Emma Plus Forum/Blog        

Go to post number 
Posts per page 

Here are all the posts in our Forum/Blog on the topic of Emma Plus: our staff...

Emma    Friday 09 September 2016 at 10:18

 Post #479 

Subject: Closing Down

This is the saddest post imaginable: we are going to close down.

The trade in European designer fashions suffered a severe shock this summer, and the resulting tsunami hit Emma Plus in such a way that it has been fatally damaged-we have had to close down.

I have owned this shop for over 22 years, and I can honestly say that I have had the very best of times. I've loved the gorgeous fashion, I've loved the camaraderie of working with such wonderful colleagues, I've loved working in the North Laine area of Brighton-surely one of the best places in the country in which to have an independent business. But most of all, I have loved my lovely, gorgeous, stylish, generous, loyal and beautiful customers.

I really do wish you all the best, and hope that you will continue to find the glamourous, stylish and beautiful fashion that you deserve.


 Mary    Friday 09 September 2016 at 10:20

I am so sorry to hear this news. I have loved coming to shop with you because you always knew your stock and gave us a wonderful shopping experience which I especially appreciated as shopping for clothes is often a very depressing experience for us bigger girls! I am particularly disappointed as my eldest son is getting married next July and I was relying on you to help me find something sensational to wear....

I will not be able to come and say goodbye as we will be on holiday in Malta but I wish you all the very best

Kind regards



 Sara    Friday 09 September 2016 at 10:20

This is very sad news.
I have enjoyed my visits to Brighton to see you.
All the best for the future
Thank you for all your lovely clothes


 Gladys    Friday 09 September 2016 at 10:21

Hello Emma and team,
How sad am I. Emma plus closing will be such a loss. What are we non-zero sized ladies who like fashion and curves going to do now. I'm not going back to Eastex and Evans :-( I would like to thank you for bringing so many wonderful styles and fun to fashion, it has always been a pleasure shopping with you and I would like to wish you the best of luck for the future.
Best wishes Gladys


 Finola    Friday 09 September 2016 at 10:22

Oh no!!!!!
Emma we are so sorry to hear this. You have changed our lives and helped us both to feel and think differently about our bodies and what we wear. You've really helped to boost confidence and a whole lot more.. We're away at the moment so can't come to see you yet- not just to see what clothes there may be left but to give you all a huge hug and to commiserate with you. We still can't believe it.

If there's anything we can do to help please let us know.


Finola and Liz xxxx (Worthing)


 Gill    Friday 09 September 2016 at 10:23

Dear Emma,

Just wanted to say how much we are all going to miss coming to Emma Plus, and to say a big thank you to you and all your delightful colleagues who have provided myself and numerous customers over these years with such wonderful stylish clothes.
It was always a real pleasure to come to your shop because customers were always greeted by yourself or other members of your team with a genuine warm hearted welcome, followed by a cheery offer of a cup of tea/coffee or cold drink. It always felt as though I was popping in to friends for a cuppa and a chat while trying on some lovely clothes. Everyone was always attentive and helpful in searching something for me to wear, or suggesting I might like to try a different style or another colour other than blue, its thanks to you I now wear trousers!

I am going on holiday tomorrow returning on the 23rd, so unfortunately will not be able to come in to say goodbye.
I wish you and your colleagues good health, much happiness and joy for the future. Thank you once again for providing Brighton with such a special place to shop.

Kind regards,



 Jessamy    Friday 09 September 2016 at 10:23

Such sad news. I only get to Brighton
now and again but love coming
to see your beautiful clothes.

I have a trip planned at the end of
October but I cannot get before.

Good luck with both your futures



 rosemary    Friday 09 September 2016 at 10:25

Hi Emma

Well, that was a real curve ball! What an absolutely soul-destroying situation and you must be gutted at having to wind things up.

On a personal note, let me just say that you and the team have given me fantastic service and styling over the past 10 years – I really don’t know what I’m going to do without you.

I am not sure what I am doing Bank Holiday weekend, if I am going to be around, I will definitely let you know and pop in. I will try and get down before then, though, to say a proper goodbye.

Hope to see you soon.


Kind regards


 Sharon    Friday 09 September 2016 at 10:28

Oh Emma, I'm so sad to hear that not just because you run an amazing shop, but because I know you're so passionate about the plus size fashion industry.


 Sue    Friday 09 September 2016 at 10:50

Dear Emma,

I am so sorry that you are closing after all this time......I can still remember when you worked there before you owned it!!! I have enjoyed very much being a customer, there was always a warm welcome at Emma Plus. You and all your staff have also always been helpful and caring, you will be sadly missed by your customers. I am in France at the moment, so I am sad that I won't be able to enjoy your closing down sale, but "c'est la vie".

I would like to wish you all the luck in the world for the future, wherever and whatever that holds for you.

All the best,

Sue x


 Alison    Friday 09 September 2016 at 17:58

So sorry to hear this, have really valued my trips to Brighton over the years. And how on earth can I be expected to buy trousers without Kim's advice?

Such a shame!

Wishing you all the best for the future



 susan    Saturday 10 September 2016 at 10:20

Dear Emma

I was so sorry to hear you are closing – but feel very fortunate that you have given us all the chance to purchase some beautiful clothes over the years – with your advice and that from your staff.

I hope to get over for one last visit before 22nd September.

