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At Pink Poodle Dress Lounge, the china is old, the gowns are new, the name is borrowed and the walls are … pink. The feminine hues, fluffy tulle and sparkling stones are what you may expect from a bridal boutique, but this isn't your typical space. Patrons are welcomed to peruse wedding gowns and accessories, and party and cocktail dresses amongst generations-old antique furniture and tableware, passed down through owner Raeshawn Bumphers' clan, and family photos, peppered throughout. "I wanted a vintage place," she says. Two blown-up, black-and-white images of Bumphers' great aunt, who owned the Pink Poodle Bar in Milwaukee years ago, hangs on one wall.
Opened this past fall, Pink Poodle occupies a space on Jefferson Avenue that used to be a loft and two small studio apartments, so it feels very intimate and very Detroit but luxurious all the same. Bumphers' – who's committed to hospitality and a personalized approach – has got the showroom of sorts up front and the studios have been turned into dressing rooms, available for rent for brides who may be getting married downtown and want to forego a hotel room for their pre-ceremony glow-up. They'll also start to introduce nonprofit community engagements like etiquette classes for girls and strengthen partnerships with orgs like Grow Detroit's Youth Talent, giving local students the opportunity to work at the boutique. Bumphers says, "It's a girly place for us to shop, have fun, empower each other, and just relax and let our hair down."