Undressing Re-Dressed Formals

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Undressing Re-Dressed Formals

Isabella Winkels, Writer

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“Try this one on!”  “Oh, this one is perfect!”  “I love the color.”  “We’ll take this one.”  “That will be $230.” 

You might be surprised at the staggering price, but American teens are spending that much or even more on a single prom dress.  However, Barb Farup has a solution.   

In 2016, Mrs. Farup’s daughter went to her senior prom.  After the event, they realized that she had no further use for the formal dress.  Mrs. Farup and her daughter attempted to sell the dress, but found that lending the dress to other people was more effective.  She realized that she had an opportunity to start a business for re-using formal wear.  Soon enough, people began donating formal wear to Mrs. Farup, and a business that started with just 25 dresses has now escalated to 400.   

Mrs. Farup has seen a lot of change with the business.  “In the beginning, it was just 25 dresses in the guest room of our basement.  Now, it fills our entire basement.  We had to move Mr. Farup’s weight room upstairs to make room for all of them.”  When asked how she hoped to grow the business, she replied laughingly, “Well, I hope not to! Mostly, I just want more people to know about the business, maybe move it to a bigger facility, and explore with different kinds of advertising.” 

“Probably the biggest learning curve for me was how fragile the dresses really are,” Mrs.Farup said.  “They are designed to be worn once, so they can and will break or tear the night of your second use.” In addition, “It really helps me to see how helpful my business is to other people.  For people who are struggling with financial problems, spending hundreds of dollars for a single night’s use of a prom dress isn’t realistic.  but to make this possible, there had to be a lot of good people behind this.  Running this business has helped me to realize that good people really are out there, and they donate so many dresses for a good cause.”  

Mrs. Farup revealed a few intriguing stories about her business.  “One of the craziest things that happened was a bride coming in.  She wanted to rent prom dresses for all of her bridesmaids.  Another fun story we have is that we have a “cursed” dress.  Every time someone rents it, something happens, whether it breaks, or tears, or what.”   

Barb Farup works hard to help others achieve a magical moment.  “My vision for the future: I hope to expand my business to other schools and be able to help other people.”   

Before you rush off to try on a $500 dollar dress at VanMaur, check out Mrs. Farup’s own Re-Dressed Formals.

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