How NOT to Market to Fat Customers

Published October 27, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Can you believe it, I’m actually a little bit speechless.  I know, ME, speechless!  That almost never happens right!

But I’ve got a doozy for you folks.  You may have seen a campaign going around the fatosphere and fatshion world calling for support and funding for a Kickstarter loan for a new company called Cabiria Style.  A new “plus-size” startup fashion company, really pushing hard for people to donate to their Kickstarter and promote their new company.  Now I’ve had a busy week, so I saw the tweets and stuff and thought “Cool, I’ll have a look at that later, always good to see new plus-size brands starting up.”   I finally got a chance to have a look today and was disappointed to see that the person behind this company only intends to cater up to size 24US – I take a 28-30-32US depending on the brand.  Happens all the time, gives me the shits, but yeah, I’m used to it.  I saw that someone had asked if they intended to extend their sizes in the future so I retweeted the question and said that it was important:

I made it clear that it isn’t fair to ask me to support or promote a company that excludes me, especially when they promote themselves as an “inclusive” line.  I expected to get the usual line about how “we hope to expand our sizes in the future”.  At least it’s an acknowledgement that they don’t go up to the higher sizes, even if it is a bit of a fob off, right?  I mean, indie designer, baby steps, fair enough.

What I didn’t expect was a whole lot of hostile attitude about how it’s too difficult/expensive to do higher sizes and that our questions as to whether we were included in the sizing were “criticism” of the company/range.  Apparently, simply ASKING if the sizes will be expanded is a “personal attack”.

Oh boy, there is some really fucking entitled bullshit that has come from this woman.  I’ll let the tweets do the talking (she has blocked me because you know, calling her out on shitty marketing and excluding people in an “inclusive” range is such a horrible thing to do – so I have to copy and paste):

@fatheffalump there is an entire section on why to donate if you’re not plus size. Many of the donors are not plus size.

Umm… I’m not plus-size because I’m over a size 24US?  What the fuck am I then?  I’m “too big” to be considered “plus-size” but you still expect me to donate and promote your range?

@fatheffalump I’m making higher quality options than most. Pretty different in another parameter.

This is her response to how she is not doing anything new and different by only doing to size 24US.  What use to me is “higher quality” if you won’t include me in the sizing?  What kind of logic is this?

@fatheffalump if you look at the photos you may notice I shop in the plus section myself, and not everything fits.

This is supposed to justify that NOTHING fucking fits in her range for me or any other person over a size 24US.  So I’m supposed to consider this justification for excluding anyone over a size 24US to the range.

@Fatheffalump The options are to buy the clothes or not. Same as everyone else. Buy this apple.Don’t buy that pear. Options.

What fucking options?  Buy WHAT clothes?  You’re not providing them in my size!  Where the fuck is the logic here?  “Buy this apple, but if you’re a pear, fuck off we don’t cater to you – there, you have options now”.

Look, I know it’s not easy to start up as a company.  I’ve done it myself.  There’s a reason I’m no longer self employed.  But there’s one thing you need to remember.  If you want people to give you their money for your goods or services, you’d better fucking include them.  How difficult is that to comprehend?  If you don’t cater to them (and hey, not every business does, such as life),  DON’T EXPECT THEM TO GIVE YOU MONEY OR PROMOTE YOU!

And if you are a company selling size 12-24, don’t call yourself inclusive, don’t promote to the fatshion/fatosphere and don’t call yourself “plus-size”.  You are an inbetweenie company.  Go market to them.

So I’m doing the opposite of promoting this company.  I am urging you, my somewhat considerable following of thousands of awesome fat people here on Fat Heffalump and on my social media platforms, DO NOT spend your money with Cabiria.  In fact, if you have pledged a donation through Kickstarter – go cancel it.  Never shop with them, ever.  Withdraw your funds whatever size you are and show this person that if they want to be a success, perhaps they should invest in some marketing training before anything else.

Instead, I would like you to go buy some brilliant clothes from the following small companies:

  1. Domino Dollhouse – when DD first started I asked Tracy about catering to larger sizes, she told me she was working on expanding that in the future.  It took a little while, but she did, and she is now doing AWESOME things.  Hat tip to Tracy and Domino Dollhouse.  I hope you’re raking in the $$ Tracy!
  2. LucieLu – they go to 5X and are a really gorgeous quality.
  3. No Xceptions – Up to size 32AU.  Small range, but HOT prices and excellent customer service.  Extra points for being an Aussie company.
  4. Sweetooth Couture – Up to 6X.  Gorgeous.
  5. eShakti – yeah not exactly small and they don’t ship to Australia yet, but hey, they do gorgeous clothes in good quality and have no size limit (costs about $7.50 extra to get custom sizing – less than 8 bucks to get custom sizing – how awesome is that?!)
  6. Cult of California – up to 5x.

