Okay so we all don’t earn the £1000’s we need to buy all those gorgeous outfits we see in fashion mags, so when girlmeetsdress launched it seemed like retail heaven without the expensive commitment! amazing dresses, for rental.. what a great concept! Always look couture at a fraction of the cost.
However being a true lifegoddess the world is not about what you know but who you know, and whilst talking to a photographer friend of mine in London about the site, he kindly forwarded this on to me
‘I recently had the pleasure to shoot some portfolio images for Miss Lithuania and given the type of shoot and the short notice I decided to use GirlMeetsDress to rent a good evening dress for us to use for our shoot. The dress I wanted to hire cost me £69(!) for two nights and retailed at £179 – pretty steep I thought. The rental cost does not seem to be in direct proportion with dress value with lesser known designers being cheaper so if you are on a tight budget be sure to look around.
After ordering with my event date and payment details I get an email saying they need to check the dress is available. It does not seem that they have any live inventory control to don’t hang your hat on being able to rent a specific dress just because the website lets you. I quickly get a confirmation by email that the dress is available so no problems this time but just like online shops I really would prefer to not be able to order things that don’t exist, it is a waste of time and leaves a bad taste. Next I receive an email asking me to upload a utility bill to prove my address, for a £179 dress this seemed quite excessive but some dresses they rent do retail for more than that.
Problem 1: On arrival I could immediately see the dress had damage to it; one stone missing from the jewelled strap and the strap had pulled away from where it was attached on one side. The response to my email with pictures was immediate and apologetic saying that the dress was new from the designer (it didn’t look like it!) and they could send size 8-10 (one size larger) in time. Clearly the dress had not been checked before sending it, which given their just-in-time delivery isn’t really acceptable. As I would rather shoot a dress that fitted with some damage I asked for some discount and was offered a tiny 10% for the inconvenience (which just about covered the delivery charge!) or I could return or a full refund. I can’t imagine this would do much to compensate a women having people pointing out something had come off her expensive dress all night having had no time to arrange another outfit.
Problem 2: On returning from the Post Office on Monday to return it, I find a reminder email telling me I need to be sure I return my dress that day which was in line with their Fri or Sat rental policy. All well and good I thought until they received it back and asked for the tracking number to verify I had returned it on Saturday… I quote their email and their policy on their website and get a terse response saying in future they expect it to be returned the day after the event (which makes my Friday two night rental a one night rental!?) Again I quote their email and website terms suggesting these may need to be changed if this is their expectation but to date I have had no response or seen any change on their website.
In summary, not a very positive experience. Poor service which I found surprising because to date when I have ordered from women’s clothing retailers for gifts I have often been impressed by the service these businesses give. Given the cost of the dress, it would make buying a cheaper option than renting for if it was to be been worn three times for those that can cope with being seen wearing something more than once. This service one for people with deep pockets and low expectations – use with caution.
So there we go girls, another great concept, that just falls flat with lack of customer focus! I shall be avoiding it!
However I’m sure you’ll all be curious to see what the photos did look like, so here’s a gorgeous preview
If you want to see more of his talented work check out:
(and he does bespoke wedding work too at http://www.markliddellphotography.com for all you gorgeous brides to be!)