Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant that’s set to IPO in the U.S. later this year, sells some pretty weird stuff, including “barf bibs” and live leeches, but that didn’t stop one woman from shopping around the site to find her dream wedding dress.
Hermione Way, the founder of Way Media and former cast-member on Bravo’s “Start-ups: Silicon Valley,” decided to start browsing the site once she realised how much her July 19th wedding in Istanbul was going to cost. She knew that many of the gorgeous wedding dresses that she could get from U.S. stores were manufactured in China anyway, so she decided to go straight to the source through Alibaba.
She wrote on her blog that although she had heard plenty of horror stories about people who had ordered dresses from the site, she’d also seen some rave reviews. She started searching around and found the “mermaid” style wedding dress of her dreams for a shockingly low price: $US169.
At a price-point like that, Way figured that ordering the dress couldn’t hurt, even if it ended up being a disaster. She sent in her various measurements and a few pictures in January and the dress arrived in the mail six weeks later. Way says that it fits like a glove.
“The site is an eye sore and sells a lot of crap, but now I get it,” she told Business Insider.
The woman that she dealt with for her measurements was polite and quick to respond (she even addressed the letter to Hermione with “dear friend”), and the whole process felt seamless. It was like a breath of fresh air after so many experiences wading through crowded shopping malls to buy over-priced clothes that were manufactured abroad.
“I would definitely buy from Alibaba again,” Way says. “It’s all about experience and trust.”
The two most popular Alibaba websites — Taobao and Tmall — are Chinese marketplaces and rather inaccessible if you don’t know the language, but Alibaba.com is the company’s English site for sales between importers and exporters in more than 240 countries.
Here’s another shot of Way in her gorgeous wedding dress:
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