FAIRFIELD, Conn. --- In the past two years Deb Hendrickson guestimates she has driven about 26,000 miles -- all for the love of dance.
That's because Hendrickson, as owner and founder of Black Rock Ballroom Couture, knows the value -- and expense -- of a well-made outfit. A pro-am competitive dancer since 2008, the Fairfield resident started her online consignment service as a way for other women to enjoy high-quality, gently used competitive ballroom dance gowns.
And, since her business is new and she prides herself on her customer service, that means a lot of driving to various clients throughout the state.
Dresses that normally cost from $5,000 to $7,000 are half the price with her -- and highly scrutinized to make sure they are perfect. Depending on size and sequins, you can find something for $1,500 or $1,800 or even less, she said. It really depends on inventory. Expect to find outfits that run the gamut from cha-cha to waltz to fox-trot, tango to Latin in sizes from zero to 22.
Hendrickson, a recent transplant from Colorado who worked in retail for many years, said it took all her courage to cold call many studios and start out on her own. But, with her passion and knowledge, her hard work is paying off with increased sales and more awareness.
Now, she said, she has a lot more repeat customers which means a lot less driving and a lot more word of mouth.
She said she encourages ladies to try on dresses in their dance studio so they get a better feel for what's comfortable. "I want them to put their shoes on and take a spin on the floor," said Hendrickson, who also ice dances and is a gold judge for the U.S. Figure Skating Association.
It's that attention to detail that has won her accolades among her clients. "With me, you're not just a number," she said. "You're still spending quite a lot for a dress. I want to make sure it fits you perfectly."
Go to www.blackrockballroomcouture.com for more information.