Tip of the Day #46: Get Familiar with MARRYJim

Tip of the Day #46: Get Familiar with MARRYJim

I recently connected with the wonderful Ulli Adler who is one of three founders of MARRYJim, an online platform for wedding fashion shopping.  Although I have briefly talked about various methods for wedding dress shopping on WedInsider, I was immediately drawn to MARRYJim because of the site’s unique method of linking brides to sellers.  I begged Ulli to answer a few questions that have been plaguing me about the art of wedding dress shopping.  My interview with Ulli of MARRYJim will be the first in a series of “ask the expert” posts based in Q & A format.  Without further ado, meet Ulli of MARRYJim!

What is the main premise behind MARRYJim?
MARRYJim is a new, international Internet platform for the presentation and exchange of wedding dresses. MARRYJim shows bridal fashion from established designers, as well as young, upcoming labels from New York, Berlin, Copenhagen, Zurich and London. Private sellers can also use the platform to offer their new or second hand wedding dresses online.
MARRYJim connects the virtual and the real world. MARRYJim does not consider itself an online shop, but rather an online showroom in which visitors are brought together with designers, wedding gown boutiques, vintage stores, and private sellers. Once the contact is established, designers or shop assistants will take care of the brides on the spot. Private users can establish a personal contact. The founders of MARRYJim still believe that “Buying a wedding dress, and celebrating the fitting together, with one’s girlfriends, will remain an indispensable ritual.”

What makes your website different from all other wedding dress websites and store front shops?
Worldwide we, confirmed by our designers, haven’t seen one sophisticated research website that is focused only on wedding dresses. MARRYJim not only includes new dresses by a wide range of bridal designers, sample and vintage dresses but is also a bridal marketplace for private people that want to sell their gowns. There are quite a lot of second hand bridal websites, but in Europe they are not appealing or popular at all. I’ve noticed in America that they are designed in a more interesting style but they are inundated with banner ads.
Large labels spend a lot of money on advertisement and you see the same names over and over again. At MARRYJim you can discover young up and coming individual brands but also established haute couture designers.
MARRYJim encompasses a wide range of extraordinary bridal gowns. Future brides can indulge in classic, unique, sexy, vintage, quirky and numerous other style wedding gowns. Also, brides on low budgets, but with high expectations can save between 30% and 80% off the original price of a gown looking for sample or pre-owned dresses.
We planned MARRYJim for over a year and it has become full of useful functions that brides will love: extensive search tools, many practical ideas and tips (e.g. concerning the cut of wedding dresses, the right length or different textile options), as well as geo search and dress results being displayed on google maps, price alerts and many more.
We don’t compete with store front shops, the idea behind MARRYJim is in fact, lead the brides into those stores. Our geographical search function makes it possible to find the showroom of a specific designer, vintage store or a private seller in the bride’s neighborhood.

What are 3 important things brides should consider when shopping for and purchasing a wedding dress?
The most important rule is to know your budget before you start shopping.Your shopping experience will be more fun! But, if you fall in love with a dress that is out of budget, yes this happens, you can pre-sell / offer it on MARRYJim.com.
Maybe it’s a good advice not to take too many people when you shop as everybody has an opinion, but yours is the one that counts. {AMEN TO THAT!}
You should choose a dress that is truly your style, never disguise, or you will never be happy afterwards.

What trends have you seen in wedding dresses over the past year?
Of course there are always a lot of parallel trends. What we noticed in 2012 collections that a lot of tulle and layers are used to create volume and a classic elegance. At the Mercedes Benz Fashion week that took place in Berlin two weeks ago you could see this trend as well in ready-to-wear styles.

What are some of the perks and drawbacks of buying a dress online as opposed to in a store?
We think the internet is the best place to do research and in general it’s faster, easier, and very often cheaper to buy things online. It’s the perfect place to discover great deals as designers and bridal stores can offer their sample dresses and private people can sell their pre-owned gowns.
Concerning wedding dresses, we still believe that even in this century the majority of brides-to-be want to try their dress on, that the shopping experience with their family and friends are important and that they want those moments to be special and worth remembering. We’re sure that some girls are willing to buy dresses online, but we decided that the experts are all the local designers and retailers to take care of brides. MARRYJim introduce brides to smaller up and coming and established brands that normally don’t sell their dresses through a wide range of bridal stores.

