The Little Black Dress is a new full service fashion company owned and operated by Shawna Perry. She started the business in Summerside and February, 2020.
Shawna has extensive knowledge and experience in the fashion industry from starting her career as a Style Specialist, to maturing into different positions such as Senior Bridal Consultant, and Formalwear Management.
Born and raised in Western PEI, she wants to give back to the Prince county area in the best way she knows how by the use of her fashion expertise, which led to the creation and development of her business idea.
Little Black Dress is PEI’s is the newest women’s consignment boutique, which carries a variety of women’s high-end clothing, footwear, and accessories.
Aside from the boutique, Little Black Dress is unique and innovative, in the fact that it is the first business on PEI that offers a FULL range of fashion services to both the general public, as well as businesses and organizations.
Services include Monthly style boxes, wardrobe renewal, wedding day styling, lunch & learns, and so much more.
Owner talks about the impact of COVID-19 on your business
“My business was majorly affected by COVID-19,” says Shawna Perry. “On March 17th I laid off all my staff and decided to close my doors.
“I had only been open for 5 weeks, so I did not have any savings account built up whatsoever to cover expenses that were still going to come. I knew in order to keep going each week, I had to try to sell online.
“I will say that our community of Summerside is amazing. People are reaching out and purchasing items from me more than I expected. The ability to sell is actually working out better than I anticipated. HOWEVER, everything that goes along with online sales is extremely challenging.
“I may have 10 items sold in one week, but that means 10 deliveries I have to do myself in order to cut any extra costs. That means 10 times I have to go into my store, ring in items, package them up to prep for delivery. That also means 10 trips around Prince County (sometimes even further) each week.
“And I know that probably doesn’t sound like much at all, but for me it is. Because on March 17th when I closed my doors, the daycares Island wide also closed, and I have 2 young children at home with me now. Not only do I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old home with me, but my spouse is an essential worker, so it’s JUST me home with them.
“So needless to say, tying to work enough to keep my business afloat during this time, with two young children attached to my hip is the most challenging aspect of all.
“I am getting by. Barely, but still making ends meet. I get up at 5am each morning (two hours before my children wake up) to put as much work in as I can during that time, and then when my kids go to bed at 8pm, I then get back to work until about midnight. This is the only chance I get throughout the day. And I will continue to do so every day until I can hopefully open my doors again.
“That being said, I am extremely grateful to be living in a city where so many people are supportive of small local businesses. If it wasn’t for my customers, the locals to Summerside, I probably wouldn’t make it out of this. So I am thankful for that for sure, and that’s what keeps me motivated to keep working hard throughout this trying time.”
For more information about The Little Black Dress, visit www.thelittleblackdressco.com.
Submitted by Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce