Meet Aneta Pazeski, who explains how her business Bridesmaids Dressing Room helps celebrate love by ‘cutting out the stress & find that perfect dress’.
So my background actually started in the world of corporate, believe it or not. I’m actually a fully trained accountant. I’ve got a background in corporate law and corporate finance.
I did a Commerce/Law degree in Canberra, I’m originally a camera chick, and then I went on to do my CPA qualifications. And then moving on from that, went to do my master’s in business, as well, so I’ve got lots of corporate experience.
So I was very much in the thick of the corporate world, but I always had a passion and a flair for fashion and design. So, believe it or not, my first client was the marketing manager in one of my corporate jobs. And, I made her bridesmaids dresses from scratch in 2001.
So, I had to think back how many years, 19 years ago, it sounds so long ago, so I was kind of moonlighting. I was working my corporate and I was designing and selling as a hobby in the background. So, I was always very passionate about fashion design as a little girl.
Pete The Celebrant: Fantastic! So you created that first dress for a work colleague. Did you make it yourself from scratch?
Aneta Pazeski: Absolutely, since I was a little girl, my dream was to become a fashion designer. But, my well meaning European parents, said, “You have to become a doctor, a lawyer, or an accountant.” And I was like, oh, don’t like the idea of being a Doctor, but, I’ll try out law or an accounting. So, I did a commerce law with a master’s in tax law things. It, was kinda like, keep the parents happy. And, I’ll just do my thing as a side gig. So, I’ve been selling since, I was a little girl, so my first business adventure really started.
I call it, my aha moment, when I got married, and we went to Phuket, Thailand for our Wedding anniversary, And call it wrong place wrong time, or right place wrong time.
We got caught up in the tsunami, the Big Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, and that was a massive wakeup call for me in terms of not living my true purpose and not chasing my dream. So pretty much after that experience, I registered my fashion business. And I started designing and making Broadway Evening Wear and Run Way. And that’s how like the Business Venture started.
Pete The Celebrant: That is fantastic, that’s an incredible story in itself and I think it’s probably almost another episode just to go into such an ‘aha’ moment.
So essentially what happened is that as I found myself designing wedding dresses and eveningwear and bridesmaids. I’ve found there was a huge market full made to major bridesmaids dresses to the point where I couldn’t keep up. So, introduced a small range of dresses as made to order from the States because they were at that time the only company where I could get them from and that took off and I was like, wow, there’s clearly a need for made to order bridesmaids dresses and at an affordable price. So off the back of that, I completely re branded and launched Bridesmaids dressing room in 2012.
And what it does, it enables brides to be able to come in with a bridal party and choose from a selection of dresses in a selection of sizes. So we offer from sizes to right size, 30 sudden, massive spectrum of sizes, and if a bridal party has a mix of girls with different body shapes, sizes and hides the bride, can select her favourite colour. And the girls get to choose their favorite style. That suits their individual body shapes. So it’s a win-win for everybody. It’s a win for the Bride, she’s happy because she gets to select the color and the fabric. And it’s a win for the bridesmaids, because they feel comfortable and confident in the dresses as well.
Aneta Pazeski, owner of Bridesmaids Dressing Room
Essentially, people find us through all sorts of social media or advertising or word of mouth. And then once they connect with us, they’ve got a couple of options. If they’re based in Melbourne, then we encourage them to book an appointment online. And depending on the number of bridesmaids, they have, will determine the length of the consultation period. So, they essentially come into the showroom, we showed them the range of dresses that they’ve got to choose from.
We outline the pros and cons of each style and which styles best will suit each of the girls. And essentially, it’s an in-store experience. So what we tried to do was, we found the frauds have a really beautiful experience when they’re shopping for a bridesmaid for, sorry for the bridal gowns. But that same experience wasn’t replicated out in the marketplace when it came to bridesmaids that were kind of like the, the ugly sisters on the side. Don’t worry about what their experiences.
So our motto has always been that “we are in the business of celebrating love” and we see so much love between the girls, like the friendship and the camaraderie. And the joy of just ease of friendships or even sisters and cousins and things like that. So it’s about celebrating the love between the girls as well, and giving them a really good experience when it comes to bridesmaid’s dress shopping. So that’s kind of the in-store experience.
