Tell us a bit about yourself, background and what you do currently
After completing my degree at The London College of Fashion, I worked at InStyle magazine, The Telegraph magazine, Harpers Bazaar, and then I joined Hermes as UK PR Manager where I stayed for 3 years before launching Girl Meets Dress. Girl Meets Dress is a disruptive eCommerce business with a mission to democratize luxury – believing every woman should have access to their dream wardrobe. 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.
How did the idea of GirlMeetsDress come about?
The Girl Meets Dress story began 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?”
When we looked into the market 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.
What has been your biggest challenge?
When starting a business, ensuring we have a full team in place while bootstrapping was no easy feat. Becoming knowledgeable in so many different areas is challenging but it definitely helps to have 2 co-founders with complimentary and different skill sets. If you can split the main areas of the business between you, then you can launch with minimal cost and test the product at market.
What’s been your greatest achievement personally?
The greatest 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 enables millions of women to afford luxury every day.
If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you be doing?
I would most likely be involved with another business venture. I knew it was just a matter of time before I started my own business, something I had always wanted to do when the right idea came along.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My team really inspire me. We were lucky to find so many hardworking and ambitious staff to stick with us and the vision when we first launched. I’m always working closely with the team to improve the various areas of the business. The wonderful thing about an ecommerce company is the exciting variety of team members with extremely different skills / backgrounds, all working together each day to make our customers happy.
What does the future hold for you?
I have ambitious and exciting plans for the year ahead with Girl Meets Dress. 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!
What advice would you give any aspiring entrepreneurs?
Although not 100% necessary, I recommend choosing an area that you know something about. There are exciting ways to pioneer every market, whichever field you love. Of course, you can learn about any new topic – but will you be able to compete with people with years of knowledge and expertise.
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!
Anna Bance is the co-founder of designer dress hire company GirlMeetsDress.com. Described by the Sunday Times Style as “Rental’s answer to Net-a-Porter”, Anna has been busy pioneering the way forward for rental as a new and exciting ecommerce category of its own.