How Eva Hachem decided to ease the process by finding dream wedding dresses to the UAE
She realised she wasn’t the only bride who struggled when finding a dream wedding dress (and selling it afterwards), so Eva Hachem decided to ease the process by bringing pre-loved wedding dresses to the UAE.
When did you realise that the market needed a concept like Dress Come True?
The concept for Dress Come True came about when my husband Andy and I got married in 2016. I had really struggled to find my dream dress despite visiting all the boutiques across the country. I even starting to customize my own dress as the whole process got too overwhelming to handle. The prices were unreasonable and I struggled to find the dress I had been dreaming of for so many years.
After the wedding, I tried to sell my dress. I called different boutiques and talked to brides and industry leaders to enquire about where to sell it. It turned out that there was a need for a dedicated space for pre-loved wedding dresses. We decided to create an online marketplace serving both brides who want to sell their dress and brides-to-be looking for their dream dress at a reasonable price.
While doing our research, we realised that there were established businesses connecting buyers and sellers of pre-loved wedding dresses around the world, but not in the Middle East. So we started to think of ways to fill this gap and tailor a business model that caters to this region.
We offer a concierge service for sellers whereby we handle everything on their behalf
What is your business model?
Dress Come True is an online marketplace where buyers and sellers of new, sample and pre-loved wedding dresses and wedding accessories can connect with each other. To list a dress, we charge a small, one-time listing fee while sellers get to keep the full selling price and keep the dress safely in their own hands until they are sold.
We also offer a concierge service for sellers of wedding dresses whereby we handle everything on their behalf, offering utmost discretion, convenience and time saving. To make the selling and shopping experience the safest possible, we offer a secure payment transaction through a third-party payment gateway as well as support with international shipment.
How has the reaction been from the business community and the public since you launched the platform?
So far, the reaction has been extremely positive. We have had lots of feedback from brides who have always wanted to sell their wedding gowns, but didn’t trust the platforms available or know which one of them to use.
We want to make our customers feel as comfortable as possible throughout the buying/selling process, as we know how important it is to them. I have been in the situation myself and I know first-hand that searching for (and also selling) your dream wedding dress can be extremely stressful. I go into detail of my wedding story on the site and I think these small personal touches give our customers a trust in us to deliver the best service possible as we know exactly how they feel.
What are your expansion plans for Dress Come True?
Dress Come True is designed with the Middle East in mind. Brides and brides-to-be are not limited by geographic borders - that is why we set up solutions for secure online payment and shipment to facilitate cross border transactions. We are planning to expand into evening wear in the future, too, however we are currently focusing on wedding gowns and bridal accessories. We want to build a solid foundation before branching out into any other sectors.
What is your vision for Dress Come True?
Every bride deserves her ‘dress come true.’ We want to be a part of their fairytale by being the go-to marketplace for brides-to-be across the Middle East who are looking for their dream wedding dress. Brides will be able to see all of their options in one place, with the choice to filter by any criteria they choose such as designer, silhouette, price, location and new or pre-loved. I want to take the stress out of the situation of planning a wedding, which can be difficult enough without the added worry of not being able to find your dream dress.
Was there a time during the setting up of the business where you felt you wanted to give up? Why or why not?
Yes, definitely more than once, especially when it came to the development of the website and other general roadblocks and delays – these issues can take a toll on you as you are putting in everything you have to make your business succeed. You need to be dedicated enough to know that you can overcome any hurdle. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely experience. However, as long as you surround yourself with the right people who will support you and push you to achieve your goals, you will get through the tougher times.
It’s about believing in yourself enough to know that you will get to where you want to be
If you could go back and do something differently with the business, what would you have done?
Having more knowledge and experience now, of course I would do some things differently and another similar project would take much less time now. However, making mistakes and overcoming challenges is part of the process. If I could do anything differently, it would be choosing partners more carefully and being more sensitive of time. I would recommend anyone who is serious about entrepreneurship to get a good mentor to pass on any knowledge they have that will help, especially in the beginning stages of setting up your business.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Just start and the rest will follow. This sounds obvious, but it means that if you have the drive and courage to turn an idea or a dream of yours into reality, you are already on the way to making it succeed. It’s about believing in yourself enough to know that you will get to where you want to be. There is a quote by Steve Jobs that really kept us going.
It says, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you’re not going to survive. You’re going to give it up. So, you’ve got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you’re passionate about; otherwise, you’re not going to have the perseverance to stick it through.”