Exactly 3 years ago I started out on a journey to build the only full service consignment shoppe in Manitoba. I had no money. No credit. About 80 collective hours of retail experience in my 30+ years of life, none of it in a bridal salon. My 1 year old had never been introduced to daycare. My husband was on the mend from a back injury. And I was completely unfamiliar with the ins and outs of small business ownership. Even though I lacked the resources and training in so many areas I did possess the one thing you really need to break into a new business: sheer recklessness.
Some may describe opening a new business as a dream. But what is a dream if it isn't a reckless, hopeful thought coming to fruition? A desire to create something or offer a service that helps people? Which is exactly what this consignment shoppe has done. We have connected 421 bridal gowns, over 800 formal dresses and hundreds of accessories since we opened our doors in Winnipeg in January 2017. Not to mention the 395 clients who have seen their alterations vision come to life in the hands of our seamstresses. Our mission to get gowns out of closets, reduce textile waste, save people money and offer affordable options for all types of formal events has been a huge success! We are CRUSHING IT. But, as with any ground up operation, there has been some growing pains. Okay, several. Very painful ones. Everything from the paperwork to the retail tags, store layout and administrative processes has evolved to meet the high volume of shoppers and sellers. Our team has grown too, bringing new faces and fresh ideas to the shoppe. It is a really exciting time!
So here we are, growing exponentially, doing our very best to serve clients and we have reached the point where things just aren't working as efficiently as we would like. Pearl & Birch was created to provide a bridal experience with used retail. I designed the space to feel nostalgic and warm and we have become so busy that it is starting to lose that intimate atmosphere. We can only fit so many clients in our current space comfortably and we are simply out of square footage. Faced with the prospect of moving and a list of reasons why I feel strongly about keeping our location the team and I decided to stay put. Lucky for us, there is 1000 square feet of unused space in the back of the building that we can create access to. Which is exactly what we are doing in a few short weeks!
I came in like a wrecking ball to the bridal industry, crashing through every hurdle and changing the way people felt about second hand. And I have been fortunate to have a number of people cheering me on, helping me though tough financial times, offering their time and expertise to make this a success and the local bridal industry has been so supportive and welcoming. Our consignors and our brides have filled this last three years full of joy. And we can't wait to create more memories and save more gowns. Our renovated shoppe will maintain all the charm of our current store while offering more private spaces, a separate alterations studio and quiet place for consignors (just to name a few changes!). We will be open though out the month of September when upgrades will be ongoing and closed from October 2-4 to complete the finishing touches. Save the date- October 5, 2019- and stay tuned for information about how we are celebrating our renovation and all the fabulous fun we are going to have introducing you to a new season with Pearl & Birch!
We hope you join the joyride!