Did you know that every two seconds a girl is forced into marriage?
Chantal Khoueiry is an extraordinary woman with a strong will to change the world.
And while most wedding dresses are destined to rot in a box after a wedding, she discovered a way that would put an end to this, by fighting child marriage at the same time. To celebrate the partnership between her brand, Brides Do Good, and The Wedding Gallery, we met with her to discuss more about her pioneering retail concept.
The idea for the social enterprise Brides Do Good came to me eight years ago. I was having dinner with friends, when I learned that one of them had spent £8,000 on a dress that was now in a box in her attic. Then, another friend said that she’d love to have a designer dress but she simply couldn’t afford it. This is when inspiration struck. There must be hundreds of once loved dresses relegated to dusty attics. That night, all I could think about was: why shouldn’t these dresses be given a new chapter? How many women out there have dreamt of a designer wedding dress they could not afford? And how many young girls cannot even get to an age where they can dream of their wedding day as they are forced into marriage at a young age?
Over 30% of the dresses have been donated, either by brides or by designers. As well as pre- loved dresses, we sell designer sample dresses and the response from designers has been amazing. When we receive an enquiry to sell or donate, our first step is to authenticate the dress and assess its full condition. We would not accept a dress that is damaged in any way; our focus is to guarantee the highest standards of quality and service to our brides. We also offer designers and bridal retailers the opportunity to sell their samples and excess inventory.
We are an online social enterprise, so all our dresses can be viewed and ordered on our website. We also have pop up stores – the next one being at Bicester Village on March 8th 2018, International Day of the Woman.
Brides Do Good specialize in designer wedding dresses, we believe that such aspirational dresses hold their resale value – we offer 70% less the original price. Our dresses range from £500 to £4000, a very diverse offer to suit every woman.
I was born in Kuwait from a Lebanese father and an Ethiopian/ Italian mother. Since my young age, I have been exposed to various issues facing the different cultures I have been brought up in. A few years ago I started travelling to Africa and India to do some charity work on the ground. This is where I got exposed first hand to the horrifying issue of child marriage. Every two seconds a girl is forced into marriage – that’s 38000 girls a day. Child marriage violates the basic human rights that every girl has to health, education and safety. The stories of violence or pregnancies you hear are just unbearable.
I can tell you the story of Aklil married at 13, mother at 15 – to this date I cannot forget the sadness and the fear in her eyes. The story of Bezunesh Bogale who was abducted at 15. Today, she fights to make sure her daughter isn’t subjected to the same fate. Her story and determination is one of the reasons why I founded Brides Do Good. If there is no reduction in child marriage, the global number of women married as children will reach 1.2 billion by 2050. The impact that the average price of a wedding dress can make to a young girls life is life changing. It was from this visit that I was genuinely touched knowing that the money we raise will truly make an impact on the lives of these young girls.
This partnership is powerful. We are two pioneering retail concepts in the bridal industry coming together to create a positive change for a good cause. The funds raised through this partnership will be donated to our charity partners and will directly touch the millions of vulnerable young girls. Through education and empowerment our ultimate goal is to eradicate child marriage worldwide. The significance of purchasing a dress from Brides Do Good at The Wedding Gallery means that dress by dress, we hope to truly make a difference.