Plus Size News
This year was the year I decided that Tessies was going to become more than just a business to me. I was so excited when I started out on this venture and it took several years to find our footing, get over teething problems and really settle into the job. To find our unique style and to do it well. Once that was done, I was like, now what? Expanding the business for the sake of it just didn’t inspire me and I couldn’t seem to get motivated but I knew it was time for something more. Shop owners block is the worst!
Enter Jamie, the fiancé of my life long best friend. I went to him for some advice and he encouraged me to allow Tessies to become an extension of my passions, and assured me that real creativity would flow from there. That by being true to ourselves we’d naturally grow and the people who felt just like us would come along for the ride. The first thing I thought was, how the hell am I supposed to incorporate my two adorable pooches into my job?
But after chatting with Anna, our buyer & sales assistant, it became obvious. Every time I go to our store to get some work done, we spend a good hour or two putting the world to rights first. She has taught me a lot about feminism, what it is, and what it isn’t...
We’ve both been shocked at how women are portrayed in the media. We care a lot about the freedom to be who you are and to be accepted for just that. We think community matters and that for a more beautiful, equal world, it’s up to all of us to help each other out, particularly those who are vulnerable. We think that age shouldn’t be a factor in how you present yourself to the world. We love being creative. We love expressing ourselves through what we wear and we enjoy seeing others do the same.
We realised that being a part of the fashion industry which has been notorious for its impossibly high standards, we have an opportunity to be a better voice. One that celebrates being who we are and embraces our differences rather than portraying an ideal image and encouraging women to strive for it at their detriment.
And so we began to share our ideas, via our social media channels and by encouraging our customers to wear it, if they love it and it makes them happy, rather than to religiously stick to what is in fashion or to the ‘rules’ for their body shape. When women come in and tell us ‘oh I’d love to wear these dresses but I’m far too old’ we tell them, ‘no you are absolutely not!’ and the response we’ve had is uplifting. Our oldest customer so far is 90 years of age and it delights and inspires us!
But something has been bugging me. That little angel on my shoulder has been nagging away with thoughts like ‘but if you truly believed in equality, wouldn’t you sell a wider range of sizes? How can you hope to be a positive role model in the industry if you only cater to a small portion of women? Aren’t you leaving out a whole load of women who would really benefit from the Tessies attitude?’. Not to mention when people ask for larger sizes and I have to tell them that unfortunately we don’t have them, I feel absolutely awful. We’ve discussed it countless times and I’ve even tossed and turned in bed over it. I’ve tried to console myself with the fact that our jewellery and accessories are for everyone, but it just doesn’t cut it.
It’s felt like a can of worms we’ve been reluctant to open, it’s taken us years of hard work to put together collections that we are really proud of. We wouldn’t sell anything that didn’t have our seal of approval, and sadly the manufacturers whose lines we love very rarely go above above a UK size 14, and only ever up to a 16. We’d found a nice little cosy bubble that worked. So taking a risk on a completely new avenue seemed daunting. What if we can’t create collections that we’re proud of? What if they’re way out of our budget? Is it OK to sell a separate line of clothing above a size 16, or does that still leave people feeling alienated? What would we call them – plus size? Is that a nice term? In the past it’s the size 16s that ended up on our sale rail which made it seem like an even bigger challenge.
But here we are, we want to be true to our philosophy, that fashion can be a fun expression of who we are, that it’s for everyone, and if we’re not willing to try and prove that, then how can we expect attitudes to change?
So we’ve decided that we’re going to start the search for a gorgeous collection of clothing in larger sizes and make it a priority to get it in store ASAP!
I’m excited and really hope we can make this work, and truly be a positive influence in this industry! We’re going to be asking for your opinions along the way, your feedback will really help us to make this mission a success. I’ll be updating you all very soon!