For Ebony Tye, opening a consignment boutique has been a dream come true and a labor of love -- emphasis on labor.
"It is the hardest work I've ever done but the most rewarding," said the Pickerington woman, who launched the "upscale consignment" shop What to Wear in late summer at 5381 N. High St. in Clintonville.
"You would think you would just come in here and bless people and it would be so easy, but there's so much behind-the-scenes work."
Tye said there's more to What to Wear than just high-end women's designer consignment and resale.
"It's almost like a social entrepreneurial business," she said.
Tye and her fashion-blogger sister, Monica Warren, plan to offer makeovers to single mothers seeking to look their best in order to apply for jobs.
"Just increasing their confidence, allowing them to feel better about themselves," Tye said.
"It's not just about fashion," Warren said.
"We are trying to get together a plan now to do some makeovers for less-fortunate women, maybe some who are re-entering the workforce ... and they just don't have the money to get dressed for interviews.
"It's definitely something we are working on. It's about reaching out and empowering women, and men, too."
Tye said she also is working with the managers of an apartment complex for senior citizens in south Columbus to make clothing donations to the residents.
"What we found is a lot of seniors are on a fixed income," she said. "When they do their budget, clothing isn't in the budget."
"I support her 150 percent," said Tye's husband, David Tye. "In fact, I encouraged her to do this. That is her character. Ebony is the one, if she sees a crying soul, she'll help anyone, anytime. That's her DNA."
"I'm a caregiver at heart, so to me, this is an opportunity to take care of people in another way," Ebony Tye said. "The heart behind it is to help people be beautiful, outside and in."
Ebony Tye, who lived for a time in Clintonville when she was growing up, said the neighborhood seemed like a natural fit for What to Wear.
"I always loved the fact that Clintonville was a community and people support one another and support local businesses," she said.
Tye said her store -- whose name is a play on the long-running TLC program "What Not to Wear," which provides makeovers to the style-challenged -- offers the full spectrum of pricing, from items suitable for students costing $20 to $3,000 Louis Vuitton purses.
"Our focus is on high-end," she said.
For more information, visit www.what2wearnow.com.