Welcome to the new Curvy Girl Closet!!! Oh my God, I have waited so long to say that. You have no idea. Curvy Girl Closet has gone from a fever induced idea to now a reality and I am so excited I could burst.
My name is Adrienne Graham and I’m the head curvinista around these parts. I’m a mom, serial entrepreneur, business growth strategist, published author (check me out on Amazon), radio show host, mentor, and instructor. And now I’m a tech/e-commerce startup founder!!!! I am obsessed with clothes, shoes and purses, and one day while I was laid up in the bed sick with a high fever and the flu, an idea came to me. But prior to that, I was traveling from Omaha, NE where I spoke at the accelerator program in which I serve as a mentor (Straight Shot). While at the airport in pain, looking for something to keep my mind off the pain, I picked up the local newspaper and saw an article about a woman who stepped out on faith and launched a plus size boutique consignment shop for the curvy women of Omaha.
As an aside, did you know Omaha had the fifth largest fashion week in the country? I know!! Go Omaha!
Anyway, I read the article and remember thinking how great it was to have a place locally where there would be great options for curvy women. Then I hopped on my plane and headed home to get into bed. A few days later, I was watching HSN or QVC or one of those channels as I laid in bed wallowing in being sick. Hey, that flu is no joke! And I had an abscess too so my face was swollen and painful. I tried to nap but kept thinking about how designers who called themselves offering plus size fashions were really kidding themselves and us because to them, 10 was a plus size. So I dosed off. But then I woke up as if someone nudged me.
I pulled out my iPad and began outlining what a shopping experience looks like for me. Then I started thinking about the complaints I heard from some of my curvy sisters and began creating a survey. I slowly worked on it over the next few hours (hey don’t judge me. I was still sick and in pain, plus that Nyquil slows you down). When it was done, I sent it out to some women and asked them to give me their honest feedback about their shopping experiences and what they would look for. After getting that feedback (and it was a lot!), I called my friend Mark over at Straight Shot and asked him if this was a drug induced hallucination, or could I really do something like this. Being my friend, and someone who invests in startups, he gave it to me straight. He told me the pros and cons, and then told me to go for it. And I did. I went for my bed and knocked out for about two days!
After a few months, I revisited the idea. I sat alone and started looking at my notes and the feedback, then started brainstorming. I sketched out what I wanted the site and experience to be like. Then over the course of the next few months, had three different developers bail on me because they just couldn’t see the technical requirements. I guess I was either asking for too much, or I wasn’t clear enough. Talk about frustrated! I wanted to cry, and I abandoned the CGC project to cool down. In April of this year, just after my birthday, I had this revelation if you will. WHY NOT ME? Why can’t I launch this kind company? So what I didn’t have a developer. I knew how I wanted it to work, so why not mash up the platforms I did know and make it work? I had nobody signed up and not even close to having an inventory. So I did what any determined chick would do. I went shopping in my closet. Then I started looking to others for inventory.
It’s been slow coming. But I have taken the business principles I have instilled in my clients (and in my own ventures), plus the advice of some kick ass people, and I took the leap of faith. To see how far I’ve come from that Nyquil/flu induced idea, to where it is now is blowing my mind. No, it’s not 100% completed and I have no idea how it’ll be received. But I’m not worried. I have a very strong positive vibe about this. Plus it’s not just about me. It’s about helping other curvy women find clothes they love and make a little money along the way. It’s a win for me as a business owner, a win for members, and a win for shoppers. All around, it’s a win for Curvy Nation.
So sit back and watch the journey unfold. I am so excited about where I see CGC going and some phases will be revealed in time. But for right now, I’m just going to bask in this feeling of accomplishment. And if there’s any doubt, wait til you see what’s next!