As humans, we all have necessities and requirements we have to meet, and shopping is one of those things. However, it happens more often than not that retail stores and shopping malls will offer us just the slimmest of options, leaving over half of our population to feel uncomfortable, and shame with the lack of options there are for them. Luckily, we’ve been making strides these past few years to push these issues of body shaming to the forefront, and body positivity now leads the way for so many women in the world who are loved and accepted for exactly who they are.
Becky Jarvis is one of the people leading the way towards this amazing new tomorrow. Becky runs the largest original plus sized clothing event in the Northwest—Curvy Chic Closet—and gives women everywhere a chance to visit with over 200 consignors who sell their gently used clothes from sizes 14 and up! Together, Becky and I talk about how she started this business, what it means to her, and how she’s been able to grow this event into what it is today. Let’s get started!
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- All about Curvy Chic Closet! Founded in 2011, Becky got the idea after volunteering for an event that was giving plus sized clothes to children. Upon attending, she thought about why there wasn’t the same thing for adults, and thus Curvy Chic Closet was created! With 2 events a year, one in September and one in April, you can visit and shop with over 200 consignors with 20,000 consigned items sizes 14 and up! All items are gently used and thoroughly inspected before being presented for purchase.
- Where the event takes place, in Washington County. Becky also tells us that, additionally, there are 21 women-owned business vendors outside of the event, selling their goods as services! There are homemade crafts and products, as well as business owners from the areas (like a massage therapist, Becky explains). Additionally, Becky explains to us that, if consignors volunteer to help with the event aside from selling their wares, the percentage they get back on the items they sell can increase from 60 to 85%!
- In order to participate in the event, you need to register online at their website. There’s a small registration fee of $10.00, but afterward, you’re on the floor! Consignors can bring in a range of 20 items, to nearly 150 items. On-site, tagging services are offered for your clothes, but the closer they get to the event, the more limited those appointments are. When you use their tagging service, you get 40%, but if you tag your items yourself, you get 60 – 80%! Additionally, the software they use at the registers can notify them which items of clothing belong to which person, making the process of paying the consignors easier.
- Becky tells us how popular the event has grown to be, with 1,500 people attending their last event in the spring! They’ve been at their current location for the past 2 years now to accommodate the crowds, and they’ve gained this notoriety through mostly word of mouth, and national publicity. Shoppers tend to come from all over at this point, with some traveling from Canada to attend!
- Becky talks to us about the fashion show that comes with the event! They just recently held a casting call to find their models, and Becky assures us that what they do isn’t a traditional fashion show. When they cast, they’re looking for everyday women that embrace and inspire other women. They want people who’re comfortable with themselves, people who aren’t necessarily professional plus-size models, and people of all ages (their youngest model this year is 14, and their oldest is a 58-year-old woman in a wheelchair who’s bucket list included being in a fashion show!). The fashion show is free, and also hosts as a fundraiser for a nonprofit called Period, which helps women with menstrual hygiene products and needs.
- Overall, the shopping event is free. However, Becky tells us that there is a presale before the event opens to the public. The presale, which is from 11 – 2 pm the first day of the event, costs an admission of $5, or $5 in menstrual hygiene products. Volunteers can also get into the event early, but—as stated above—volunteers are consignors only.
- Becky explains that she sort of fell into the fashion industry. As a mother, she’d always be buying clothes for her children, but never for herself, and that’s what inspired her. After doing some research, Becky found that there was only 1 other event for plus sized women in Kansas (to which the founder has opened her own storefront, and regularly talks to Becky). The average American woman is a size 16/18, yet most traditional retail stores only devote 10 – 15% of their floor space to that demographic.
- Becky states that she would eventually like to consult in other states! Through this event, they’ve started their fashion show, and it’s grown since then. They have between 10 – 12 designers and retailers at the show (some local, and some out of state), and they’ve even acclaimed public recognition! In fact, last spring, the Curvy Chic Closet was mentioned in an article about “The Top 5 Plus Sized Events In The Country”!
- Becky tells us the variety of ways in which she markets for the event, stating that they distribute between 5,000 – 10,000 postcards! They also do a lot of PR on social media—Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter to name a few—all by herself! Vendors also help with social media advertisements, as well as models. Mostly, though, as Becky stated, word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools they have.
- Becky leaves us with advice that she’d like to give to women struggling with body positivity. It takes years to get comfortable with yourself, and when you’re younger, you’re very focused on how much you weigh, and what you look like because of it. Becky encourages people to stop, and start living without being worried about things like that! Society does an excellent job at bombarding us with unrealistic ideals, and over the last few years, the plus-sized industry has come out to show that plus-sized women can do anything they desire.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Did Becky not get to answer a burning question on your mind? No problem! You can get in touch with Becky here or through any of the social media listed above. Body positivity is such an important movement, and the work that Becky does in hosting events to celebrate that very notion and give women a chance to buy and purchase clothes without feeling uncomfortable while doing it is nothing short of sublime. Simply put, she’s amazing!