With best wishes to you all for whatever the future holds from Susan


 Nicola    Saturday 10 September 2016 at 22:25


What can I say, I am likewise devastated to hear the news that you are closing down. After 20 years shopping at Emma Plus I have come to think of you all as friends and at this moment I am at a loss of what more to say.



 Kim P    Sunday 11 September 2016 at 11:45

I can only echo the sentiments already posted. Such a shame it has come to an end but I'm sure it was not a decision that would be taken lightly. I really hope everyone manages to fix themselves up a new position somewhere. Very sad times.


 Kate    Monday 12 September 2016 at 10:05

Dear Emma, I am so very sorry to hear this news.  Although my move up to Lincolnshire has prevented my regular shopping trips, I will always remember them with great fondness.  You and your staff were always so very kind and helpful and I have been complimented many times on the clothes that I purchased from you. 

I wish you well in whatever challenge you decide to tackle next.


 Janet    Monday 12 September 2016 at 13:53

Dear Emma,

I can't tell you how sad I am. You have been my favourite shop for so many years and helped me out so many times when I have been uncertain as to what to buy. Indeed, when I was living in Sussex, it was like having a personal shopping team. You and your staff, with your excellent alterations service made clothes buying a pleasure. 

Of course, it hasn't been so easy to get to you since I moved to Suffolk. I know I managed a few visits in the early days but they have become more infrequent and I confess, I haven't found anywhere I like nearly as much here.

These are uncertain times and I wish you well in whatever venture you turn your hand to.

Do keep in touch, and if you are this way ( near Bury St Edmunds, another town which would benefit from a shop like yours)look me up. It would be lovely to see you.

All good wishes for the future.


 Annie    Monday 12 September 2016 at 13:55

Dear Emma

I can't tell you how sorry I am that you are finding it necessary to close the business that I know has been very close to your heart.

You were one of the last links I have with mum so you will be missed on her account as well as for the lovely outfits you have provided for me over many years.  I have to say that I don't know where I will go now for special occasion wear that will match your flare for design and colour.

with very fond regards


 Pam    Monday 12 September 2016 at 13:57

I'm so sorry to hear the shop's closing down. Such beautiful clothes and lovely staff.

Wishing you all good luck for the future.




 Julia    Monday 12 September 2016 at 13:58

Really sorry to read your news.  Its always been such a delight coming 

into your shop and being made to feel really special.


Good luck in the future to you and your colleagues





 Jenny    Monday 12 September 2016 at 13:59

That's really sad news- been great to find those special items and be treated as completely normal and in fact spoilt- an usual experience for us plus size ladies.

Whatever you do next, wish you much happiness and success - you will be missed



 Sid    Monday 12 September 2016 at 14:00

Hi Emma,


I was shocked and then saddened to read your email. I know I haven't been in as much of late as I've not had as much work and therefore less disposable to buy lovely clothes. I'm coming to Brighton next Tuesday for several reasons, so I'll pop in then. It's the end of an era though. Very sad news.



 Kathy    Saturday 17 September 2016 at 13:23

Passed the store Saturday night after the theatre. Saw the sign...
Don't know what to make of it...but I do know you have done so much for women like me Your style,courage and good advice.
Brighton will be a lesser place with out Emma plus As for me. You folks were a large part of my life for so long...
I still have some of the pieces I bought from you...


 Ronnie    Wednesday 21 September 2016 at 14:44

Emma,  I walked to work past your shop this morning and got a dreadful shock.  I am sorry to hear this devastating news, not only for me (woe is me, what am I going to do for trousers?) but for you and your team who have always been sooo understanding and compassionate and accommodating towards those of us with non-standard body shapes!!!  This is a catastrophe for you, us and for Brighton as a whole, frankly. I am going to miss you and your team in a chronic and fundamental way.  I don't know why this closure has happened, but is there any chance of you setting up somewhere else or starting a mail service?  And if so, would the services of Denisa still be available?  I literally don't know what I'll do with myself and my big fat bum otherwise!  Are you yourself bearing up-ish?  Thinking of you lots, Ronnie. 


 Janet Taylor    Wednesday 21 September 2016 at 22:28

Emma, I did send an email to you. Not sure if you got it but I am so sorry to hear your news. I have shopped with you for many years,as you know. Although my visits are less frequent since we have moved away I miss the wonderful selection and service you provided. You and all your staff have always been so helpful and your clothes made me feel so much more confident.Your alterations service was second to none.So disappointed but always hope your links with Suffolk will encourage you to open somewhere here in time!
All the best Janetxx


Emma    Wednesday 18 November 2015 at 15:37

 Post #453 

Subject: Jackie Root

On Saturday 14th November, a lovely person, a beautiful lady, and a loyal friend, Jackie Root, died.

Many of our customers will remember her working with us here at Emma Plus for the past 5 years or so.

She had suffered a short illness, and passed away in our local hospital, surrounded by her family. She was just 65.

She will be much missed, and never forgotten. Our thoughts go out to her husband Colin, daughter Lisa and son, Matt.


 Kim P    Wednesday 18 November 2015 at 21:22

My condolences to Jackie's family and friends.

Whenever I popped into the shop she was always so helpful and had such a lovely bubbly personality.


