A new age of independent design is dawning, and nowhere is it more needed, desired and welcome than in the plus size arena. So with the advent of Etsy has come some fantastic small-scale plus size designers, many of whom are cutting their business baby-teeth on the Etsy experience and learning what they can about the plus design market, too.
As someone who definitely wants to become a customer of theirs, here are my comments from the buyer’s point of view:
1. Plus sizing starts at 16, which is roughly a 38 inch waist. Don’t label sizes 12 and 14 as “plus.” The size of the average American woman is 12/14, and it’s not typically fat.
2. Always include a size chart in your listings. Some savvy sellers have gone so far as to upload it as a jpg image so they can control the format; it’s extremely useful.
3. Be very clear what you can and can’t do in custom work. It’s OK not to do a project because you hate the idea of it.
4. If you’re open to those of us who are “super sized” – 26 and beyond, with waist sizing exceeding 48 inches – make sure you mention it in your profile, shop announcement and every listing. We need you!
5. Point people to the RSS feed in your Etsy shop. Have mailing lists. Have blogs that visually record your projects in short steps; it will generate interest and gives your customer base a sense of anticipation.
6. Ask your customers to send you pictures of themselves wearing your garments. In the plus arena, we need to see clothing on the people who actually wear the clothing much more than we do people hired/drafted to model them.
7. Break a few rules. Not every fashion experiment you do will be a rousing success, but some will be. An ill-conceived item made out of respect and celebration of your customer is always forgivable; it’s when you essentially offer your plus-sized target market a burlap sack and tell them how pretty their faces are that you’ll get yourself in big trouble.
Yes, some plus women can wear loud prints and horizontal stripes. No, we are not and should not all be resigned to blacks and greys – some of us can even pull off whites!
Some of my favorite Etsy plus size sellers:
You can find your plus size clothes on Fat Chic Clothing search.
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