Plus-size women represent 67% of shoppers, so why aren't we seeing more plus-size women being represented and catered to in the fashion industry?
Often plus size women can't go into stores and simply buy clothing off the rack. Shopping for plus size women includes hunting down pieces online, spending extra money for shipping, and carefully studying measurements to find things that are going to fit correctly.
Enter CJ Riggins, the Founder and CEO of Rsport, a performance athletic apparel brand created for Athena and Plus Size women. After over 20 years in the outdoor apparel industry, CJ created this brand after noticing a need for appealing workout clothing for active curvy women with a focus on performance, craftsmanship and style.
In today's podcast chat we discuss the need for more diversity in fashion, as well as:
Why the outdoor industry isn’t building performance products for Athena and plus size athletes
How we can better serve the Athena and plus size women
Why scaling up a plus size woman doesn’t cut it in our current world
How Rsport is supporting female athletes the industry has left behind
Business opportunities society is ignoring related to Athena and plus size women
CJ's personal fears in business
Why CJ chose not to partner with companies that promote weight loss
Building a brand with real women instead of signed models
Providing female plus size athlete with options for quality product
Taking back the word FAT
About CJ Riggins
After 20+ years in the outdoor apparel industry, CJ noticed a recurring theme that the apparel industry was making a lot of beautiful product for a very narrow segment of the population. Plus-size consumers are under-served in all aspects of the apparel market even though they make up more than 67% of the US female population!
CJ launched Rsport with the belief that all women are strong and deserve products that focus on performance, craftsmanship, and style. Rsport is the Athena and Plus Size Performance Athletic Apparel Brand offering gear in sizes L to 6X designed specifically for the unique needs of active plus size women.
We fit the bodies in front of us, it doesn't matter if you're large, have wide shoulders or hips, we want to cater to every BODY.
Where is the Change?
I was asking professionals and buyers why aren't we changing the middle and all of them knew that the national average was larger than they were catering for but the answer was always, because that's the way we've always done it.
I just had to ask then where is the change? R-Sport had to become the catalyst for the change that the world needed to see.
I had so many people tell me CJ this woman doesn't exercise and I thought ok but is this a case of the chicken and the egg, are we not seeing her exercise because she doesn't want to or because she has nothing to comfortably wear?
This was a when starting my business, whether or not the consumer was out there but it was a risk I was willing to take.
Dealing with Online Hate
When faced with questions like "don't you think your company is just glorifying being fat?" My answer to that is no one questions the brand making smaller sizes and if they're glorifying being skinny or eating disorders because that's ridiculous.
We're serving women who need us, we wouldn't questions an "average size" person about their health so why do you think it's ok to comment on how larger person dresses?
Can't we just make clothing for the women that are out there and not beat them up in the process? Trust me, they have been beaten up enough in life already.
We don't focus on the haters or the naysayers because our mission is to make a change in the industry for the women we're serving. We focus on the athlete or the woman in front of us and her needs before anything else.
We've been told that it would be a smart business decision to partner up with a company like Weight Watchers and I thought no. It's not to say that that company isn't doing great things for people but it's not for us because then we're NOT focused on weight loss.
That is not what our company is about, we are about dressing the body that is in front of us and covering a size range that is not often covered and if we do that well, we're doing our job.
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