The Dress Bridal Consignment Boutique can be found at 103 East Butler Road in Mauldin, SC, across the street from Mauldin United Methodist Church, near the Mauldin Cultural Center, and nestled among several businesses.
This year, Julia Taylor, the proprietor of “The Dress”, celebrates her store’s ten-year anniversary. She smiles when recalling how her business began. When she was just eight years old, Julia discovered ballet. She competed in New York for coveted dancing parts, studied dance in college, and taught ballet. Ballet consumed her, but she wanted more out of life than keeping very thin and practicing all the time. Then, she met her husband, Jason Taylor, who now serves as a chef at North Hampton Wine Café. While planning her own wedding, she fell in love with finding just the right wedding gown. She changed her mind about her own wedding dress and the store would not take it back. This led to the idea behind “The Dress”, a consignment shop that would buy a wedding gown and resell it.
Since Julia grew up locally, she found a Mauldin strip mall where the owner was accommodating and signed a 1-year lease. Her shop opened on June 24, 2008 and now occupies the original site, looking much as it did ten years ago. The shop has a family feel about it and Julia’s mom, Laura Sanford, has worked with her since it first opened.
Bridal dresses of all sizes and styles line the walls. Julia said that the key thing is to help the bride find the right bridal gown—one that is comfortable and makes the bride feel beautiful on her special day. When Julia purchases a gown to resell, she requires that used gowns be dry-cleaned, in good condition, and less than five years old. Many people don’t want a gown after their wedding and they can get back up to one-third the original cost. Most of her gowns come from bridal consignments rather than private individuals. A bride coming to her shop could expect to find current styles and the best designers at 30-50% off retail prices, the average price being $900. She offers a wide range of sizes including 0-4 and plus. The shop also sells a host of bridal accessories.
Julia says the wedding business has changed over the last ten years. Although online sales for wedding dresses have increased, most brides don’t want to buy something so precious without seeing it and trying it on. Ten years ago, only a few stores offered a wedding dress service such as hers, but now it is more common. Today’s brides don’t want the big formal church weddings as much either; they may prefer more rustic and individualistic settings which influences the dress chosen. Trends change quickly and what was in style a few years ago quickly falls out of vogue.
Julia has some stories to tell about her ten years in this business. Once a bride arrived in a limousine with twenty-five of her friends to pick out the wedding dress. They all piled into the store and provided lots of support and many opinions. It was a delightful time! Sometimes, a wedding date has been moved up when a loved one is seriously ill. Julia says that they come in together to find the right gown and it is very sweet and emotional. She is especially touched when dads are involved in the gown selection and says that there is nothing like seeing a proud father standing with his daughter in her perfect dress. Both she and her mom are deeply moved when a bride finds THE gown—everyone is in tears and happy at the same time.
Julia recently joined the Mauldin Chamber of Commerce to celebrate this ten-year anniversary. Her business has received several accolades since first opening. The Knot, an organization which provides wedding information, has selected her business as “Best of Weddings” vendor for several years based on customer reviews through their website, www.theknot.com. In 2017, “The Dress” was named to Best of Weddings Hall of Fame based on almost 100 five-star reviews from customers. Another national bridal website featuring wedding vendors in each city/state, www.weddingwire.com, awarded her business “Bride’s Choice” and/or “Couple’s Choice” every year from 2012-2018 based on customer reviews from that site. Her plans for the future may involve expansion because she needs more room for all those beautiful wedding dresses!
If you are searching for that perfect wedding gown, come to The Dress Wedding Consignment Shop in Mauldin. You won’t be disappointed! For additional information, check out Julia’s website: www.thedressconsignment.com.