A woman who has designed a range of slimming dresses revealed how she made over £500,000 in three months as women searched for more ‘flattering’ outfits after lockdown.
Sunny Bird, 40, from Bournemouth, launched the Perfect Dress Company in March, and her first range of ‘Secret Slimming Dresses’ designed to make you look up to 10lbs lighter sold out ahead of their launch.
While things went quiet during lockdown, Sunny revealed to FEMAIL that after UK restrictions eased in June, the brand sold out three times in three months, earning an impressive £500,000 for the business.
The brand has since been seen worn by a whole host of celebrities – including the likes of Baroness Michelle Mone, 49, reality star Vicky Pattison, 32, and Real Housewives of Cheshire stars Tanya Bardsley, 39, and Rachel Lugo.
It focuses on three key styles, the Drop a Dress Size, the Tummy Trimmer and the Nip and Tuck, which are tailored to cinch in the waist and give the illusion of slimmer arms.
Sunny Bird, 40, (pictured) from Bournemouth, launched the Perfect Dress Company in March with her first range of ‘Secret Slimming Dresses’
The brand sold out of dresses three times in three months after June, earning £500,000 for the business Pictured, a customer in a competitor’s dress (left) and one of Sunny’s dresses (right) the Drop A Dress Size
‘We saw it straight away as soon as lockdown restrictions were lifted’, said Sunny.
‘We had so many women ringing up and messaging us to say how great they feel, as they had gained weight during lockdown and needed a dress they could feel good in.’
Each month Sunny’s sales continued to rise as more people returned to the office, and she says profit has stayed on par since June, with the brand due to turnover £1million by the end of the year.
The mother, who has daughter Sophia, three, and two step daughters, Amber 18 and Lauren, 23, explained that she’s often found high street dresses disappointing when it comes to the fit.
The Nip and Tuck model is designed to slim the tummy area with subtle pleats and defines the waist with a tulip shape. The brand has since been worn by a host of celebrities, including Baroness Michelle Mone, 49,
‘Although there is never a shortage of gorgeous looking dresses on the high street and online, I have often found them flawed when it comes to fit and how they flatter a real woman’s body’.
‘There often seems to be something missing in terms of cut or design to the point that if you want to feel good in the dress it involves adding restrictive Spanx-style control underwear,’ she explained. ‘My aim was to create flattering dresses with no need for Spanx!’
Sunny launched the Perfect Dress Company, with dresses priced from £89 to £139, with the hope of helping women feel ‘amazing and confident’ in what they are wearing.
During lockdown the brand made the most of celebrities being stuck at home.
Reality star Vicky Pattison, 32, was snapped enjoying a glass of wine outside while she donned one of the brand’s slimming dresses
Sunny launched the Perfect Dress Company, with dresses priced from £89 to £139, in March. Pictured, a customer in a competitor’s dress (left) and one of Sunny’s dresses (right)
‘We sent out dresses to celebrities to try them out whilst in lockdown’, explained Sunny. ‘Which was an advantage to us because they were looking for content to post during this time which really helped us get the brand out there.
The brand has since gained a celebrity following with the likes of Baroness Mone, Josie Gibson and Apprentice star Camilla Ainsworth spotted wearing the figure-flattering dresses.
‘As much as I am curvy and body confident there are those days that you wake up and just don’t feel great about yourself and what you wear can really change the way you feel,’ she explained.
Real Housewives of Cheshire stars Tanya Bardsley, 39, (left) and Rachel Lugo (right) have also been seen in the dresses
Former Apprentice star Camilla Ainsworth was also spotted flaunting on of the Perfect Dress Company’s designs
‘I wanted to create that go-to dress in your wardrobe that never lets you down the one that you always feel amazing in.’
The first collection of Secret Slimming Dresses features three dress styles which are available in navy, burgundy and black and have been named: ‘Nip and Tuck’, ‘Drop a Dress Size’ and ‘Tummy Trimmer’ – with more styles set to launch later this year.
The names of the dresses are a result of phrases real women used to describe how the dresses made them the feel during the brand’s pre-Covid focus groups.
Sunny did her research prior to launching and found that online fashion brands generally had a return rate of 40-60 per cent, however to date the Perfect Dress Company’s return rate is just 14 per cent.
She believes this is a result of the time spent developing and altering the dresses over a two-year period to ensure the fit is as slimming and flattering as possible.
Sunny launched the company with the aim of helping women feel ‘amazing and confident’ in what they are wearing. Pictured, a customer in a competitor’s dress (left) and one of Sunny’s dresses (right)
‘I started to research how different fashion brands came up with their dress sizes and created their ranges’, said Sunny.
‘Most fashion brands design and model their dresses on a mannequin and use that as the size and body guide – isn’t that crazy when every body is different?!
‘How is a dress designed for a size 6-8 mannequin ever going to translate to a curvier sized body just by adding a certain amount of inches!
‘I realised the fashion industry needed to change, which inspired me to launch a dress brand that created clothes that were not only comfortable but figure flattering too.’
The website is the first in the UK to use all size models on their website: ‘We use models of all sizes on our website, so everyone feels represented in our brand’, said Sunny. Pictured, a customer in a competitor’s dress (left) and one of Sunny’s dresses (right)
Frustrated with just seeing very slim-sized models on other websites, the fashion brand launched a feature where you can select your size and see models in your size from 6-22 on the website.
The website is the first in the UK to use all size models on their website.
‘We use models of all sizes on our website, so everyone feels represented in our brand,’ explained Sunny. ‘Model agencies would only go up to a size 12, so we sourced our own models and held a model competition to find real women.’
And while anxious Britons brace themselves for another lockdown, Sunny has been working on new designs and patterns ready to come out in the run up to Christmas.