It is a time old scenario, college girl meets hot guy, girl gets asked out on a date, girls goes to the mall and is unable to find anything to wear, as a result, girl creates her own business.
This is the true story of Camille Newman, founder of the online plus-size boutique PopUpPlus.com. Although the market of curvy women has gone largely ignored by the fashion world, today, this overlooked demographic is becoming increasingly popular and lucrative. According to Bloomberg, the plus-size industry is now valued at $17.5 billion. However, maverick and online entrepreneur Camille already knew the value of her curvy sisters and had her nose to the grindstone catering to this underserved market long before it became in vogue.
Eurweb had the pleasure to catch up with Camille Newman to discuss her online fashion boutique and why she feels most retailers are late guests to the curvy gal party.
Describe your background.
I graduated from college in 2002 with a liberal arts background. I have always had a love for fashion and I’ve always been curvy. I was actually on the path to a Ph.D. program, but I transitioned into corporate retail and moved back to New York City. I started out with Lane Bryant and since then for a number of companies for a long amount of time. I’ve been in fashion for almost 15 years [overseeing] store management, pricing strategy, planning and buying.
How did you come up with the ideas to start your business?
While in college, I met this cute guy and he asked me out for a date. My best friend and I went to the local mall and [we spent hours there]. I realized that I gained a lot of weight and I could not find anything to wear. I remember feeling terrible. It was a real blow to my self-esteem. I promised myself that no other girl that was my weight or heavier would ever feel like that. That is how my interest in the plus size industry started. I [thought of] a way to enter the industry with a low overhead and that’s how the idea for the pop up shop [was developed].
What are biggest misconceptions about plus-size women?
The biggest misconception is that we all have some insecurity, we overeat, and that we are unhappy and fat. A plus-size woman is a regular girl with some extra weight on. I’m saying we don’t have our challenges but I think our challenges [are increased] when you don’t see yourself being represented in the fashion industry. There are so many reasons why women gain weight. Many women have had children, they have issues with thyroids [which affects] a lot of African American women, which was my issue, it made me gain and keep the weight. I have met plus size women who are fashionable and taking style risk. Plus-size woman are have always been creative. I met a lady who tailored maternity wear. We have always been a creative group of fashionistas.
In your opinion, why these misconceptions continue to exist in our society?
On my Instagram, I will post a girl in a form fitting dress and people will have rude, nasty comments. “Oh my God look at her butt, yes she has shape wear on but why is she wearing that, [she should wear] something more flowing, [she should] cover [her] arms.” And the [July issue where] the Oprah Magazine article said that you can only wear a crop top if you have a flat stomach. I think we live in a society unfortunately, that fashion has been able to take over our minds and make you think that in order to be fashionable you have to be skinny, blonde, tall, and anorexic looking.
The reality is according to the United States Census 6 out of 10 women in the U.S. are a size 14 or larger. Yet, we allow the fashion industry to dictate our taste, but they shouldn’t be able to dictate what is good and real for a woman’s body. The fashion industry should not be allowed to perpetuate size-ism; they should not be allowed to make the majority of American woman feel bad about themselves.
What separates your company from other retailers that cater to the full-figure woman? Continue reading “Online Entrepreneur Camille Newman Seeks to Revolutionize Fashion for Curvy Girls with PopUpPlus.com”