There are few monumental moments in a woman’s life as precious as the first time she tries on the wedding dress. For some women that’s right up there with childbirth. Unless she has some serious coin, a one-of-a-kind couture dress is not within the average American woman’s grasp. That was before Third & Loom.
This Seattle-based startup, formerly known as Angie’s Bridal, Co., is allowing women to design the bridal gown of their dreams. Third & Loom aims to revolutionize the industry by offering the absolute highest possible quality (which includes Swarovski beading, hand beaded and mulberry silk), the quickest turnaround (3-8 weeks), made to measure gowns and is a fair and very competitive price.
By circumventing traditional channels, designing and producing in-house, and engaging with customers directly, they’re able to offer higher-quality, responsibly produced, made-to-order garments, at a fraction of market price. Typical couture ranges from $10,000-$300,000. Third & Loom offers gowns in the range of $400-$10,000.
With co-founders Angie Trinh and Tony Tran creating such an innovative, forward-thinking company, it should come as no surprise that the duo have placed 22-year-old Brenna Lyden at the helm as CEO, making her one of the youngest appointed female CEOs of a multi-million dollar company.
Overseeing 70 employees, including a factory with international workers in Vietnam, Lyden said they are proud to be socially responsible – which is very important to founder Tran, as he used to be a sweat shop worker. He and Trinh wanted more for their workers and Lyden said their “minimum wage is $70,000 a year and that applies to our international workers as well in the equivalent. We use only vegetable based dyes. On top of that each dress is delivered with a custom couture sketch of your gown in a specially engineered box that is airtight and preserves your gown.”
Women can customize a gown via one of Third & Loom’s pre-made templates or design their dream dress all on their website, www.thirdandloom.com. The company also has the capability for brides to upload their dream dresses from their Pinterest board, select the exact details from each and have Third & Loom fuse them together to bring their creation to fruition.
Lyden said she finds her position dynamic and exciting. “I was raised by two entrepreneurs, so that do-it-yourself spirit was engraved in me from a very young age. I started my first company, which was a fashion blog at 18. The next year I launched an online-based styling company at 19. At the age of 21 I found myself in Nordstrom’s merchandising group [and] at 22, I launched my own ring company.”
With such a unique career path, Lyden gained a credibility that can take some years to attain. She said it was around that same time that Third & Loom came into her life and it was an opportunity she could not refuse.
Tran said he didn’t even question putting his startup in her hands. “The choice was obvious. As a fashion blogger, Brenna focuses on budget optimization, ethical manufacturing, and distinctive elegance. She provides a wealth of useful ideas to help her followers achieve the best outcome,” Tran said. “On a parallel path, we founded Third & Loom to save time, budget, and headache for any women looking for that perfect bridle or evening dress. Naturally, she was a perfect match for the role from the get-go. From our very first meeting with her, we saw in Brenna the tenacity and passion that truly takes after our own heart.”
Tran said these key traits are the necessary requisites that a fashion CEO needs to propel through the daily bombardment of challenges and obstacles, notably in the startup trenches. “Brenna has already proven her mettle, impressing the board with great initial execution. We’re excited and lucky to have her aboard, and looking forward to her leadership on the road ahead,” Tran added. With all on her plate, Lyden can relate to her consumers more than ever, as she is currently engaged to veteran and Third & Loom VP Zachariah Moulds. “I know the feeling of trying on a Third & Loom creation for the first time. It’s indescribable.”
Lyden and Moulds do their best to keep a balance in their relationship. “I’m extremely fortunate in the fact that my fiancé happens to be the Vice President of Business Development at Third & Loom, so we are almost always together. But we do have to make sure we have time that is just us, away from the blog and Third & Loom. A lot of times we will make time frames, like before 2 p.m. on Sundays, no business talk.”
For now she is focusing on brand awareness. “Our biggest challenge is getting our name out there. When you are a market innovator, people can sometimes be apprehensive to anything that is outside of the status quo or seems ‘too good to be true.’ It’s my job as CEO and an ambassador for my brand to say, ‘it’s about time women stopped paying more for less.’”
We’ll talk more with Lyden next week. Tune in then to find out what keeps her motivated and what women should consider in order to keep make their startups sustainable.