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BY Abu Mubarik, 3:00pm March 20, 2023,

How this Black couple secured a $250K deal for their bridal company on Shark Tank

Charles and Ashley Young of Bridal Babes. Image: Stanlo Photography.

Charles and Ashley Young are co-founders of Bridal Babes, a virtual bridal company that designs body-flattering bridesmaids’ dresses and caters for curvy Black women.

The idea for the company came when the couple got engaged in 2016. While planning for her ideal wedding, Ashley struggled to find the perfect dresses for her bridesmaids, which included women of all shades, shapes, and sizes.

“I had a difficult time finding attractive, curve-hugging bridesmaid dresses,” she said in an interview with Ebony. “I ended up finding a cocktail dress that was midi length, had stretch, and was in a bold, vibrant color that popped on my bridesmaids’ skin tones. Dresses like these are so hard to find that my bridesmaids immediately went viral when I posted their pictures!”

It then occurred to her that there were many others who were experiencing her predicament; and that was how Bridal Babes was born. The bridal tech company provides brides and bridesmaids of all sizes, body shapes, and skin tones with fashion-forward dresses through an immersive online experience.

“We created Bridal Babes because there was a huge void in the bridal space for gowns that complemented all women. We never want a bride-to-be or her bridal party to experience the struggles my bridesmaids and I did searching for gowns. It’s no secret that there’s a lack of inclusivity in the wedding industry, and we are determined to make space for all women,” says Ashley.

According to her, the startup was initially met with numerous barriers to entry but the couple did not back down.

“The wedding industry is very traditional and very vanilla,” says Ashley. “However, as we stuck to our core tenets of innovation and inclusivity, our clients and word-of-mouth marketing took us to heights we could have never imagined. 

Last year, the couple appeared on Shark Tank and managed to secure a $250,000 deal, making it the fastest-growing brand in the American wedding industry. The couple initially wanted $250,000 in exchange for 10% equity, but got 20% equity from Emma Grede, CEO and co-founder of Good American.

Ashley notes that appearing on Shark Tank took their brand awareness to new levels, reaching out to more brands.

“Last year, we were featured on Shark Tank, which took our brand awareness to new levels, allowing us to reach even more brides and bridesmaids who are looking for something new and fresh,” she noted.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: March 20, 2023


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