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Dress Up has lots of places to go
Gainesville-based boutique to expand to 20 stores in 4 states
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Danielle and Derrick Case, owners of Dress Up, talk Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, about their decision to open their first store seven years ago in an 800-square-foot lot in Dahlonega. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Dress Up

Where: 200 Washington St SW, Gainesville, 30501; includes 16 stores in four states

Contact: 770-287-3864, shopdressup.com

Derrick and Danielle Case are shoppers.

The high school sweethearts, who own and operate the Dress Up boutiques and company, spent most of their weekends commuting from their home of Dahlonega to North Point Mall in Alpharetta.

Danielle became frustrated with the lack of choices and the prices after shopping one day and left telling her husband she wanted to open a store of her own.

At the time, Danielle worked for her family’s hair salon and Derrick worked selling copiers.

“I came from a family of entrepreneurs,” Danielle said.

The first store, which one of the hair salon clients named Dress Up, quickly grew out of its first space, a 800-square-foot lot in the basement of a building in Dahlonega which opened in August 2009.

That was seven years ago. Since then, the Cases have opened 16 stores in four states. By the end of 2017, they will have four new stores for a total of 20. They plan stores in Savannah, Charleston, S.C., Brentwood, Tenn. and one at the new SunTrust stadium in Cobb County.

Just last year, they shuffled 1 million items of clothing and accessories through their stores. They partly credit this success to keeping things simple.

Everything that is in the store is online and that’s one reason why Marta Esquivel, 22, of Gillsville, loves it so much. She works in downtown Gainesville and comes often on her lunch breaks just to see what’s new. She said it’s worth the price to have the better service she gets at the shop than to go to stores that have lower prices.

The employees are part of what makes the store work, Derrick said. Their employees are nearly all women, with the exception of Derrick and two part-timers who work in the warehouse.

The Dress Up company also has the It Girl program. Libby Sayre was an It Girl for about a year and a half, but has since graduated.

“They pick the new It Girls at the beginning of every school year,” she said. “They look for social media followings, cute pictures, but also that you are really going to represent them well and not going to give (Dress Up) a bad name.”

Part of the program is representing the brand on social media and posting photos wearing the clothes.

“They started the program to promote their clothes on campus and to the actual girls that would be shopping in the stores,” Sayre said.

The idea also stems from trying to use normal girls instead of models in their promotions.

“I would say that the It Girls are pretty much the real girl of Dress Up, because we aren’t models and we are all different, so it’s a way to show that everyone can wear these clothes and look good,” Sayre said.

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