Tuesday, May 21, 2024

This Victoria-based boutique offers cost-friendly dress rentals for special occasions

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Tucked away in Lakeside Village in View Royal, sits a small yet beautiful dress boutique, which many fashion addicts immediately fall in love with as they walk through the doors. 

Amy Hillis, the owner of Borrow Me Boutique, is doing something special for fashion lovers and event-goers in BC’s capital. 

Having two young daughters and a passion for eco-friendly high-end fashion, Hillis has spent the better part of the past two years thrifting, buying and accepting dresses for donation. Her goal is to repurpose the dresses for the next customer who needs a cost-effective rental service for prom, weddings and social events.

“My main drive was to give Victoria a different option beyond purchasing a dress. Bigger cities like New York and Toronto have dress rental companies and I really thought I’ve had so many events to go to that I wish I could have rented something but I really wanted it to be local.”

“I wanted it to be a little gem of a place that I could go to and support locally and there just wasn’t anything there,” says Hillis.

After spending time cleaning her closet during COVID, Hillis came to the conclusion that she and her friends owned too many dresses that they rarely wore. 

In spite of the pandemic, Hillis decided to open her own boutique after receiving encouraging feedback. Launching her website in July 2021 to spread the word, her brick-and-mortar shop opened a year later in August 2022.

Now that the word is getting out, Hillis laughs as she tells Victoria Buzz, “A lot of people that have come into the shop have told me it feels like they are wedding dress shopping all over again, without having to get married.”

As warmer weather and event season is just around the corner, Hillis says she is in no rush to market her boutique, as the first-time business owner is focused on establishing a framework that properly reflects her values and interests. 

“As a new business owner, I want to make sure my operation on a daily basis gets hashed out. There’s no business model for me to follow, there’s no blueprint for a dress rental shop. I’m having to figure this out as I go,” says Hillis.

Now being open for just over seven months, Hillis has come to understand many of her clients come to her shop, seeking dresses that will help them get out of their comfort zone for their special occasion. 

Hillis’ hopes that by offering a service that meets her customer’s needs, new clients will appreciate the cause that inspired her to open her boutique in the first place – eliminating fast fashion’s environmental impacts.

“With fast fashion nowadays, it’s so hard on the environment, having clothing that doesn’t last as long as it used to. So I’m really trying to alleviate fast fashion issues that are being triggered, by offering a different sustainable option. 

“Victoria has so many new consignment shops, which is fantastic. Even if you are a person that doesn’t want to necessarily rent, there are so many other options out there. My main matra is to at least explore the other options and if it’s not for you, that’s great, at least you gave it a try.”

To learn more about Hillis’ boutique or explore her extensive line of dress rentals, you can find more information on the Borrow me Boutique website. 

Borrow Me Boutique

  • Where: 111 Presley Place, View Royal
  • When: Appointments made by reservation

 

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