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'Love it forward' at Kelowna's only wedding dress consignment store

Shilo Ashbury is the owner of Kelowna's first dedicated consignment wedding dress shop.
February 12, 2017 - 1:21 PM

'YOU CAN TELL ME HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO SPEND AND I WILL FIND YOU SOMETHING.'

KELOWNA – Shilo Ashbury started her business four years ago with an empty store.

A former employee for a Kelowna bridal shop with a lifelong fascination for weddings, she decided to try something that hasn’t been done before.

A dedicated wedding dress consignment store.

“Weddings are like my second language,” she says. “When I watched Princess Diana’s wedding I was so captivated. It was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. I think that was the seed.”

Years later that seed has grown to a thriving business that provides designer dresses for a fraction of the cost and with a level of customer service only a lifelong wedding aficionado could provide.

"It was crazy, opening up with no dresses, just empty racks,” she says. “I had 300 bucks in my pocket.”

Ashbury Bridal Couture on Ellis Street in downtown Kelowna.
Ashbury Bridal Couture on Ellis Street in downtown Kelowna.

Ashbury Bridal Couture on Ellis Street now has more than 1,000 dresses, mostly designer.

“You can see the look on (the brides) face when they realize they don’t have to settle for less quality just because they don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a dress,” she says. “Some dresses come to me from Vancouver even before other bridal boutiques in town get them.”

Ashbury’s business plan is simple. Brides bring in their dresses, she has them drycleaned and repairs any damage then they go on the rack.

Her store is packed with gowns of every size and style, and she even has all the accessories a bride needs on her day. Her biggest asset, however, is herself.

“I have a wait list and it’s been all word of mouth, I don’t do any advertising except on social media,” she says. “I look at (dresses) from an artist’s point of view. I’m looking at everything from the balance points on the woman’s’ body to the cuts of the dress. You tell me how much you want to spend and I will find you something.

“No one goes without a gown.”

Most of her dresses are between $700 and a $1,000 but some go for as much as $3,000.

“Some brides know what they’re looking for but others have worn sweat pants their whole life. You almost see their eyes glaze over but then I put them in the right dress and they go into bridal shock. They lose their minds.”

Ashbury Bridal Couture owner Shilo Ashbury started her wedding dress consignment store four years ago and now has more than 1,000 dresses.
Ashbury Bridal Couture owner Shilo Ashbury started her wedding dress consignment store four years ago and now has more than 1,000 dresses.

Along with her knowledge of the store's stock — she knows every dress — Ashbury has a talent for getting people to open up.

“It’s an emotional purchase,” she says. “As soon as the curtain closes it’s a safe place to bare your soul.

"I’ve had women cry and I’ve told women I don’t want to sell this (dress) to you. I’ve seized opportunities to talk to brides. I feel the energy if they don’t want to get married.”

However most of the time, brides walk out the door after an hour and a half with smiles on their faces. Due in part to Ashbury’s cheerful attitude and remarkable knowledge of her industry.

“My last word to brides when they leave is ‘don’t get attached, bring it back,’” she says. “Love it forward.”


To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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