Give these companies your money.  Buy their products, promote the crap out of them and let them know they’re doing something right.  If you know any other small companies that do past size 24AU, please leave them in the comments.  Let’s show these companies that they are asking for our money and custom, they do not have the right to demand it.

And if you’re looking to start a plus-size clothing business, here’s a few hot tips for you:

  1. Size 12-24US is not special any more.  Don’t label yourself as unique or inclusive if this is all you do.
  2. Market up to your customers, not down to them.  If you want their custom and their money, treat them as valuable and they will reciprocate.
  3. Stick your neck out.  Don’t start at a 12 or a 1X.  If you can only afford a size range of 3 sizes, how about starting at size 3X and going to 6X and then expanding down later.  After all, it’s a bloody captive market, there’s FAR less competition out there for you if you do that than the 12/1x – 24/3x range.
  4. If you get questions or feedback, answer the questions, be honest and don’t take it personally.  If you turn it into a “You’re picking on me!” when people ask if you’re intending to expand your size range or say that they’re not willing to support a company that doesn’t cater to you, then you’ll lose ALL of your customers, not just the ones you are ignoring.  A simple “We are currently only offering to size 24″ would have been annoying, but fair enough.  “We are currently only offering to size 24, but hope to expand in the future.” would have been lovely.
  5. You are not doing anything new or offering options to someone you do not cater to.  Don’t piss on our legs and tell us it’s raining.
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65 comments on “How NOT to Market to Fat Customers

  • Okay, seriously, that lady is INSANE. No way will she ever see a penny from me! I agree that eshakti may not be exactly small, but I can’t rave about them enough. I got that hummingbird dress you linked in your last post, and have another dress arriving soon that I can’t wait to see. Their *basic* line of sizes goes from 0-36 – THAT is inclusive, not 12-24! Then, yes, the custom sizing option. And their stuff is really pretty. I get so tired of going to a plus-sized to store, only to find that it should be called “mumus are us”. *sigh* I wear the hummingbird dress every week at the moment (I do laundry weekly, so that’s as regular as it gets) because I’ve gained a ton of weight thanks to a new medication I’m on and it’s literally the only piece of “work clothing” I have that fits, and so far it’s wearing like iron. Gets tossed in the machines with everything else, no special treatment, and it’s holding up perfectly. And they seem to do quite a lot of discounts, sales, etc, which is nice for people like me who never know how much we’ll make from one month to the next. Oh, and they ship through DHL and send you the website and tracking number to track your order – and DHL updates it multiple times per day, so you can really tell when things will be arriving. They pay attention to the little things, and that means a great deal to me. I’ve been raving about them to everyone I know ever since I got that hummingbird dress. I even feel PRETTY when I wear that dress, which basically does not happen in my world.

    • Shalora I’m so glad to hear that dress is as good quality and fits well. It is consistent with the other reports I’ve had from eShakti. They do so much right, if only they would ship internationally they’d be just about perfect.

  • Thanks for the great tips on where to buy fabulous clothes that will actually fit me! I’m always looking for new places to shop. I’ll be damned if I’m going to waste a cent on a company that not only doesn’t cater to my size, but also harbours no interest whatsoever in rectifying the situation and gets bent out of shape when they’re called on it. If you don’t want my business, you don’t get my money either. Bad Fucking Luck.

    • Yeah, and the responses of “don’t be so harsh” to any of us who dare to call them out on this bullshit is just doing my head in. No more Ms Nice Fatty. Did that, got me nowhere. Time to make some noise!

  • I was utterly furious over this exchange. I was one of the people who originally questioned about the size offerings. To which I was directed to this blog reply:

    “The implication in this question – actually it’s been outright stated – is that I am becoming part of the problem that excludes plus size consumers greater than a size 24. Since I stop at a size 24, I suppose it’s a valid accusation. However, it’s unfair to lay the ills of an entire industry at the feet of one small designer simply because I’m accessible with a face and an email address.”

    To which I would say: yes you are part of the fucking problem! Compounded by the utterly rude and dismissive behavior she displayed toward people who were potential customers. My exact words to her was that a size 24 US is available at Walmart. Why not be brave and offer sizes for fat people who are usually excluded. Especially since she was marketing her kick starter as a way to “get inclusive sizes into stores”. I pointed out that size 24 US is not inclusive. Apparently that is considered “laying all the problems at her feet”.

    I have been a fat person for a long time, and I have NEVER been so infuriated in my life. I did not deserve to be treated that way. I certainly did not deserve a passive-aggressive blog answer. And it is a bullshit cop-out to go around whining about how it’s not her fault – - it’s what society wants! Blame mar-jacobs! Blame Guess Jeans. She’s just a small business owner and I’m a cruel, cruel, fatty for asking if she plans to carry my size.

    She can just fuck-all-the-way-off. I hope people listen to you and pull their money from her kickstarter if they did donate.