 Finola    Sunday 29 November 2015 at 07:35

We are so sorry to hear of sudden death of Jackie. What a shock for her family and for yourselves. 65 is not old. She was always lovely to us when we came to the shop- warm, friendly and funny and she will be sadly missed. May she rest in peace. Love Fin and Liz


 Emma    Wednesday 02 December 2015 at 12:39

Thank you for your kind words -we will pass them on to Jackie's family.

It is so very sad -it seems like yesterday that she was here at the shop with all her friends.


Emma    Wednesday 18 November 2015 at 15:31

 Post #452 

Subject: Climb Charity

Over the years, we at Emma Plus have always made a point of sponsoring a charity. We began with sponsoring Scope, the charity in support of people living with Cerebral Palsy, then we supported The Lifeboats, and also a small local charity seeking to help fund research into a childhood disease, Niman Pick.

We have now started to sponsor Climb, a charity that helps support children and families who are living with inherited metabolic diseases.

The reason for our choosing this charity is that our manager, the fabulous Kim, is grandmother to a gorgeous boy, Nathaniel, who suffers from such a condition.

In order to hit the ground running with this new charity, we have decided to do a 'ladder of cakes' day. On Friday 4th and Saturday 5th December, we will come over all 'Bake Off' and have a new take on cupcakes . As you can imagine, there are some rather good cooks associated with Emma Plus, and we will be cooking some tasty and imaginative cup-cakes. Customers (and passers-by!) will be invited to partake of a cake, and a free cup of tea of coffee, and, if the spirit moves them, to donate to the charity. The cakes will be available between 11am and 4pm.

We look forward to seeing you in our store!


Kim P    Sunday 16 February 2014 at 13:13

 Post #386 

Subject: New Season NP Range

Following on from my last post I also completely fell in love the pink and black NP Top. It is gorgeous and I'm sorry my photography skills do not do it justice. Perfect length and I love the way it is cut in at the waist to flatter the waste but not cling over my tummy area. The sleeves are a great length with light ruching at the cuff. It was such a perfect shape for me that I bought the black and cream option as well.

Thanks to Anna and Olivia I had a great days shopping and I really appreciated their assistance and expertise.


 Emma    Sunday 16 February 2014 at 17:23

Hi Kim,

thank you so much for your feedback about the new NP collection. There is a bit of a story about this...

Several years ago, NP was without doubt our best mid style collection. They are a Finnish company, set up in 1925, whose expertise in plus-size fashion was second to none. They just seemed to have such an amazing ability to style the perfect fashionable, yet comfortable and flattering garment for the plus-size woman.

Then something started to go amiss. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with the quality of their clothes, which has always been excellent. Nor had the price increased (I think they have been able to keep an amazing price-per-wear ratio), and the cut was a good one in the main. No, what had happened is that they seemed to have forgotten how to produce those magic clothes that were so perfect for us.

On speaking to their agent, I found out where the trouble lay. NP had opened a series of shops of their own in Finland, and had found that they were selling more and more of the smaller items (they manufacure from a size 12 upwards). This led them to start producing the kind of clothes that small people want! Sadly, I had to face the fact that the gorgeous NP, as I had known it, was a thing of the past.

Then last year we had an exciting development: their British agent (the superb Tuula Hastings) excitedly contacted us and told us that NP had decided to bring out a dedicated plus-size range, and they had brought back one of their incredibly experienced and talented designers. Tuula brought this woman into our store to discuss the new range, and I can't tell you how excited we were to see that NP seemed to be persuing this particular path.

Sure enough, last season, NP brought out its 'Curves' range, which is what they have called their dedicated plus-size section. It has been, in every way, absolutely superb. As you say, the fit is lovely, and very flattering, and, as an extremely experienced plus-size designer, and a larger (and very attractive) woman herself, she had been able to bring her own knowledge to bear on what the larger woman will feel comfortable, fashionable and attractive wearing.

I've just bought my NP Curves set for Autumn/Winter 2014, and I can confirm that it is just getting better and better. I'm really happy that NP is now firmly back on board with its plus-size customers.


 Kim P    Monday 17 February 2014 at 22:38

That's very interesting about NP, thank goodness they saw the light as their Curve range is great!


Kim P    Sunday 16 February 2014 at 13:05

 Post #385 

Subject: Tomo Coat

Hi Emma
Sorry to have missed you and Kim yesterday but I was very well looked after by Anna and Olivia. I came in to pick up the items I had bought in the sale that needed alteration and as usual they look great.

It was great having some new season stock items selected for me by Anna and Olivia to try on. The unlined Tomo coat I would not have thought of trying on but I am so glad I did as I love it. I love the styling and the texture of the fabric. I will be wearing this coat a lot as soon as the weather picks up!


 Emma    Sunday 16 February 2014 at 18:10

Hi Kim,

Thanks for this. I hope you don't mind me making this observation: I do find your photographs excellent, because the clothes can be seen so clearly, but I do wish you would include your head! I know why you don't (you have a natural modesty and reticence), and it's not an unusual thing to do on this forum, but it's such a shame to exclude it, particularly as it is highly attractive! Somehow, I just feel it would complete the picture!

I love this coat, and I love Tomo, a Japanese-inspired German collection, which is relatively new to Emma Plus. The shapes in this collection are very simple, and slightly architectural, with an emphasis on beautiful fabrics and textures. Their knits were extremely popular this winter, and, having just bought their Autumn/Winter 2014 collection, I feel sure they will be a huge hit next winter, too.

