Happily Ever Borrowed: the 'Wed-Tech' Startup Challenging the Industry Giants

The NextWomen Fashion & Retail Theme

Happily Ever Borrowed is the premiere online wedding shop that rents designer bridal accessories worldwide at a fraction of the retail price. Partnering with designers such as Enchanted Atelier & Justine M. Couture, they have curated a special collection of veils, tiaras, headpieces and jewelry.

Brittany Haas, the founder of Happily Ever Borrowed, is a prominent member of the “wed-tech,” community of bridal technology startups which is challenging the established industry leaders.

Brittany has worked with several top fashion houses, including Ralph Lauren. Always designing and drawing, she has a degree in Fiber Science & Apparel Design as well as a wealth of experience in the business side of the fashion industry. 

Laura spoke to Brittany about the importance of personalisation; her advice for pitching to investors; and her most important mentor!

LG: What advice would you give women entrepreneurs just starting out in this industry?

BH: The wedding industry is extremely personalized.

Customer service, attention to detail and love for what you're doing goes the farthest. It's also really key to listen to your customers here and understand their style.

Some brides might not know exactly what they want, and they lean on your to provide your expertise. Other brides have an amazing vision and it's your job to execute it with the best resources. It's about finding that balance, and understanding. 

LG: Please tell us a bit about Happily Ever Borrowed.

BH: Happily Ever Borrowed is the premiere, luxury, e-boutique that rents bridal accessories to brides for their wedding day. Our mission is to provide affordability and accessibility via accessory rental to brides everywhere, while retaining the cherished “bridal shop” experience.

LG: What makes your company stand out from the rest?

BH: Happily Ever Borrowed is the only company renting bridal accessories to brides!  While there are plenty of places who sell re-used items, or brand new pieces, we work directly with designers to get brand new pieces to rent to our brides for a fraction of the original price. 

LG: Pitching a business to investors can stir a mixture of emotions at times. Any advice to those looking to pitch or getting ready to pitch in the near future?

BH:

I think it's really important to know yourself.  Where are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to pitching? Do you get nervous? Do you tend to ramble? Do you know your numbers?

Be sure to practice in front of a mirror, and in front of friends, other entrepreneurs...anyone really! As you begin to pitch more and more, there are certain questions you'll find coming up over and over again. Either that means you need to address it in your presentation the next time, or have a really succinct and thorough answer prepared.  

LG: How are you staying on top of current trends within the wedding sphere? Do you attend events or sponsor trunk shows, etc.?

BH: Bridal market is in April & October and we attend shows every season. It's also important to see what's going on with NYFW and Paris/London/Milan Fashion weeks as what walks the runway generally has an impact later on in the bridal world. The bridal fashion trends tend to stay around longer (I mean...how long were strapless dresses all the rage?) and change less drastically. But it's always great with accessories because there is so much you can do to change your entire look. 

LG: Where are you located and how can people purchase from Happily Ever?

BH: Borrowed? We are located in an office in NYC - but all of our business is done online at happilyeverborrowed.com. We ship nationwide! So feel free to check us out!  We also have something called the "Send Before You Spend" box where we ship 3 pieces to a bride for her hair trial or dress fitting for just $50. Upon return, she then gets $25 towards her wedding day rental. So you can complete your bridal look far in advance of your actual wedding day. 

LG: Do you have a mentor and if so, what’s the best piece of advise he/she gave to you?

BH:I have a TON of amazing mentors and I really value all of their opinions and advice.

I always refer to my father as he always said to me - "I don't know where you're going, but you're on your way".

I think it's a quote from the Little Rascals, but essentially, no matter how grandiose my ideas, or big the risk, my Dad has always encouraged me to go for it. 

LG: What’s the next step for your company?

BH: Bridal Season! We have a few strategic partnerships forming, and some great future press, but what we really focus on is the next day, and getting our orders our to our brides for the most important day of their life. As the word keeps growing about Happily Ever Borrowed, we're just really honored to help women everywhere save money and still have access to designer goods.

Laura Greb lives in New York and founded Artmeme, investing time in emerging to mid-career creative entrepreneurs to help develop and market their professional brand effectively in order to connect with their target audience. She also provides business resources and workshops. Along with the above, she meets, interviews and writes about an array of entrepreneurs, founders, mentors and investors. She also covers art and tech conferences, pitch competitions and startup news for Artmeme and consults entrepreneurs for Rising Tide Capital.

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