    • Yes, the tweet I posted first in this post (which was a retweet of @kiddotrue with the words “important question” added to it) was the first contact I had with her. Let’s hear it again:

      Important question RT @kiddotrue: @abbey_post @CabiriaStyle do you have any plans to extend your sizing in the near future? :)

      Simply asking if she was intending to expand her size range, to which I was directed to that same blog post. “Outright stated” my fat arse.

  • *sigh* why does it have to be so hard? I don’t think she’ll be in business long if that’s the way she responds to potential customers. It really is Small Business 101 and if you can’t get the basics right, you’re doomed to fail. Good on you for calling her out.

    BTW, thanks for the other online shopping tips – I’ve spent a very enjoyable afternoon bookmarking and browsing :)

  • She would never get a cent of my money & I hope she learns her lesson in the only way which will impress someone like her. I have been around fat acceptance for over 32 years now & this is how it was 30 years ago…’brave’ new companies marketing clothes that went ‘all the way up to size 24′ & the sizes ran smaller then than they do now as well. Back when BBW Magazine was still publishing, in their later years, they ran a monthly feature “Life after Size 26.” They thought they were being really open-minded & radical, when really their founder, Carole Shaw, believed that ‘big beautiful women’ only went up to the size she wore then…a size 22 in 1980 sizing, at 5’7″, 200 pounds. Maybe 2 or 3 times a year for most of the years they published, they featured a 3 or 4 page spread of clothing available in sizes 26 & up, which, may I remind you, was more like what 22 & up is today, & the pickings were, if you will pardon the expression, very slim. One of her regular models, Connie Peach, also had a charming quote which went something like, “people think of plus size women as really big & unhealthy, but most of us aren’t. They are thinking of someone who has really let herself go, like somebody a size 24 or bigger.” It is very sad to think that some people who hope to make a living off fat people have not changed their thinking in over 30 years. BTW, BBW also NEVER once used the word ‘fat’; it was a dirty word in their vocabulary.

    Here in the US we have a small plus size only company where I have bought a few things, mostly because their prices are generally out of my range, but they make good quality clothing up to a size 8X, which I believe in around a size 44 or 46. It is Making It Big in California. Their clothing STARTS at around size 22, or a 2X. When I first started seeing their ads in the old Radiance magazine & getting their catalogs, I weighed 40 or 50 pounds less than I do now (aging & menopause & cutting back from 4 hours of exercise daily to something more sane will result in some weight gain) & I used to wonder why they didn’t carry anything SMALL enough for me. Then I realized that I could buy clothes to fit me in a lot of places, but larger women had few options. Junonia sells workout clothing up to a size 6X, but they have really cut back on the clothes they offer; they seem now to ONLY be selling some workout clothes, winter jackets, underwear, etc.

    Companies need to realize that we have an aging population (here in the US anyway) & that there are a lot of very large people, not just some plump people, & that they need to make a lot of fashionable, attractive, high quality clothing in very large sizes. There is a lot of money to made if people will pull their heads out of their asses & realize that most fat women are not looking for a $10 pair of doubleknit polyester pull on pants & cobbler’s apron or a polyester shirt with ruffles & ‘flutter’ sleeves, which my late much older sister, rest her soul, used to live in. Most of us want to wear the same kind of clothes which thin women wear, made in sizes which fit us, in natural fibers, in the same wide range of colors & styles which different people are going to want. Why is that hard to understand?

    • That’s absolutely right Patsy. This stuff has been going on for decades now, there is nothing new, radical, interesting or even inclusive about offering to a size 24US. We should have moved on from this a decade ago. I’m so over being sold a boring old line from 20 years ago with the tag “Aren’t we new and fabulous and radical?!?”

      NO. Radical would be doing what eShakti do, having no size limit at all with just a small customisation cost, and doing fashionable, modern, sexy, fabulous clothes shipped all over the world to anyone who wants or needs them of any size. THAT would be radical!

      BTW, I had a look at MiB – yuck. Boring, old fashioned and frumpy. But I give them brownie points for having high sizes.

      I think you hit the nail on the head with this sentence:

      “Most of us want to wear the same kind of clothes which thin women wear, made in sizes which fit us, in natural fibers, in the same wide range of colors & styles which different people are going to want. Why is that hard to understand?”

      Indeed, why IS that hard to understand?

      • I have to agree that, while MIB’s quality is good & they feature natural fibers, their clothing is boring. Except that they do not sell old bullet-proof doubleknit polyester, their clothes pretty much scream “Fat Lady!” I have purchased on hooded top & a mock turtleneck from them, but nothing else is really ME, even if I AM 63 years old. It would still look as if I am my grandmother. I just wanted to put them out there for anyone who might be interested. It is too bad, though, that people are paying $100 for shirts which are basically the same old ‘fat lady’ styles.

  • I’d like to say that as a size 16, 18 or 20 I experience a lot of size privilege. Sure I’m fat, but a lot of people think my fatness is a kind of acceptable fatness. This is so screwed up. All fat should be accepted and celebrated.