The Tomo that has come in for this summer includes some gorgeous midnight-blue printed jackets and tops, some fantastic super-fine raincoats, and gorgeous elements of textrured linen. Fantastic, and already proving very popular with customers.


Emma    Monday 20 January 2014 at 21:26

 Post #383 

Subject: A Proud Moment

We had such a wonderful surprise, and such a proud moment last week when we found out that we had won the prize for the 'Best Concept' section of the 'Dressed For Success' Christmas window display competition.

We had previously mentioned our shop window, which showcased our alteration service, and had asked on this blog for our customers to vote for us. Well, apparently you did, for which we are very grateful.

We must also have garnered some votes from the general public, though, because there were over 2000 votes in the competition as a whole, and I was told by one of the organisers that we got a great many votes.

We have always been proud of our window displays, which all members of staff take a turn in helping with, so it is fantastic to get some recognition. This special window was put together mainly by Kim and Olivia.

We had such a wonderful evening at the awards ceremony, a glitzy affair for which we dressed in our glad-rags (all in Anna Scholz, actually!) and enjoyed a lovely meal in the Dome Bar, just down the road from our shop. The photograph on the right shows all the winners with their awards (a framed picture of the winning window, and an engraved glass plaque).

The evening was particularly rewarding as an opportunity to hear a talk from the wonderful retail advice agency, Metamorphosis, as well as ejoying some welcome networking with other independent retailers.

I really would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for us in this competition: we really do feel chuffed.


 Kim P    Wednesday 22 January 2014 at 22:21

Congratulations! That is wonderful news. The window displays are always so cheerful and inviting.


 Emma    Friday 24 January 2014 at 15:48

Thanks, Kim!

yes, we were very proud, and clearly (from this picture!) look like the cats that got the cream.

Emma    Thursday 02 May 2013 at 11:54

 Post #354 

Subject: Anna Scholz Day #3

We are still both high and exhausted after our Anna Scholz Day on Saturday. Having had these days before (this was our third ASD), we thought we knew what to expect. On the day of the event the shop looks very different after the special delivery of Anna Scholz items has arrived, and it feels different, too: its very unusual for all of the women who work here to be present, all at one time. There is always a buzz as we gird up our loins for the busy day ahead.

At the beginning of the day, before we are open, there is a pregnant pause. We gather together to have an early morning coffee, and to examine our handiwork. The shop floor looks great, with the Anna Scholz collection providing a riot of summer colour, and new shop floor displays created to showcase the event. The window display has been carefully devised to give maximum impact. The dainty nibbles (courtesy of John Lewis) are ready on their plates, and the fruit punch is already in its bowl. All the decks are cleared, and the pin-cushions are stuck full of pins. Outside, the sun shines brightly.

Then its opening time... We turn the open sign on the door, and the key in the lock. And almost instantly the shop is full of people. Within minutes you can hear the laughing and the giggling. People are trying on colours and looks that they have always wanted to try, but they just didnt KNOW they wanted to try them! Women move in and out of the changing rooms - a kaleidoscope of colour and pattern.

The day goes in a whirl. This particular ASD was the busiest yet. Personally, I had no time to think about anything for about seven hours: it is a kind of meditative experience. I am lost in the moment, and my head is cleared of everything except what is in front of me. Not being at all sporty, I guess this is what it must feel like to compete in a sporting event. I actually think this kind of thing is good for me (and the other members of staff) psychologically. I am certain it is very good for our customers, who, quite clearly, are having a blast.

At the end of the day we have waved Anna and Darren off, sat back down on our sofa, almost too tired to start on the journey home. And we all feel happy and grateful that we work in such a lovely job.


Pam Scanlan    Friday 19 April 2013 at 17:26

 Post #352 

Subject: Wonderful service.

Hello Ladies
I came into Emma Plus yesterday with my husband Paul, to buy something for my step son's wedding next week. From the moment we entered you were all so welcoming, friendly and helpful. I can honestly say I've never been treated so well in any other shop! I bought 3 tops, a fascinator and a clutch bag, and I'm really pleased with them, thank you for your advice and support, and for making my stay at Brighton all the better!
Keep up the amazing work.
Kind regards, Pam (and Paul) xx


 Emma    Friday 19 April 2013 at 18:07

Hi Pam,

Thank you so much for your kind words. It really was lovely to meet you and your husband yesterday.

I didn't get to see your photographs, but if they are as good as your husbands amazing ones, then you are an incredibly talented couple!

I hope you enjoyed your trip to Brighton, and that you are able to come again one day soon!


Emma    Thursday 07 March 2013 at 17:27

 Post #345 

Subject: Jaq

We have a rather bitter-sweet announcement: our lovely, long-serving store manager, Jaq, has decided to move on to pastures new.

Jaq started at Emma Plus in 1995 as a Saturday Sales Assistant and soon established herself as a keen fashionista and personal stylist. Trained as an artist, she has a fantastic eye for colour, fit and style, and a wonderful way of helping her customers achieve the look they are seeking.

Over the years she progressed through the ranks to take over the day-to-day running of the shop, and built up a customer base of women who really appreciated her for her humour, friendliness, knowledge and judgement.

