Supplier case studies
Swoon Wedding Gowns - Once worn designer wedding dresses
Name: Deborah Kidd
Tell us a bit about yourself and your business
Swoon is a Once Worn designer wedding dress agency which came about when I was looking for my own wedding gown a few years ago.
I have never been impressed with the idea of wearing something just the once and didn't see why wedding dresses should be any different. However, when I started to search for secondhand gowns I found that the handful of agencies who offered such dresses lacked something and were rather disappointing.
I felt that brides who were prepared to make a positive ethical choice about something as important as a wedding gown deserved to be treated to the same lovely experiences of a pleasant studio and comfortable surroundings while choosing a dress as those who bought new.
Being made redundant forced my hand to put my dreams and thoughts into action and from this SWOON was created. The business now stocks many Once Worn dresses from a huge range of designers and all are in excellent condition and ready to be worn again at a fraction of their original cost.
What or who inspires you?
The girls who buy Once Worn gowns inspire me as it restores my faith in society knowing that in a world that seems so materialistic there are people who are prepared to make ethical choices, even about their wedding dress.
And on a personal level, my youngest sister inspires me, as she lives as ethically as she can in all aspects of her life.
What do you enjoy most about running your business?
Being my own boss is the greatest thing about running my own business. After years of working for other people and sometimes becoming frustrated with incompetency I now at last get to work for myself!
The usual perks run alongside this; however, this also means tax returns and mountains of paperwork so there is a downside too!
I really enjoy meeting all my lovely brides and am still fascinated by how the same dress can look so different on different women - the best bit of all is when you know that you've put the bride-to-be in the dress that makes her look a million dollars. It's great to see the reaction of the mums and friends who just know that this is 'the one!'
What is the most challenging aspect?
This has to be making sure that the right dress finds the right bride. Often girls have a preconceived idea of what they want in terms of wedding dress design but when they try it on it just doesn't look right.
Finding the right fit for the right body shape can be quite tricky - especially if it's not a style that the bride in question has considered.
What do you feel you bring to an ethical wedding?
Swoon can bring one of the most important items to an ethical wedding by providing the bride with her dress! This is usually the subject that has been most discussed as guests ponder what the bride will be wearing and everyone looks forward to their very first glimpse of the bride as she arrives at the venue.
By wearing a Once Worn gown the bride is making a huge statement about her views on ethical issues by being prepared to wear a used gown on one of the most special days in her life. However, no one will know as SWOON make sure that the gowns are in excellent condition, so this can send a great message to the guests as they too will then see that making ethical choices about a wedding dress doesn't stop the bride looking gorgeous.
The meaning of our slogan 'It's only Once Worn if you tell people' is obvious - but it is actually a good thing to tell guests as it makes a very big statement about your ethics.
How do you see the wedding industry changing over the next five years (if at all)?
There will always be girls who just have to have new gowns. But in the current economic climate more brides to be will be thinking more closely than ever about their budgets so I see the Once Worn wedding dress market increasing as girls see how much they can save and still look amazing!
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