Amy Crowe knew she deserved the same customer experience shopping for plus-sized clothes as women with smaller sizes. Rather than buying clothes online, she wanted to see the clothes first and try them on before purchasing. To solve her problem, she opened her own exclusively plus-sized boutique shop, Worthy Figures, catering to full-figured women in Charlotte, North Carolina. Amy focuses on creating an inclusive shopping experience where customers can find their size in something stylish with a welcoming and comfortable experience in fashion and style. Amy’s message on body positivity, body image, and body acceptance is important for women to receive when they shop at Worthy Figures, because fashion exemplifies Amy’s message. Find out how Amy got started on her journey on Search and Replace.
More about today’s guest:
- Get to know Amy Crowe’s exclusively plus-size boutique Worthy Figures in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Connect with Amy and Worthy Figures on Instagram.
Explore these related stories:
- “Dear Fashion Industry, Stop Treating Plus-Size Women Like Second-Class Citizens,” by Virgie Tovar.
- The editors at Motif explore inclusive sizing as a new way of understanding plus-size fashion as a business paradigm.
- Plus-size women deserve the same shopping experience.
[00:00:00] Announcer: Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialist at Johns and Taylor. More information follows this episode. [00:00:10] Joe Taylor, Jr.: What if you decided the only way to make sure you could buy what you wanted was to open your own store? I'm Joe Taylor, Jr. This is Search and Replace. Amy Crowe couldn't find clothes that flattered her figure. Or if she did, she often had to settle for a customer experience that was more of an afterthought than an ideal. [00:00:37] Amy Crowe: There's not a whole lot affordable plus size clothing options, but there's also not a whole lot of options for plus size women to try on clothes in person. It's mostly all online. We don't get the same experience as other women do where we actually don't get to try our clothes on before buying them in a lot of situations. [00:00:56] Joe Taylor, Jr.: After being frustrated for a while, Amy thought she could do better herself. [00:01:00] Amy Crowe: So I just, on a whim, was like hey I'll start consigning plus-size clothing and that's a little bit how I got started. And I asked friends and family if they had clothes that they were getting rid of that they could give to me. And so I just started out with basically, like, flipping clothes. But yeah, a whole lot of thought didn't go into it. It was just like, oh I'll think I'll just try this and see how it goes. I got all these clothes, I was like, okay, I gotta get rid of these somehow. But I converted a room in our house, basically, into, like, a shopping area. And I had women make appointments and they could come over and shop out of my house. Like I had it all set up with like clothing racks and a mirror and decorating it all cute to just make it look like a little shopping area. And yeah, just started out with either previously owned clothing or items that were new with tags, but that I had got, like, a really good deal on and I could mark up a little bit to resell. [00:01:55] Joe Taylor, Jr.: Before long, Amy realized her business was quickly outgrowing her house. [00:01:59] Amy Crowe: I applied for a pop-up market not long after I started. And I got in and I was like, oh my gosh, I can't believe I cut into this thing. I started doing pop-up markets and whether they were ones already established or creating my own. And so that really gained some traction with building an audience here locally in Charlotte and just getting my name out there a little bit. And then I didn't start even selling online until beginning of 2019. So I was a good solid year and a half into my business before I ever even sold online. So, I've really focused on creating a boutique shopping experience exclusively for plus size women. And that's very rare and very few other boutiques even carry plus size let alone exclusively. So that's really my angle online to compete with other businesses that may have plus-size and making sure that the styles that I have are just as on trend any other boutique would have. So my focus is not, like, oh, I'm just going to have these clothes in your size. My focus is I'm going to have the same fashions and styles as all the other boutiques or cool stores that you want to shop at, but I'm going to have it in plus size. So that's my focus is to really make sure that I'm creating that equal shopping experience. [00:03:19] Joe Taylor, Jr.: Amy's found a few drawbacks about being on the cutting edge of fashion in what the industry still considers a niche market. [00:03:26] Amy Crowe: There has been one or two times where I'll send stuff back because I was, like, I cannot sell these items to my customers because what you are calling plus-size is not plus-sized. So, I would get clothes in that were at least two to three sizes smaller than what they were listed as. Buying wholesale is really difficult because I'm already very limited in what I can buy from them for plus-size. So plus-size from wholesale manufacturers maybe makes up like 10 to 15% of the entire wholesale industry that I can get my hands on. So I'm already limited with the styles that I get to pick from because from that 10 to 15%, very few are actually cute, trendy, cool things you'd want to get in. [00:04:11] Joe Taylor, Jr.: Moving her boutique into a physical location also let's Amy achieve another significant goal. [00:04:16] Amy Crowe: Plus-sized women are able to come in and actually try on clothes in a boutique in their size where they really haven't been able to do that before. I get feedback all the time from women, when they come into the store about, like, oh, these clothes are actually in my size. Like, I've never gone into a boutique or a small local business where they had my size. So it's really refreshing to hear that. And I feel like that's really what stands apart for me as a brick and mortar store. If you see a cute dress at Target, chances are all your other plus size friends bought that same dress, too. And you're going to all go to brunch and be wearing the same dress. My thing is I want to create an amazing shopping experience for my girls. I want to create an equal shopping experience for plus size women that makes them feel good about themselves. I really focus on body positivity and body image, body acceptance. Through a lot of my messaging and part of my shopping experience, too, because I'm really all about women feeling worthy of just accepting who they are. Loving who they are. And having the fashion that just exemplifies that for them and shows other people that they love who they are. [00:05:21] Joe Taylor, Jr.: That's Amy Crow, founder of the boutique Worthy Figures in Charlotte, North Carolina. We've got links to Amy's online store over at our show notes page at searchandreplace.show. Also in today's show notes, activist Virgie Tovar surveyed a panel of 80 plus size women and their feedback for the clothing industry tracks closely to Amy's experience. High on a list of gripes, lots of publicity for plus size collections at major retailers only for shoppers to realize that very few items from those inventories ever get sent to stores where women can actually try them on. The panel also flagged inconsistent sizing and a lack of diversity among models as reasons they're looking for new places to shop. Meanwhile, the editors at Motif have started keeping their own list of brands that are pursuing inclusive sizing as a business strategy with models like Ashley Graham, Chloe Marshall and Jennie Runk gain mainstream notoriety, shoppers are still avoiding retailers that look like they're just hopping on the bandwagon. Furthermore, shoppers are getting wise to the dirty tricks some marketers using social media, like airbrushing photos, or trying to pass off a size 10 model as representing someone who's a size 16. We've got links to those stories and more at searchandreplace.show. Search and Replace was produced by Nicole Hubbard with support from Christine Benton, Connie Evans, Amelia Lohmann, April Smith and executive producer Lori Taylor. Our theme music was composed by Alex Refire. I'm Joe Taylor, Jr. This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production. [00:07:09] Announcer: Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns and Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at www.Makethewebsiteworkforme.com.