Spokane resident Cassie Cleary wasn’t planning to open a bridal consignment shop during a global pandemic.
But as COVID-19 forced couples to postpone weddings or opt for smaller ceremonies as states banned large gatherings, Cleary saw an opportunity to open a shop that provides designer gowns to brides getting married on a short timeline.
Cleary launched the Dearly Consignment Bridal Shop earlier this month at 1003 E. Trent Ave., Ste. 101, in the University District. Dearly Consignment, a “sister shop” adjacent to Honest in Ivory – which Cleary opened in the Riverwalk Building in 2018 – allows brides to immediately purchase a wedding dress instead of waiting three to six months for a special order gown.
Although Dearly Consignment opened during the coronavirus pandemic, business has been steady at the shop, which had 50 appointments booked prior to opening June 3, Cleary said.
“We are seeing these brides who are not willing to push back the wedding a whole year,” Cleary said. “They still want to get married and are buying an elopement dress.”
The shop’s inventory is a mixture of discontinued sample gowns from Honest in Ivory and discounted designer gowns sold on consignment in new or excellent condition. Dresses are priced between $500-$2,500, Cleary said.
“For dresses that have been worn before, we require proof of dry cleaning, so the dresses all look spectacular,” she said.
Dearly Consignment also offers a “look book” of dresses on its website for brides wanting to shop online, Cleary said.
Cleary, who is also a part-time speech pathologist at Stepping Stones Pediatric Therapy, discovered her dream to open a bridal shop while attending Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane.
Throughout college, Cleary worked at a local prom dress store, A Finer Moment, where brides would occasionally come in looking to alter a prom dress into a unique bridal gown.
“I had so many ideas and thought it would be so amazing to own a bridal shop,” Cleary said.
Cleary graduated with a master’s degree in speech pathology from WSU and worked for more than two years as a full-time speech pathologist in Seattle when she decided to make the jump to business owner.
Cleary and her husband, Thomas, moved back to Spokane and she opened Honest in Ivory, which has expanded to nine employees, some of whom also work at Dearly Consignment.
Both shops appeal to non-traditional brides who “don’t subscribe to the stressful and over-the-top stigma of wedding dress shopping,” she said.
Because Dearly Consignment is appointment-only, Cleary encourages brides to book visits via the shop’s website.
“I hope to cater to more brides with a wider budget and varying timelines,” Cleary said. “They can get married in a year or 24 hours.”
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