Donna Sist, Marcella O'Fee & Carol Sprague
Fierce Women & Friendship
(From Left to Right: Carol, Marcella, Donna)
Similar life-affirming philosophies and an affinity for fashion
brought two women - Carol Sprague and Donna Sist --
together fourteen years ago. Friends, who bonded while styling
clients, adorning mannequins and arranging jewelry over twinsets
at Ann Taylor back in '95, Carol and Donna relished mixing fashion
with a mega dose of fun.
"There was never a dull moment back then..we had a unique
chemistry," said Donna. "And Carol and I always had so much in common,
constantly finding an excuse to laugh..some things never change!"
In fact, Donna said that working for a corporate-owned retailer could
often be a challenge, because "we always broke the rules. We combined
separates that weren't necessarily in the how-to manual. Carol especially
had an incredible eye for the artistry of putting clothes and accessories
together..and still does."
Earlier in Carol's fashion-oriented career, she worked for Revlon and
also taught at Barbizon Modeling School in Boston where her middle
daughter, statuesque brunette Marcella O'Fee -- and the self-proclaimed
"shy one" -- was enrolled. Marcella, an aesthetician, now works with her
mother at the store, rounding out this terrific trio.
Carol's passion in the beauty industry was fueled as she watched women
at the school who lacked confidence gain poise and inner strength as
attention was paid to their appearance. "There is definitely a psychological
component about fashion and beauty," Carol explained. "That is what
most appeals to me...watching someone bloom emotionally when their
outward appearance is addressed. The two are completely intertwined."
For Donna and Carol, the days of working retail -- within the confines
of by-the-book, corporate-driven paradigms -- are over. Together with
Marcella, this talented team is now enjoying the freedom of doing things on
their own terms in their newly opened consignment boutique, Chella D.
The appellation comes from Marcella's name in Italian, Marchella, thus
"Chella" for short, and "D" for Donna. When the meanings of the names
combine, the translation is "Lady Warriors," alluding to the strength evident
in the beautiful smiles and indefatigable spirit of all three women.
In this unique economic time, fashion consignment resonated as
a sound business venture; the idea birthed, of course, over a glass of
Italian red. The only source of competition among the women can
arise when something wonderful comes into the store. Donna confessed
that sometimes they hide items from each other to secretly buy for
themselves. "It's hilarious though, because we've begun finding each
other's hiding places." Donna laughed and said, "we'll always offer any
item, no matter how fabulous, no matter how much we want it, to a
client who'd look great in it."
Although it is their business that brings these three ladies together
daily, their friendships forge long after-hours. Carol has experienced
her own struggles, specifically during her divorce four years ago, which
ended a 46-year long marriage. "It was truly my friends, including
Donna, who were there for me during this difficult time. I feel such
gratitude and love toward them and to my daughters, all three of whom
live right here on Hilton Head."
Now doing things their own way, the creative essence of these women is
unleashed at Chella D., personified by fresh flowers, soft lighting, candles,
music and the aroma of freshly brewed hazelnut coffee.
"It's completely social around here," says Carol. There is a relaxed,
friendly energy with endless trays of cookies and muffins, and on
Friday afternoon delicious vino is freely poured. "We want to entice
new friends to join us for fun and conversation...we absolutely love
meeting new people!"
Always served by these ladies are laughter, fierceness and fashion.
Moved to Hilton Head:
Wine - Red or White?:
Marcella- Red, Red, Red!
Carol- Shoes and Bags
Marcella-Decorative Accents for the Home
Donna- Funky, Edgy Costume Jewelry