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Fabulous Frocks’ Sarah Black explains how to save stylishly
Charleston Weddings: How did you get into the consignment business?
Sarah Black: I owned my own special-order bridal shop with new gowns. We had an ever-increasing supply of discontinued samples and soon had a whole room in our store for them! I saw a need for a high-end bridal consignment boutique in the Charleston area and also felt passionate about that side of the business, as I am a bargain hunter myself.
CW: Describe what you carry?
SB: We carry designer gowns that are five years old or less and originally retailed for $2,000 or more. We offer Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, Romona Keveza, Christos, Kenneth Pool, Modern Trousseau, Anne Barge, Rivini, and more at a 30 to 50 percent discount. Most are bridal sizes eight to 12, but we also have twos and fours and some above size 12.
CW:Why do you only take gowns less than five years old?
SB: We restrict the age of the gown so we are able to offer the most up-to-date styles. Styles change quickly, and we don't want to offer our brides anything outdated.
CW:Where do the gowns come from?
SB: The majority of our gowns are from high-end boutiques around the country. We also receive gowns from brides looking to sell their designer dresses after their wedding. It is a great way to recoup some of your wedding day costs.
CW:How does the process go?
SB: With consigned gowns, everything is purchased off the rack, so you buy what you try. It’s like a store that has a never-ending sample sale! Therefore, the gown you choose needs to be close to your size. We can alter gowns up one size or down three, so there is leeway, but the closer it is to your size, the better. With our gowns, there may be a few repairs necessary, or the gown may need to be cleaned. We have an in-house seamstress that handles all the fittings and can also take care of any minor repairs during the alterations process.
CW:Who is a great customer for a consigned/once-wed gown?
SB: We have all sorts of personalities shop with us! Some brides are on a limited budget, but want a quality gown. Others have found "the one" but are looking high and low to find it for less, so they opt for a sample or once-wed dress. We get brides of all sizes, budgets, and styles. Shopping consignment is not only limited to brides with tight budgets. Sometimes brides just love getting a deal!
CW:What other outlets are available for selling gowns?
SB: Gowns can also be sold online on sites that cater to wedding dresses. We caution brides who want to sell their gowns on their own, as from our experience, it can definitely be tricky dealing with a prospective purchaser over the Internet—we deal with it all the time. When you consign with us, we post your gown on these sites, on our website, and also have it in store for brides to try.
SB: When purchasing a consigned dress,
make sure you know the terms of the transaction. Carefully look over the gown you arepurchasing so any concerns about fit or any minor repairs and the associated costs are addressed. This ensures that you are
comfortable with your purchase and happy with theend product.