More recently she has started to think about returning to her artistic roots, and decided to take a sabbatical to explore her creativity. She has been so successful in this that she has decided to give up her position as store manager completely to concentrate on her artistic work.

She will be hosting an 'Artists' Open House' as part of the Brighton Festival (the cultural event that happens throughout May), and her house promises to be among the very best in the city. We will provide details here on the blog nearer the time.

Jaq does not intend to become a stranger to Emma Plus, though. She is still an avid customer, and has promised to help us out when we need her.

I know that all of us at Emma Plus wish her well, miss her already, and are delighted that she has found a fresh way to fulfil her talents...


 Jaq Buckeridge    Friday 08 March 2013 at 20:04

Hi Emma and all the lovely ladies of Emma Plus,

I want to thank Emma and all the team for an amazing 17 years at Emma Plus. Ive really appreciated all your support and kindness and i will miss you all greatly.

I also want to thank all those wonderful customers, you know who you are, ive loved working with you and enjoyed your company.You have made it such a pleasure to be at work. I leave you in the very capable hands of Kim , Jackie, Lisa and Anna, you cant asked for a better bunch of girls. Maybe i will see you at the Emma Plus's Anna Scholz day on April 27th, i can't wait to try on some her fabulous creations.Going by previous events its a highlight of the seasons calender.

As Emma has so kindly said i will be running an Artists Open House in the May Festival in Brighton. I will be part of the 7Dials trail.So if you fancy a little art and cake, i would love to welcome you to my house. There will be at least 14 other artists showing with me, including ceramacists and jewellers. If the weather is good i hope to be serving tea and cake in my bijou garden.

Thankyou again Emma, for your tremendous leadership, foresight and kindness.

Jaq Buckeridge


 Kim P    Saturday 09 March 2013 at 21:26

I wish you every success and good health Jaq, you are such a talented lady.


 Nicola Sutherland    Sunday 10 March 2013 at 21:39

Good luck in your new venture Jaq - you will be very much missed by your customers. You helped me the first time I visited the store, and although I only come to Brighton once or twice a year, you always remember me and it's like I am in and out every week!

I love the experience at Emma Plus, and you have some fantastic colleagues who I am sure will step into your shoes (if not fill them!)but I'd like to thank you to introducing me to a whole new way of dressing, to paying that little bit more for fit and comfort and for the introduction to Anna Scholz. Though not sure my bank balance is thanking you for that last one!

All the best



Emma    Wednesday 19 December 2012 at 14:41

 Post #324 

Subject: Christmas 2012

This Sunday was something of a red-letter day here at the shop. It was the day of our annual Emma Plus Christmas Lunch.

As you can imagine, we don't like to stint, so we sashayed round the corner to a wonderful restaurant in the North Laine of Brighton called Temptations.

The owner of Temptations, Peter Allinson, a stalwart of the local independent traders that surround our shop, did us proud - with beautiful, locally-sourced, delicious food.

Lunch went on all afternoon, and I have to confess that afterwards I had to go home to sleep it off. I think it could be said that a good time was had by all...!

We at Emma Plus would like to wish our lovely customers an equally good time over the holiday period, and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year...


 Kim P    Thursday 20 December 2012 at 22:01

Looks like everyone is having a great time!

I hope you all have a great Christmas and that 2013 is a great year for everyone at Emma Plus!


 Emma    Friday 21 December 2012 at 20:23

Hi Kim,

Thank you so much for your kind sentiments. I wish you have a lovely Christmas, and a super New Year.

I do hope that we get to see you soon, Kim.....


 Emma    Saturday 22 December 2012 at 16:09

By the way, Kim.....the other Kim has asked if she will be seeing you at our sale (whisper it: it's on the 28th December)?

She thinks that, should you feel the need for anything that isn't drab, there will be plenty to choose from....


 Kim P    Sunday 23 December 2012 at 14:09

That's interesting! I may well make my way down and have first dibs on the tartan waistcoats!


 Emma    Wednesday 26 December 2012 at 10:34

Latest news, Kim....! We've had a run on the tartan waistcoats, and have none left. Would you believe it!

I would suggest going to the Tartan Woollen Mill, but I'm not too sure you would have any luck there, either. You know how these ultra-trendy things sell out so quickly! Sorry.


 Emma    Friday 28 December 2012 at 16:32

Lovely to see you today, Kim,. You look great, and I really loved your choices, which updated your wardrobe perfectly to suit your evolving style. Happy New Year...


 Kim P    Tuesday 01 January 2013 at 16:48

Thank you, you are so kind Emma! I was quite poorly but the trip was a great pick me up.

I wish you all a great 2013 too!


Sam Rosam    Friday 30 November 2012 at 16:28

 Post #323 

Subject: Delighted

Dear All

Just had to write and say how delighted I am with my parcel of clothes that arrived last Friday. I'd forgotten how much I loved the red knitted jacket and the floral blouse is just beautiful. You'd never know that they had been altered and now fit to perfection.

Both my husband and I enjoyed our visit to your shop, where my husband was offered a chair and a cup of tea (I also was offered tea but declined as I needed to shop!!!) I felt pampered with you all finding things for me to try and without telling you my size until later you seemed to know how do you do that?

Currently saving my pennies for a return visit. See you soon. x


 Emma    Friday 30 November 2012 at 18:05

Hi Sam,

Thank you so much for your kind words, which are much appreciated.

