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Local Economic Development Stories across Canada



Fashion for a Sustainable Future

Little Black Dress Company is a full-service fashion company featuring a consignment boutique, located in the small city of Summerside, PEI.


Shawna Perry’s background in both business and fashion paved the way for the career she has built for herself today at Little Black Dress Company. She is passionate about using fashion to express herself – “how you’re feeling, what your goals are, the way you feel about yourself, everything” – and she loves bringing this enthusiasm and passion to her clients.


Little Black Dress Company is more than just a clothing store. With a huge focus on ethical fashion and top-notch service, Shawna’s shop stands out from the crowd. “Our mission is to keep fashion circular (and) keep clothing in rotation to make sure textiles are getting lots of life, lessening the demand for fast fashion sweatshops, and diminishing textile waste. We do this not only by buying and selling through our consignment boutique, but also by styling. Sometimes our clients have items they may have tossed away but we are able to show them new, fun ways to wear those items and they sort of get a new life.” Along with this, Shawna strives to have “something for everyone”, providing her unique shopping experience to people of all ages, sizes, genders, cultures, and more. Body positivity is key for Shawna, who says, “When you like the way you look, you love the way you feel!”. This is something that the shop continues to embody, having hosted multiple fashion shows featuring models from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community of Summerside and the surrounding rural areas.


“We quickly outgrew our physical space that we obtained with a startup loan from CBDC Central PEI, and needed something bigger. With a loan extension, I was able to put a down payment on a larger location, complete much needed renovations to that space and have working capital for opening. I want to stress that financial assistance was not the only reason CBDC helped my business. The education, training, information, and experience that came with being a CBDC client was even more beneficial, in my opinion. The fact that I was to prepare my own balance sheets, income statements and statements of cash flow each time I asked for more money, really gave me the chance to learn how to closely pay attention to my finances. On top of that, being a client with CBDC allowed me to attend numerous information sessions and networking events. This was extremely beneficial to me in the beginning of the business, to meet new people, get my name out there and learn as much as I could about being a business owner!”


In early 2021, Shawna’s efforts paid off in the small business ecosystem here in Summerside, PEI. At the Greater Summerside Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards, Little Black Dress was named the CBDC Central PEI “Small Business of the Year”.


We are so excited to see what’s next for Shawna and the Little Black Dress Company!