Feeling good about shopping

Divas gives alternative for Maryville shoppers

Hannah Galo and Debi Haas check out the merchandise at Haas’ new store, Divas.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Hannah Galo and Debi Haas check out the merchandise at Haas’ new store, Divas.

Debi Haas understands today’s women.

“Sometimes when you go shopping at a department store, you feel worse (when you get home) than you did when you set out,” said Haas, owner of Divas, a plus-size consignment store.

Haas said when she opened Divas, she wanted to make sure the place was bright and cheery, so that women can come in and feel good about themselves.

This positive reinforcement is felt especially in the two dressing rooms at Divas. “You look awesome,” is the colorful message on the wall in one changing room.

“We all deserve to look beautiful and feel beautiful and here, you can,” Haas said. One look at the prices on the name-brand clothing and accessories, and it seems looking beautiful is also affordable. “It is conceivable that you can get an entire outfit for less than $25.”

Divas offers brands such as Kasper, Kim Rogers, Evan Picone, Rafaella, Talbots and Worthington, to name a few. Customers can purchase jackets, blouses, formal wear, blue jeans, shoes, purses and even scrubs in size 16 and up. “People can get nice things for reasonable prices,” Haas said.

The store owner said the current economy affects everyone everyday. She added that when the economy does recover, people will remember that it can change in an instant like it did for all of us.

Change is something Haas is familiar with and profound changes in her life caused her to examine her career. In June of last year, after 31 years, her marriage ended. Haas went back to school and received a medical coding certification, but was unable to find a job.

“Divorced, no job. I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with my life,” Haas said. She posed the question to herself last February. She said that people were always telling her to “do what you know,” and she said she knew plus size clothes and she knew how women feel. “It’s hard to find clothes, and you don’t want to go to the store.”

After doing some research, Haas said she discovered that there was not a consignment store for plus-sized women in this area. Stores like this exist in other regions, so she decided she should do this, partly to show herself that she could take care of herself.

“It’s important for women to know that, no matter what age they are, what shape they are, they can do anything they want to,” Haas said.

This uplifting message can also be found in the gift section of the store. Divas is the only store in the area that offers Curly Girl Designs. Curly Girl Designs is a line of unique products like mugs, candles, laptop skins, stainless steel water bottles, magnets and other gift items featuring positive and fun sayings like, “I am fairly certain given a cape and a nice tiara, I would save the world.”

Haas said customers can also personalize the gift items. For instance, one customer purchased a ceramic chip tray and personalized it with the name of her Bunko club.

During seasonal sales, Haas features drawings for special gift packages. She also offers free monthly classes. In August, Haas had a “Wear it Well” class for customers. A fashion consultant offered tips and information on accessorizing, hot fall colors and other fashion tips.

For customers who are interested in consigning their clothes, Divas offers a 60-day consignment policy. For the first 30 days, the items are priced, and then the next 30 days, the prices are marked down. The customer receives 40 percent of the split and are paid every third Friday. Customers should make an appointment to bring clothes in to consign.

Divas is located at 904 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, across from Aubrey’s. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. They are closed Sunday and Monday. For questions about the consignment policy or to find out about the free classes, call Haas at 865-233-3700.

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