We have also had situations where a classic example is I had a bride who lived here in Melbourne, but she had spent some time working in LA. So full of her Bridesmaids, or actually from LA. So, what we did was we organized a Skype call, much like we’re using Zoom a lot more these days. And Skype. So, we did a Skype call with the Girls in LA, and we got them to organize to have measuring tapes. And we guided them through how to self measure with my guidance to get the right sizes for the dresses.
So, the dresses arrived at us in Australia. The girls arrived one week before the wedding.
And only two out of the four needed some minor alterations to the dresses just two days out from the actual reading itself. So, we’ve been able to use technology to be able to then help our bride’s as well.
Pete The Celebrant: I think it’s worth clarifying, and I do feel like it’s in the name Bridesmaids, Dressing Room, but you don’t sell dresses to Brides, you don’t sell wedding dresses. Just to clarify?
Aneta Pazeski: Yes, we only sell our core business is bridesmaid dresses. And we also have a selection of mother of the bride gowns as well, and again, that kind of happen by osmosis. When the bride’s would come in with their bridal parties, they would bring along the mom and the mother-in-law, or possibly an auntie, and they would be like, looking through the racks and said, “Oh, is there a dress for me?” So then, in my buying trips, it kind of alluded mates, perhaps bringing some styles that, you know, 60 young mom would like to wear as well. We get a lot of young moms that still wanna look really hot, you know, their daughter or their son’s wedding. So, yeah, we cater to that as well, so it’s kind of like a secondary part of our business. But the core thing is definitely bridesmaids dresses.
Pete The Celebrant: Fantastic. I love the heart and the idea behind your business. It’s about celebrating that love between the brides and their bridesmaids or their girlfriends and having them there and having the same incredible experience as brides get to do when they go for all their wedding dresses. I think that’s incredible. And, obviously, now, you’re also cater to the moms and the aunties and everyone who comes along for that big family experience.
Aneta Pazeski: Yeah, absolutely. We find that it’s very much an emotional purchase. They need to fall in love with the dresses and also feel really confident about, have a feeling that dress. And that’s one thing we really stress, and I’m brutally honest. I think that’s been the key formula to success. I actually want the girls to look their best because ultimately they are walking representation of our brand. We want people to say, Wow, where did you get the bridesmaids dresses from? They look amazing.
Bridesmaids dresses from Aneta’s store
So my example earlier about the girls in LA, was like, hey, I’ve done this before, I just have to put this formula, or on steroids. So that’s essentially what I did. So I took that method and basically said to Brides, Let’s organize a Zoom call. So now, we have Zoom calls. I did one the other day, we’ve got like, five people on the screen, including me and then I’m here in the showroom actually showing them dresses. And in some cases, I’ll pop the dress on to model the features in the design of the dress.
And then, if the bride chooses a selection of dress, is what we’ve been able to do, is we introduced a borrower dress program. So, they can actually send, we can send the dresses out to the bride, they get to physically seen, touched the dresses.
And before the five KM rule was introduced, what they were doing was actually dropping off the dresses to each of the girls houses respectively. And the girls got to try them at home and pick their favourite style and then they would send the dresses back, they get their bond money back for borrowing the dresses. And we would then help them with the measurements and get the order sorted through to supply. So we definitely made it work. It was just a few extra logistical steps in the process to make it work, you’re incompetent.
Aneta Pazeski showing off her Bridesmaids dresses
Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve actually dressed bridesmaids throughout the whole world. I wish I had should get a list actually together. I know I’ve done calls to Dubai, Canada, Singapore, UK, The states.
There’s so many parts of the world where I’ve actually done virtual consultations with either brides or bridesmaids. We have a lot of people who, for example, in the airline industry, and that travel between different countries. And like one of my bridesmaids, was living in Dubai. And, so, we did the Zoom call or like the Skype call with her to take her measurements.
Obviously, we can’t send the dresses like we can in the luxury of Australia. But to give them that measurement experience in the comfort that they’re not gonna get it wrong, people don’t want to jeopardize getting the sizing wrong. Because it’s for wedding, if it’s like a Saturday night out, you get the sizing wrong. You send it back, you get the new one, but with addresses, because they made to order. There isn’t that option of just send it back and get another one, because it’s very specifically made for that event.
