Founded by Stephanie Olvey, Cali Brutz, and Ashley Steele, Borrowing Magnolia is a digital consignment boutique for wedding dress rentals and sales (think the AirBnB of wedding dresses). The problem with the industry today is that the average bride has a budget of $1200, but the average designer dress costs $3000. Moreover, 87% of women say they would be interested in exchanging their wedding dress for financial gains, but their options for doing so are limited. “We allow women with wedding dresses to capitalize on an underutilized asset (the average wedding dress is only worn for 5 hours), while providing brides-to-be with the opportunity to wear their dream dress without breaking their budgets,” explain the founders.
2014 was a year of success for the Olvey, Brutz and Steele. “We raised a modest pre-launch friends and family round of $45,000 last January to build out our website and prove our concept. Within 3 months of our launch in July 2014, we exceeded in revenue our initial investment, and we’re now ready to fuel our growth and scale the company to its full potential. We are actively raising a $250,000 bridge round. We have verbal commitments in excess of that number, although we are interested in oversubscribing the round to work with strategic investors,” they say.
Two of the founders are originally from Duluth, GA and attended UGA as undergraduates. According to them, “We intentionally chose Athens, GA as headquarters for Borrowing Magnolia due to its progressiveness, low cost of living, access to talent and resources from the University of Georgia, and existence of supportive networks for startups such as Four Athens.”
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