The quest to build the ‘perfect’ product is long, arduous, and perhaps impossible to complete. After all, Apple hasn’t yet managed to create a faultless smartphone. Even Salvador Dali said “have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” And though it’s not always advisable to take advice from ego-fuelled artists who are fascinated by melting clocks, in this he was probably right.
But if creating the perfect product is impossible, then fashion brand LaDress has certainly come close. In fact, creating the ‘perfect’ dress has grown the brand into a multi-million-euro business selling to people worldwide.
It all started in 2006. LaDress founder Simone van Trojen was negotiating a hectic lifestyle: she had two young children, a job as a corporate executive, and a busy social schedule. “It was at that time that she started thinking about the perfect dress,” explains Esther van Bezooijen, part of the firm’s senior management team. “A dress that she could wear for any occasion – whether taking her kids to daycare, working at the office, or heading to a cocktail party.”
For Simone, the dress was more than just something nice to wear. It represented a way to negotiate her busy life while always feeling empowered and stylish, and something that she thought could also help unburden other women and inspire them to be their best. Soon after, Simone’s dream proved too tempting to ignore. Aided by her mother, who worked in the fashion industry for many years, and an artisan pattern maker who had worked with some of the biggest names in Dutch couture, she created her vision.
Simone decided to share her newly created dress with the world. In December 2006, the first LaDress website went live. “At that time Simone was doing everything herself,” explains Pieter de Ridder, the firm’s CEO. “She sold the dress in four colours, and from the moment the shop went online the orders didn’t stop.”
Driven by a desire to help other women with apparel that can adapt to any occasion or lifestyle, the company flourished. LaDress added new product lines and opened boutiques and shop-in-shops around Europe. With a focus on slow fashion, creative marketing, and creating timeless, washable, wrinkle-free garments, the brand is now known all over Europe (and beyond).
“Our success is down to creating affordable luxury that offers the perfect outfit for any occasion,” explains Esther. “Our products are all fitted and designed by Simone, and the same designer cuts the patterns. That way customers can order multiple products from us and know they will fit perfectly.”
Revolutionising LaDress’s ecommerce offering
Esther and Pieter – who are married – are also investors in the company. Spending an hour or so in their company is a pleasure: as well as their love for the brand, they exude an approachable yet clear-cut intelligence that makes it clear how LaDress stays at the forefront of fashion. It’s easy to understand why, together with Simone and her husband Bart, they make the perfect management team to maintain its success.
It was this team that orchestrated a complete company overhaul in 2018. “Online retail is our speciality,” explains Pieter. “So we decided to concentrate on what we know best.” Closing some of their brick-and-mortar stores, cutting back their product range and reshaping the organisation, the LaDress team focused on investing in the firm’s online offering.
Shifting its online strategy presented challenges, but also opportunities. “We moved to Salesforce Commerce Cloud in 2018 and started to upgrade our technology,” explains Pieter. “We looked into optimising our payment services and the best payment service provider (PSP) to do that with. We went through a selection process and chose Mollie. I got in touch with the partnerships team there, and we made a project plan and detailed everything needed.”
The project scope was substantial. It involved developing and refining Mollie’s Salesforce Commerce Cloud plugin (or cartridge), then working with LaDress’s third-party digital agencies Ordina, HighStreet Mobile, and UCaaS to integrate it into their website, app, and enterprise resource planning system.
“Mollie’s team were so dedicated and worked scrum-like to get things done. They worked together with all the other partners brilliantly. It was a great process with no frustrations.”
— Pieter de Ridder CEO LaDress
“Working on the back-end of websites is always risky,” says Pieter, “so you’re always hesitant to switch or install new tech. When we switched to Mollie, their team was so dedicated and worked scrum-like to get things done. They worked together with all the other partners brilliantly. It was a great process with no frustrations, which is rare for a project like this."
A further project with Navision saw the redevelopment of LaDress’s refund process so the firm could further automate refunds. “Part of the refund process was still manual, which took a lot of time and caused delays,” Esther says with a sigh. “And if a staff member was unwell or an unintentional error was made it delayed a refund. We received many questions on this; answering them was quite time-consuming.”
Mollie and LaDress: an instant success
Going live with Mollie in October 2021, LaDress is already enjoying significant results. “The customer experience has improved,” says Pieter. “Customer queries about refunds have decreased by 90% since we started with Mollie. We’ve reduced the time taken to refund customers by two business days. It’s made a huge impact on the business.”
“Switching to Mollie has also allowed us to offer more payment methods than our previous PSP, and we’ve now integrated Apple Pay. We’re excited about that as it’s a growing payment method. And we can offer all the preferred payment methods for the different markets we operate in.”
LaDress is now future-ready, and the management team has big plans to grow the brand and keep it relevant for years to come. “We’ve always worked sustainably,” says Esther, “and there’s more we can do in that regard. But we haven’t spoken about that publicly or been transparent about it. So, we want to continue to help women all over the world with our garments while also helping to educate people and make a positive difference in what we do.”
At Mollie, we want to help all businesses to grow. We do that by providing an effortless payment product that boosts conversion with a seamless, custom-branded checkout and all leading, local and growing payment methods. Easily integrate Mollie with your website and onboard quickly with no minimum costs, no lock-in contracts, and no hidden fees. Find out more about payments with Mollie, or read more customer success stories.