Founder, Taffy Activewear
What motivated you to start Taffy Activewear?
I created Taffy Activewear after working as a trainer in a Philadelphia gym. I noticed that women at the gym over a size 12 had a difficult time finding stylish, flattering active wear, and many times wore oversized t-shirts and sweats. Also having my own weight issues, I know how important it is to look good and feel confident in the gym environment or anywhere. I felt there was a need for attractive plus-size active wear. This is what led me to create Taffy.
What would be the benefit to specialty outdoor and specialty fitness retailers carrying your line?
The plus size industry is very underserved, especially in stylish and attractive active wear. Women, regardless of size, want to be fashionable. The average size of women is size 14, but plus size clothing only represents 18 percent of total revenue in the women’s clothing industry. These women are shopping and want the same options in trends, colors and fashion that their smaller counterparts have. Offering plus sizes in active wear will open retailers up to a new market, adding many new customers, and generating more revenue.
Why do you think more companies don’t cater to the plus-sized woman?I feel there are a few reasons as to why companies don’t carry plus sizes. First, I feel they don’t realize that these women want to be healthy and active. I also feel they don’t realize that the plus woman wants to look good and show off her curves. They don’t want to hide behind baggy t-shirts and pants. These women want the same fun, bright and exciting workout clothes to go to the gym. Everyone wants to look good and feel attractive, at the gym or running errands around town. Lastly, they feel there is no demand. Because plus size shoppers have such few options, it comes across as low demand for plus size clothing. Therefore stores assume the plus woman isn’t interested in shopping or being fashionable and they don’t carry more plus size options.
Why is this important to target this demographic?
The plus size industry a $17 billion industry, and it is greatly underserved. Plus size women want the same options in style, fashion and trends as “regular” size women, and why shouldn’t they have them?
What’s the significance behind the name ‘Taffy Activewear’?
I have another business, which helped me think of the name “Taffy”. But I also like the movement and flow of a piece of taffy. Our active wear is like Taffy; it stretches and moves with you. Taffy active wear is candy for your body.
What’s the best business advice you’ve received?
It’s so hard to nail down one comment as the best advice. I feel lucky to have met a few great people along the way that have really helped me. They are great resources and are always there to help with any issues I come across and give great advice.
What have been some of the challenges getting your business up and running and how have you overcome them?
There are two major challenges in getting Taffy up and running. Many companies do not see the value in adding plus size active wear. There seems to be a negative stigma associated with plus size. Woman want to fashionable, stylish, and attractive no matter what their size. Plus size women are comfortable with themselves and are starving for great apparel that is trendy, colorful and tailored to their bodies.
The second challenge is bringing plus size clothing into the stores, since right now it is mostly an online business. Plus size women are most concerned with fit. Having traditional brick-and-mortar stores that women can still try on clothes and purchase items immediately is necessary. Moving the plus size business to an online only forum is very alienating. I also feel in stores there’s the opportunity for impulse buys. If a plus size woman goes in to a store for cleats for her child, but walks by active wear in her size, she may look and purchase items for herself.
What makes your business different from other women’s apparel companies out there?
Taffy clothing is designed specifically and exclusively for curvier women. All pieces are offered in sizes 1X (14/16), 2X (18/20,) and 3X (22/24). We focus on the plus body and fitting her curves. Extending regular size clothing into plus sizes does not account for the needs and fit of a plus size body. Therefore, we’ve created a line of stylish, functional, great fitting pieces solely for plus size women. Taffy’s stylish and flattering exercise tops and bottoms help make plus size women feel confident about how they look when they go to the gym or anytime.
--Compiled by Ana Trujillo