As Jillian Nimick sorted through bags of prom dresses donated to Nimi Boutique on Main Street in Mt. Pleasant , she didn’t expect to find anything out of the ordinary.
But then she did.
Nimick has been accepting prom dress donations to give away for free at her boutique since the spring. Sorting through a 25-bag donation she received June 9 she discovered a note paper-clipped to one of the dresses.
“I wanted to share with you the story of how I originally got this dress …” the note began.
The author explained how she originally found the dress for “very cheap” at an off-brand boutique’s sale rack because she wasn’t “about to spend $300+ on a prom dress.”
She wore the “beautiful blue” dress to the prom with her high school sweetheart, whom the note said she was supposed to marry in 2020.
“Some things are just meant to be, and I didn’t have the heart to just send this beauty to Goodwill,” the note read. “I knew (the dress) needed to have a greater purpose since the universe seemed to work so hard to get it to me.”
The note explained that after the author purchased the dress, she discovered a tracking number inside. She traced it online to a train shipment that was supposed to arrive in Chicago and the status read “lost in route.”
Fascinated, Nimick was determined to find the author of the note 一 so she turned to TikTok to spread the word. “I wanted to know if they got married during the pandemic,” Nimick said. “I figured TikTok would do its thing.”
And it did.
The video she posted on TikTok of the dress garnered over 1.2 million views, according to Nimick, and a lot of overall engagement on the “What’s Happening In Mt Pleasant” Facebook group as well.
“I couldn’t even load my TikTok at one point,” Nimick said.
Nimick was soon contacted through the Facebook by Shania Potosky 一 the dress’s owner and note’s author 一 who saw a post on Nimi Boutique’s page.
Potosky, 24, of Mt. Pleasant went to her junior prom in the dress at Mount Pleasant Area Senior High School in 2014 with her high school sweetheart, Stanley Potosky, 24, whom she married as planned in 2020.
“I wanted my dress to be able to give someone else the opportunity to go to prom, make someone feel beautiful (and) have a sense of confidence,” Potosky said. “My original intention was to give it to a local in the community.”
She donated the dress to an Angela’s Angels drop-off location in Latrobe two years ago while in college and didn’t expect to see it or the note ever again.
“Once it left my hands, I was like, ‘It might end up in another state,’ ” Potosky said.
Potosky explained that the first time she went prom dress shopping, she felt discouraged.
“You put (a dress) on, it makes you feel like a million bucks (and) then you look at the price tag,” Potosky said. “That’s ridiculous for something you’re going (to use) for one night.”
High school students “shouldn’t have to feel” they can’t attend prom just because of high dress prices, Potosky said.
“Some people have an aversion to things that are secondhand 一 I don’t understand that,” Potosky said. “You never know what you’ll find.”
The first time she saw the blue, bedazzled dress, Potosky said she didn’t like it. In fact, her mom “shoved” it into her hands. But after trying it on, she said she knew it was the perfect one.
“My mom said, ‘I’m still remembering your face when you came out of the dressing room,’ ” Potosky said, after she told her mom about the viral TikTok.
Potosky was inspired by a Facebook post to write the note to include with the dress.
The post was a photo of a note found in a wedding dress from before the Great Depression that told of someone’s love story, Potosky said.
“They hoped someone who needed it got it,” Potosky said. “That dress had a story, (and mine) had a story.”
Nimick said the note “hit home” for her when she made the discovery.
“I couldn’t buy an expensive dress for prom 一 I didn’t have the money,” Nimick said. “I’m trying to give back to (a) greater purpose by giving away free dresses.”
Though she’s still trying to “piece together” how the dress arrived in her hands, Nimick said the experience inspired her to start a new tradition.
Nimick is working on writing “some sort of inspirational note” that she will place with every dress Nimi’s Boutique gives away moving forward. It will include the “backstory” of Potosky’s mystery note, she said, so “everyone knows how it started.”
On TikTok, Nimick said she received many comments from users inspired to include a note of their own with the next dress they donate, and she believes it will “end up being the new viral trend.”
But whoever receives Potosky’s dress from Nimi’s Boutique will also receive the authentic note, Nimick said.
“I originally didn’t like this dress on the rack but loved it when I tried it on,” Potosky’s note ended. “Sometimes you just never know. Give her a chance.”
Megan Swift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-2810, email@example.com or via Twitter .