‘I Always Shopped Consignment’
Sehvar Bor stood in front of the mirror in her mother’s clothes, pinning the oversized blouses and skirts to fit her adolescent frame. She still remembers breaking two pairs of high heels—a small price for pursuing a childhood passion that eventually turned into her career.
The path wasn’t a direct one, though—a dream more than 30 years in the making.
After moving to DC for college, Sehvar took her business degree and spent two decades working for her family’s wholesale furniture and carpet business. Traveling to tradeshows consumed her life, and while Sehvar loved interacting with customers, she craved retail.
‘I always had this passion to deal with people face-to-face because I’m such a social person. But it was becoming too much traveling with two kids and family life, so I said maybe I’ll have my own little boutique. At that time I always shopped from consignment shops and I always loved the things I find. It gave me an idea.’
With that goal ruminating in the back of her mind, in 2006 Sehvar opened For Your Home in the Book Hill neighborhood of Georgetown. The home furnishings, accessories, and carpet store gave Sehvar an education in owning a small business, which she stepped away from after five years to spend more time with her kids.
Then, in 2014, the stars finally aligned. Next door to Sehvar’s old For Your Home space, Pretty Chic opened.
‘My store style is for everyone, but especially more the chic style, like Audrey Hepburn. I like to make the store very pretty. It should first attract the eyes, and then people can shop.’
The first year of business was slow, but Sehvar soon found her customer base.
‘I have tourists who just find out when they’re walking around, but I have mostly local customers. They know they can find really unique things and they come regularly. Pretty Chic is the dress-to-impress style. They also like the look of the store. They say it’s very unique and well-organized, not like in other consignment stores where you have to dig through everything. I pay attention to that, because if it bothers me, I know it’s going to bother the customers.’
Pretty Chic’s inventory is a mix of resale and consignment. Sehvar pays up front for the typical brands, and consigns higher-end items—offering 50% to the consigner when they’re sold. She says she’s picky, favoring quality over quantity, and loves every piece that makes its way into the small store.
‘It doesn’t have to be current, it just has to be unique. And in good condition.’
In a city known for its conservative style, Sehvar offers some much-needed flair.
‘Here it’s usually blacks, whites, creams—not too many people like colors. Of course there are exceptions, but it’s very classic. Simple black dress with pearls, and heels or flats. I like to put things together as a whole in the store, like a dress with jewelry, shoes and a handbag. I like people to find something unique, and they always leave the store happy. And that always gives me such a pleasure.’
In the spring and summer, her ‘secret garden’ in the back offers equal pleasure—playing host to parties and trunk shows.
‘It’s such a beautiful place. A little gem that not too many people know.’
Sehvar says she would love to open a second location in Frederick after a successful short-term lease there last year, but for now she’s content with her little gem on Book Hill that was a lifetime in the making.