Since it opened at Savage Mill three years ago, Jeannette Kendall’s charity resale boutique has received a vast assortment of donations, from skirts and sweaters to boots and handbags. But one unusual donation -- a wedding gown -- has inspired an entirely new venture for Kendall, the founder of the local nonprofit Success In Style.
Kendall’s newest boutique, Cherie Amour, is lined with donated wedding gowns in all styles and sizes, ready for their next jaunt down the aisle.
Proceeds from the bridal shop’s sales (just like Kendall’s preexisting Charity’s Closet and Phil’s Closet shops) benefit Success In Style, which provides business attire and coaching to disadvantaged job-seekers.
Cherie Amour’s collection is eclectic, with sizes ranging from 0 to 29 and styles from ballroom to sheath. Gowns range in price from $50 to $250.
According to Kendall, donating a wedding gown is one of the best ways to honor the dress and prevent it from wasting away in a closet for years.
Passersby might spy Kendall, who studied at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and previously worked as a custom dress designer, busy at a sewing machine amid lace, sequins and pearl beads inside Cherie Amour. That’s because she updates some of the more dated gowns, giving them fresh one-of-a-kind appeal. (Her alterations were motivated, in particular, by puffy-sleeved gowns of the ’80s that begged her: “Please take off my sleeves,” she explains.)
Although her wedding gown “has special meaning” and was difficult to part with, donor Beverly Sanderson says she is happy that her dress will have a new home and hopes it will be used by someone special.
Shoppers browsing the boutique don’t necessarily expect to find their dream gown, so discovering that perfect match can come as a surprise.
Lee Ann German was attending a bridal show at Savage Mill’s Great Room when she noticed Cherie Amour. German says she “just wandered over from the bridal show and for kicks tried on a dress.”
She ended up finding her ideal dress that was a “perfect fit and simple.”
Cherie Amour is located at Historic Savage Mill’s Old Weave building. The boutique also accepts donations of bridesmaid dresses and mother of the bride dresses. For more information about Cherie Amour and the Success In Style charity it supports, go to successinstyle.org and facebook.com/CherieAmourBridal.