The shop has only been open for a short time and already The Sequin Siren in Biloxi has dressed a Miss Mississippi contestant and scores of young women attending their high school prom.
“Never in my life have I loved a gown as much as I love this one," Miss Mississippi contestant Katelyn Perry said in a recent social media post. "Wearing it tonight on the Miss Mississippi stage has been the highlight of the week so far.”
Perry chose a Tarik Ediz black illusion lace gown from The Sequin Siren for the evening gown portion of competition.
Store owner Brandy Jarvis-Ibos knows about dressing up and feeling beautiful. She's taken part in many pageants, was Mississippi's representative for Miss Earth United States in 2016 and a Saintsation cheerleader for 4 years from 2013-17 for the New Orleans Saints.
Now she's helping girls and women dress up for homecomings, debutante events, pageants, proms, Mardi Gras and weddings. The main goal of the shop is to “Make women feel like their best self,” she said. "What you wear tells people who you are."
The store opened in temporary quarters in February and in June moved into the current space at 1765 Popp's Ferry Road, just south of Cedar Lake Road. The grand opening is July 6-7.
There was no free-standing formal wear shop in the Biloxi area, said Jarvis-Ibos, who was born and raised on the Coast. She has a degree in business administration and marketing from University of Southern Mississippi and eight years of retail experience.
Residents of South Mississippi were going out of state to buy gowns for special occasions and cocktail parties, she said.
“I basically created my business and LLC (limited liability corporation) and got merchandise in two months,” she said. The hurry was so the shop would be ready for prom season.
She carries dresses in sizes 00 to 24, along with faux furs, jewelry, shoes and specialty lingerie to wear with the dresses.
"A lot of plus-sized ladies don't feel accommodated," she said. They need to have more options, she said, and be able to try on dresses to get the right fit.
The trend for women of all sizes is to shop last-minute, she said, but they need to buy their dress at least five days ahead for alterations.
She has three local seamstresses who do alterations, three designers who do special orders and three local companies she refers customers to that provide tuxedo rentals.
“We do offer some designers that no other shop locally carries,” she said, including one who works for actress/singer Jennifer Lopez.
Formal dresses start at $200 and a custom design dress can be as expensive as the customer wants, she said. Popular now are formal skater dresses with flared skirts for homecoming, gowns with feathers and sequined jumpsuits.
For men, “Wooden bowties have really been a hit for us,” she said, since the store is the only one selling them on the Coast. She also has feather and leather bow ties, cuff links and tux shirts and buttons.
The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday. Private and group appointments can be booked after hours and on Sunday or Monday by calling 228-282-3000.
“You get the five-star Siren treatment,” she said, complete with refreshments. If the members of a group buy four or more dresses at a time, she said they each get a 10 percent discount.
The store doesn't double sell any dresses, she said, so customers will be the only one wearing their dress to the party.