Designer gowns at a fraction of the cost!
As a recent bride having forked out a small fortune on her glistening gown, Melanie Bowman didn’t want it to face the same sad fate as so many other wedding dresses – thrown in a box never to be seen again!
After spending many hours online searching for a way to trade in her dress she realised what was lacking was a specialised bridal service that offered vintage, pre-loved and sample designer wedding dresses in one location. She thought, “why not offer to sell my dress to a willing bride who could enjoy it as much as I did – but without the hefty price tag”.
Here is what Melanie shared about running her business.
Q. Describe your business and products/services you offer
The Barefaced Bride offers a stunning collection of Australian and internationally designed pre-loved, sample and vintage wedding gowns for an affordable price.
Q. How long have you been in business?
2 years in May 2014
Q. How many hours a week do you work in your business?
3 full days / 24hrs plus every night after my daughter goes to bed I’m online on social media / instagram / blogging. I never switch off!
Q. What kind of online and offline marketing do you do and which is working for you?
I find online marketing the most effective. My website, which I have recently launched a new, more user friendly platform with an e-commerce function brings in the most traffic, and secondary are my social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube. I advertise on some specialised bridal blogs and online publications. Offline marketing includes business cards and flyers. I am looking into doing some bridal expos this year to gain more industry exposure.
Q. What mistakes have you made in running your business and what lessons have you learnt from those?
Jumping into things too quickly or making financial decisions that were not thought out. I am passionate about my business and the bridal industry, however being the owner / operator and having to wear different hats means I need to look at the bigger picture and from another perspective at times.
Q. How has your website helped you run your business?
My website has been paramount as it is my entire brand and face to the world, which has to accurately depict what my business is about and offering. Having a very visual homepage and beautiful bridal images has helped do a lot of the work for me, as customers can see what I’m selling and make appointments to come in and see the gowns for themselves. I now have an e-commerce function so my website can solely run my business on it’s own!
Q. What obstacles or challenges are you facing at the moment?
Keeping stock current and in demand to brides, and managing the studio space I have which is limited.
Q. Any other comments / points you would like to share about running your business?
I run my business from home which allows me to work flexible hours and take private appointments only. There are lots of responsibilities with owning and running your own business however it means you can reap the rewards and achievements too.
For more information visit the Barefaced Bride website.