Dress Cheshire. She’s in FASHION

By Glossy Magazine

Christine Colbert Dress Cheshire

Dress Cheshire. She’s in FASHION

Christine Colbert Dress Cheshire

How a side hustle turned into a game-changing eComms business for Dress Cheshire owner Christine Colbert

At first glance, Dress Cheshire, with its cute cottage premises on Prestbury high street, looks like the sort of independent boutique you may find in many affluent villages in the UK. 

But behind the gorgeous window display filled with beautiful clothes is a booming eComms business in pre-loved fashion, which ticks all the boxes when it comes to ethical shopping and sustainability.

Dress Cheshire Interior

The driving force behind Dress is Christine Colbert, a marketing executive who started her clothing business as a “side hustle” but hit the fashion zeitgeist and can now cherry pick her stock from the unwanted wardrobes of around 2,000 fashionistas.

Dress isn’t just a second-hand clothing operation though, it is a selection of clothes and accessories that have been curated with great care, targeting a customer base that loves fashion but prefers not to pay full price for the privilege of owning a designer label.

And while a quick flick through the stock will reveal names like Balenciaga, Celine, Hermès and Jimmy Choo, it’s not all hefty price tags. In fact, you’re just as likely to pick up a chain store classic as you are a catwalk cast-off.

“The one thing we are is ruthless when it comes to what we take in,” reveals Dress owner, Christine.

 “We have built up an amazing pool of almost 2,000 sellers – most of whom are in the local area, although we are attracting others from further afield, which is incredible because when I opened the shop in November 2018, I thought we’d have about 50 and we now have people signing up every day.”

Christine hit on the idea of opening a second-hand dress agency by observing the habits of her immaculately dressed neighbours in Cheshire’s Golden Triangle.

“I used to sit in our local restaurant Coast looking at everyone coming in wearing a beautiful outfit and I never saw them in it again,” she recalls.

“My first thought was, ‘What are they doing with their clothes?’”

The truth was that they were probably hoarding them at home, until Christine had the bright idea of selling them on their behalf.

“I definitely recognised a real gap in Cheshire, and I was right,” she says.

“There are lots of self-serve businesses out there, like eBay and Vinted, but with us, you just bring your things here and we do it all for you. We have a purpose-built photography studio now, so things are professionally photographed. We take all the hard work out of it.  And we are commission-only, so we’ve no listing fees or anything, no hidden extras, we are as transparent as they come.”

Shop at Dress and you can find current season Dior and Chanel for a fraction of the price they’d cost in a London boutique, but just because you’re buying the from a dress agency doesn’t make it a bargain basement experience.

In fact, one of the things which makes Dress unique is that it offers its customers the same kind of service they’d get in any smart shop.

“I’ve been buying second-hand for more than 20 years, but what I did know was that nobody was doing it in a boutique high-end way,” explains Christine.

“Often second-hand stores are rammed full of clothes and are not attractive places. That was something I was really keen on avoiding. I wanted to turn this into a nice experience.”

Dress Cheshire Handbags

Originally, Christine had intended Dress to be a small shop, serving the community. In no way was an eComms business on the agenda, well, at least not until the Covid pandemic struck. Dress had only been open 15 months when, along with every non-essential shop in the UK, it was forced to close.

“Invariably, I turned to social media and social selling,” says Christine, who, around the same time, launched her incredibly successful Friday Night Live sessions in which she personally showcases around 20 outfits that can be bought during the hour-long QVC-style broadcast.

“I would now attribute over 90 percent of our sales to online. From buying directly from us and never visiting the shop to clicking and collecting. Even if they’re someone who has never bought online, they’ve seen it online before they come to the shop.

“Without the online sales strategy and social selling, we wouldn’t exist. And that is now, of course, feeding a beast. In a good way. What it now means is we have a national eComms brand of fabulous, second-hand clothes, as well as shoes and handbags.

“We have great, better-quality brands and people tell us: ‘You’ve changed the way I look’.

“We’ve driven loads of footfall into the village too. The number of people who drive hours to come and see us and want us to recommend local restaurants, cafés and hotels. We know we’ve had the ripple effect and, equally, I’m sure we’ve benefitted from the ripple effect of other great facilities that are in the village.”

Dress Cheshire Christine Colbert Bentley

You can find Dress Cheshire at

St James House
New Road
Cheshire SK10 4HP

Tel: 01625 820000


Facebook and Instagram @dresscheshire