Dressing the Modern Bride
Denise Jin and Molly Kang of Floravere are bringing a fresh take on bridal gowns
by Abby Moore
For many future brides, the process of finding and fitting into the perfect wedding gown is more daunting than decisive. The traditional wedding business can embed subliminal messages about how a bride should look and feel on her big day. Denise Jin and Molly Kang, co-founders of Floravere, are empowering modern brides by making affordable, chic gowns available in a range of sizes. We spoke to Jin about Floravere’s focus on the modern bride and how the direct-to-consumer brand is shaking up the bridal industry.
Abby Moore: How would you describe the Floravere bride?
Denise Jin: There’s kind of an ethos that’s consistent in her. She’s doing something a little bit nontraditional and isn’t afraid to question a lot of the “shoulds” in the wedding industry. She just thinks about her wedding with fresh, unique eyes and a modern perspective.
AM: That uniqueness feels akin to the ethos of Austin. Do you agree?
DJ: Completely! We’ve gotten a lot of requests from Austin brides, and it just makes so much sense. That’s the reason we’re opening a boutique here [in the Katie Kime showroom].
AM: Will you walk me through the Floravere bride’s experience?
DJ: A bride can browse through our dresses on our website or Instagram. After falling in love with a few, she’ll book an appointment to try on in one of our showrooms. When she comes into the showroom, the dresses she chose will be pulled and styled for her. She’ll then have the opportunity to see her dream dress come together in person, in her size and in a personalized way.
AM: How does that differ from a traditional bridal experience?
DJ: What’s radical about this kind of wedding dress is that the idea of seeing something online and seamlessly trying it on offline, that just didn’t exist before us. Brides typically get bombarded by beautiful dresses on Instagram or Pinterest but those dresses are either way out of budget or not available in a range of sizes – when you get to the boutique, you suddenly have to start from scratch. The whole thing just feels so disjointed and creates a lot of frustration.
AM: Was that something you experienced yourself?
DJ: Not me, but Molly Kang [co-founder] was wedding dress shopping a couple years ago, and she certainly felt that. She ended up writing her business school admission essay about a wedding dress company, and developed the concept for Floravere while at Stanford.
AM: How did you know you wanted to be a part of the company?
DJ: Well, Molly had been a close friend for a while so I trusted her. But also, at the time, there weren’t any wedding dress brands focused on making women feel confident in the shopping process. We were both passionate about creating a space for that.
AM: Explain some of the ways you do that.
DJ: We always felt there was more we could do in terms of size inclusivity. When Molly and I went wedding dress shopping for research, I couldn’t fit into any of the samples and I’m a street size eight. Bridal sample sizes are typically really small, so you have to get into a dress that doesn’t fit you and then you’re kind of parading around and it’s super uncomfortable. By carrying a diverse range of sample sizes (0-30), brides can actually see what they’d look like in the real thing, and feel good in it before showing friends and family.
AM: Empowering women seems to be a huge part of your brand.
DJ: Oh definitely! Each of our dresses are named after influential, trailblazing women. Our whole team, including the stylists, helps name them.
AM: I love it! Can you give some examples?
DJ: Totally. Some are named after well -known women like Georgia O’Keefe – one of our most popular dresses. But we also have dresses named after lesser-known but influential women. For example, we have a gown encrusted head-to-toe with pearls, and that one’s named after Sylvia Earle. Most people don’t know the legendary female marine biologist, but she’s a total icon in her field. These women are all such badasses so it’s fun to celebrate and spread the word about them.
AM: Do you have a favorite dress?
DJ: Oh, it always changes! Right now my favorite is the B. Potter, named after Beatrice Potter who created Peter Rabbit. It’s a whimsical dress covered in hand-sketched lace appliques of butterflies, hummingbirds and bunnies. I feel like it’s a daydream come to life and is perfectly romantic and unique. I could definitely see Austin brides wearing it.
AM: So what’s next for Floravere?
DJ: One of the hardest parts of planning and shopping for a wedding is that you have to shop across several platforms. We want to be that singular destination, so we also offer “second looks,” which are jumpsuits or little white dresses – basically anything for the rehearsal dinner, bridal brunches, etc. We also have bridesmaid dresses coming soon and, of course, we can’t wait to start working with Austin brides!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.