Wedding startup Laine London nabs investment as industry looks to rebound
Wedding retailers may have been left at the altar in 2023, but that doesn't mean startups like Laine London aren't expanding and raising money.
Why it matters: The bridal industry is expected to pick up next year following what jewelry retailer Signet CEO Virginia Drosos has called a post-pandemic lull.
What's happening: Laine London, a Black-owned bridal rental business based in Atlanta, snagged a $700,000 loan from Momentus Capital, co-founder Lundyn Carter tells Axios exclusively.
- Although Laine London was no longer pre-seed, it also knew it wasn't ready to raise a Series A, Carter explains of the loan.
- Proceeds will be invested heavily into a digital marketing strategy, she says.
- She was introduced to the firm by Macy's, and the retailer will also collaborate with the startup and provide access to additional equity, she says.
What's next: The company plans to raise a Series A next year of at least $3 million, Carter says.
- The rental service also plans to incorporate AI or machine learning to better figure out what its customers are looking for, she says.
Catch up fast: Laine London previously raised $1 million from VC firm Collab Capital, which invests in Black-owned businesses.
Zoom in: The bridal industry is at an interesting inflection point as it emerges from its post-pandemic downturn, Carter says.
- On the one hand, couples still want the experience, but they don't want to pay the hefty price, she says.
- So brides are beginning to shift to the sharing economy, where rental makes a lot of sense, Carter adds.
What they're saying: "Lundyn and [co-founder] Miriam [Williams] have disrupted the wedding-gown shopping experience by making it more inclusive, more accessible and more sustainable," says Elisabeth Chasia, investments director at Momentus.
- Momentus seeks to close the racial wealth gap and help entrepreneurs who come from, and work with, disinvested communities.
- "We want to support the company and help them reach diverse customers nationwide, as they've already shown was possible in the Atlanta area," she tells Axios.
- "People of color like myself have difficult raising money," Carter says.
Between the lines: About 2.8 million couples get engaged every year, per CNN.
- But that number dropped to 2.5 million last year and will fall further to between 2.1 and 2.2 million this year, Drosos said.
- Next year Signet expects wedding engagements to increase to between 2.4 million and 2.5 million, she said.