This bride paid for most of her wedding by selling dresses online


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At the time, Melissa worked in retail and rented out her designer dresses on the side. She started with 1-2 pieces and now has 34 listings to her name. Last year, she quit her retail job and continued her rental business on The Volte, which takes up 2-3 days of her week and earns her about $4,000 a month. When she’s not cleaning and packing dresses for orders, she scouts for new pieces, having developed relationships with key brands that allow her to stay on top of their new collections.

Melissa says she now makes as much money, if not more, than she made from her retail job, thanking Chris for encouraging her to take the plunge.

The couple’s love story spans decades, they met after Chris took a job with Melissa’s father over twenty years ago. They ended up breaking up for a while, but after his first marriage ended, he decided to seek out Melissa with a DM slide last year.

The pair reconnected in March 2021, with the ring designed and commissioned a few months later in July. As of November 2021, they were engaged, with the wedding taking place in February this year. The whirlwind romance didn’t leave too much time for planning, but Melissa explained that it was pretty easy to book vendors as people were still nervous about the pandemic.

“Once I found the person I wanted to spend my eternity with, I didn’t get so hung up on the little details. I just knew I wanted an overall elegant and timeless wedding, so I chose things based on that,” Melissa explained.


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And, the pandemic wasn’t just responsible for helping with wedding planning — it also helped Melissa’s rental business thrive.

“COVID has really squeezed people’s budgets, but they still want to be fashionable,” she explained, of the desire to be seen in designer clothes without having to buy the pieces yourself.

“Some people don’t want to be seen in the same thing more than once, so if they can get a $1,000 dress for the weekend for $200, they’ll save $800. So they’re always seen in the latest and greatest, but without the cost.

Interestingly, several of Melissa’s most popular listings are also among her oldest, with dresses from 2019 still being shopped around. As for her most popular designer, she revealed that everyone is “dying” for Rachel Gilbert, not only because her designs are quite unique, but also as we head into wedding and party season. .

“I already have multiple bookings every month for the rest of the year,” she said. “People get their wedding invitations and then book my Rachel Gilbert dresses. It’s definitely a brand people want to be seen in, but the price range may be out of reach for some.

The average cost of renting a dress from Melissa is between $150 and $200, with pieces falling below and above. His most expensive piece is a $1700Rachel Gilbert, which she rents for $350. And, it has already paid for itself twice.

Bernadette Olivier, co-founder of The Volte, says the platform has over 250,000 monthly users and 12,000 lenders across Australia. And, with around 100 new lenders joining every week, the variety of brands and styles will only grow.

Of the approximately 70,000 items listed, the average retail cost per item is $1,000, with the average rental cost being just $130 for four days. Regarding the most popular brands currently hosted on The Volte, Olivier said Marie Claire Australia that “Acler and Aje are still popular and cater to women of all ages and sizes, while Alemais is a young brand that is exploding due to their unique and beautifully made pieces”.


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As for Melissa’s advice to anyone else looking to rent her clothes online, she had just four words.

“Try it on,” she said, encouraging anyone who might be curious to start with a dress and see how they feel.

As Melissa pointed out, platforms like The Volte not only offer a chance to be fashionable at a fraction of the price – they also support a more sustainable shopping experience. As the second-hand clothing business continues to boom, opting to rent a dress you may only wear once is the perfect alternative to shopping and dusting.

So whether you’re looking to rent or rent, consider extending the life of those special occasion pieces that still have a little love to give – you never know how it might change your life.

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