Port shop offers consignment gowns for budget-conscious brides
When Mellissa Tovar was a 5-year-old girl growing up in rural Pound, she dreamed of being surrounding by beautiful, flowing gowns.
“Getting all dressed up and pretending was something we all did,” Tovar said.
As she got older, that vision was refined and she took on the role of wedding consultant, primarily for family and friends.
“All along, I knew I wanted to do something special that would help spread beauty,” Tovar said. That led to the creation of her bridal consignment shop, Boundless Beauty Bridal in Port Washington.
“That was a name I came up with when I was little and pretended to have my own dress shop, but it just seems to fit with what I want to do with this shop,” Tovar said.
She originally opened a shop within the Second Chances Thrift Store in the former Lueptow’s Furniture building. Last month, she moved into her own space at 313 W. Grand Ave.
As the name implies, the emphasis at the shop is weddings, but with a twist.
The store carries an ever-changing stock of about 150 wedding gowns and dresses for bridesmaids and mothers. About 90% of the inventory is overstock dresses from retailers, with the remaining gowns coming from customers using Tovar’s consignment service.
Tovar receives stock regularly from Kay Bridal in Wauwatosa and is in the process of negotiating with several other bridal shops for their overstocks and last year’s styles.
“These are all brand new designer dresses with the tags still on, that we are able to sell at 50% of the price they would have seen in the original store,” Tovar said.
As an example, she has a gown that retailed for $3,500 but is offered at the store for $700.
The store also carries a selection of bridesmaid gowns and dresses appropriate for mothers of the bride or groom. They, too, are new.
“I was at a wedding the other week, and the mother of the bride was wearing a dress we have on the rack at the shop,” Tovar said.
The dresses have proven popular with high-school girls looking for something different to wear to prom or homecoming.
The sale of used dresses offered through consignment makes up a smaller portion of the store’s trade.
“All of the used gowns and dresses have to be in pristine condition or I won’t accept them,” she said.
Who would sell their wedding gown?
“In some cases, it is a sign of the difficult economy. In others, it is women who are looking to move on — whether it is a death or someone who has remarried and doesn’t want the dress taking up space in the closet,” Tovar said.
“Most brides come in and say they are only interested in new dresses, but sometimes they will see a style they’ve never seen before and think it would look good on them. And, of course, there is a great discount on used dresses.”
Tovar said customers have come in and said they only have so much to spend on a wedding, and purchasing a used gown can help meet that bottom line.
She offers free pick up to customers looking to sell a gown on consignment. An initial sale price for each used dress is mutually agreed to, with the cost reduced 15% a month until it is sold.
“You can get some real bargains if you know what you are looking for,” Tovar said.
The original dress owner gets 70% of the final sale price, with Tovar keeping 30%.
“What I like about our shop is every dress is different, and we carry items in plus sizes. Not everyone is a size 2,” she said.
The shop also prepares wedding invitations and can help make connections with florists and cake makers.
Tovar said she can also offer the voice of reason for brides overwhelmed by the approach of the Big Day.
“I definitely know how to minimize the stresses that come with a wedding and can help bring the pieces together. I’ve helped a bride who came in and said she needed to put a wedding together in two weeks,” she said.
BOUNDLESS BEAUTY BRIDAL consignment shop in Port Washington offers brides-to-be the choice of new and used gowns at discount prices. Clerk Laurie Piencikowski showed a favorite used wedding dress. Photo by Mark Jaeger