With wedding season well under way, Janice Pipkins wants to help brides-to-be find a dress that won't break their budget.
That's what led her to The Perfect Dress, a consignment boutique that opened July 6 in Martinez and specializes in designer bridal and formal wear.
"It's just always been a passion," Pipkins said. "I just enjoy meeting people. I love seeing the young girls getting excited about the prom dresses and the social dance dresses."
Pipkins is no stranger to the consignment business. Two years ago, she opened Encore Consignment Shoppe at 138 Davis Road, which sells designer and brand label apparel for women.
The Perfect Dress was started a year ago by retired Evans Middle School teachers Glenda Atkins and Connie DeLoach, who also own a wedding planning business called Cordially Invited.
"We had so many brides that buy their dresses and say, 'I've changed my mind, and I'm stuck with a dress,' " Atkins said about the need for such a boutique.
Pipkins took over the Martinez shop when the pair became too busy to operate the dress aspect of the business.
After realizing she didn't have enough space at her Encore store, Pipkins opened The Perfect Dress in the same spot where Cordially Invited is located on the corner of Old Petersburg and Baston roads.
"We decided to come here and just remodel it completely; just start it from scratch here," Pipkins said.
The store's dcor is designed to give customers the ultimate dress shopping experience.
The Perfect Dress has three rooms filled with 500 formal and bridal gowns by a variety of designers. In addition to wedding gowns, there are mother-of-the-bride, flower girl and bridesmaid dresses. Formal apparel includes prom, social, debutante, pageant and cocktail dresses. Veils, head pieces and jewelry are also available.
"They're new or almost new," Pipkins said. "Some of the wedding dresses have never been worn."
Bridal wear prices range from $50 to $1,000. Formal gowns cost $25 to $100, Pipkins said.
Used gowns can be sold to The Perfect Dress for half the purchase price. Dresses should be less than 5 years old, and wedding gowns should be new or worn only once.
A seamstress is at the store to make alterations.
The boutique is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The Perfect Dress is closed Sunday and Monday.
"In this economy, it's the perfect place to find the dress of your dreams at a real bargain price," Pipkins said.
For information about The Perfect Dress, call (706) 814-6784.
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