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Emma Hayes, the founder of Emma PlusWelcome to our open-access forum. Emma Plus, the noted plus-size fashion store, followed in the footsteps of two previous shops that had been at 16 Church Street, Brighton, UK. The first was opened in August 1987 by Jane Pascoe, and was called Opinions. It was one of the country's first designer plus-size womenswear shops, and in June 1990 it was taken over by a 13-strong chain of plus-size designer womenswear boutiques called Excelle, owned by Sue Martin. After two years the business folded and the store was taken over by a chain of five shops, going by the name of Pandora. The Church Street store was the only plus-size branch, and was called Pandora Plus – the whole enterprise being owned by Trish Conroy.

Then, on the 25th March 1994, the shop was taken over again... this time by Emma Hayes, who renamed this small but trail-blazing store 'Emma Plus'. This was the incarnation that lasted the longest. The store traded until the 25th August 2016, just one year short of thirty years since the very first ground-breaking plus-size designer fashion store opened.

The Emma Plus store is now history, and lives on only in the memories of those who experienced it and in this forum (and in the many lovely testimonials received from customers). We invite readers to talk fashion, discuss issues involving larger women, ask or share style or fit questions/insights, and generally hook up in the pursuit of the perfect look for larger women.

It's a friendly, non-judgemental, yet highly knowledgeable space – so please feel free to participate.

Emma

The famous Brighton Pavilion was just down the road from Emma Plus


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elena    Thursday 27 July 2017 at 07:00

 Post #497 



 
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Alice Jacob    Tuesday 11 July 2017 at 15:27

 Post #495 



 
Subject: Dwindling choice of plus size designer specialists

 
Hi Emma,

I am Alice Jacob, the owner of Lady Bountiful in Manchester. We stock sizes 18-32.

I was very sorry to hear that you had closed down. Over the years I had heard of your shop from various clients who were very complimentary about the service they received from you.

It was from one such customer, recently, that I heard about you no longer trading.

I am beginning to feel rather lonely (!) as the number of designer shops available to the plus size lady is decreasing every year.

I wish you all the very best in the future. If you wish to phone me for a chat, you would be very welcome.

Kind Regards,

Alice Jacob
Mobile no: 07843569412

 

 Emma    Tuesday 01 August 2017 at 10:25

 
Hi Alice,

Thank you for your lovely words- I have indeed heard of Lady Bountiful in Manchester. I've not been lucky enough to visit your shop yet (it's a long way from Brighton), but I've heard such lovely things about it that I certainly will, if I'm ever in the vicinity!

Congratulations on being one of the very last plus-size independent boutiques- there really are very few around now. I know that every time one closes, it breaks the heart of the customers, who are like a family.

 

Kim P    Saturday 13 May 2017 at 19:20

 Post #494 



 
Subject: Designer Shop Stocking Plus Size Clothing

 
I have recently visited Tavistock in Devon and was pleased to find a shop selling both standard and plus size clothing including a few favourites from Emma Plus Angel Circle and Tomo.

It is Brigid Foley, 8a Paddons Row, Tavistock 01822 612048

Brigid is a lovely lady and the shop had a nice feel to it and included being offered a coffee upon arrival.
They also do mail order

www.brigidfoley.co.uk

 

Kim P    Saturday 13 May 2017 at 19:08

 Post #493 



 
Subject: Clothing Alterations

 
In case anyone is interested the wonderful Denisa who used to do Emma's alterations is still around. She has just done a superb job repairing a Tomo dress I had purchased but had managed to rip the sleeve before even wearing it! She also did a great job shortening a couple of pairs of jeans.

I posted the items to her as I am not local to Brighton and will definitely ask her to do any future alterations. Her prices are very reasonable and the quality of work first class. She is away at the moment but her number is 01273 696410

 

Liz    Friday 03 February 2017 at 17:07

 Post #491 



 
Subject: Plus Size Swimwear

 
Please could anyone recommend any stores that might want to stock my plus size swimwear range? I manufacture and sell a selection of plus size swimsuits and swimdresses up to a size 26. Currently they are only available online at www.swimdressboutique.com but I would like people to be able touch, feel and try the garments on as I feel sure that they would fly out of the window.
Any advice gratefully received.
Liz x

 

 Emma    Monday 06 February 2017 at 14:40

 
Hi Liz

Congratulations on two counts - creating plus-size swimwear and appreciating the need for larger women to try on their clothes before buying them!

If you wanted to sell wholesale the usual method would be to engage an agent - they tend to be the people who really know about the shops. Of course, they require paying (commission of 20%, I believe), so that would be something that you'd have to think about. The main reason why suppliers use agents is to have access to the stockists. Please don't buy any lists available online - they're basically a scam. If you wanted to know of a really good agent, if you have some really good images, write back on this forum and I will send them off for you to a couple of the best.

Sadly, however, I actually think that you might be better off looking for a foreign agent - of whom I'm unlikely to be able to recommend. There are far more shops in other countries than in England.