I think you will get a lot of use out of the items you have had, and I'm particularly glad that you invested in the knit, just as it seems you may be needing it most!

May I be one of the first to wish you a very Happy Christmas!


Emma    Wednesday 10 October 2012 at 11:42

 Post #316 

Subject: Anna

We have been spectacularly lucky in finding some super people to help us during Jaq's sabbatical!

Our latest find is Anna, who some customers may recognise from her previous incarnation as owner of the gorgeous shop, Cinnamon Fashions, that used to trade in Brighton Marina and in Burgess Hill, local to Brighton.

Anna has been taking a bit of a break from designer fashion, whilst returning to her first love, publishing.

But fashion is in her blood, and, as she is a sweetie, she has offered her services to us during Jaq's absence. Anyone who has previous experience of Anna will know that she is a truly fabulous fashion stylist, and what she doesn't know about the plus-size industry really isn't worth knowing. She also happens to be a very lovely, funny and engaging new colleague for the rest of us!

I offer her the very warmest of welcomes to the Emma Plus clan!


Emma    Wednesday 10 October 2012 at 11:27

 Post #315 

Subject: Olivia

There is no formal training in what we do ('Independent Designer Women's Fashion'), and this may well be the reason why so many start-ups in our industry fail within a very short time of starting.

I have always been aware of the fact that I was incredibly lucky in having been trained by a wonderful woman called Tricia Conroy. She was my boss, early on in my tenure here in this shop. Trish was the one who took me to the fashion shows, and made me understand about buying all the different collections for the changing seasons.

I had previously had lots of experience in 'Big Retail' (those large high-street concerns), whose management training was very useful to me, but it was Trish who gave me the responsibility to work out budgets, recruit staff, and run the whole shibang for myself, which is something that you never have to do when you work for a large concern that has its own ordering team and HR department! There is only one way to learn all the ins-and-outs of our very particular little industry, and that is to be here in one of these small shops.

I will always be grateful to Trish, and I have, for some time, wanted to help someone else in my turn. This, after all, is the only way of paying back for what someone did for me.

So during Jaq's career break, I have leapt on the opportunity to train a very promising young aspiring independent retailer, Olivia Hernshaw.

I will give you her self-portrait, in her own words...

My name is Olivia, I am a recent graduate from the University of Brighton where I completed a Master of Design degree in Fashion design with Business studies. I designed a collection inspired by the Japanese concept of Ma, which refers to the space between the body and clothing. Movement with in clothes and the contrast of sculptural and fluid silhouettes drives my designs. All of my garments were cut mainly from circles and curves creating oversized garments with a focus on drape. I am both a designer and a seamstress, having made my own designs as well as working as a seamstress for other companies. I love fashion, cooking and shopping and have already fallen in love with the designs stocked at Emma Plus! I am really enjoying my experience here at Emma Plus - I hope to achieve a great deal with my time here. I am looking forward to getting to know all the customers and learning what your clothing likes and dislikes are to help find you the perfect garments. My aspiration for the future is to open my own shop, selling my own designs, and I am very fortunate to be in the current position to learn a great deal about the independent retail industry from Emma and her team of talented staff.



Emma    Thursday 04 October 2012 at 14:45

 Post #312 

Subject: Bon Voyage!

It was one of those bitter-sweet moments on Sunday, when the whole Emma Plus 'gang' got together to see Jaq off for her year of discovery. In true Emma Plus style, we went and had a jolly good meal (Italian, see right), then we went off and had some fun (with respect to Jaq's sporting prowess, we went bowling!).

It doesn't happen very often that we are all together in one place, because each of us works part-time throughout the week, so it's lovely change for the whole staff to be around the same table, and we really did enjoy it.

The champion bowler was Clare (in the front, on the left): Jaq came an honourable second place.

Jaq will be missed during her year's sabatical, but I know she will be in store often, visiting us, and browsing the collection. And when she's not, she will be doing all the things that she has wanted to do in the past 17 years, and never had the time!


Emma    Saturday 25 August 2012 at 18:22

 Post #307 

Subject: Vacancy at Emma Plus!

There have been some important new developments here at Emma Plus recently. Our beloved shop manager, Jaq (seen here on the left), has decided to take a career break.

Jaq, who has worked for Emma Plus for 17 years, has taken the bitter-sweet decision to take a year away from her post in order to pursue her other interests. As an incredibly artistic and creative person, Jaqs talents are not confined to fashion, and, having worked in retail tirelessly for many years, she feels that now is the time to kick back and enjoy a change for a while.

Customers need not worry, though; this is just a career break and Jaq is expected to rejoin the Emma Plus fold when her gap-year is up.

However, this does offer an important opportunity to someone who is interested in working in plus-size fashion. We are keeping our ear to the ground for a temporary replacement (although of course, we are realistic; we know you cannot replace the irreplaceable!).

There are two possibilities. The first would be for an established fashion retail manager, who wishes to spend a happy year in a lovely independent shop, to step up and apply.

The second option would be for a youngster, perhaps someone straight from a fashion course, to apply for what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to complete his or her education. There really is nothing like working in retail and having day-to-day experience of plus-size women, to get to understand what it is that larger women want and need.