    I’d like to say that it’s disappointing when clothing lines react so negatively to comments and questions. I recently told ASOS they should consider extending their plus size lines to higher than an AU 26. They were considerate, thankful for the contribution and told me my email would be sent with others to the marketing department.

    This clothing company was rude, unhelpful and obviously blind to the issues facing fat women of all sizes.

    • I’m glad to hear that ASOS was considerate! For what it’s worth, their sizing runs big, so it’s possible that you could fit into their clothing even if you wear above a size 26 in other brands.

        • Asos DOES run big – in UK and especially US sizing. But that’s because their sizing conversion’s fucked up. The largest size they actually make is UK26, which I believe is not at all the same as AU26 even though the Aussie site converts it to AU26. Then on the US site it’s the other way around – they’re converting UK26 to US22 when it should be more like US24. So when Americans order in their size, it’s almost certain they’ll get stuff that “runs big”.

    • I’m so glad to hear SOMEONE acknowledge their size privilege Kateonthenet. All I keep getting is “But it’s so hard for me too!” Yes, it is, nobody says it isn’t… but try living in a size 26AU body and see just how hard it is.

      I would love to see Asos expand their sizing! Even a formulaic answer is better than one that suggests there is something wrong with us as customers.

  • Let me get this straight, they expect people who are both above and below the sizes they offer to donate to their business anyway? So, here’s some money to make clothes that don’t fit me…sure. That makes sense.

    • I could even see asking (though maybe not expecting, which implies some entitlement) people smaller than their market size range to donate. For instance, as someone who fits at the upper end of that range, I recognize that I have significantly more options than someone who’s even just a size or two up from me — and probably a lot more still than people who are sizes up from that. I would donate (and have donated) to start up clothing companies who carry larger sizes because I think it’s the right thing to do. In the same way, I could see someone who wears straight sizes wanting to invest in a company offering 14-24 or 16-26 lines (particularly one looking to add sizes later) because it is helping fill a relative need. Basically, asking someone who wears straight sizes to donate wouldn’t involve the same element of power dynamics and exclusion as asking someone above

  • I am very sorry this person was so rude to you. I do fit within their size range but you can bet I won’t be donating money or buying clothes from them. It’s Lucie Lu all the time for me! I love love love their clothes and I would never have found out about them without fat acceptance.

  • Sanctuarie.net offers sizes up to 9x I believe. The website is outdated but they offer a decent variety of casual shirts, dresses, swimsuits with customization available. Based in LA, they ship internationally. I guess SWAK Designs is no longer a small company but they offer up to a 6x (34/36us) in select clothing. Their return policy isn’t that great. By Ro Designs, she makes bikinis and one piece suits that are awesome.

  • WordPress always steals my comments bc I forget to sign in, anyway, the quick version.
    Sanctuarie.net – up to 9x, hit or miss quality, custom sizing, ship internationally, based in LA
    ByRoDesigns.com – one piece and bikinis, custom sizing, handmade, shops internationally
    SWAKDesigns.com – not small anymore, select styles to 6x(34/36US), crappy return policy, ship internationally
    Seconding MIB.com, very good CS.
    All I can think of at the moment…

  • Thanks so much for the list of worthwhile stores. There were 2 new ones there for me . . . I’m off to check them out!

  • There’s also Chubby Cartwheels (www.chubbycartwheels.com), which is a US store (I don’t know if she does international shipping yet) but she does size up to 5X. Her stuff is kind of alternative– velvet leggings and bandeau tops, but she’s a great person who IS trying to be inclusive.

    I saw ads for this Cabiria style floating around tumblr. I won’t be giving them a second glance now. How rude.

  • I’m actually going to disagree with you on a couple of things here (this feels so strange).

    “And if you are a company selling size 12-24, don’t call yourself inclusive, don’t promote to the fatshion/fatosphere and don’t call yourself “plus-size”. You are an inbetweenie company. Go market to them.”
    This just rings wrong to me. If I had started a company selling size 12-24 I would definitely promote to the fatshion/fatosphere because a lot of the people in these categories would wear sizes 12-24. There’s no real consensus on where “plus size” starts, but I personally have never seen anyone say it starts higher than a size 16, so they do sell plus sized clothing. Inbetweenie company may be a more accurate description for them, but is the inbetweenie community centralized (Internet-wise) the way the fat community is? I may be wrong here, but is seems to me the fathshion community is a much stronger presence.

    “1.Size 12-24US is not special any more.”
    Really? Anything over an XL/14US is pretty spectacularly special here in Norway.

    Having said this, I applaud you for your effort to draw attention to the underserved market of 26US+, the way you did when you contacted this company. I’m also pretty disgusted by the way she responded to you, and one of my reactions to this disgust is absolutely being completely turned off to the idea of buying from her.

