Pia follows in mother-in-law’s footsteps and opens dress agency in Sidmouth
PUBLISHED: 12:15 19 November 2017
A Sidmouth business owner is following in the footsteps of a family tradition, nearly three decades after her future mother-in-law opened the town’s first dress agency.
Pia-Maria Boast was encouraged to set up The Steps Dress Agency by Beryl Hadley, who ran The Steps in High Street from the family salon for more than 25 years.
The pair says the similar name was pure coincidence and only discovered after finding an old photograph of Beryl’s shop.
Beryl, now 87, started her agency after working for Countess Rex in her Sidmouth clothing shop. She then opened on the opposite side of the Hair Studio which was run by her son Geoffrey.
She said: “I was into quality clothing, I had worked in clothing and exclusive fashion. It worked well with the hairdressing, they went together nicely.”
Beryl ran the agency until she retired aged 70 and said clients from the salon would often have a browse after their haircut.
Since coming out of retirement earlier this year, Pia decided to launch her own business while her partner Geoffrey returned to run the salon.
Pia said: “We came out of retirement and Beryl said to me ‘Pia, why don’t you open a dress agency?’ She said ‘you will learn, it is easy’ and it has taken off.
The 58-year-old, who has a background as a hotelier and restaurateur, takes clothes that are new or have been worn a handful of times and sells them on behalf of the donor.
The customer give her a price they would like the items of clothing to be sold for and are returned after six weeks if they are not bought.
Pia said: “It’s like Christmas every day, you never know what you are going to find and it’s fantastic. I keep it for six to eight weeks before I ask them to come and pick it up or if they want me to take it to a charity shop.”
She added that the items ranged from ‘bread and butter’ staple items, to brands including Marks and Spencers, Jaeger, Phase Eight, Jacques Vert, Monsoon and Coast.
Pia added: “It’s for all age groups. Why pay more for brand new when you can pay less for nearly new?”