I hate, detest and despise the label “Plus Size” and will never refer to myself as a plus size woman. I would rather call myself “fluffy and fabulous”. What I despise even more is having to travel up a hill, through a valley and down into a cave to find the plus size department.
At Target, after passing the tweens and ladies department, the plus sizes are in the very back of the store, near the maternity department and the dressing rooms. One would assume Target is attempting to hide us! According to market research conducted by the NPD Group, plus size women spent $21.4 billion in 2016, double the rate of overall apparel sales. In 2020, sales of plus size clothes are predicted to reach $24 billion yet I have to use a magnifying glass to find the plus size department.[i]I appreciate Target’s recent attempt to redesign the plus size department. It’s a start but more needs to be done!
On the other hand, Carson’s and Meijer has it right! Several years ago, during my very first visit to Carson’s, the gates of heaven opened up when I arrived in the plus department after a 3-hour journey up an escalator, pass the teens and ladies departments (see the trend). The plus size section consisted of 3 large (no pun intended) sections with correct size mannequins and a designer section that included Michael Kors and Calvin Klein. Sadly, Carson’s will be closing soon and will be missed. Despite not having the same selection and quality as Carson’s, Meijer has an exclusivity approach with their women’s department. All sizes are located in one area. Imagine that! The plus sizes are not relegated to a lonely corner.
Fluffy Girls Unite and Demand to Be Seen!
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In a haste to market to the Caucasian, millennial consumer, companies are missing out on two key audience segments – Blacks and Generation X.
You would be hard pressed to find a person of color featured in an ad unless you are watching BET. I proudly belong to an ethnic group where our buying power is projected to reach $1.4 Trillion by 2020. Blacks are the third largest ethnic group in the United States, yet companies spend less than 4% of their advertising budget targeting black consumers. Why does this occur? For years, we were stereotyped as having poor credit, no income, and low education. When compared to other ethnic groups, YES, we are behind. However, our income growth, limited rise up the corporate ladder and our advancement in education proves that the stereotypes we face are antiquated and baseless. Companies, who continue to hold on to these stereotypes, will miss out on the opportunity to grow their brand, increase their market share and customer base. There are a few companies, such as Ford, Proctor & Gamble, and Coke Cola, who get it.
“The Lost Generation” – This is the name given to those of us who were born during the Generation X era. In addition to being ignored, we have to compete with Millennials for attention, recognition, and jobs. I get it! Millennials are the most sought after group because of their desire to spend money over their need to save. According to a 2015 research conducted by Turn, companies are expected to spend 500% more advertising to Millennials despite the fact that Millennial(s) are not loyal. This strategy and the reliance on Millennials to grow a brand could be very risky. Companies with a mixed advertising strategy of digital and print will attract Millennials and “the lost generation”, who are savers, have money to spend, read the newspaper and magazines, like myself, and more importantly, are very brand loyal.
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Detroit Digital Girl