    • Hmm…I guess I disagree with you that 12-24 is really qualified as “inclusive.” IMHO that’s you know, not that many sizes. I alone know a handful of women who couldn’t shop in this store and to be perfectly honest since I became a mother a few months ago my list of friends has dwindled spectacularly. :P

      I think it’s kind of just this woman saying “I support plus sizes, but you know…not too plus sized” that came off as nasty to me personally.

      Although with my being American our experiences with clothing stores likely differs.

      I read this post to be more about the woman’s snotty response than anything, as Kath even said she expected a pretty cut and paste response even before asking the question. I will also not be spending any money there. It’s the best way to show your displeasure with costumer service. :)

      • I wondered if I should have specified this, and reading your comment I see that I should. I don’t think having sizes 12-24 is inclusive either. People are (more or less) free to market their companies as they want, of course. And advertisements often leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, so I’ve learned to set my expectations extremely low. Labelling this size range “inclusive” is still, imo, ridiculous.

    • This is the problem. The lower end of “plus-size” is not ACTUALLY plus-sized. It’s AVERAGE sized. We have to stop thinking that size bloody 12-18 is plus-sized when it’s the average size range for most western countries. It’s bullshit. WE have to change the way WE think as well as what we allow companies to label us as.

      And no, in Australia definitely, and the US, the options for size 12-24US (which is about 10-20/22 Australian) have expanded rapidly in the past five years. They’re not to the same level as “straight” sizes of course, but they have options. Anyone over a 24US/20AUS does NOT have options.

      I can’t speak for Norway because I don’t know the Norwegian market.

    • Veronica, I suppose it depends on where you live in Norway, but as a UK expat living in the south of your beautiful country I’ve found a very impressive range of plus-size clothes. Have you tried Zizzi, H&M or Pip?

      • I’m glad you’ve found the plus-size range impressive. Can’t say I feel the same, I suppose we might be measuring on different scales (btw yes to Zizzi, yes to H&M, no to Pip but I’ll definitely check them out!). So you would disagree with me when I say anything over XL/44 is special here?

        • I actually lol’d a bit at Zizzi & H&M+ being “impressive”. Respectively lol’d, of course. Although they DO impress me constantly by offering the same frumpy fatty fat mcfatterson styles season after season, no matter what the actual trends or demands are. (Well ok, H&M+ has tried a bit recently.) But what’s this Pip I hear about?

          • I kind of love “Respectively lol’d”. :=) I was astonished myself, it took me a while to figure out how to respond really.
            Wait though, YOU live in Norway!?? I’ve seen you around quite a lot in the Fatosphere, but I didn’t know that. Do I know who you are?
            Found Pip http://pipstormote.no/ They don’t have a store anywhere near me unfortunately:=(

            • You do know who I am but probably forgot, it’s okay, I understand ;) I live in Finland. I started using this handle (beep) before I registered my thecuteinexecute Tumblr, so I’ve been sticking to it on comment pages. Although after that I’ve noticed there’s also a commenter ‘silentbeep’ who’s not me so I should probably change mine to avoid confusion.

              Pip looks interesting, though I’m not sure what to make of their “slogan”, lol. Finland has Lorella (up to size 60 in some brands) which has a huge selection and good quality stuff, but their target demographic is older (richer) women and their clothes are styled and priced accordingly.

        • Compared to the UK, I’d say it was impressive, even a few “straight-size” shops here seem to have larger sizes, such as Lindex… but of course that’s a matter of opinion. Without wanting to give away too much about my location, I do live in a great area for shopping so maybe I was not considering my privilege in this and I apologize.

          • I suspect we may have found the different scales we’re measuring with when you say that you find it impressive “compared to the UK”, because I was comparing with the straight size market. To use your example of Lindex, they do carry plus sizes in their Generous department, but in my opinion that can’t really be compared to having the rest of the women’s department to shop in (btw KappAhl has a plus size department too, but I suspect you know that). The difference becomes more dramatic if one considers the stores in any Norwegian shopping mall of medium+ size, and compares that list to the list of stores in the same mall carrying plus sizes.
            No need to apologize, not to me at least. And I live in Oslo, so logically I, and the other Oslo dwellers, should really have more of this sort of privilege than anyone else.
            Speaking of privilege though, do you know, I don’t know a single brick and mortar shop in Norway carrying sizes over 56. Ellos, OneStopPlus, and Taillissime via La Redoute go as far as 64 in some items, but they’re all online of course. Now there’s a substantial bit of size privilege I unfotuntaly haven’t been owning.

    • I agree with your criticisms of the article. This smacked a bit of the attitude I’ve gotten in supposedly fat-accepting circles for “not being fat enough” and even more of the “your concern isn’t important because of this much bigger concern”. For the record, I’m a size 20/22 in the US, and it is still hard to find clothes. My options are still limited. Are they as limited as, for example, a size 28 or 30? No, of course not.

