Last month I was lucky enough to take a road trip with my great friend Kerri, and we went down to Newcastle to visit the lovely Bek of Colourful Curves. Of course, Bek being a fab fatty like myself, we just had to have a shopping day. Check us out, look how cute we are!
So Bek took Kerri and I to a lot of her favourite shopping haunts and the most awesome café I have ever been to, Frankie’s Place for lunch. It’s a funky, quirky kind of place that has original food ideas, lovely atmosphere, good quality basic dishes and I ate a salad so amazing that I thought I had been transported to paradise.
After lunch, we wandered up Darby St until we came to a very fab retro-style shop called Ramjet Assortments, run by the wonderful Michelle. Bek had mentioned that they had awesome accessories, which, as a fat chick, is something I’m always looking for to jazz up otherwise boring plus-sized clothes. Michelle asked us if we were looking for anything in particular and when I said “It’s OK, you wouldn’t have anything to fit me anyway.” gasped in horror! “Of course I do!” She then proceeded to enthusiastically fling dresses at all three of us, asking rapid fire questions about our tastes and style. The minute we squee’d over a print or a colour, she found something that she thought we might like in something close to our size. She had all three of us trekking back and forth to the fitting rooms, Bek and I swapping dresses between the stalls to try on. Even had Kerri who is not a shopaholic by any stretch of the imagination, happily trying on all sorts of frocks. I’m a size 26 – 28 AU, and she had up to my size at least.
Michelle was enthusiastic, attentive and fun, without once being pushy or overwhelming. She never made any mention of “flattering” or “hiding flaws” – just listened to what we liked and paid attention to our reactions to things she suggested. Even when Bek and I told her we preferred to identify as “fat” rather than “curvy”, she took it totally in her stride and accepted our preference. She was so positive and her enthusiasm for her stock was really infectious. All three of us walked out of there absolutely beaming with a frock we totally love.
Astonishingly, once we’d come down from the high of such a fun and fruitful shopping experience, I actually had a little cry. A couple of little cries over the next 24 hours in fact. Because the realisation had sunk in that as a fat woman, I had never had a shopping experience like that. I had never been in a store and had the staff/owner pay positive attention to me and be genuinely enthusiastic about helping me find something I love, without once suggesting I had to flatter or hide my body in any way. In fact, I’d never had that in a completely dedicated plus-size store, let alone one that had sizes starting at size 6! Michelle’s approach was the same towards Bek and myself as super fats as it was to Kerri who is much smaller, and when we popped back into the shop a few days later, she was giving the same enthusiastic, friendly service to a young woman who looked fresh off the pages of a fashion magazine, as well as an older couple who were looking for a gift for their daughter. We had decided to get Bek a gift for being such a wonderful hostess while we were in Newcastle, and realised that a gift voucher for Ramjet Assortments would be something that she would really love, rather than something generic like a department store or a supermarket. Michelle greeted us with glee when we walked in the door, and was delighted to hear how happy we were with our purchases of the previous visit. As well as buying our gift for Bek, I splurged on a pair of seriously cute earrings to go with my sweet new frock.
Fat women just don’t get service like that. We’re normally treated as though we’re an inconvenience, or as if we are a challenge to “flatter”. We’re either ignored, told there isn’t anything in our sizes, or get the hard sell on something that doesn’t fit or isn’t to our taste. When I mentioned to a straight sized friend of mine that this was the first time I’d ever had that experience, she was absolutely astonished. She said “Don’t they want you to buy their stuff or something?” The answer, it seems to me for most businesses, is no, they don’t. Very few businesses actually want a fat woman’s money. No matter how hard we want to give it to them. Some of them don’t even promote their product, and actively try to suppress it being promoted by others. Yet then they complain that their product doesn’t sell.
So when a business as fabulous as Ramjet Assortments, and a person as passionate about her stock as Michelle comes along, I believe it’s important that we promote them. If you’re in Newcastle, get yourself down to Darby Street and go inside of Ramjet Assortments. Say hello to Michelle. Tell her I sent you. Ask her to show you some fab frocks to fit you.
If you’re not in Newcastle, Michelle will sell via mail order. She has a Facebook page. Drop her a line, ask her what she has in your size. Follow her Instagram where she posts new stock with it’s available sizes listed.
What? You want to see the frock I bought? Well, alright, since I love you all… behold, Spooky Cats!