The idea came from a common conundrum: Bernadette Maulion had a bunch of weddings to attend but didn’t want to “break the bank” buying gowns for each. Wouldn’t it be great if she could just rent high-fashion dresses at a fraction of the cost? She took the idea and ran with it, launching Dressed and Bernadettejoy.com, two businesses aimed at helping women save and make money to enhance their lives.
Dressed started as Bernadette’s MBA marketing project. After getting lots of positive feedback, she officially started the dress rental business in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2016. Women visit a personal stylist in the studio to find the perfect dress for their occasion, paying as little as $49 for their look. Women can also rent out dresses from their own closets as a way to make a little extra money. “I intended it to be a side hustle and it kept growing and I loved doing it,” Bernadette says. “I feel that I’m helping women on a lot of levels—helping women make money, helping women feel good about themselves and knowing that they’re looking great without having to break the bank.”
“It’s about ‘How do I help these women feel really good and confident about themselves—even if it’s just for this one event?’”
Her keen sense of financial stewardship is what led Bernadette to her second business, Bernadettejoy.com. After graduating with her MBA, she had $70,000 in student loan debt and wanted to position herself in a comfortable place financially before launching Dressed. So, she and her husband created a plan and paid off the entire debt within one year. Now she uses that same savvy planning as a financial consultant to help people get out of debt, make more money, start their own business or even land a better job. She’s helped so many people that she’s now considered a local personal finance expert in Charlotte.
Beyond helping women and professionals feel better, look better and achieve their financial goals, Bernadette is also passionate about giving back to her community. Currently, Dressed partners with various local gala events and donates portions of revenue back to their charitable cause. Looking ahead, she’s hoping to expand those partnerships even further to make an even greater impact.
Photos by Piper-Warlick-Photography