Millennials could delay marriage and tie the knot into a smaller number, but when they opt for marriage, they are finding ways to do it cheaply, starting with the wedding dress.
Second The knot, the average wedding dress costs more than $ 1,300, an exorbitant price for the cash-strapped millennials hoping to offset the cost of a dress that they will probably wear only once. To help shoppers navigate the nascent world of second marriages, companies like our wedding story – a resale bridal boutique in New York City – and e-commerce sites like Stillwhite and Wedding Recycle are appearing with increasing frequency to offer alternative options .
The emerging market of wedding dress retailing marks a weak point between two fast-growing competing industries: the bridal industry, which is now worth a estimated $ 72 billionand the resale market, that is should reach $ 51 billion over the next five years thanks to the growing popularity of brands such as ThredUp and Poshmark. In June, luxury retailer The RealReal became the first resale company to be listed on the stock exchange, which it did with a valuation of $ 1.5 billion.
Read more: We visited RealReal ahead of its IPO and saw why it is driving the luxury retail market
"The bride of our day is much wiser with money, and is familiar with the environment and sustainability," said Jess Walker, marketing manager at Stillwhite. "The brides started thinking, & # 39; Okay, I'm only wearing this dress for five hours, why should I spend $ 4,000 on a dress and then keep it for the rest of my life when I can recover that cost?" "
According to US Census Bureau, three out of 10 young people between the ages of 18 and 34 have never been married, compared with six out of 10 in 1980. Analysts claim that the decline can be attributed to a confluence of factors such as persistent economic insecurity from the recession and the impact of the estimated $ 1.5 trillion student loan crisis.
Reduce lower costs and sustainability to woo millennials
However, for young couples who choose to say "I do", they do it more and more with traditional methods, finding methods that reduce costs and support a circular economy, such as purchase of synthetic diamond rings and selecting sustainable suppliers for their marriages. Second a 2018 Studio Nielsenmillennials are more than twice as likely as baby boomers to buy sustainable products, at a rate of 75% compared to 34%.
Stillwhite – founded in 2010 by Australian couple Bruno & Ingrid Szajer – was designed to satisfy these young and eco-conscious couples, said Walker. The brand functions as a platform for users to sell their clothes online, after paying an entry fee of $ 20 for the first time and creating a Stillwhite profile. Like sites like Poshmark, interested buyers can consult designers and styles to find an option they prefer before sending messages to sellers to ask questions and request more photos. Buyers and sellers can also set a time to meet to try on the dress if geography allows, or they can buy safely from the site.
Today, Stillwhite is one of the largest wedding dress retailers in the world, with nearly 50,000 active listings and $ 30 million in sales. A quick shortcut on the home page shows a wide variety of prices, style and size, including a $ 179 Galina dress, a $ 430 Reform dress and a $ 5,000 Pnina Tornai dress.
"At the beginning of Stillwhite, it wasn't really a thing to sell your dress online," said Walker. "But that's where (the founders) saw an opportunity, because there were so many brides who knew they just left their dress in their wardrobe or under the bed."
Just like the online shipping brands like The RealReal that start retailing, Our Story Bridal wanted to offer a tangible and concrete experience for the resale of wedding dresses. While stores like Kleinfeld's "Say Yes To The Dress" continue to draw mass brides to leaf through garments with up to $ 80,000 high price tags, Our Story Bridal is trying to replicate the experience with previously worn clothes.
"We distinguish ourselves with bricks and mortar and take care of our inventory, unlike a website where everyone is involved and you have some clothes where you have no idea what they look like or under what conditions," said Ana Maes, co-founder of our history. "We offer an experience of the highest level. We like to confront ourselves with the best boutiques of wedding dresses in which you have the complete service."
Like Kleinfeld, Our Story is also located in New York City and brings visitors by appointment to try on discounted dresses up to 65%. According to Maes, most of the clothes are of local origin and it is estimated that 30-40% are previously worn clothes. The remaining clothes in the collection are samples that come directly from the designers.
Going forward, both Our Story and Stillwhite said they anticipate that more and more consumers will opt for bridal resale.
"It's just a big market and we're focusing more on sustainability and how we can help brides understand that they're really helping the planet through resale," said Walker.