Cynthia Blanchard of St. Martin arrived at Style Encore on Monday morning stylishly dressed and with her arms full of clothing.
She’d bought the skirt, top and overblouse she was wearing for $16 total on a previous shopping trip, and she’s been back several times since her daughter discovered the resale shop.
“She was coming home with some really cute stuff at a great price,” said Blanchard, who invited a friend to go to the store with her and see what it was all about.
Her daughter found $100 brand-name shoes for $8, and Blanchard said when her friend received $45 for clothing she no longer wears, “that encouraged us to clean out our closets.”
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Chelle (pronounced Shelly) Williams lives in Alabama and owns the store with her mother, Minda Williams, who drives over from Louisiana. Style Encore opened May 4 at 11505 Cinema Drive, across from the Grand Theater in D’Iberville.
“It’s different than consignment. It’s resale,” Chelle Williams said. Women bring in clothes that are in style, clean and in good condition. The staff chooses what they think will sell and pays cash on the spot. There’s no waiting for the check to arrive in the mail, Williams said.
All of the clothing, shoes and accessories are secondhand and strictly for women in their mid-20s and older. The store features casual, business and workout wear for women sizes 0 to 4X.
For young professionals just graduating college, “we can help them learn how to pull these styles together to create an office look that’s appropriate,” she said. The store also has fashions for their moms and probably their grandmothers will like.
“I love fashion and I love a good bargain,” she said, and the new store is like “one giant clearance rack.”
Clothing is arranged first by style — long-sleeved shirts, short sleeves, sleeveless, jackets, jeans and skirts — then by size and then color. Shoes are arranged above the clothing and designer purses, scarves, hats, belts and jewelry are nearby.
“We’ve had a lot of people coming in looking for outfits for special occasions,” Chelle Williams said. The store arrangement and the staff help them put together a look for an indoor or outdoor graduation, a casual wedding or other event.
Shoppers tell her, “This stuff looks like new,” or “These shoes have never been worn,” because some of them still have store tags.
“We have things as low as $5 up to $150 for designer items,” she said. “Our claim is we’re up to 90 percent off regular retail prices.”
When it comes to buying merchandise, “we’re very picky,” she said, and they seldom buy everything a person brings in. The staff looks first at the demand for the item, then the style, condition and lastly the brand. They buy every day to keep new things in stock, and no appointment is necessary.
Williams said she and her mother chose D’Iberville in part because of the success of Once Upon a Child, a shop nearby selling secondhand clothing for babies and kids.
“There’s a need and desire and appreciation for what we do in the area,” she said.
Style Encore has lots of competition from online sellers, but she thinks their new store has the edge.
“Most women are going to want to touch and feel and try on,” she said. They can do so from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.