Hard Lesson: COVID-19, the Wedding Crasher

In early 2020, Molly Kang, MBA ’15, was poised to upend the wedding industry with a direct-to-consumer bridal dress company. Then came social distancing.

December 02, 2020

As founder and CEO of Floravere, Molly Kang, MBA ’15, set out to make the “luxury bridal experience” accessible to women who couldn’t normally afford such a thing. At the beginning of 2020, two years after it launched, the company had showrooms in 13 cities nationwide, with big plans for expansion. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, weddings went away, and the business dried up. In this candid video interview, Kang talks about what it was like to be “at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Full Transcript

Molly Kang: The origin of the idea was just, how do you make the luxury bridal experience accessible to the 99%?

I’m Molly Kang, I’m the Founder and CEO of Floravere and I graduated from the GSB, class of 2015. So, at Floravere we’re on a mission to really revolutionize the entire bridal industry by offering luxury bridal gowns and a truly luxury, intimate, private experience for shopping for your gown, with radical price points that have never existed before.

So it’s been a while since I’ve seen that video. Yeah, it’s kind of blowing my mind, the difference. I don’t even know however many months since we did this can make. How drastically what your life looks like can change is kind of sad and probably going to make me emotional.

You know, you have all these big dreams and plans, and we had so many things planned for 2020. We were operating for four years, but really two years in earnest. We had opened 13 showrooms in 13 different cities across the US. And then in March 2020, COVID happens and practically overnight we closed all of our showrooms. The state of weddings in general in the US was suddenly in limbo.

It’s ironic to look back in my early pitches to investors. I always said, ”The beauty of this business is that it’s recession-proof because people will always be getting married.” But it was not pandemic proof. My professor, one of my professors from the GSB, he was the one that mentored me through my second year and really convinced me to launch this business.

He said to me, “You know, Molly, in life and career, success is often just timing and luck. And so you were at the wrong place at the wrong time.” But he said, “Mark, my words. Six years from now, seven years from now, there will be an incredibly successful business that looks just like yours.”

The part about it that surprised me through this time was how supportive my investors were through that time. And then they then turned around and said, “What do you want to do next?” Many of those investors are investors either that I’d met at the GSB or through the GSB network.

On a professional level, the big breakthrough that I had is that I still want to be an entrepreneur, which on one hand sounds crazy. I have these two close friends who also started companies right when we graduated together. They were in my graduating class. The three of us have had monthly calls every month for the past five years since we’ve graduated. And when I told them, “Gosh, I think I want to do this all over again. What are some ideas? You guys want to brainstorm some ideas together?” They thought I was insane.

They said, “If you, right now in this moment, after what has happened to your business, still want to do this again, that must really mean that you’re meant to be an entrepreneur.” I would very much like to build a new brand, build a new product and to continue trying my hand at entrepreneurship.

Original footage from July 2019 was produced by Mike Brown.

— Steve Goldbloom

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