      I also think that asking designers to offer sizes to fit the actual average size of a woman is reasonable. Telling designers they can’t market as plus-size unless they serve all sizes everywhere all the time is ridiculous. Consider shoe stores. A person with very large feet or very small feet is often left out at traditional shoe stores. Are we up in arms over that? No, and we shouldn’t be. Some extremes will always be special order. What we need to erase is the stigma of people at the extremes.

  • i think it’s kind of hilarious (in a sad pathetic way) that this designer is only going up to the size SHE wears, as if that’s the be-all, end-all of plus sizes. is this coming from a place of self-deprecation? “no one is fatter than me so my size is the only size that matters.” …maybe i’m reading too much into it, but i’ve noticed over the years, particularly when i was younger, i automatically go for the largest size on the rack, knowing it’s unlikely to fit, and believed i was the FATTEST PERSON IN THE WORLD. obviously that’s not true because we’ll never truly know who the “Fattest person in the world” is (since fats are relegated to dark shadows and shopping online in teh middle of the night because no stores want fat dollars, unless it’s to make clothes for less-fat fats), but when folks are saying “hey your inclusive clothing line doesn’t include me, do you think that’s something you’ll change someday?” and the response is “NO MY FAT IS THE ONLY FAT THAT MATTERS… o and send me ur monies, k?” …it kinda says way more than “i don’t want to make clothes that fits you, fatty.”

    the fashion industry is awful anyway. what this person’s doing is not unique, or even very interesting. folks are making mainstream-plus clothes all over the place. i can actually wear some of them, but i don’t think it’s very special. if you want to impress me, make TRULY plus-sized clothing in a range of sizes that reflects the reality of our biodiversity as humans. otherwise, this is just another crappy fashion startup.

  • Oh boy, does this ever remind me of experiences I have had in the past when trying to buy nice shoes in wide widths. This gal was polite compared to people in some of those companies.
    @Patsy: BBW, for all its imperfections, did try to be inclusive in many ways. I remember articles, for example, on clothing for older BBWS and clothing for short BBWs. But what could they put in their articles if presentable clothing just wasn’t available (at all, anywhere from anyone)?

  • I’m a bit torn over this post to be perfectly honest.
    I’m trying really hard to articulate this, so excuse me if I stumble a bit here as HAES and FA is a fairly new area for me.

    I feel that even the smaller end of plus size, 18-24 is still very under supplied. If you are like me and can’t really buy clothes online because it never fits due to having an unusual figure, then there are only maybe 6 regular shops, I can look in for cloths in SA. I’m not sure about larger sizes than this, but I would assume those shops are scarce too, but I can’t see how anything that caters for the lower end of plus size could be called “nothing special”. I feel arguing such a case is making a divide between those that are only “a little bit fat” compared to those who are larger. Isn’t that kind of a bit against the HAES and FA philosophy? Don’t get me wrong, I agree that there definitely needs to be stores that cater for all sizes and do so in a harmless and friendly way. I guess I just see some of the discussion around fatshion not including the smaller sizes and being exclusionary and not helpful to the cause.

    I also don’t understand why you were so hard on this lady when she was catering for people of up to size 24. She basically set a limit for her store, and whilst it does exclude some, why is this any different to other stores? A polite discussion about why having larger sizes would be more inclusive on her part might have been more…helpful or warranted than getting defensive surely? I agree that she could have responded in a better way, but then I guess I feel it could have been handled differently on this end too. After all she doesn’t have to cater for your size nor fit in to your idea about what plus size and inclusiveness is. She’s just done what she wants to do for her business. If you don’t want to be a part of it, then you don’t have to be. Unless I am missing something here, and I could be, I’m kind of not sure why you are so hostile towards her.

    Please understand that I love your posts usually, but this one made me a tad confused, and to be honest, a little put out by the insinuations about plus size. I know you probably will not care about that side of it, but I am seeking to understand here not trying to put anyone down.

    • Firstly, I don’t appreciate the tone policing in your comment Lyfin. I’m angry, I have every right to be, and don’t use passive aggressive language to try to shame me for that anger.

      Secondly, you say you have 6 shops… I have ONE. Yes, one actual store. I three or four options online, and one brand that has generous sizing, so I can squeeze into them too. If I’m REALLY lucky, the department stores might put out one or two suitable garments for me. So please understand that 6 regular brick an mortar shops catering to my size 26AU would be an absolute luxury for me. And I can name dozens of online companies that size me out but include sizes 12-24US. So don’t you tell me that I’m not disadvantaged in the current market to someone size 12-24US.

      And I’m not “hard on this lady” or “hostile” to her. I simply asked if she was going to expand her sizes (nothing impolite about that – the tweet is pictured above) and you can read the responses yourself – the answer is no (which I would accept with disappointment), but she STILL expects me to promote her and give her my damn money, and does so by pretending she is inclusive/doing something new?

      How hard is it to see that a) she is lying in her marketing and b) responded to a simple question with her own hostility first and finally c) wants me to promote her and give her my money when she doesn’t include me? How is that not shitty, shitty business?

