Thanks so much for your awesome comments on my last post – it was so interesting hearing all your views on how you dress! I’m actually in the middle of an image crisis, hilariously. I think recently I’ve been experimenting so much I’ve gotten myself a bit lost, and as a result never feel like I look like myself any more, which is sad. Also, I REALLY need to cut my hair.
But I digress. On Monday myself, Devon, Georgina, Carla, Steph and Kat travelled up/down to Peterborough, to visit Yours Clothing HQ for a meeting. To be fair calling it a meeting sounds far too serious – it was actually a really informal afternoon out that was a lot of fun. It was also just lovely to see everyone again and meet Georgina for the first time!
Yours are in a very interesting position at the moment – having been going for around 10 years, starting as a market stall and growing through word of mouth (I first discovered them 7 years ago, when one of my godmums took me and my mum to a Size Up in Rayleigh) only to find their worldwide popularity suddenly soar due to blogs and the internet. They recently went over to Paris to meet some fabulous French bloggers, and they felt it was only fair to talk to a few bloggers in the UK as well. Having spoken to Leigh on the phone it was clear that they’re really interested in developing their online community – so while only a few of us went up to meet them this week, eventually it’ll be more widespread. So please don’t feel left out!
After giving us a lovely lunch, we all took it turns to speak about our blogs – why we started them, what we write about, etc. It was really interesting to hear everyone’s stories and just how different all our approaches are. At the end of the day this is our hobby, so we just do things the way we feel most comfortable doing them. Although Carla and I admitted we might have to take off our “no ads” button because we’re so poor! Then we were taken on a tour of the office – everything is in the one building: office, customer service, warehouse, buying, and even a little photographic studio:
Me pretending to be a model is getting beyond a joke now, seriously.
Lastly, the team let us try on bits and bobs for a couple of hours, which was really nice! We all loved the cropped fake fur jackets – I own the black one already, but the camel colour was just as lovely. Kat looked especially lovely in a sequin dress that was very flapper-esque, and Steph snuggled in a leopard print dressing gown, haha.
I had a great time, though the most interesting thing to me was hearing about how the company works. It really dawned on me the freedom an independent and practically family-owned company like Yours Clothing has. Because they have no higher bureaucracy to square with, their apparent passion for providing plus sized women with great clothes allows them to take risks and do things other retailers aren’t always able to. Their willingness to accept potential profit losses shocked me, in fact – for example they’ll order only 50 so of a particularly daring item, just so their customers who want it are catered for. Think about that for a second. That level of individuality and regard for the varied tastes of their customers is unbelievably impressive to me.
That’s not to say other brands aren’t passionate about plus size fashion or their customers – not at all. I’ve not encountered anyone so far who isn’t as committed to making women of all sizes and tastes feel and look amazing. But brands that may be part of a group, or an offshoot of a straight-size high street retailer, tend to be cast aside and treated as a commodity, not being given the budget or even time to develop as fully as they would like. For example one retailer with a plus size offshoot is hosting their press day today, and, naturally, the plus size section isn’t included. I can see the frustrations and it’s so sad, you know? Yours Clothing (and Simply Be, to an extent) are lucky in that they don’t have to deal with any of this, as plus sizes are the main focus of the company.
Oh my god, I’ve gone on a one way ticket to Tangent City! I suppose if I have any qualms with Yours Clothing, it would be that I’d like for their clothes to interpret the runway more often – their general inspiration comes from the UK high street and celebrities, which isn’t bad in itself but since they tend to emulate the catwalk anyway, it can come across as versions of a version – if that makes sense.
I would also love for them to open a store in central London. Believe it or not, there is barely anything for the plus size shopper in London, and a store there would be very well welcomed.
Phew, I’m done. Apologies if that was a bit TL;DR, you guys! If you have any thoughts please let me know, I’d love to hear your views!