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Direct-to-Consumer Startup Lets Brides Custom Design Their Dress With a Click or Swipe

As wedding season slowly approaches many brides-to-be will be browsing lookbooks, bridal magazines and visiting countless boutiques in search of “the dress.” And as they file through the seas of taffeta, lace, tulle and silk many will come to realize—somewhere between panic and frustration—that they simply can’t find the dress they’ve dreamed up.

San Francisco–based direct-to-consumer bridal startup Anomalie wants to put an end to that frustration and let brides design “the dress” of their dreams, all with a click or a swipe.

Anomalie was founded by former mechanical engineer Leslie Voorhees. She too was once a frustrated bride, outraged by overpriced selections and feeling like she would never find what she wanted to wear for the Big Day. In her ensuing research of the bridal market, Voorhees found that markups were far more major at bridal boutiques than she had thought, so she hit on the direct-to-consumer trend, deciding just to skip the middleman altogether.

At Anomalie, the process from the dream to “the dress” is quite simple. Clients fill out a survey on the company’s website, creating a custom dashboard where they can upload design inspirations and keep track of the dressmaking progress. The client and her personal stylist can then connect via phone, to discuss design ideas and review any questions or concerns about the dress design process. This is also where brides get to reference any inspiration photos uploaded to her “Lookbook.” Stylists then take designs and suggestions to the production team and come up with a price quote, which is emailed to the client. (Prices are determined by fabric and the amount of hand-sewn detailing necessary to make the dress.)

Once a client accepts the price quote and pays, the preproduction process begins: fabric swatches are sent out; custom measurements are taken, with the company providing a list of measurements needed and tailors in the client’s area; and finally, Anomalie ensures their visions are aligned with the bride, and a detailed sketch is made using the client’s suggestions and specifications. The next stage is production, a three-month process, where patterns, lace and beading are reviewed and the client is sent a mock of her dress made in muslin.

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Anomalie said it’s able to offer lower prices because it eliminates the boutiques and their margin takeaways, working directly with the workshops. Dresses start at $1,000, with the average price hovering right around $1,350. Clients only pay for the price of their dresses and sales tax, and Anomalie covers the cost of all else, including shipping, measurement appointments and fabric samples. In the event that the client is dissatisfied, Anomalie offers a full refund.

Anomalie serves customers in the U.S. and Canada, with all client interactions being conducted by phone, email and online using each bride’s personal dashboard.