By: Tana Christian Suggs
With many extracurricular and social activities, being in high school is a fun and memorable time for many students. A homecoming dance and prom can oftentimes be the highlight of these activities. But for many, the cost associated with dressing for some of these events – considering the cost of dresses, shoes, handbags, accessories and given today’s economic environment: can add unwanted stress to what should be a happy and memorable occasion, and in some cases, even making attending the event cost prohibitive.
It was February 2013 and Susan Zanders’ daughter, Kendall, was a high school senior at Collins Hill High School. Kendall and her friends were getting caught up in all the excitement for their upcoming high school prom when it struck Zanders that some girls might have a difficult time affording the expense of a dress, shoes, accessories, and everything else that goes along with getting ready for prom.
They contacted local schools through social media and signs and began to collect dresses. Then the dresses were offered to the local high schools for prom and offered again for homecoming in the fall.
The premise for the Sweet Repeat dresses is this – The girls come to a designated location to try on the dresses, just as they would in a local retail shop, and pay $25, which is fully refundable when they return the dress after the event dry cleaned and in good repair.
Zanders said the reception from the community has been amazing so far.
“For homecoming we gave out almost 40 dresses,” Zanders said, with word of mouth from the girls themselves promoting the service. “Not only are we handing out dresses to girls who don’t have the means to pay for a dress, but also to families that are on a budget and don’t want to waste money on a dress that will only be worn once. People are more than happy to donate these expensive dresses when they know they are being used again and again and not collecting dust.”
Sweet Repeat Dresses now has approximately 170 dresses available for prom and homecoming events. They also offer a limited amount of shoes.
Sweat Repeat Dresses cofounders, Zanders and Macie, who both have full-time jobs as Realtors, said in time, they hope to add a full range of dresses, shoes, and accessories with the rental of a dress.
“There is such a need out there for this,” Zanders said. “No one wants to have to spend the kind of money to go to an event that should be a rite of passage.”
They said they plan to register as a non-profit so that we can give receipts to people to enable tax write offs for donating dresses. They accept all dresses in all sizes, bridesmaid dresses and cocktail dresses, formal and pageant.
“People ask us what is the catch,” Zanders said. “There is absolutely no catch. We charge the $25 because we need an incentive for the girls to return the dresses.”
For more information, visit the Sweet Repeat Dresses Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sweetrepeatdresses. ■