Brand to watch: Brides Do Good
Images courtesy of Brides Do Good
For many women, buying a wedding dress is the biggest fashion investment they will make in their life – yet it’s a garment that can only be worn once. A new online bridal boutique, Brides Do Good, offers a way for women to make their investment generate positive social returns, by donating part of the profits from dress sales to charities that combat child marriage worldwide.
The social enterprise, which launched on 11 October to coincide with International Day of the Girl Child, is the vision of Chantal Khoueiry, who came up with her business idea after noticing how many of her married friends were unsure what to do with their wedding dresses. “One of them said she felt an emotional connection with her dress, so she couldn’t bear simply to sell it to a commercial retailer, even though it was worth huge amounts of money,” explains Khoueiry.
At the same time, Khoueiry’s cosmopolitan background – her mother is Italian-Ethiopian and her father is Lebanese – and the experience she had gained from working at Unesco meant she was aware of the humanitarian challenges specific to certain geographies, notably the child-marriage crisis facing Ethiopia. She decided to partner with two international-development charities, Plan International and Too Young to Wed, to establish a social enterprise that would support the United Nations’ mission to eradicate child marriage worldwide by 2030.
Chantal Khoeuiry in Dibre Birhan, Ethiopia
The business model of Brides Do Good is simple: for every dress sold, a third of the profits go to charity, a third go back to the seller and a third are used to cover the company’s operational costs. The result is a sustainable enterprise that appeals to sellers on both a commercial and an emotional level. Plus, with designers including Amanda Wakeley, Alexander McQueen and Caroline Castigliano represented on the site, it’s an affordable way for brides-to-be to access luxury pieces.
Khoueiry says she has been overwhelmed by the range of people who have offered their support, from models who have volunteered their time to be photographed for the site to designers who have donated samples. “It’s been lovely to see how many of the sellers have chosen to relinquish their share of the profits in favour of giving them to the charity,” she reveals. “It all helps us get closer to achieving our ambitions.”
MORE BRANDS TO WATCH
Brand to watch: Livoos
Brand to watch: Turtle Doves
Brand to watch: Inigo Scout