      It’s time we stopped tolerating pathetic excuses – either companies cater to us and we’ll give them our money, or they acknowledge that they’re either too lazy or don’t want to be seen with customers who are “too fat”. If calling them out is considered “hard on them” or “hostile”, then perhaps it should be.

      • I don’t believe I have been passive aggressive or tone policing at all. I also never said you weren’t disadvantaged in the market, it’s not marketed to you. I did acknowledge that I felt larger sizes are probably harder to obtain than my plus sizes. As I said only 6 stores cater for that size range. That doesn’t mean I even get to wear or try on clothes that I particularly like. I’ve spent most of my life in clothes that are too old for me and not my style because I am not catered to at all in the markets either. The pretty stuff I like are only for thin people, hence why I am interested in HAES and SA as I am new to it. I don’t do “who has the worst off” situation in life though, but I can guarantee we both have struggled in our lives for acceptance and decent clothing sizes and styles. I don’t see the point though of creating the divide in your post where you clearly seem to be saying that those under size 24 don’t have the same reasons for grievances or disadvantage as larger people. That’s at least how it has read to me, hence why I have made my response. If my language surrounding this post is “wrong” in any way, it is not intentional.

        I don’t think we will agree about her marketing or business decisions, apart from that she could use better communication. You don’t have to fund her. It’s a choice and you’ve exercised that.I guess I don’t view the communication the same way you do as the whole of it doesn’t appear to be present? I could be wrong on that but You say you “made it clear that it isn’t fair to ask me to support or promote a company that excludes me, especially when they promote themselves as an “inclusive” line ” but I can’t see that in the tweet, so not sure what has been shown here or not. Did she approach you personally, or was it just that you had been linked to her from others? I read it that she posted to the website and others had forwarded her post to you. That’s not like she is directly asking for your money. I feel that gives it a different view point to me. So from my perspective you can choose not to give her money. That’s the whole point of those sites, to support people you want to support. That’s why I don’t understand why you’ve taken that stance that this is personal and then calling for people not to donate to her. Yes, based on what you’ve shared about the conversation she seems to be someone who needs better communication, but then I guess I can see her side of the issue, where she feels she doesn’t have to cater to people other than those she chooses and why someone might have an issue with it. It’s her business.
        That’s what I am struggling with as I read the post. And no, this is not intended as personal attack or anything like that. I’m just trying to understand the viewpoint you’ve expressed because it just seems at odds with what I understand about HAES and FA and what I’ve read from you previously. That’s all. I agree that people need to be called out but yeah, struggling to see it in this case.

        • Firstly I have stated before that I am NOT a representative of Fat Acceptance of Health at Every Size – though how either of these have any relevance to calling out some REALLY awful business practices and demanding the industry change, I don’t know.

          Secondly, there is no “choosing not to give someone money” when they are NOT PROVIDING PRODUCTS FOR ME TO BUY. This person was directly marketing to me, and other women of my size or larger. How fucking hard is that to understand that it’s shitty business practice to expect people you do not cater to to provide donations or promotion of your company? In what universe is that acceptable?

          Thirdly, you ARE tone policing me, and in very passive aggressive terms. I don’t need you to tell me that this post doesn’t meet your standards because you don’t like how angry I am at being treated like a second class citizen by a company that wants my money.

          And finally, please go read the entire post again. It’s all there in plain English.

  • Saying something doesn’t make it so.

    If you have responded to her in anyways similar to how you’ve responded to me, then I can understand why she felt attacked, because I certainly do. I have not tried in any way to attack you but queried your stance based on the evidence you have posted. I have read the post several times and still find it difficult to understand the hostility towards this lady that you exhibit in your post. That is not tone policing, that’s me trying to understand your viewpoint by explaining why I find difficult to understand.Also you haven’t addressed the main issue I have raised about creating division within the plus sized community and treating sizes smaller than your own as not having as much disadvantage. I notice you don’t actually address my questions but attack me. In my book that is the exact same “offense” as you have charged this lady with and bad blogging practice. I’m asking questions in order to understand and you’ve done exactly what you say she did.

    What I find interesting is that you haven’t included your actual written responses to the person so have taken her responses out of context. That is why I’ve asked questions, because the lack of transparency is serious to me, especially as you have called for others to boycott the lady.

    • Umm… fuck off. I have no time for this kind of bullshit. My blog, and if you come on here with passive aggressive bullshit, you’re going to get your arse handed to you. It’s not an “attack” if you come here trying to tell me what I can and can’t be angry at, and how I respond to something that is seriously fucked up.

      Don’t pull that bullshit about “dividing the plus-sized community” with me. Only someone who can’t own their own fucking privilege would pull that.

      Any further bullshit from you and you will be blocked and banned. Your attitude is NOT welcome. If you don’t like it, tough – nobody has a gun to your head to read this blog.

