E-commerce has technically been around since the 1960s. True e-commerce, however, began with the first online sale in 1994. Today it’s hard to imagine a world without it. More than 15 percent of America’s retail sales are through e-commerce, and that number grows exponentially every year.
A little e-commerce history
It wasn’t all that long ago that the future of e-commerce was in serious doubt. Even powerhouse Amazon.com didn’t post its first profit until four years after going public; and when the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, hundreds of internet retailers went under, taking the Nasdaq so far down that it would take 15 years to fully recover.
From that point on, companies tended to move to online sales slowly. Most of the retailers who did so already had competitive brick-and-mortar locations and the cash flow to survive if their e-commerce venture turned belly up.
Jumping into the world of online sales directly as a startup takes vision, determination, and guts. That’s precisely the combination of qualities that Carla and Bill brought to Saved by the Dress when they built this successful e-commerce business from the ground up.
Saved by the dress
Carla was a speech pathologist and stay-at-home mom with a vision of make shopping easy for busy women on a budget while still providing them with quality, fashionable clothes. Bill was already a successful entrepreneur and determined to make Carla’s vision a reality.
The Saved by the Dress vision included streamlining the process to cut costs for customers while still providing personal customer service and super-fast shipping. The company would also deliberately support American-made goods whenever possible, and more than 70 percent of their offerings are currently made in the USA.
Together, Carla and Bill launched Saved by the Dress from their apartment in Miami Beach, Florida, in the summer of 2013. Less than a year later, they moved the business from an apartment to a 2,000-square-foot warehouse.
Like every good thing worth pursuing, turning Saved by the Dress into one of the nation’s top retail powerhouses didn’t happen without hard work and even a few setbacks. Business lagged at times in early years, and in 2015, the company had to downsize. Hard work and a refusal to give up on their vision kept them going, however, and by 2016 the company moved into a 10,000-square-foot warehouse and hit the 100,000 sales mark.
Saved by the Dress never stopped to rest. By 2017, the company had seen 300 percent sales growth and reached 1.5 millions likes on Facebook. This was a testament to the reality that the company was succeeding in its mission to provide women with great clothes at a good price through a fast and reliable online system.
Moving up also means giving back, and Saved by the Dress has done just that, partnering with Kiva.org to donate to women in developing nations who want a shot at making their own entrepreneurial visions come true.
The future is looking bright for Saved by the Dress, for the satisfied customers who have come to rely on the company as the easiest way to stay on top of trends while not breaking the bank, and for the women supported by the company’s charitable donations.
In August 2018, with sales growth of an incredible (and almost unheard of) 1,150 percent, Saved by the Dress reached a new milestone with a place on the Inc. 500, the prestigious ranking of most successful private businesses in the country. But success hasn’t changed the mission of using the power of e-commerce to bring customers quality, trendy clothing at the right price.