For most brides, the preliminary phase of wedding dress shopping happens online. You follow designers that resonate with you on Instagram, begin scrolling through the latest season's offerings, and start bookmarking (and pinning!) options to send to your maid of honor, bridesmaids, and mom. Sound familiar? Bridal brand Floravere knows it does—this online pre-shop experience is exactly why the company's founders, Molly Kang and Denise Jin, do what they do.
"For today's bride, the discovery process starts online—primarily via Pinterest and Instagram. However, what made dress shopping so fundamentally frustrating to us when we personally experienced it was that the dresses we were pinning online were then impossible to actually try on offline," Kang tells Martha Stewart Weddings. To fill that gap, the duo launched Floravere, a one-stop resource for brides complete with a bridal line and a selection of pre-wedding party ensembles, reception looks, and accessories. Read on to learn exactly how Kang and Jin have tailored the traditional wedding dress search for the contemporary woman—in other words, you.
Floravere was born out of a personal frustration.
After shopping for their own wedding dresses, both Kang and Jin knew they could do better—both in terms of experience and price. "For such a big purchase in our lives, we were shocked at how old-school the experience was and even more shocked by the price tags," explains Kang. "It seemed like every dress we loved or saved on Pinterest cost $10,000 or more, while the dresses in-budget were crunchy, mass-produced, and not chic—imagine seas of stiff, bright-white strapless bedazzled mermaids."
Since they'd both been behind the scenes at other fashion brands, they knew that their vision of an upgraded system was possible—so Floravere was born. "We assembled a team from the best brands in bridal but pushed ourselves to put a modern twist on the tradition of bridal shopping," adds Kang.
Creating a new wedding dress experience meant catering to real women.
…namely, catering to how these women actually shop: online. Both Kang and Jin found that their wedding dress research wasn't translating to their in-store search. "We would end up going into these shops blind—without an understanding of what styles were there—all to find nothing that looked like what we were envisioning," continues Kang. Floravere's goal? To make that online to offline transition as painless as possible. "You can discover our collection online, seamlessly arrange [your favorites], and within clicks, try on specific styles in real life with a Floravere stylist in any of our beautiful showrooms (we're currently in nine cities and growing!)," she says.
Another one of Floravere's main tenets? Inclusivity.
"Inclusivity is one of our core values—and our extended sizing is just one example of that, as we've made a commitment to develop styles and carry samples in a wider range of sizes," says Jin. Sizes available in showrooms range from a street size 6 to 24, so that "our brides can feel empowered in their own bodies at any size."
Jin revealed that this brand maxim was the result of input from real brides. "When we launched, we immediately started to get feedback from brides who felt alienated by the bridal industry's approach to sizing," she adds. "This means most women are putting on samples that don't even remotely fit—and are then made to feel like they're on display and paraded around in front of an audience at a time when they feel particularly vulnerable."
Melding quality with affordability is just as important to the brand.
Floravere's direct-to-consumer model means revolutionary retail prices: The majority of their wedding dresses are priced under $2,000. But don't let those affordable price tags fool you. "We create runway-quality wedding gowns that defy the expected bridal uniform. Every member of our in-house design team hails from the foremost names in bridal, so they are trained in the classic, timeless techniques of bridal construction," explains Kang.
These industry veterans don't adhere to their classic training when dreaming up the brand's designs, however—they use their expertise to "take the conventional notions of what is beautiful in bridal and give it a fresh, modern perspective for today's bride," she adds. Expect elements like built-in shapewear and removable sleeves, details that help a woman feel comfortable in her big-day ensemble and give her a sense of agency over the design.
Floravere's showrooms physicalize the best parts about the brand.
Kang and Jin designed their showroom experience knowing that you've already done the legwork—their job is to "meet you halfway to deliver a truly personalized experience," explains Jin. Before you arrive at one of their ateliers (the nine locations are based in New York, their new flagship shop, Los Angeles, Austin, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, and Chicago) your designated stylist has looks pre-curated for you, based on your at-home research. It's important to note that this stylist also takes your overarching wedding vision or vibe into account. "We like to compare it to a celebrity being styled for an awards show," says Jin.
As for these ateliers' coolest features? "We've infused tech-driven elements throughout to enhance the experience and make dress shopping all the more fun and all the less stressful," says Jin, whose favorite feature is the selfie camera built into each bridal suite in the New York location. "Instead of having to deal with your guests taking terrible, candid, up-angle photos of you, we've put technology in our suites that take the photos for you. Your guests can relax and you can leave with a few great photos from your styling appointment instead of a camera roll full of bad ones!"
You'll want to return to these high-tech shops over and again—but you don't have to.
Consider Floravere's New York store your one-stop-shop for your pre-wedding, wedding, and post-wedding fashion needs, where you can get everything on your list in one shot. "We wanted to create a space within our Flagship where brides can discover beautiful brands and products for every element of the wedding and honeymoon journey—from swimwear from Solid & Striped to bridal lingerie from Journelle," says Kang. "That way, while you're waiting for your styling appointment with us, there are lots of beautiful things to look at and touch and feel—and will hopefully inspire you as you plan for all the fun events and milestones beyond just the wedding day itself."