So definitely potential to run this as a global business and that is definitely on my radar to grow and scale, bridesmaids, dressing room, and kind of it’s actually opened up our eyes to the possibility that this already is a global business. It’s just about how we deliver our services.
More great Bridesmaids Dresses
So one of the biggest things that I find is that brides, and sometimes even the bridesmaids’, work themselves up before they even start this process, thinking that this is going to be really, really hard.
And I want to dispel that myth, and our tagline is actually ‘cut out the stress, and find the perfect dress.’ Because after they’ve gone through the journey with us, they actually walk out of here and go, oh, my God, that was so much easier than I thought you made that. So simple and so easy.
In my head, I thought this was going to be one of the hardest things to do, because, for example, I just got off a call earlier. A bride has one tall, Bridesmaid. one short Bridesmaid and another bridesmaid that is more curvy. She said, “I don’t even know where to start.” So I think they build it up to be a really challenging exercise, but when they come in here and they’ve got a professional consultant, that will give them the right styling advice And guide them as to what shapes will soon individuals’, and what will make them look their best. Then, it kind of takes the pressure off.
So, one thing that I’d like to say to ride is that it doesn’t have to be as hard as you might make out that it’s going to be. And if you trust in a professional, then it makes that whole process easier. And as part of that is allow time because our dresses normally take up to 3 to 4 months to get made because of the bespoke nature of it.
So they’re not made to measure, not to your specific sizes, but they made to order in the closest size to your body. So, allow enough time, and the world has shown us that crazy things can happen. And if you don’t have that buffer time between the time that the dresses arrive, to the actual time of your wedding, you’re going to need some alterations, say for the length of the dresses based on the heel height that way. And not everybody’s torso is the same like that. So, some people made some adjustments in the shoulders. So, allow yourself time. And don’t make the process stressful, entrusting a specialist in what you’re looking for.
So I think through all my years of being in weddings, I see so much hype and making the wedding Instagram worthy and having all these amazing sort of deep core and setups. That sometimes I feel is the brides are losing the essence of why they’re getting married and who they’re getting married to, and the fact that we’re actually celebrating love.
And my advice is focus on the things that are going to bring you joy in the celebration of your wedding, and also, focused on capturing those memories.
I find that a lot of people get hung up about the little details, and then when it comes to the actual wedding album, most of those little details aren’t even captured in the wedding album. The main things that get captured in The wedding album is the broad the groom, the bridal party and the family. and what happens at the reception is only a small part of the wedding album. So it’s focused on the overall look and feel that you’re trying to create for your wedding.
And one of the first things that we ask everybody’s, Tell me about your vision for your wedding. Tell me about the vibe. Tell me about your venue because all of those three things, a pivotal in determining the look and feel of your wedding. So it’s more around focus on that and what sort of experience you want to create for your individual wedding day because that’s what the lasting memories.
And until you probe them around that vision, or the dream wedding, some people haven’t really articulated. And then others kind of go, oh, no one’s ever actually asked me that, I’m not quite sure, But we ask a series of question that brings that out of them.
Bridesmaids Dresses from Bridesmaids Dressing Room
There’s a free guide that we’ve got on our website. You’ll be able to find it. it’s basically the ultimate guide. Bridesmaids dresses without the stress, a little bit along the lines of what I was talking about before. So, you can download that free guide.
And essentially, it gives you the seven things that you need to know before you even start bridesmaids shopping. So, it’s a great tool to download even well before you’re ready to start. Because it’ll give you the sequence of steps that you need to consider simple things like buy your wedding dress first before you even come to see us.
You’ll be surprised how many people are coming to see us for the bridesmaids dresses when they haven’t even picked out be addressed. But they dress actually fits the theme and the tone for what we would then do for the bridesmaids dresses. So, there are sort of a coherent set of steps that we need to work through before they come and see us. So, download the guide and then you’ll get a series of e-mails that will come out to your inbox.
Pete The Celebrant: Thank you very much, Aneta.
Aneta Pazeski: Thank You.
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