LI designer: Dress for budget success
Meryl Benaim calls it a Versatile Dress, but she said it's OK if people refer to it as a Recession Dress, because these days that's what it is.
Benaim, a clothing designer whose company, Pouch, operates out of her Atlantic Beach home, has fashioned a dress that is at least seven dresses in one, she says, and sells for $150 and up. It allows the wearer to fold and unfold it to achieve a different look each time.
"It's value dressing," said Benaim, who founded her company on a $40,000 investment in 2006 and began shipping her dresses three years ago. So far, she said, about 6,000 of the dresses, which are 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex, have been sold online and in stores.
"You can purchase one dress and have an entire wardrobe," Benaim said. "It becomes more and more valuable as the economy becomes tighter."
The dresses - offered in mini / tunic, floor, knee and mid-calf lengths -- are manufactured in Pennsylvania and shipped out of Connecticut. According to the company's website, theversatiledress.com, the dress can be worn strapless or in Grecian halter, halter, skirt, knotted halter or one-shoulder styles. Colors are black, chocolate, red, sapphire and sky blue, pewter, merlot and "jazzberry."
"We started off as a maternity dress but found this was very viable for the non-maternity market," Benaim said.
Pouch has a staff of four, and Benaim says the small company is breaking even.
Once a product developer for department stores, she introduced the dress at a design show in California in 2006.
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