Ferndale Boutique Margaux & Max Up for Matching Funds in Patronicity Campaign

Ferndale Boutique Margaux & Max Up for Matching Funds in Patronicity Campaign

(Lara Mossa, July 17, 2020)

FERNDALE, MI– Margaux & Max will not reopen until August, but the Ferndale shop has stayed afloat with curbside sales and donations from generous clients. Like many small businesses in the state, the store has struggled during the statewide shutdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  But now they’re getting help thanks to an online fundraising campaign with matching funds through Patronicity.

“We all feel like we’re fighting for our lives here,” said Je Donna Dinges, owner of the business near the corner of Nine-Mile Road and Woodward Avenue.

Founded in 2014, the 3,000-square-foot store sells previously used women’s clothing, shoes and accessories. Dinges stressed that it is not a consignment shop and does not accept donations from individuals but buys merchandise from dealers. Specializing in dresses, items range from $21 for brands such as Target and Forever 21 up to $100 for high-end fashions by Ralph Lauren and Diane von Furstenberg.

What started with a pair of earrings at her dining room table in Grosse Pointe Park has evolved into a family-run business that is in its third retail location. After celebrating a grand opening for the Nine-Mile Road shop on March 10, the store was shutdown March 17 due to the Coronavirus.

The business already had a presence on Facebook with a live show that runs on Fridays featuring clothing. To increase sales, Margaux & Max added a Thursday event for accessories. Clients can put their items on hold and pick them up at the curb on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

In addition, the store has thus far raised more than $5,000 from donors to match a $10,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Donations are still being accepted through July 29 on Patronicity.com

Depending on how much people donate, they can receive gift certificates or even host a party at the store.

“Our income went away,” Dinges explained. “We closed. We didn’t have any income the remainder of March, April, May, June…That will help us with our expenses and overhead and all of that to keep us going. We don’t know how long this is going to last.”

Besides selling clothing, Margaux & Max provides clients with a personal shopping experience. With 30 years of retail experience, Dinges studies fashion and can help customers shop for special events such as weddings or basically figure out how to coordinate their wardrobes.

“I love everything about fashion,” she said. “I always have.”

Growing up in Detroit, she learned how to shop for deals.

“We didn’t have a ton of money, so my mom taught me early that you can find great things at a second-hand store,” she said. “I learned how to thrift early…There are no limits to what you can do in fashion in the resale world.”

After losing a job, Dinges learned that she could sell her own clothing and accessories to friends and made a garage sale grab for merchandise to start her business. Now, with some help from media attention, she offers a full-service shop that can even host special events such as parties or fundraisers. Besides dresses, the store sells cardigans, jackets and blazers as well as purses and shoes.

Dinges works with her daughter, India Dinges, both of Grosse Pointe Park. Her ex-husband, Darrell Dinges, helps, too. The company chose Ferndale, because it was convenient for clients and also business-friendly, Dinges said. During the pandemic, the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce helped businesses by providing kits with hand sanitizer, masks and social distancing stickers.

“I really feel so supported through all of this,” she said. “There was so much uncertainty. If I have questions or need resources, I can call on them. The Chamber and the city are super supportive.”

The company is considering reopening the store in August by appointment only.

Learn more about the fundraiser on Patronicity.com.

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