Lindsey Radoff didn't mean to build a business while on her honeymoon. But one afternoon in 2010 while Radoff, 31, was strolling on the beach in Hawaii with her new husband, Jody, she got to thinking about her $3,500 Vera Wang wedding dress.
She loved it and wanted to preserve it. On the other hand, she wasn't sure how, exactly. And then her mind drifted to her older sister, whose beautiful gown was stored in a trash bag in her parents' home. "I thought, 'We spend so much time picking out a wedding dress or bridesmaid dress and we just let them sit in a closet," Radoff, an attorney in San Diego, told ABC News.
When she got home, she mentioned it to her identical twin sister, Jennifer Berman, who is also a lawyer. The more women they talked to, the more they realized that there was high demand for turning wedding and bridesmaid dresses into something else. "We thought, why not turn them into a business where people send us their dressers and design something fabulous out of them?" said Radoff, who plans to turn her gown into two throw pillows (her sister is making a blanket).
By September, 2011, their company, Old New Borrowed Redo, was launched.
The idea is simple: Women send their dresses to the sisters, who then design a new item for them—a sachet, baby blanket, and a throw pillow— out of the old fabric.
"All of us hold onto these dresses; we have one girl who was a bridesmaid 10 years ago and she never parted with it," she said. "We made a really cute throw pillow and picture frames. We've done lingerie from the dress. We've revamped their gown into a cocktail dress." They will also take scraps and incorporate them into a larger piece.
Prices begin at about $145 for a pillow and $200 for a dress.
Of course, some people's wedding dress memories are not as positive as others'. That's what inspired Kevin Cotter, now 39, to launch his blog, which takes a decidedly a less nostalgic look at his bride.
In July, 2009, Cotter and his wife split up. She left her wedding dress with him, though, so he decided to put it to good use. In 2010, he began blogging and posting pictures of the many options for an old gown: Pasta strainer! Grill cover! Mosquito net! He later published a book, "101 Uses for My Ex Wife's Wedding Dress."
Cotter, a packaging salesman in Tucson, Ariz., remarried in June 2011. His current wife's wedding dress is hanging in the closet, untouched. "I have no plans for doing anything with that one," he told ABC News. "But she's brave. She obviously has faith in us because she just leaves it hanging in the closet."
Here are some of our favorite uses for that old gown. Some are sweet; the others .. .well. You be the judge.
1. Baby Blanket
Lindsey Radoff and her twin sister, Jennifer Berman, turn old wedding dresses into baby outfits and blankets, picture frames, and throw pillows.
Gently used wedding dresses can be transformed into sachets.
No one will believe this sexy dress was once a wedding gown.
4. Yoga Mat
Kevin Cotter thought his ex wife's wedding dress would be perfect for practicing his Sun Salutations.
5. Grill Cover
Want to protect your grill? Borrow your ex's wedding gown!
6. Fish Net
Some people wrap fish in newspaper. Others do it in wedding dresses.