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Allure Fashion: The Bright, Fun and Relaxed Place to Shop

Looking for that perfect dress for an event, or good quality, everyday clothing for work or home?  It’s now possible in St. Stephen, thanks to entrepreneur Sharyn VanDerGulik of Allure Fashion.

Sharyn managed the payroll department of a company in Toronto, but always had an avid interest in fashion. After spending 20 years in the fast-paced business world of a big city, Sharyn and her husband moved back to New Brunswick and spent five years remodelling their quaint, cottage-like home on the water.

Never one to sit still for long, Sharyn needed a new challenge once that project was complete.  The only thing she was sure of was that she didn’t want to work for someone else.  She tossed around some ideas with her daughter during a visit to Chicago in 2007 and after browsing through some boutiques, her daughter suggested she open her own store.  That’s when the ‘Allure Fashion’ seed was planted.

One of her friends put her in touch with contacts in the fashion industry, and off to Toronto she went, alone, to meet suppliers.  Known for being shy, she was proud of making the trip alone and said, “My husband was shocked.”
That was in March, and by April her shop was full of inventory.  In May, her products were sorted and priced and ready for a June 9th opening by invitation and a June 12th Grand Opening. This self-described determined entrepreneur says that when she has something on her mind, she can’t rest until it’s complete.

Sharyn says, “I always loved to shop, I know what I would pay so I kept this in mind when setting my prices.”
An accolade was at a Women In Business Dinner at the Rossmount in May before her opening. When she introduced herself and said she was opening a women’s clothing store, everyone stood up and applauded. According to Sharyn, “This was very encouraging for me!”

“My goal is to offer good quality, every day.  Before Allure opened, people had to shop out of town.  Now they can come in to shop for dresses, shoes and jewellery for special occasions.  I am determined to keep my prices down and quality up!”

The most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur according to Sharyn is, “Making my own decisions.” As for the best advice she ever received, “In Toronto, someone recommended I sell Spanx products. They are still popular today.”

Allure carries Frank Lyman clothing, a Canadian made line out of Montreal, and a client from Halifax was impressed that some of the styles were between $50 and $70 cheaper then in Nova Scotia.  Recently, Allure also began renting out men’s tuxedos and formal wear.

Sharyn’s advice to other aspiring business women, “Starting small is better.  Offer lower prices and support your town. I buy and support local.” As a best practice, Sharyn donates clothing if it is in store for more than two seasons. She then receives a tax credit so it is mutually beneficial.

If running a business does not make this savvy woman in business busy enough, Sharyn is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a secretary for the Business Improvement Association, a fundraiser for the SPCA and the secretary-treasurer for the Charlotte County & Beyond networking group. Everyone in town seems to know Sharyn and enjoys her support.

Open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays until 7 p.m., stop in Allure Fashion the next time you are in St. Stephen and say, “Hi.”  Or make a point of organizing a visit for that “dream” gem you are looking for! You will find your visit, “bright, fun and relaxed.”

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Danielle Sullivan has been a great resource to me with my business. Danielle is very intuitive, and understands what Lil' Angel Gifts means to me, and where I want to go with my vision. She's taken the initiative to recommend specific training and resources, things that have helped me tremendously. I will continue to look to her for advice and resources, as well as share future accomplishments with her, so she can keep cheering me on :)
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