  • Uggh, the way she treated you is awful. I’ve posted this to Facebook, and will include it in my links roundup this week to spread the word about the suckiness of Cabiria and the awesomeness of the other companies.

    I LOVE Domino Dollhouse! They’re all-around amazing. Lucie Lu, in my experience, is overpriced and shitty quality. But I’ve only bought one dress from them ($70 for a dress that started getting holes after only a few wears), so it’s possible it was a fluke.

    There’s also Chic Star. Domino Dollhouse carries a few of their items, and it looks like most of what No Xceptions carries is from them, but they more options on their own website. They go up to a 4X/28.

  • I know that HolyClothing.com goes up to 5X and I’ve seen things from them on Ebay occasionally for as large as 7X, though it’s less consistent. Really pretty and comfortable. :)

    • Dear Mother of FSM! These clothes are fantastic!! The price seems reasonable, the size chart is clearly labled. Oh my kod I’m in heaven!! Thank you!!

  • I saw your blog entry a few days back, and today saw the designer (i think her name is Eden?) posted on a plus size vintage/vintage repo group about her kickstarter campaign.

    Eden Miller
    We are 97% funded on Kickstarter with our classic film inspired plus size line! Please join in!
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cabiriastyle/get-cabiria-plus-size-ss13-collection-into-stores/posts/338091
    Like · · Unfollow Post · Share · about an hour ago near New York, NY

    Sandy Francis while this is awesome, it was kind of sad to see the response from Cabiria when they were questioned about additional plus sizes (above size 24 US)
    28 minutes ago · Like · 1
    Lucirene Pina Well, I went to Pratt with this girl and its a one woman operation, so in order to be able to start she has to concentrate in a number of sizes. If the operation grows I’m sure she could extend the sizes further. As a designer I can tell you that doing what she’s doing is a very daunting thing. I have seen some of the designs and fabrics and she’s even fashioned a dress based on a 1950′s kamehameha that is just beautiful. I’d say if you can support a plus size girl who is trying to service fashionable plus size girls :)
    2 minutes ago via mobile · Like
    Sandy Francis um. that’s not really what she said though. it was a pretty shitty attitude and copy/past response on twitter. She/Cabiria said going further wasn’t going to happen. and being a size 12-24 isn’t really being inclusive to plus size women/people, it’s actually kind of standard in a sense being that Lane Bryant, Addition Elle, SWAK, Kiyonna all service those lines. it was pretty rude exchange between Cabiri and the people who questioned her expanding the line, but still wanting plus size people to fund a campaign that excluded them entirely.
    a few seconds ago · Like

    now it sounds like her supporters are in a combination of defending not going beyond size 24- and that Cabiria will then go beyond 24 when business starts?
    Thank you for blogging about this.

    • This is part that I didn’t get. I’m suppose to bring tissues and cry and support this woman because of how HARRRDDD her life is. How difficult it is to start up a line like this. It’s a small business venture. They are hard. You can’t whinge on about how difficult your life is when you are soliciting people for money while simultaneously saying that none of their experience matters and you don’t want to dress their bodies anyway.

      I just want to shake her shoulders and say “YOU KNOW WHAT LADY?! I Can’t even get clothes to dress my own ass. So don’t tell me that doing things, exactly as they have been, within the societal norm, is just so fucking difficult that i wouldn’t understand.”

  • I have nothing to intelligent to add to the discussion of this company’s exclusion (except, right on!), b/c everyone else here seems to be saying it more eloquently than I would anyway.

    So I will say this: why on earth is this a Kickstarter project to begin with?

    As far as I can tell, this is a private, for-profit enterprise, not a charity. The owner(s) should be looking for investors, not donors.

    This particularly disgusts me because we normally ask for “donations” for a cause when it is charitable in some way. Asking for donations to fund a plus-sized clothing line seems dangerously close to suggesting that deigning to offer clothing options to us fatties is an act of charity. I’m sure that the proprietor of this business doesn’t think of it that way, but that seems to be the logical extension of what she is doing.

    Also, I googled the company, and found this gem on their web site:

    “If we raise more than $8,000, I have big plans, including expanding production abilities, printing our own fabrics, showing the line at trade shows, upgrading our website and e-store, expanding into new markets, and paying photographers, models, assistants and web developers, etc. a fair wage for their services”

    So this proprietor is freely admitting that she is only in business because she can hit up her friends for free/cheap labour, and pass her business off as a charity to get people to donate.

    Size exclusion and exploitative labour. Gross.

    • I agree that the company’s exclusion is awful, but she didn’t do anything wrong by using Kickstarter to raise money. It’s not a site for charities–it’s for artists and businesspeople, as an alternative to regular investing.. You can find out more about them here.

  • I have a company you might want to include in your list, holyclothing.com, they go up to size 5X as a regular thing, sometimes larger. Their clothing is fair-trade and reasonably priced.

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