illian Nimick never thought it would go viral.
But thanks to a mysterious note pinned to a given dress, the Mount Pleasant boutique owner quickly found herself famous on TikTok.
Nimick, owner of the Nimi boutique on West Main Street, said she has collected dresses and evening gowns to give them away for free to women and girls who can’t afford formal wear for a special occasion.
She had received a donation of 25 bags of dresses and was sorting by size when a note pinned to a blue dress with a beaded bodice caught her eye.
The note detailed the former owner’s penchant for the dress and her wish that she didn’t just go to Goodwill, instead find her way to someone who would love her the way she did.
The note said the former owner found the dress in a small boutique looking for a reasonably priced dress and wore it to prom with her high school sweetheart, whom she was engaged to in 2020.
The note requested that the dress not be given to Goodwill, but rather that it find a “better purpose”.
“She donated it to a nonprofit, and somehow it ended up in another set of bags that was given to me,” Nimick said.
Knock at home
The note struck a chord with Nimick, first because she could understand that she couldn’t afford a ball gown that cost several hundred dollars.
“I actually used a cocktail dress that was my mom’s for a ball gown,” Nimick said.
Second, Nimick’s curiosity was triggered and she wanted to know if the couple had indeed married amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And that part about not going to Goodwill – I thought it came to me for a reason, and it serves her best purpose, just like she wanted it to,” Nimick said.
So, Nimick decided to try to find the former owner of the dress.
“I started with a TikTok,” she said. “I did a TikTok and explained why I wanted to find this girl. The TikTok reached 1.3 million views, 3,000 comments, 155,000 likes and over 5,000 shares.
But it would be a resource much closer to home that would prove fruitful.
“I shared it on my Facebook page, and I also shared it with the What’s Happening in Mount Pleasant group,” Nimick said, noting that it only took three days to get a response. “She messaged me on Facebook.”
As it turned out, the dress’s former owner was Shania Potosky, a Mount Pleasant resident who wore the dress to her prom in 2014.
When she saw that Nimick was looking for the owner of her old ball gown, she was shocked.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my God, she found it.’ I never thought I would see him again after he left me, ”she said.
The story behind the dress
Former Shania Thieler stumbled upon the blue dress for the first time after unsuccessfully searching an upscale clothing store for a suitable dress. She said that she and her mother had spent only a short time browsing the shelves before realizing, “There’s nothing here that doesn’t start with a three, and some of them have a comma, ”she said.
So her mother directed her to Pat’s Bridal, a smaller store in Connellsville. And it was her mother who spotted the blue dress, which, in the end, wasn’t meant to be in Pennsylvania at all.
Potosky said a search for the serial number revealed the dress was destined for Chicago but got lost in transit.
His mother took him out of the rack and told him she should try it, but at first Potosky wasn’t so sure.
“At first, the jewelry seemed a bit showy to me,” said Potosky.
But she tried on the dress and fell in love with it. She bought the dress and put it on for the Mount Pleasant Area Junior Ball, which she attended with her high school boyfriend, Stanley Potosky.
In 2019, Potosky decided to downsize her wardrobe and the dress was one of the items to give away.
Potosky remembered a story she had read about a wedding dress that had been found with a note pinned to it.
“It was a dress with a story,” she said. “I was like, ‘My dress has an interesting story, and no one will know that unless I write this,” she said.
So she said, “I sent him back with a note and sort of wished him the best with whoever he finds.”
Life after the dress
Then, she got married, despite the pandemic.
“It came in waves,” she said. “Everything was open, then it was closed. Then it reopened.
She and her then-fiancé were fortunate enough to pick a date that fell during a time when restrictions had been relaxed. They got married on September 26, 2020.
The couple still live in Mount Pleasant, and Potosky said it was hard to believe her dress trip had brought her back to her hometown.
“It amazes me that it was not just anywhere. It was in this new store in town, ”she said.
Nimick plans to add it to his growing inventory of dresses that will be available for free with Potosky’s approval.
“A price tag on a ball gown shouldn’t stop you from having such an experience in high school,” she said.
Jillian Nimick, left, owner of Nimi Boutique in Mount Pleasant, tracked down Shania Potosky after finding a note Potosky pinned on a ball gown she gave away. DAILY MAIL VIA THE AP