Behind The Scenes With Vow To Be Chic CEO & Founder Kelsey Doorey

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Chances are you or someone you know has been a bridesmaid, and I’m sure the general consensus of that experience was that it was beyond expensive (but also so fun and totally worth it, right?). It’s upsetting that one of the happiest experiences you will take part in comes with a financial obligation that you really can’t say no to. But with Kelsey Doorey’s company Vow To Be Chic, they are helping lift that financial burden when it comes to choosing bridesmaids dresses.

Vow To Be Chic, with headquarters based in Santa Monica, California, is the first and only online platform for renting designer bridesmaid dresses and let’s be honest, who actually re-wears their bridesmaids dress? This question is the inherent problem of being in a bridal party and we spoke with Kelsey about how she went about finding the solution.

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What was your inspiration behind Vow To Be Chic?

I have been a bridesmaid eight times and counting, and it’s an incredible experience to share with your close friends. But, the traditional process is also time-consuming and costly– I refer to it as an expensive honor. High-quality bridesmaids dresses are expensive, and let’s be honest, we never wear them again. Bridesmaids just end up shoving these beautiful dresses in the back of their closets because there’s no other occasion to wear them and the photos are already all over social media – what a waste! Men don’t have to find space to store their wedding entire; they’ve been renting tuxes for forever. So I asked myself, why aren’t women enjoying the same advantage?

Who is Vow To Be Chic targeted at?

Vow To Be Chic is for millennial brides and bridesmaids, especially for those who want to save time and money. These days, millennials want quality, convenience, and affordability. So, we figured out a way to deliver all three: Vow offers designer bridesmaid and little white dresses, online, for rent or purchase. The vast majority of our dresses are under $99 to rent. Brides get their dream wedding look and an easy way to assign dresses to their girls, and bridesmaids enjoy a simple online process (no trekking to a ton of stores) and can opt to rent, which saves an average of $200 per bridesmaid. (There are so many better ways to spend $200.)

Have you always been interested in the bridal industry?

Yes, I actually interned for a high-end wedding planner in college. I was fascinated by the end-to-end production and the gratifying result: a couple able to celebrate their love with friends and family at their dream party. The wedding industry is steeped in tradition, which is great in some aspects, but there are definitely ways we can improve the business, which is why I started Vow To Be Chic.

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Every entrepreneur has a point in their life where they knew they were meant for something greater, what was yours?

When I was in business school, I was deciding whether I should start Vow To Be Chic, and become an entrepreneur, or go to a corporate job at a major retailer, and take a traditional career path. The corporate job wasn’t set to start for months. So, I laid out clear goals I needed to achieve with personal deadlines (i.e signing on a top designer by a certain date). I told myself that if I didn’t achieve my Vow goals on time, I would take the corporate job, since I figured that meant the startup wouldn’t work. Eventually those deadlines came around and sometimes I hadn’t achieved the goal. I would find myself figuring out alternative paths to that goal, and to making the company work. That’s when I realized I was an entrepreneur – if things didn’t work out as planned, I figured out another way to make them happen, and continued pushing the company into existence. Starting a company is all about persistence, determination, and not accepting no as an answer.

What is your busiest time of the year?

We have two! January through April is huge for marketing since we have floods of incoming requests from brides and bridesmaids who are planning weddings (many couples get engaged over the holidays and start planning soon thereafter). Peak wedding season lasts from June to October, so on the operations side, that’s when we’re shipping out thousands of dresses. It seems like the craziness never ends!

What has the response been like with the success of Vow To Be Chic?

It has been absolutely amazing– every single woman I talk to understands (and supports!) the concept immediately. The hard part is figuring out the best way to execute the concept. It’s definitely not easy! But when I get back statistics from my finance team showing that we’ve saved women over $5M to date— I know it’s worth it!

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What are you most excited about for the future of Vow To Be Chic?

I am excited see how the business grows with the development of our mission: helping women save time and money thanks to rental. The customers help define the path of the business. Because we’re online, and have an active social presence, we have a continuous feedback loop from our millennial girls. And we listen! Or Vow girls help us define where the company is headed.

What is your favorite part about having a business in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is like paradise! It is one of the most creative and supportive cities for start-up culture. Besides the usual abundance of networking dinners, we also have the beautiful outdoors to share with other members of the la tech community. It’s great that we have such a strong startup presence on the west side. You’ll meet other founders hiking Will Rogers on a Sunday afternoon. The weather is beautiful year-round— it really helps me destress when I can take my dog for a walk along the Santa Monica beach after work, even in the winter!


To learn more about Vow To Be Chic check them out online here!

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