‘In Scotland, we have always found customers like really big, out-there dresses’
The co-owner of a prom and occasion wear store in Glasgow has hailed strong growth in trading this year as people return to planning ahead for events after protracted coronavirus-related disruption.
Samantha Cohen, who set up Dress 2 Party with childhood friend Vanessa Kenley 13 years ago, also highlighted the success of the pair’s own label, which they created amid the pandemic.
Ms Cohen noted particularly strong demand for “big, out-there” dresses, such as large ballgowns, in the company’s Glasgow store, which recently underwent a £10,000 refurbishment and has been awaiting better weather for external repainting.
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She said: “We are in the middle of prom season…so we are very busy at the moment.”
Highlighting people’s ability to plan again, after a long period of not knowing whether events would go ahead or not as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Ms Cohen added: “This year is probably the first year [since the start of the pandemic] that people probably know things happen…
“I think that this has been the year that people actually have trust and confidence that their events are actually happening. Last year, people weren’t really feeling confident.”
As well as highlighting Dress 2 Party’s friendly customer service, Ms Cohen also flagged her business’s efforts to ensure that prom-goers do not find their dresses clashing with those worn by classmates.
She said: “We only sell one [dress] of that style to a school regardless of what colours that comes in. We keep a really strict list.”
Ms Cohen also noted Dress 2 Party’s own-label dresses were exclusive designs, and the ability of the business to be responsive to customer demands, such as requests to provide one particular dress in emerald green.
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She declared that Dress 2 Party was “very size inclusive”, going from a UK size four to 24.
Dress 2 Party has six stores in total, including two in London, and outlets in Liverpool, Cardiff and Leeds.
One of the stores in London is a standalone outlet for Sisterhood Bridesmaids.
Dress 2 Party has also launched its Sisterhood Bridesmaids offering in its stores outside the UK capital including Glasgow. This enables people to try on dresses while having a glass of prosecco and some cake.
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Explaining her company’s decision to choose Glasgow about seven years ago when considering an expansion into Scotland, Ms Cohen said: “We went to Edinburgh first and we didn’t find the shopping that great in Edinburgh. It seemed quite touristy – it wasn’t geared towards shopping.”
She added: “Then we went to Glasgow and we found the shopping amazing.”
Dress 2 Party has been in Howard Street since it launched in Glasgow.
Ms Kenley and Ms Cohen both worked as lawyers before setting up the Dress 2 Party business.
Ms Cohen said: “During Covid, we went from [only] having other people’s labels to doing something we wanted to do for a number of years, which was set up our own label.”
She noted that many of Dress 2 Party’s customers had grown up with the business.
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Ms Cohen said: “Girls who would have been doing prom at 16 are now coming back to us as bridesmaids or brides, [or] looking for bridesmaids’ dresses for friends.”
Observing particular trends in Scotland, Ms Cohen said: “Big ballgowns are really popular in Glasgow.
“In Scotland, we have always found that customers like really big, out-there dresses.”
She noted that a corset top was a “fashionable spring-summer look for 2023”, worn with different styles of skirt.