We are very hard-working and dedicated, so whoever applies to work with us had better bring their best game. We are not really interested in the profit motive, but the ability to relate to customers and provide really good service is essential. Most of all we want to find someone who is happy, friendly, stylish, clever... and utterly obsessed with fashion. Oh, and it would be immensely helpful if they had insider knowledge or understanding of plus-size womenswear.

If you find you suddenly recognise either yourself, or someone you know, as answering to this description, then please either spread the word, contact us on 01273 327240, or email through this website... just click on the 'Contact us' page.


 Sharon Cross    Sunday 26 August 2012 at 23:35

Oh no! Who's going to show me the perfect trousers now???? Best of luck for your year off, Jaq.


 Emma    Tuesday 28 August 2012 at 11:57

Hi Sharon,

Think what it's like for us! It's going to be tough without our Jaq!

On the plus side, I don't think you will have trouble getting the correct trouser advice: Jaq would be the first to commend you to the services of the admirable Kim....our very own 'trouser queen'!


 Kim P    Tuesday 04 September 2012 at 22:05

Good luck with your sabatical Jaq!


 Emma    Friday 28 September 2012 at 17:50

A big thanks to everyone who has wished Jaq well on her sabatical, which starts tomorrow!

I know that Jaq has been very moved by the lovely comments she has received.

A year seems a long time, but I know that it will go quickly and productively, for Jaq and all of us! I also know that we will be seeing plenty of Jaq....but as a customer!


Emma    Thursday 12 April 2012 at 11:39

 Post #279 

Subject: Trouser Day 21st April

We've decided to burst forth this spring (actually, we always burst forth, not just during springtime but at any time of the year... but I digress) and go for it with an emphasis on really fantastic events.

I feel sure that any right-thinking plus-size woman would agree that one of the great struggles of modern life is the eternal quest for the perfect pair of good trousers'. Trousers are a particular problem, not just for plus-size women, but for all of womankind (and perhaps mankind for that matter). There are so many variables in the proportions of the lower portions of the human body that its a bit of a wonder that anyone would ever undertake the thankless task of creating a pair of good trousers. I use the term good trousers to mean not the kind of trousers that are bought in a sale, or picked up in a budget-priced high street store, or online, scooped up amongst the bewildering array of styles - all of which are displayed in photographs on generically-shaped models. These are simply will-do trousers, which will spend a short but useful life providing leg-coverage during the routine tasks of ones everyday life... shopping in the supermarket, walking the dog, housework, doing a spot of gardening - that kind of thing.

No, good trousers are quite a different beast, and cannot easily be picked up in such ways. I can honestly say that I have never heard the phrase these trousers fit me beautifully, are incredibly flattering, lasted for ages and feel gorgeous... I picked them up online. Its not that I dont think such an occurrence is possible; one look at the internet will immediately make you understand that, with the vast scale of humanity, virtually anything is possible - from a cat that speaks to a man capable of summersaulting from the top of one building to another. It just means it isnt really all that likely.

Good trousers are a treasure. You slip them on and feel confident about your nether regions. You can put them on and forget about them. But if you were not inclined to forget about them, then thinking about them would give you nothing but pleasure. They look good, they feel good, and they have no vices (like a visible panty line, showing your cellulite, riding up, being baggy on the bum... the list of trouser problems goes on).

A really good pair of trousers will take you into the office on an important day. You can wear them on a date, or out for lunch with the girls that you havent seen since you left school. They will see you through the tough times (when you don't have time to do the ironing, but still have to look 'put together') and the good (effortlessly looking smart at a moments notice). They will be your secret weapon, and your quiet, useful little friend that will stay around for years. They are quite literally worth three times the price that you'd pay for your high-street trousers - and a whole lot more!

And, of course, if you choose to also wear them to walk the dog, do the gardening or suchlike, then there will also be life left in them for that when they grow old!

A pair of good trousers should, first and foremost, fit you superbly. Until recently it was a bit of a mystery why this presented such a problem. The top designers were doing their best. They were cutting the trousers as perfectly as they could in order to fit the body shapes that they had identified. And yes, for the lucky women who enjoyed these body shapes, there were always superb trousers to be had. Yet there were very many women who found those trousers unsuitable. Routinely women would tell me that they just didnt suit trousers.

Then of course there was the problem that one range tended to vary in shape from another. Some suited the slim-waisted bigger-bottomed woman, some the snake-hipped lady with the wide waist. How on earth was the customer to know which range was going to suit her best?

During the past 20 years the plus-size industry has expanded and improved immeasurably. More ranges have come on to the market, there is more choice, with the look becoming more directional and varied. Suddenly not only were there a host of different ranges from which to source trousers, but there was a greater selection of looks. It was all only serving to become more bewildering - but luckily, at the same time, independent stores were also improving and trying to develop an expertise in the whole area of body shape.

Recently, some manufacturers, like Finnish company, NP, for example, did widespread studies of body shape as it applied to trousers - and the reality started to emerge from the gloom. Not only were we in the plus-size industry able to identify what shapes of trousers would suit women with any number of different body shapes, but we were offering the differing shaped trousers to satisfy these requirements.

Hence the advent of our Trouser Day. We have had a couple of these events before, and they have been some of the most successful days we've had in our store. We assemble the biggest selection of trousers we can, and we identify which body shapes will suit which trouser styles. Then we train our staff and ensure that the most knowledgeable will be in the shop on this day.

Trousers are sorted into different groups, and our customers are fitted properly with trousers that many could never imagine would look as good.

