Corie Hardee, Little Borrowed Dress, Woman Entrepreneur
I met Corrie over a year ago as she had literally just gone into business. I have been following her progress for a year. She has learned a lot, as all entrepreneurs do, and she has persevered in a way that not all entrepreneurs do.
Her business is called LIttle Borrowed Dress. It is a simple. You rent a dress instead of buying a dress for a wedding that you are going to. It really works for the bridesmaid dresses. Most weddings are done around color. A bride wants all her bridesmaids to wear lavender. Corie has dresses that are simple and basically look good on anyone who is size 2 or size 18. The 100% silk fabric drapes just right and you can rent the dress and return it and never have to see it in your closet again because let's be honest….you don't want to.
From a business angle, these dresses actually can be rented out again and again and Corie has done that. What is also interesting is that she has provided the dresses for weddings that are trying to do it on a shoe string budget and others that have no expense to spare. The start-up is the tough part because the majority of people spend eighteen months preparing for a wedding making a long sales cycle. Corie has a list of 600 people waiting to pull the trigger on their time line. What she has also learned is that people want to try these dresses on. So perhaps a type of Avon model makes sense down the road instead of shipping dresses back and forth around the country…but that is all about the evolution of the business.
Corie grew up in an entrepreneurial household in Olympia Washington. Her Mom was a computer programmer and her Dad was an engineer. Between the two of them they boot strapped a company in their living room while their daughters watched them make it worth after ten years of sweat and equity to build it and five years to get to profitability. They built a product design company that built software for moving liquids. Perfect back end product for a commercial business. Being entrepreneurs made an impact on all the girls.
Corie graduated from high school and went to the University of Washington but realized she would possibly stay in Seattle so she transferred to University of Arizona for a totally different experience. After graduating she moved to NYC to go work for Deloitte in their operation consulting division.
She thought she should go to graduate school. Ended up in London at business school and after one year decided it wasn't for her. She returned home and came up with the idea of Little Borrowed Dress returning to NYC to launch.
Corie has even enlisted her parents to help her out. Got her Dad to put on a tuxedo at a wedding trade show in Seattle. BTW, it worked.
If you are engaged and working on the wedding. Check out Cories pop-up shop in Soho starting February 19th, by appointment only. Trust me, the dresses are great and your bridesmaids will love them.