Wellington pop-up ball dress shop helps bring down costs

A pop-up ball dress store in Wellington is helping ease the cost of school formals. Girls can pick out gowns from hundreds donated for just a fraction of the store cost.

Jindaya's mum wants her to be the belle of the ball, but mother-of-seven Aroha Heita has a hard choice - a gown for her daughter or food on the table.

"It puts a lot of pressure on myself with the kids, trying to do the best I can for her." 

But the bill for a dress, shoes, the ticket, jewellery and make-up is in the hundreds.

It was a relief for both mother and daughter when they saw the hundreds of gowns to choose from at the pop-up stall, all donated from wardrobes and shops around the country.

Jindaya found a dress and matching shoes. Her mum couldn't be happier.

"Beautiful - she looks beautiful in her dress." 

Some of the donated options.
Some of the donated options. Photo credit: Lotus Hattersley‎/Facebook

Families pay whatever they can afford. The organiser set up the stall to help out struggling parents. She expected about 50 dresses would be donated, but was given almost 500.

"It started because a friend of mine who is a teacher sent a message to a group chat we had, saying she had girls who were really struggling with ball costs," organiser Lauren Mann says.

Some young shoppers have turned up for different reasons. Florence Cox from Wellington East College says she was taking a look for "ethical reasons and reusing and going for something that's more vintage".

Funds raised will go to charity, along with dresses and accessories that are not chosen for the ball.