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Brideside raises equity funding

Brideside, a Chicago-based manufacturer and online retailer of bridesmaid dresses, announced at the end of May that it raised a total of $4 million dollars in its fifth round of funding.

Brideside offers an innovative solution to the $100 billion wedding industry. Brideside specializes in a concierge style service that allows wedding parties to shop how they’d like – online, in a showroom or in the comfort of their own home. Brideside offers dresses from Jenny Yoo, Sorella Vita, Watters, Dessy, their personal brand, and more.

How does it work? Brideside starts by assigning each client a stylist who will communicate with the bride and her wedding party. After some brainstorming, brides can then order samples. When agreements are reached, orders are placed via the Brideside website. Gowns generally arrive between eight to 12 weeks, with the exception of rush orders which are sometimes possible.

Brideside was founded in 2012 by Sonali Lamba and Nicole Staple who met in 2010 at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. In an interview by Bridget Sweeney of Crain’s Chicago Business, co-founder Sonali Lamba was asked how the business plan evolved.

“In the early days, it was just, ‘Let’s sell bridesmaid dresses online.’ Eighty percent of the market is in traditional bricks-and-mortar stores. We were traveling every weekend to weddings, and none of the bridesmaids lived in the same city, so we wondered, how come this market hasn’t evolved in the way groups of women have evolved?” said Lamba in a recent interview (1).

With this in mind, Brideside was launched in the city of Chicago, the biggest wedding market in the country by spend.

Brideside’s top competitors include BHLDN, AZAZIE, House of Brides, and Jenny Yoo Collection. The Internet has had a huge impact on how consumers research wedding vendors. According to, 64% of brides use Pinterest for inspiration; wedding planning via mobile apps is increasingly popular. It is also speculated that in the coming years, bridal stores are expected to invest heavily in labor and customer service. This will help distinguish themselves from online retailers who have shifted the wedding industry. (2)

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