What Makes This Plus Size Retailer Stand Out?
Every year, thousands, if not millions, of plus-size girls and women attend milestone events looking their absolute best thanks to plus size retailer Sydney’s Closet. Because of this brand, we’re able to wear plus-size dresses, evening gowns, and wedding dresses that are not only beautiful but fit our curves perfectly turning an otherwise frustrating experience into something magical. Sydney’s Closet advocates for us so it’s important that we shine a spotlight on them. Today we’re featuring Phyllis Librach the owner and founder of Sydney’s Closet.
It was an honor to interview this plus industry Trailblazer and I’m confident that after reading about her and her company you’ll fully understand the passion that goes into the work that they do, why she started the company and what makes Sydney’s Closet stand out in a sea of plus size retailers.
What are three words that you would use to describe Sydney’s Closet?
Recognize, Respect and Reward.
- We Recognize our curvy customer is struggling to find the perfect dress for a special occasion that fits and flatters her full figure.
- We Respect her by creating a company catering exclusively to women ages 16 to 60 who wear sizes 14 to 40.
- We Reward her by making what had been a difficult and frustrating experience an easy and happy one!
Why did you decide to start a business focused on plus size evening wear and party dresses?
My teenage daughter failed to find a plus size Prom dress that flatters her figure and fit her hip lifestyle. It broke my heart. I decided to take the tears out of shopping for her and the millions of teens and women like her dressing up for life’s special occasions.
How long have you been in business?
More than a dozen years!
With prom season officially over, how does Sydney’s Closet prepare for the demands of teenage girls?
We start almost 18 months earlier researching the trends for fabric, color and design. We talk to hundreds of teens across the country to find out what they want in terms of colors, style and detail. We talk to store owners that carry our Collections to identify trends. Armed with this research, I travel to China to create first samples of the dresses and hand-beaded designs. Next comes rounds of revisions on the samples, including endless fittings. The tough job comes next. We make final selections for the Collection from the hundreds of samples. Narrowing down isn’t easy. But in August we present our Prom, Bridal, and Social Collections for the first time to buyers in our Atlanta showroom. Then we go to Dallas, Chicago, and the UK. Buyers make their selections, and the first dresses arrive in the stores and online by December.
What is your most popular style of prom dress, and why do you think shoppers are attracted to that style?
A-line is our most popular style. Why? It always flatters every type of figure from an hourglass to pear to inverted triangle.
What has been the most challenging things that Sydney’s Closet has experienced so far?
Getting the word out! Our biggest challenge is letting teens and women know we are here to size up glamour for life’s special occasions. Consumers are bombarded by marketing messages. The big players dominate. It’s difficult for a niche player like Sydney’s Closet to get shoppers’ attention in a very noisy environment. So many customers tell us, “I wish I had known about Sydney’s for my Prom or wedding.”
If you had to pick one moment as your proudest moment, what would that be?
That’s a hard question! But a great one. It’s a toss up between being named “Retailer of the Year” at FFF Week 2015 and being called “The Fairy Godmother of Plus Size Prom” by the media.
Where do you see Sydney’s Closet in 5, 10 and 20 years?
We are now carried by more than 150 fine dresses and bridal shops in the U.S. and around the world. In five years, we want to double that. In 10 years triple. And in 20 years, quadruple. Maybe a department store like Nordstrom or Macy’s would be interested in a Collection by Sydney’s?
We want to become known as the plus size dress shop. Our new Celebrations Collection offers dresses designed to be worn when you dress up for more informal occasions like a girls night out or a family party.
Online, our strategy is to meet the consumer demand to both browse and buy. We are constantly upgrading sydneyscloset.com to keep current with fast-moving technology. Our latest – and greatest – version launches this summer with easier navigation, improved search, speedier checkout and a clean, contemporary design. And of course, we always want to grow our presence on social media: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, which is exploding for us.
To keep up with Sydney’s Closet and to view their beautiful collection of dresses and evening gowns visit www.SydneysCloset.com.
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