have five weddings this summer +various social occasions and need a different fabulous dress for each… to Mothers of the Bride looking for that perfect look on the big day.
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 — women will wonder how they managed without, giving women access to the biggest closet in the world!
About the guest blogger: Anna Bance (@AnnaBance_GMD) is the co-founder of GirlMeetsDress.com. Founded with Xavier de Lecaros Aquise in 2009, Girl Meets Dress allows women to rent designer brands for a fraction of their retail price. Previously, she worked in the fashion industry on magazines such as InStyle and Harpers Bazaar whilst also working as PR Manager for Hermes.