Are you a bride to be or a girl daydreaming of her special day wearing a vintage 50’s inspired tea length dress? Then look no further, Dolly Couture Designs has exactly what you are dreaming of!
These beautiful vintage inspired dresses are affordable for almost any budget. Their Pink Label ranges from $500-$700 and Black Label $800-$1000. Best of all, they offer custom dresses for nearly the same price as their in-stock items! Browse hundreds of custom order listings from their previous clients on their website and contact their design team to make the perfect one for you!
I’d like to introduce to you, the person behind Dolly Couture…Dolly Thicke!
Can you tell us more about the person behind Dolly Couture?
The original person behind Dolly Couture was my mom who married during the Mid Century era, which in my opinion was the best time for fashion. She took a chance with a shorter dress that was the current fashion and paved the way for thousands of Dolly Couture brides 50 years later.
I am a graduate from UCLA with a BA in Sociology and a masters in Counseling, marriage and family therapy from CSUN. While I have no formal degree in fashion design, I have studied couture stitching and enjoyed my drawing and painting classes at UCLA. My design background was always a hobby and I am so excited I get to do something I enjoy every day for a living.
What was the inspiration behind your desire to create Vintage inspired wedding dresses? How did Dolly Couture begin?
When I was looking for my own wedding dress back in 2006 I wanted something like what my mom wore…in 1961. I couldn’t find anything but heard people were always asking for this style. I made one for my reception…another for my rehearsal dinner…another for fun…another for a friend and then I just kept going.
Why did you choose to serve clients online over Brick & Mortar locations?
Today we actually do have showroom locations in Los Angeles and New York. When I started my collection with just 6 dresses, I had a cute little showroom out of my house to see clients. My in-home showroom actually grew less cute as we moved to the valley and acquired more pets and a baby. (Brick and mortar became an necessity at that time.) It wasn’t until I wanted to clear away some samples by putting them on ebay that I found I could reach thousands of brides from all over the world via the internet and we became popular world-wide. We had an amazing following in the UK, we still do. My dream for the future is to afford our loyal British customers with a showroom.
Can you describe the process from beginning to end on how a bride goes about designing a custom order dress?
Generally we start by getting an idea of what the bride has in mind..is it loosely based on one of the dresses in the collection (with some adjustments) or is it something perhaps based on an inspiration photo (or even a number of photos. pulling in different design elements from specific dresses)? The next step would be to send the bride an initial sketch to be sure we have a full understanding of the customer’s vision. Once the dress design is finalized we would then discuss fabric options (bride would order fabric swatches). The next step in the process would be pricing, which will of course vary based on choice of fabric. The final step would be determining sizing (standard or custom). We do this by sending the customer our size chart along with detailed measurement diagrams outlining the needed measurements to create a custom dress. When we have the details ready we place the custom dress order in the CUSTOM CLOSET section of our website and send the bride a link to access the order and purchase the dress. The dress then ships directly to the bride, arriving in 8-12 weeks (for standard orders). Rush options are also available for an additional charge.
How have you been able to achieve your motto/standard of “no unhappy brides”? It is very difficult to please people everyday, let alone ordering their dress online without trying it on to find the right one.
Yes, it has been hard. When something isn’t right with a dress my staff and I have been known to literally lose sleep. We did not earn a wonderful reputation by being perfect…to the contrary. Some of our happiest brides are the ones who have seen our team in action when something isn’t right. Naturally, since we send out a modest thousand dresses per year…over half of these customized…we, of course have had incidents where the dress isn’t just exactly right. We will drop everything. Send fabrics. Work with tailors that are local to the bride so that they do not need to endure the post office…we have even crafted entire dresses over again in a timely manner when something small was not to our brides satisfaction. We will do anything to make sure our brides are happy. All they have to do is communicate with us and we will see that they get the quality product they ordered. We always choose the nicest fabrics and materials, the strongest zippers and the best tailors to assure our dresses are up to the highest standards. We do mostly all of our own retail to maintain reasonable prices.
Where do you find ideas for new designs?
I love and adore watching old movies for inspiration. Lana Turner, Debbie Reynolds, Sandra Dee and Elizabeth Taylor have all influenced the collection. I also think about what I would want in a wedding dress. I watch modern trends in the bridal industry and incorporate these touches into our Mid-Century cocktail length petticoat dresses. I also listen to what our brides are asking for.
Do you plan to expand in the future?
We would love to open more showrooms one day, though we are taking a rest this year and will probably visit the idea of a showroom in Texas around 2013. By 2015, perhaps a headquarters in London? I always have ideas for starting a line of active wear inspired by this era…though this is just a dream at the moment. Our wedding dresses keep us very busy and fulfilled.
How do you manage to provide beautiful and high quality dresses for such an affordable price? Especially custom order designs!
As I mentioned before, we do mostly all our own retail. I have tried to make our dresses work for wholesale, but the cost always goes up so much, I prefer to make the grander effort and give our brides affordable gowns custom made to their heart’s desire. Creating happy brides is a passion for me and for my dedicated sales team.
What was the inspiration behind the new Derby Collection?
I came across a lot of fantastic fabrics and thought they would make up into fun dresses for somewhat special occasions. Dresses to wear to a wedding, a gala, the theater…any special event. My staff and I have worn these dresses so many times for different occasions and we always feel especially pretty and unique. If you don’t like taking a lot of compliments…don’t wear a Derby dress…you’ll be inundated.
Is there anything else you feel your customers should know about Dolly Couture?
Dolly Couture brides tend to be particularly unique and we appreciate their vision so much. We care deeply about providing each bride with their dream dress. We consider ourselves bridesmaids and take heart in seeing our brides happily march forth into their married life…in a GREAT dress.
I want to say a special thank you to Dolly for graciously accepting to be interviewed and sharing with all of you. There are thousands of photos of happy brides on their Facebook page, you must check them out! Be prepared to swoon over all these fabulous dresses.