Whether you’re looking for the perfect bridesmaid gowns or planning ahead for your wedding day, it’s never too late to start getting excited about dress shopping. Husband and wife founders, Ashley and Charles Young, knew that shopping for bridesmaid dresses that suit all body types and tastes, should be an enjoyable experience rather than an alienating one. Cue, the creation of Bridal Babes. 21Ninety is excited to introduce you to this Black-owned brand during Black Business month. The husband and wife duo recently snatched up a deal on Shark Tank and is changing the game for bridal apparel entirely.
A Common Dilemma
Sometimes, brides and bridesmaids experience the unnecessary stress of not being wholly represented or thought of in bridal boutiques. Whether this is a lack of size-inclusive apparel or lack of variety, the issue can put a damper on what should be an enjoyable step in wedding the process. 21Ninety spoke with one half of Bridal Babes, co-founder Ashley Young, to get to the heart of what the brand represents and how to make the most of wedding season in a way that the bridal party will fully appreciate.
Meet Ashley Young, Co-Founder of Bridal Babes
21Ninety: Tell us about what prompted the creation of Bridal Babes
Ashley Young: Bridal Babes is the answer to what traditional bridal boutiques lack – fashion-forward, curve-hugging dresses. I remember thinking ‘It shouldn’t be this difficult to find bridesmaid dresses that will make my best friends look and feel amazing by my side.’ My bridesmaids were all curvy and there was nothing on the market that was beautiful, flattering, and size-inclusive. After that experience, my husband and co-founder, Charles and I got to work building Bridal Babes – the first size-inclusive bride-to-be and bridesmaid gown line.
Bridal Babes is not just revolutionizing how people shop for wedding attire. The company is also making space for diversity in the multi-billion dollar wedding industry by showcasing models and clients of all shades, shapes, and sizes.
21N: How has Bridal Babes developed in ways you didn’t initially expect?
Young: Bridal Babes started off as something we wanted to offer to brides and bridesmaids in our hometown of Washington, DC and the surrounding areas. However, right before the pandemic, we became digital-first. This meant we offered virtual consultations and shipping to clientele in the US, Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean.
Once the pandemic hit and online buying spiked, our store was already set up operationally to handle online customers. Most brick-and-mortar bridal stores did not have the infrastructure to handle the demand. In fact, we released virtual consultations in November 2019 before larger stores such as David’s Bridal, who were scrambling to set up digital products in 2020.
We are very proud to say that the majority of our customers are now outside of the DC area with our primary hubs in Atlanta, GA, Baton Rouge, LA, Houston and Dallas, TX, and Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, FL. We are truly a national brand serving all women!
21N: What are some top tips for choosing bridesmaid dresses that complement everyone?
Young: The number one rule is that you want your bridesmaids to feel confident and excited on your wedding day. We recommend choosing a color palette that you love and allowing your bridesmaids to choose a style that reflects their personal style, looks great on their body type, and fits into their budget.
Our team can also help with dress selection and styling through our virtual consultations. We provide one-on-one styling advice to the bride plus one guest. We want your bridesmaids to look and feel great on your big day!
21N: Wedding season is here! What advice do you have for brides anxious about finding the perfect dress?
Young: Make sure you select a gown that fits your personality and the venue! For your ceremony gown, we recommend something that makes you feel like a queen. Then, you can change into something more comfortable and possibly more daring too! We have a wide range of bride-to-be gowns that are perfectly suited for rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, receptions, and farewell brunches. Our signature styles are white stretch sequin looks guaranteed to make a statement when you enter the room.