As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, but in the case of Heather Stenlake, it wasn't her own necessity that gave her a genius idea. Instead, it was that of customers in the bridal shop she used to work at.
"As a bridal consultant, I learned that one of the biggest needs in bridal was, [that brides] didn't know how to go to the bathroom in the dress, and they would say it every time," Stenlake told InStyle. "So I knew I had a problem to solve."
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If you've been a bride, you know that when it comes to going to the bathroom, the struggle is indeed real. It is an unpleasant exercise that requires you and a few of your bridesmaids in a bathroom stall holding your gown while you do your business.
After years of doing sketches, making prototypes, and experimenting with fabric swatches, Stenlake finally had managed to create the perfect solution. Enter Bridal Buddy.
Here's how it works. It's basically a lightweight slip with an elastic cord at the waist that you wear underneath your wedding gown. When you need to use the restroom, you just gather up your skirt in front of you, then you grab your Bridal Buddy, which is your undermost layer, put your arms through the two side armholes, adjust the drawstring to tighten everything up, and voilà.
"You are free to use the bathroom on your own. You don't need anyone's help," Stenlake said. "You have a choice: You can either wear it all day—it's comfortable, it's light, it's not going to add any weight—or you just wear it when you have to go to the bathroom."
Bridal Buddy works with different styles of dresses—from ball gown to mermaid, and brides are already loving it.
"I have been a bridesmaid four times previous to my wedding and had been in the position of holding up dresses while my friends peed so when I heard of the Bridal Buddy I knew it was something I needed to get for my wedding," said Jen Onushka who got married earlier this year. "My bridesmaids were able to slip it on very easily under my dress and tighten the top and that was it. I never even noticed it the entire night."
Bridal Buddy comes in one size and is available in either white or black. Since appearing on ABC's reality show Shark Tank, the product's popularity has soared and Stenlake is already working on her next invention that, for now, she is only saying "is going to be awesome." We can't wait to see it, Heather.