If you really would like to market yourself - and many people do, although it's tough - I would go to the big fashion shows, like Pure in London, and have a look round. It's eye-wateringly expensive to get a stand, and I wouldn't do it straight off, but chatting with people there will prove invaluable.

If you decide that doing a fashion show is for you, I would seek out one of the specialist plus-size shows, like Curvy Is Sexy in Berlin. However, if you did sell there, you would be selling into Europe, a very tough gig at the moment!

Good luck and more power to you.

 

karen Docwra    Thursday 19 January 2017 at 09:44

 Post #490 



 
Subject: daughters wedding

 
Hi i am looking for a special outfit for my daughters wedding in April so i was going to pop in and look at your clothes is that still possible as have been told that you are no longer in Brighton is this true please

 

 Emma    Monday 30 January 2017 at 10:59

 
Hi Karen,

Congratulations on your great news! Yes, I'm sorry to report that Emma Plus closed down at the beginning of September last year.

I can recommend Beige Plus as the nearest walk-in shop to find designer plus-size clothes, or, if you would like to look online, both Beige and a company called Navabi provide lovely clothes.

I hope all goes well with the happy event!

 

Alisha Cesa    Sunday 11 December 2016 at 22:26

 Post #489 



 
Subject: Plus Size Clothing in Sussex

 
Hi All ,

I need some help, I have got to the final of the Miss British Beauty Curve, and I will be the candidate to represent Sussex. I was so sad to see Emma plus going as it would of been an ideal store for me to get my gowns from.

I was wondering if anyone knew of any sort of companies local to Sussex that would be willing to sponsor me for this pageant. What I want to leave as a message is that Plus size is equal and that everyone should be happy in their own skin , a number on a bit of clothing shouldn't outshine you.

So if anyone could help me that would be fantastic.

 

 Emma    Monday 12 December 2016 at 23:38

 
Hi Alisha,
Congratulations in getting into the pageant! I do hope that you do really well!
There is a marvelous company that does the most fabulous desinger-eveningwear, and it's called Dynasty.
Their website is http://www.dynastyuk.co.uk/.
I can't emphasise enough how classy their clothing is: I believe that if they do lend you something, you will look a million dollars in it. Their size range is quite comprehensive, as well. I don't know what size you wear, but they are sure to have something for you.

 

 Nikita    Monday 08 May 2017 at 08:37

 
Well, you can check

 

Kim P    Saturday 26 November 2016 at 16:28

 Post #487 



 
Subject: Re Kathy Gittins

 
I forget to add that the main plus size ranges appear to be Tomo and Vetono which go up to around a 26 I went into the Welshpool shop when I was in Shrewsbury and the staff were friendly and happy to select items they thought might be worth trying on. They do not sell on line but if there is a specfic item and size that you know you will definitely want to buy then they may send by post.

If anyone finds other retailers like this please share!

 

 Emma    Monday 28 November 2016 at 14:51

 
Hi Kim,

Lovely to hear from you - I hope that you are well. It's true: there does seem to be a tremendous dearth of plus-size shops in our area. I'm always glad to hear about more, so that we can spread the word here.

Online, a good seller of Tomo is a website called idaretobe.com. They have a certain quirky look across a number of ranges which is very popular with many people.

 

Kim P    Saturday 26 November 2016 at 16:21

 Post #486 



 
Subject: Retailers stocking plus size designer clothes

 
Still struggling to find a range of retailers who stock the kind of lovely items Emma did.

Aside from Beige in London, I have found Kathy Gittens to be a really nice shop. Unfortunately they are over in Wales so not convenient for most of the Emma Plus faithful!

They have a website which is not brilliant TBH but gives a flavour of what is stocked

 

Jonathan    Monday 10 October 2016 at 17:41

 Post #485 



 
Subject: So sad to see you go

 
Dear Emma

As a well established retailer of plus size fashion, EMMA and BEIGE have shared the same familiar brands for so many years - its almost unbelievable that you are leaving.

Your reputation across the suppliers that we shared was that of a true professional and your business was often cited as a great example of how to retail plus size fashion.

We are sad to see you leave the scene - as in so many ways you are so fundamentally a part of it.

We at BeigePlus wish you well for the future.

Best wishes
Leanda, Jonathan and the team
020 7935 3999

 

 Emma    Thursday 13 October 2016 at 08:05

Hi Leander,

Thank you for your kind words.

Regular customers of mine will already know about your lovely stores - Beige - not least because I've been telling them about them!

Going into a store - feeling gorgeous fabrics, seeing designer clothes, trying on different styles, having the pure shopping experience - should not just be the exclusive province of the tiny woman. Beige is now one of the few UK stores that remain that offers this experience for larger women.

If you appreciate this kind of thing, the best way to preserve it is to give it your custom.

I certainly wish Leander and Jonathan all the very best with their beautiful stores, and shall myself be visiting them to get my fix of plus-size fashion delight in future!
 
 

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