What do you see MARRYJim developing into in 5 years?
We hope that we will be the center destination website of one of a kind designer dresses for both, people that are looking to buy and sell.

The online wedding marketplace is extremely saturated.  Why should brides turn to MARRYJim?
Indeed, there are many wedding marketplaces, but in general they provide all kinds of information on weddings, list vendors, etc. MARRYJim focuses only on wedding dresses. It’s the perfect place to start searching.

Your unique stories and backgrounds seem so interesting!  Tell me more about Ulli, Nina and Andrea.
MARRYJim is in fact three women: Ulrike Adler Stevens, Andrea Gadesmann, and Nina Dautzenberg. Ulrike lives in New York and Frankfurt, has a degree in economics and an extensive amount of internet experience. She started her first e-commerce platform in 2001 – a virtual art gallery. She later opened real galleries, Galerie Adler in Frankfurt and New York. Andrea Gadesmann and Nina Dautzenberg are designers and owners of the design agency jungeschachtel. Since completing their studies, they have been working as graphic and package designers in London, Paris, and New York. They live in Zurich and Berlin. In 2009, they introduced dog poo bags to the market – an international success.
Two years ago, Ulli married an American and the search for a dress was not a pleasant experience. This was when she came up with a first draft of the idea. Looking for the right graphic designers and programmers was when she got introduced to Nina in Berlin by a common friend in London: “Nina in Berlin is the best!”  It was love at first “call,” on the second phone call and one later together with Andrea they all decided to work together. The really funny part is that Nina and her partner Andrea went to the same school as Ulli did, one year below, in Königstein near Frankfurt. But they did not know each other. It was meant to be.
From that point on, the three of them developed the concept and Andrea and Nina created the design of the website. They were asking themselves “how we can help brides to identify the smaller brands that don’t have large advertisement budgets and maybe don’t even sell through bridal stores. What functions and which content features are important?”
Meeting girls that had bought two dresses or friends where the dress did not fit in the closet anymore the idea grew that we want to do something for the environment.

Ulli is based in Manhattan and Andrea and Nina are in Zurich and Berlin respectively.  What are some of the differences in European weddings compared to American weddings?
American girls are definitely more lavish; budgets are about four times larger than in central Europe. According to The Wedding Report Inc., the average US wedding costs are $ 25,631. They go up to an average of $ 65,000 in larger cities like New York. The 2011 number we found for Germany, Switzerland and Austria combined is € 5.300 or $ 6,500. This price is even including two separate events, the civil wedding and the church wedding.
Also regarding the size there are differences: the average number of guests attending a US wedding was 138 (2006 it was still at 184) in 2011, in the German speaking countries the average size is 60 people.
But there are more differences to point out: American weddings include more friends; Europeans focus more on family, while the US couples choose bridesmaids and grooms the concept does not exist in Europe. US weddings revolve more around the service, while in Europe they are more of a civil nature, a lot of people don’t even get married in a church anymore.

I find that I gather a lot of wedding design inspiration from art, architecture and interior design.  Where do you find inspiration while selecting gowns and apparel for MARRYJim?
We are all three very visual people. Nina and Andrea studied graphic design, Ulli was running an art gallery for 10 years – for this reason we all like minimal but sophisticated dresses. Beside this, discovering and offering crazy artistic dresses, like paper and flower creations, is something we like to do.
We all three believe in that extra special touch when it comes to design, fashion, art and innovative ideas.

Why the moniker MARRYJim?
The name and the logo were obviously chosen consciously. Jim is a fictive guy that does not show his face on the website, he’s most of the time symbolized through the hat. Jim stands in for all men of the brides, who visit the website. From time to time you find him comment on things, for example when visitors rate a dress: “Jim wants to kiss the bride NOW” and “Jim says, this is not the wedding of your mom.”

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