This interview remained unpublished for a few months due to the fact that I had shut down my initial version of the blog. This is really the kind of encounter and stories that motivated me (and still does) to work out a new version of the blog no matter how. Some business stories needs to be shared ! Anna Bance, a former PR professionnal, launched her own company, it is called Girl Meets Dress and you might just think that it sounds like the name of a girls teenage program … Beware … Anna came with something that is huge and more than a unique venture it represents a business trend in itself. Lets ‘hear’ what she has to say about this ‘pionneering’ idea !
Business Madame : Anna tell us about your previous professionnal experiences before founding this new venture ?
Anna Bance : During my degree at the London College of Fashion, we had to do a few Internship placements. One of those was InStyle magazine and when I graduated they kept me on full time. After InStyle I went to The Telegraph, Wallpaper magazine and Harpers Bazaar, before joining Hermes as UK PR Manager at French Luxury brand Hermes, where I stayed for 3 years.
BM : How did you became an entrepreneur ? What led you to founding Girl meet dress ?
AB : The GMD story began in 2009 when I was working as UK PR Manager for 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.
BM : What really turns you on in being your own boss ?
AB : 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. Launching a business is always going to have an element of risk, but I believed in the idea, my co-founder and the market potential. I love having the freedom to grow an idea from the beginning and see it spread. It is fantastic to hear wonderful feedback from customers about how we have improved their shopping lives! Rental is a way for consumers to extract all the value without none of the headaches; women can now easily wear more relevant, trend led, time-sensitive fashions, while continuing to invest and buy only in those classic pieces which will stand the test of time. 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.
BM : Which future business development for your company would you like to tell us about ?
AB : 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!
BM : What piece of advice would you give to a newly turned business woman ?
AB : 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 that within 6 months you won’t ever dream of looking back.
BM : Do you have any mentors ? Any coach ?
AB : One of the best things about running your own business is the opportunity to regularly meet other amazing and inspiring founders. Yes, I often turn to more experienced and successful business people to ask for advice and hear their thoughts. It is crucial to surround yourself with people that are better than you so you can constantly learn and improve.
Being bankrupted is no longer a reason to wear the same dress to attend two cocktail parties, here’s a chic solution : girlmeetsdress.com