How did the Brides Project get started?
The Brides Project was brought to the Cancer Support Community by an Ann Arbor resident who saw a Brides Project in Canada. The woman asked the manager of the Canadian store if she could bring this idea to the US and the manager gave her the go. She started blogging about the project and soon enough dresses started arriving at her doorsteps. She realized that this was going to be a lot to handle alone so she brought the idea to the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor and they decided to use the idea as a fundraising initiative for CSC.
Who runs the shop?
The Shop is completely run by volunteers and in donated space. I am an intern on the project from the U of M School of Social Work and I help with scheduling and day to day things. We have consultants who have been trained to take the appointments and keep up the shop. We have an in gathering committee that works on prices and the entire inventory. We have a marketing committee that works on both marketing to brides who have already been married to then donate their dresses and also brides-to-be who want to buy a dress from us while supporting the Cancer Support Community. We also have a steering committee that oversees the entire project.
Why should I donate my dress?
You should donate your dress to The Brides Project because not only will it go to some other lucky bride-to-be to wear on her special day but it will also provide support for children and families touched by cancer through the Cancer Support Community. You also get a tax break when you donate your dress. You will also become a part of The Brides Project movement of women helping women! It is an exciting concept and we always want to get more people involved.
What brands do you carry?
We have anywhere from designer to home-made dresses. We have Vera Wang, Justina McCaffrey, Badgley Mischka, etc. We have a wide variety of dresses in all sizes.
What if I need alterations?
We have seamstresses that can meet with you if you need alterations on a dress you find at our shop that you just love. If you find a dress you love but does not fit exactly at your first appointment we will then schedule you a second appointment with a seamstress who can help you figure out how much alterations would cost and how long they would take.
How do I get involved?
There are many ways people can get involved. You can like us on facebook. You can donate your wedding dress. You can volunteer to become a bridal consultant. If you specialize in marketing or sales you can contact us and we get you involved with the right subcommittee. The easiest thing to do to get involved and help the project is to spread the word. Tell your girlfriends and moms and sisters! We want to get the whole community involved!
What are some goals you have for the future?
We hope to have the whole community involved and that brides-to-be think of us when searching for the dress of their dreams.
What is your favorite dress story?
My favorite dress story is one that may not normally get blogged about but really hit home for me. A woman came into the Cancer Support Community a few weeks ago to donate her wedding dress. She was very nice and happy to help us with our project but what was the tear-jerker for me was that two of her family members had just been diagnosed with cancer. Although she was saddened by the news she still wanted to help support the Cancer Support Community by donating her dress to The Brides Project. I think this is one of the major reasons why I love The Brides Project. Although cancer is a very sad and scary thing TBP provides a space where people can still help provide cancer support but in a fun and uplifting atmosphere.
Can I donate other wedding items?
We do not have a lot of space for extra items at this time. We have a few pairs of shoes, some jewelry, and veils but our boutique is getting pretty full.
What is something people are surprised to learn about the Brides Project?
People are normally surprised to find out that The Brides Project is completely run by volunteers and in donated space. It is pretty amazing that we can run a social enterprise with solely volunteers!