Here's What Went Down With Bridal Babes After Shark Tank

Entrepreneurs and married couple Charles and Ashley Young understood all too well the hassle of finding bridesmaid dresses that were flattering on all bodies. As they prepared for their wedding and struggled to find dresses that were suitable for their bridal party, the duo came up with Bridal Babes, a line of inclusive bridesmaid dresses that were flattering on all sizes and were tall-girl friendly. The secret to their dresses was in the stretch of their fabric; it looked like satin but hugged curves and moved with bodies like a jersey knit. So they took their beautiful line to season 14 of "Shark Tank" to lure an investor.

Bridal Babes isn't the first wedding-related line we've seen on the ABC reality show; We've seen all sorts of businesses respond to gaps in the matrimonial market. Wedding Wagon pitched its business to the sharks but to no avail. Bridal Buddy, a scoop net to help brides hike up their big dresses to use the bathroom, also appeared on "Shark Tank," and left with a deal. Enso Silicone Wedding Bands also gave a spiel to the sharks and scored a business partner. Honeyfund, an online platform where guests can contribute to a couple's honeymoon rather than give gifts, also raked in an investor, so we know that the bridal world does well in the tank. In the pattern of successful "Shark Tank" pitches for the matrimonial market, the Young couple wowed the sharks and walked away happy, newly hitched to an investor.

What happened to Bridal Babes on Shark Tank?

Charles and Ashley Young appeared on "Shark Tank" asking for $250,000 in exchange for 10% of Bridal Babes. Charles and Ashely came out dressed to the nines, with Charles in a tuxedo and Ashely wearing one of the brand's most popular dresses. What made their episode so special was that the sharks were joined by guest shark Emma Grede, a co-founder and partner of Khloe Kardashian's Good American and Kim Kardashian's Skims. So when Charles and Ashley explained that the core tenant of Bridal Babes was inclusivity, Grede got excited.

The sharks were very intrigued by the special fabric that made Bridal Babes' gowns so flattering for all body shapes. Though the fabric looks like satin, it's got a lot of give and stretch, which means that it hugs curves and creates flattering folds. Dresses from their classic collection cost approximately $13.31 to make and retail for $44.05. The Lux collection costs $67 to make and they sell it for $228. As anyone who's shopped for bridesmaid dresses will know, this is pretty affordable. Better yet, Bridal Babes had lifetime sales of $2 million. Grede asked about their sizing, and Ashely explained that they dress women from sizes 2-26, and also have a special order collection with sizes 26-32. Grede loved this information and made them an offer. She wanted 25% of the business, but they negotiated and settled on $250,000 for 20% of Bridal Babes.

Bridal Babes raved about their partnership with Emma Grede

The deal between Bridal Babes and Emma Grede did go through, securing a 20% stake for $250,000. Sure enough, the brand enjoyed the "Shark Tank" effect, where sales and website engagement increased. Grede was the perfect match for entrepreneurs Charles and Ashley Young, and after their episode aired, the couple spoke with AfroTech with Ashley talking about Grede's impact on their business. "Having the alignment and having the interest from Emma Grede, who's the CEO of Good American and co-founder of Skims, just really elevated us as far as our thinking and our strategy," Ashley said in March 2023. "She's really hands-on and digs into all the details with us."

What makes Bridal Babes so unique is that customers can book virtual consultations on their website. After "Shark Tank" aired their pitch, Ashley said that they could hardly keep up with interest in this particularly unique feature. "As far as exposure, of course, you get the huge uptick in sales that everybody talks about, but also we saw an influx of people coming in through that virtual consultation platform so much so that we had to like release new dates," she told AfroTech. They also had to add a live Q&A feature to their website, so that customers could get their urgent questions answered quickly.

Bridal Babes is still in business and thriving!

There's no slowing down for Bridal Babes or founders Charles and Ashley Young. Their "Shark Tank" episode gave them everything they needed: well-deserved exposure and a stellar investor. The couple has done several things to ensure their success, such as growing their product range. In addition to bridesmaid dresses, they also offer robes, jewelry, as well as sweatshirt or t-shirt bundles for the bride and groom that say "Mr." and "Mrs." They've even launched a line of accessories for the groomsmen, so they can match the bridesmaids on the big day.

Another reason for Bridal Babes' success is how engaged the business is on social media. With over 163,000 followers on Instagram, they're easy to find and connect personally with their customer base; It's all about community and connection. The couple spoke with Hampton University's Alumni group — Charles's alma mater — and explained how social media has changed their business. "Our girls, as you probably see on the page, they post us every day," Ashley explained. "We have a client photo every single day. We don't need reviews because we have the client photos — we get those too, but we have our clients who actually advocate for us. So I would say focusing on the power of community and word of mouth is so important, especially in a business like bridal." The rave reviews from happy brides and bridesmaids keep customers flocking to their site.

What's next for Bridal Babes and its founders?

Charles and Ashley Young are all in on Bridal Babes. During their "Shark Tank" pitch, the couple explained that they both left their jobs to take on the business full-time. Ashley has a background in marketing, and used to work for brands like Neutrogena and The Laughing Cow; She joked with the sharks that she was doing the first Facebook ads back in 2009, which certainly explains why she's so talented at online engagement. Charles played football for years, and later worked as a child's psychiatric specialist, then joined law enforcement as a detective. They left this work behind to dedicate all of their power to Bridal Babes.

They both play on their strengths, and this has accounted for Bridal Babes' success. When speaking to Hampton University's Alumni group, Ashley described working with her husband. "I have my best friend with me every single day," she said. "We go on business trips together. We work together. I guess I'm also the annoying coworker sometimes, so that's the only drawback. But I think having him there for Shark Tank and us doing it together — I cannot imagine doing it without him." Clearly, they have each other's backs. As for the product itself, Bridal Babes is constantly bringing out new designs. They're actively engaged on YouTube and offer a bridal blog on their website with tips and ideas. They continue to highlight Black and Brown models, celebrating their tenant of inclusivity.