The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

An Update on It's A Flop

Last month I wrote a post on, a new service from The Dessy Group that lets you trade in an old bridesmaid dress (or any special occasion dress) in exchange for a discount on a brand new little black dress. It sounded like a great idea: Your old dress would either find a new home through a charity or get recycled into something new. It seemed like a win-win, so I requested my free mailer from the company and shipped them two dresses I no longer wanted (I was going to send a bridesmaid dress but sentimentality got the best of me at the last second, so I opted to send them two polyester dresses I had only worn a few times from Forever 21 instead).

A few days later, I received an email from the company saying that my dresses had been accepted and my exclusive discount would be ready and waiting for me at I logged in and was surprised to discover that my exclusive discount was the very same discount that's currently shown on the website. For example, let's say you view the "Angelina" dress (here): You'll see a retail price ($185) and a Newly Maid price ($110). That $110 price tag? That's your discounted price. There's no additional discount on top of that price for sending in your old dress. Perhaps I simply misunderstood, but I was expecting to get a discount that could be applied on top of that Newly Maid price. I was wrong. Needless to say, I won't be purchasing a ho-hum 100% polyester dress for $110 when I can do so much better elsewhere.

Following my experience with Newly Maid, I received a questionnaire from the company and I was really glad that I had the chance to give them some feedback directly. I said the discounts have to be better, and the selection of new dresses has to be better, too. Of course, there's no obligation to buy, so if you simply want to send an old bridesmaid dress to charity or to be recycled, Newly Maid might be worth a look. Personally, I think they have a great concept that's been poorly implemented, so it's a "pass" on Newly Maid for me.

Darn. I just mailed off a dress to them yesterday. I guess I'm not out anything except my time since I was going to give it to charity anyway.
#1 Mindy on 2011-06-17 10:55 (Reply)
Maybe you would have gotten a better discount had you sent in a bridesmaid dress (or any dress not from F21)?
#2 Vanessa on 2011-06-17 11:04 (Reply)
I could be wrong but at this time it doesn't seem like you get a better discount if you send in a more expensive dress. Here's what they said in the email after I sent in my dress "We have received the dress you sent to us. It has been inspected and approved for the NewlyMaid process! Your account has been unlocked, so that you may now purchase a dress at your special NewlyMaid price."
#2.1 The Budget Babe on 2011-06-17 15:11 (Reply)
I sent in an old bridesmaid dress and my price for a newly maid dress is $81.50. Plus, they take the $7.50 off you paid for the mailer. Not bad. Though I can't imagine who would pay the original price.
#2.1.1 Marcy on 2011-11-01 21:11 (Reply)
I don't mean to be a smartypants but I just looked at the site and it seemed to indicate very clearly that the Newly Maid price was what you pay after you send your own dress in. Or maybe they've changed this since your feedback?
#3 Cupcake on 2011-06-17 11:09 (Reply)
Alas it was like that before I mailed in my dress, I just misunderstood (it happens a lot lol). I guess what threw me off was that they said once you sent in a dress, you could "unlock" your special NewlyMaid price...and since the prices on the site were so steep, I guess I just assumed that you'd get a special promo code or something after you sent in a dress. I was mistaken :-(
#3.1 The Budget Babe on 2011-06-17 15:17 (Reply)
I don't mean to be a smartypants either but in taking a look at the site it seems pretty clear that the $110.00 is the price you'll pay when you send your dress in. I didn't see anything that would suggest you'd get an additional discount for doing so. Personally the site doesn't seem worth it to me as the selection is so limited. If I want to buy a black dress I could do so anywhere, and probably for less. If you want to donate there are plenty of other ways to do so. Not knocking you BB, just don't think the concept of this site is all that great.
#4 April on 2011-06-17 12:02 (Reply)
please! i love the feedback, keep it coming :-)
#4.1 The Budget Babe on 2011-06-17 15:18 (Reply)
I agree that the discount level should be adjusted to reflect the value of the mailed-in dress - it makes no sense to give everyone the same "discount" (ha) price, if one person sends in a $15 Forever 21 dress and one person sends in a $300 bridesmaid dress. A little more incentive to use the system and send in better quality items would be nice!
#5 Dana on 2011-06-17 12:23 (Reply)
Yes, this is very disappointing. What is the point of paying $110 more when you likely just shelled out as much or more for the bridesmaid dress you are donating?
#5.1 Erin on 2011-06-17 14:57 (Reply)
Now there's an idea, discounts based on the dress you send in... might make more sense!
#5.2 The Budget Babe on 2011-06-17 15:19 (Reply)
Yeah, when you first posted about the website I got really excited about it, but as soon as I saw the "discount" price of $110 for the simple black dresses, my excitement deflated. I'm glad you gave them the feedback, and with your blog clout, I bet there will be some changes... :-)
#6 NG on 2011-06-17 12:30 (Reply)
Unless the quality of these dress are super, I don't see why I would want to pay $110 for their dresses, when I can get something close to them for less. Also, if you are not afraid to ruin a dress, you can try dying it a la YHL
#7 LLF (Homepage) on 2011-06-17 15:04 (Reply)
Interesting. I don't think it's fair at all that a $30 dress gets you the same discount as one that $200. That makes no sense. They should have tiered discounts, like a $30 dress gets you $5 off, a $200 dress gets you $100 off, or something. And no offense to the newlymaid website, but the dresses shown on the website don't even seem worth putting the dress in a box and sending it over.
#8 Joann on 2011-06-17 17:05 (Reply)
Great review- thanks for the heads up.
#9 mandy on 2011-06-18 01:54 (Reply)
I just looked at the website and I'm only seeing 6 black dresses that they offer. Am I missing something or is this all there is?! That's a horrible selection if so..
#10 Kelly on 2011-06-18 08:21 (Reply)
I don't think it's fair to call this "a flop" because you didn't read accurately.

