Social icons

Monday 18 March 2013

Five Minutes with Anna Bance of Girl Meets Dress

Do you ever have an event coming up - a wedding or a Birthday or some sort of occasion calling for outfit awesomeness - and find yourself flicking through a sea of amazing dresses you've only ever worn once thinking 'I have nothing to wear'?! Boys look away now, this is where the crazy starts, but girls, you'll know where I'm coming from when I say that I just can't bring myself to wear the same dress to wedding X that I just wore to party Y. It's basic wardrobe algebra (call it something mathsy and it sounds sane...).

Quite apart from the fact that there could well be guest crossover, there's the nagging fear of the rewear being captured and your shame being shared via Facebook for everyone to snigger over the following Monday... Kate Middleton may be a fan, Michelle Obama may do it, but seriously, dress recycling?! No way.

That being said, buying new dresses for every occasion adds up fairly quickly... Several weddings, numerous Birthday parties,  and countless christenings, house warmings, leaving parties and envelope openings, you're pretty much hurtling towards bankruptcy before you've even thought about the shoes... 

Luckily help is at hand and it comes in the shape of super stylish, fashion entrepreneur, Anna Bance and her genius lifesaving company, Girl Meets Dress. Not in on the secret of GMD yet? We'll let Anna explain....

Can you tell us the basic concept of GMD? 

The GMD 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.
The idea of collaborative consumption is now making a big impact around the world, whether it is somewhere to stay (Airbnb) or a car (Whipcar) – and now designer clothing.
Who is the GMD Girl? Are there any celeb GMD clients that you can tell us about?

The GMD girls loves looking her best at every event, and now that she has renting as another shopping method, it enables her to wear all the trend led,  time-sensitive fashions, while continuing to invest and buy only in those classic pieces which will stand the test of time.
We dress many celebrities for red carpet events, TV shows and photoshoots. They love the variety and selection of dresses that we have and the concept makes it so easy to borrow and return! 
What's been the most challenging part of starting GMD? Any tips for budding entrepreneurs?

The beauty of business is that anyone with a passion for making things happen can be an entrepreneur. There are no rules and launching online means you can test the concept while keeping costs very low, and stay in your current job if you need to until you are ready to commit fully.
 Whether it is watching the customer uptake, repeat orders and bottom line growth, there are so many rewarding parts of seeing something you have created from nothing grow into a brand.
What's been your top pinch yourself moment since starting GMD?

There have been so many exciting and rewarding moments so far but overall It is fantastic to hear wonderful feedback from customers every day about how we have improved their shopping lives. Celebrities have always been borrowing dresses for special events, and now that everyone is a mini-celebrity in their own world, all women can have access to this luxury.
How do you choose the dresses that you carry on the site? Do you find yourself assembling your own dream wardrobe?

I spend a lot of time online, on other ecommerce websites – seeing what is happening and keeping up to date with what is on offer to our consumer demographic. 
Of course it is my responsibility to test the designers we stock, so I make sure I try to wear at least 1 GMD dress per week.  It is important to live your brand and know what our customers are experiencing..
If you could GMD-over any celebrity who would it be and which dress would you send to her?

I won’t name names, there are too many. It is always a shame to see so many pretty girls not looking their best. Every UK awards ceremony has the majority of our top actresses / TV stars  unfortunately not choosing a dress which flatters them or their body shape. You can’t just wear a dress because you like it on the hanger, or on someone else. It has to be the right dress for you.
...And I can’t explain why this happens, because their stylists are often very well known in the industry with years of expertise. Yet they can’t get it right. 
OK, so say we had a date with Ryan Gosling this weekend... which dresses would you recommend for us from the site?

Ha! It's a tough choice, there are so many amazing options but I'd probably go for one of these… 

Hire £59 (RRP £425) 

Hire £69 (RRP £423)

Hire £39 (RRP £250)

Hire £29 (RRP £235)

Hire £59 (RRP £349)
What next for GMD? (HK Mouse is particularly keen to hear about Hong Kong expansion plans...!) 

Without giving anything away, Girl Meets Dress is proving the potential to be huge!
 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 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!

Want to know more about how it all works? Head on over to the GMD FAQs... 

1 comment

  1. How have I never heard of this website before? Amazing idea and so many gorgeous dresses - I'll definitely be ordering dresses for weddings this summer! Thanks Mice!