Angie Lewis and Jan Sanderson had talked about starting a
business together but for years had no idea what kind of business to
start. With high school aged daughters,
they started to notice how many dances there are and how expensive the dresses
were. They also notice that many of those beautiful dresses hung in closets and
the owner didn’t know what to do with them.
Now they had an idea for a business they could run together and truly
Elsha Rae’s Dress Boutique is a formal consignment
boutique. The long racks of beautiful
formal dresses and four fitting rooms take up most of Angie’s basement at her
Mapleton home. After advertising in the fall
of 2010 for formals that could be consigned out, they got many responses and
even have a dress that was shipped from Hawaii.
Jan said that many of the girls didn’t know what consignment meant and
they did a lot of explaining. When a
girl brings in her formal dress, she names it.
Some of the dress names include Neapolitan, Barbie, Jezebel — whatever
the girl wants her dress to be named.
When the dress rents, the owner gets part of the rental fee.
Part of the way Jan and Angie got the word out about the
dress shop was through Facebook. When
they first opened, they offered a free jewelry rental for anyone who rented a
dress and then posted where they rented it on their Facebook page. The social media helped the word spread
quickly through the Springville, Mapleton, and Spanish Fork High schools. The word continues to spread wider in to Utah
Valley and Elsha Rae’s Dress Boutique has its own Facebook page that highlights
girls in dresses and catalogues some of the dresses themselves.
They like being in business especially since they can try
an idea without having to wait for approval from someone else. Both Angie and Jan are enjoying the
challenges of growing their business, and they are glad they have each other to
rely on. “I wouldn’t want to do this by
myself,” Angie said. They both agree
that one of the best parts of their business is seeing the beauty of a girl come
shining through because of the beautiful dress she is wearing.
Before they got started, they came to the Orem SBDC with
questions. “You want to obey all the laws – it was hard to know what all the
laws were.” After getting some answers
to their questions and doing some homework on what they needed. They
transformed Angie’s basement into a dress shop.
“We contacted the SBDC at the very beginning,” Angie said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”
As their business continues to grow, they know that the
Orem SBDC is there to help. Jan said, “We feel like we can ask people at the
SBDC." For those thinking about
going into business, Jan offers this advice, “Research, research, research! And
go to the SBDC and see Camille.”