I agree they need more styles, though. Also more sizes!

"Unless the quality of these dress are super" - Would it be as good as their bridesmaid dresses, I wonder?
#11 Betty on 2011-06-19 04:34 (Reply)
I disagree. After sending in an expensive bridesmaid dress and now finding out that someone can get the same newly maid price sending a polyester dress blows chunks. And the website doesn't explain what happens to the money you send if you do decide to buy their little black dress. Although BB misread the website, I'd still call it a flop. Lack of selection, sizes and unanswered questions.
#11.1 Linda on 2011-06-19 16:06 (Reply)
I'm curious, what do you think should happen to the money when you buy a dress?
#12 Betty on 2011-06-19 20:17 (Reply)
If its just a way for them to sell their product then why trick me into sending in a bridesmaid dress. I could just as easily donate it to charity and get the tax right off for myself. It's not like their dress prices are reasonable. If the money goes to charity then I could ponder the thought of shelling out $$ for their overpriced dresses. I thought the idea behind donating your dress was the discount you'd get on the little black dresses. However, there is no deas; So the question begs for an answer. What are they doing with the money they receive?
#12.1 Linda on 2011-06-23 09:02 (Reply)
You had no more use for the old dress, so feel good that now someone else will have a chance to get some value out of it.

Yeah you could have donated it directly yourself, but if schlepping it to the donation center was really such a good use of your time you'd have done it already. You also could have cut the fabric apart to remake into something new but that didn't happen either.

Hey, you could have made cushions to give to the bride. You know she likes the color and it would look better on her couch than on you.

"What are they doing with the money they receive?"

I'll betcha they're blowing it all on fab stuff like paying staff, rent, the cost of materials, electricity, insurance.
#12.1.1 Betty on 2011-06-27 03:31 (Reply)
You work there, don't you Betty? ;-)

Why not consider including some less expensive dresses (for you AND for us) in your selection-- maybe around a $30-$50 price point...or maybe even other products w/ your branding visible for super cheap. Maybe also frame it more as, "Do something good for others and your closet; treat yourself." If you're sincere about the charity aspect or would like people to feel like you are, maybe you could offer the dress recycling service for ~free in return for 5-10 email addresses of others who might be interested in your site (yay direct marketing!)...or something like that.
# stella on 2011-07-04 08:21 (Reply)
For the record I live more than a thousand miles away from New York and have not seen a NewlyMaid dress in person.

I am interested in fashion marketing, though, and this is a fascinating case to watch.
# Betty on 2011-07-27 23:01 (Reply)
There is no difference between a $300 dress sent in and a $30 dress sent in. Basically, they are both unwanted dresses, right?
#13 Sam on 2011-06-22 03:26 (Reply)
Guys, how does this not make sense to you? It is a scammy site. The dresses they are selling are not worth the money even after the discount. The way they trick you is by having you go through the process of sending your dress in so you "think" you must be getting this great deal.
If it was a tiered process it would still not be worth it because the dresses would still be way more expensive then would be worth it.
They will drop your F21 dress off at the nearest Goodwill, and you will have added to the environmental damage of shipping the dress.
#14 Shannon on 2011-07-02 23:07 (Reply)
If I only I read your post before. I just received my acceptance email from Newly Maid and realized I made the same mistake you did. For some reason, the word s"unlock special price" on the website made me think that I was getting another discount off the Newly Maid price posted on the website. What's annoying is that I only got $70 credit for a dress that cost me over $100. They don't even have a big enough selection of dresses. If I realized how this program actually worked I would have just donated my dress and save myself $7.50 for that mailer.
#15 Terri (Homepage) on 2011-09-06 12:36 (Reply)
Thanks so much for this review, I've been debating whether Newlymaid would be a worthwhile experiment for a while now, and I think I've found a better alternative. Well, I can't take the credit as a more saavy friend sent the link to me, but anyway...

If you want to donate directly to a worthy cause, check out this editorial by Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times:
He provides info for donating on his blog, which is linked to this article. You can also Google him and probably find his blog post.
#16 Char on 2011-09-16 11:08 (Reply)
Very helpful post. I was under the same impression that you'd get a credit based on the type of dress you sent it. I'm so glad I didn't end up sending mine in and will look into the option in the NYT article above. Thanks!
#17 Sarah (Homepage) on 2011-10-18 11:56 (Reply)
I also traded in my bridesmaid dress, hoping to get a LBD for a great price in exchange. However, I was unable to see the dresses they sell before hand or how much they would cost. They accepted my dress and when I logged on to purchase a discounted LBD...they were $64, down for around $110. Not a good deal. The dresses looks extremely cheap and I didn't find one that was cute. I would not use this service again.
#18 Nicole on 2012-02-06 12:48 (Reply)
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