While shopping for dresses for homecoming, 16-year-old Chloe Mitchell said she received a confidence boost from a stranger who stepped in after seeing Mitchell’s unhappiness with the dresses she tried on and couldn’t find one she loved. That stranger’s impact on Mitchell made the teen wonder how many other females feel the same way.
From there, Mitchell had an idea to help girls wear the dress of their dreams. She launched Blessed with a Dress as a way to help teens find a dress they love and feel comfortable in, and at a lower price.
While it was business-centered initially, the Western Michigan Christian High School sophomore said it evolved into more of a ministry.
The name, Blessed with a Dress, has a few meanings, she said. It’s somewhat of a spin-off from the TLC show, “Say Yes to the Dress,” in which viewers watch women spend thousands of dollars to find their dream wedding dress.
However, Blessed with a Dress is aimed at either getting blessed with finding a dress or helping bless others by donating gowns.
Individuals can donate dresses, volunteer to coordinate a dress collection drive at their school or get involved with social media.
High school students can rent gowns through a pop-up sale slated for 1-3 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at 17835 Wildwood Springs Parkway in Spring Lake Township. Mitchell said the event will be staffed by friends, and they plan to help build fellow teens up with positive comments and feedback.
Mitchell said it’s difficult to determine prices for the gowns, but she plans to be flexible and willing to work with buyers.
“We want to bless as many girls as we can,” she said.
Mitchell is partnering with Plantenga’s Cleaners for alterations and cleaning. The local business is also offering $50 tux rental coupons for teens in conjunction with Saturday’s pop-up sale.
With the help of monetary donations, Mitchell said she was able to register her business, purchase racks, hangers, business cards, rent the location for the sale, and buy ads for Facebook and Instagram.
In developing Blessed with a Dress, Mitchell said she received helpful support from Muskegon S.C.O.R.E., a branch of a national non-profit group that helps small businesses. Mitchell said her mother, Kimberlee, has also been supportive and helpful with marketing and publicity.
Kimberlee said she admires her daughter’s heart.
“I think it was a wonderful way for her to bless other people,” the mother said. “It also had a functional and relevant angle for young women who want to look amazing and feel like they are playing around in their older sister’s closet that they never had.”
In the end, Mitchell’s goal isn’t about making a profit. Instead, it’s about having teens come in, be built up, and know they are beautiful and loved, she said.
“If one girl gets dressed in a gown she loves and feels beautiful in, I honestly feel like I’ve succeeded,” Mitchell said.
Anyone interested in donating dresses can contact Chloe Mitchell by Facebook, Instagram or through the Blessed with a Dress website.