On this day there will be refreshments and a prize draw, where a lucky customer will win a pair of trousers. Moreover, when a customer buys one pair of trousers they can then purchase a second pair at half price (exclusions apply). This generous offer is almost unheard-of at this end of the season - when choice is so wide.

The atmosphere buzzes on our Trouser Days and most customers find it a sociable and pleasant way to pass a Saturday!

Anyone spending 100 or more on the day will also get a ticket for two hours free parking at the NCP car park, adjacent to our shop.

Emma Plus's Trouser Day is on 21 April 2012, between 10.00am and 5.00pm. We really look forward to seeing you in store!


 Kim P    Friday 20 April 2012 at 19:10

Good luck with the day! A fantastic opporunity to buy flattering and comfortable trousers which as you mention is not something easily achieved in larger sizes. Some of my best buys fron you have been various wonderful trousers by Brand. I know the Trouser Queen aka Kim will be in her element! Can't make tomorrow but hope to pop in again soon.


 Emma    Saturday 21 April 2012 at 17:03

Hi Kim

Thank you for your lovely words of encouragement! I am here at the end of the day in the shop, tired, but very happy!

We had a wonderful Trouser Day... We were very busy and sold dozens of pairs of trousers to very happy customers.

I love these events; we always have a really lively, pleasant atmosphere here.

Now, the next event to look forward to is Anna Scholz Day...!

 Kim P    Saturday 21 April 2012 at 23:02

So pleased everyone had a great time, very hard work for the Emma Plus ladies but must be so satisfying seeing the joy on customers faces when they have found their perfect trousers.

I noticed the Anna Scholz event on the 12th May. Very exciting news!


 Emma    Thursday 10 May 2012 at 18:16

Just a quick update...we held our 'prize draw' for our Trouser Day event. All those who went in for it were placed in a jar, and a friend of Emma Plus (my old schoolfriend, Clare!) pulled the winner out. The winner is Debbie Bright.

Debbie is now the proud owner of another pair of Emma Plus trousers!

Jackie    Sunday 08 April 2012 at 06:32

 Post #277 

Subject: Thank you ladies!

Hi Emma and the team,
Just want to say a huge thank you for all the time and effort you have taken over recent weeks to make sure that I feel like a million dollars at my daughter's wedding on May 5th. You have been so patient, pinning, trimming and adjusting straps, hems sleeves etc. Thank you so much. It is really lovely to shop in a non hurried, no pressure environment. Simply the best shopping experience ever! See you soon.



 Emma    Monday 23 April 2012 at 14:41

Hi Jackie!

Words cannot express how grateful I am that you have taken the time to post your lovely feedback.

It makes such a lot of difference to us to know that we are giving satisfaction!


Victoria Hollis    Thursday 13 October 2011 at 15:13

 Post #248 

Subject: Thank You

Hi Emma

I just wanted to say thank you so much for yet another amazing shopping experience yesterday and this morning.

I am over the moon with my two Brand tops and jeans and have fallen in love with the Verpass trousers I could have quite easily bought a whole load more the faux fur coat was a revelation and the Angel Circle dress was amazing. Your buying skills are something special. You have a magic touch which partially comes from your artistic eye and the fact you get what us larger/plus size/ BBW or however we choose to label ourselves need from what we wear.

I have a distinct feeling I am going to be up again before Christmas lol....

Can you please give Kim a massive hug from me. She did indeed sort out my trouser issues. Having endometriosis and regularly going up 4 inches around my waist and lower stomach means trousers are tricky things but the stretch in the trousers and jeans she picked for me means I don't have to worry which is an absolute godsend.

Now I'm looking forward to my next visit...

Victoria xxx


 Emma    Friday 14 October 2011 at 12:53

Hi Tori!

Thanks for your lovely comments...Kim was particularly touched! She's a great girl, our Kim, the trouser queen!

She tells me that she also has the black trousers that you bought in grey...

It really was, as ever, a great pleasure to see you-I hope all your travelling went well.

 Kim P    Saturday 22 October 2011 at 13:11

AKA The Waistcoat Queen!


 Emma    Sunday 23 October 2011 at 23:08

Actually, Kim, there is a faux-fur gilet in this fabric with your name on it...when are you coming in for it?


 Kim P    Tuesday 01 November 2011 at 12:00

I'm coming in for my faux fur waistcoat this Friday!


Emma    Wednesday 21 September 2011 at 16:03

 Post #244 

Subject: Service, please!

I was shopping in my local area yesterday and I realised how the kind of service I could expect from any given store really affected my mood.

I admit that, for several reasons, I almost never buy clothes anywhere other than in my own shop. One is that if I dont rely on my own products, then I cant see any reason why anyone else should. I have set my store the task of having everything that a woman like me needs to wear. So I stock everything I can get my hands on - from casual wear such as jeans, through outdoor wear and knits, right up to the smartest kind of eveningwear that I could wish for.

Another reason why I dont shop in the High Street is that, as far as I can tell, nothing they are selling is designed with me in mind. If I were a small woman I would be shopping in places like Reiss, Hobbs, Jaeger, etc. Obviously, as things are, nothing in these stores is going to fit me (until that mythical time when I wake up one day to find out that I have morphed into a size 14, 54 woman). So, if I werent shopping at Emma Plus, I would have to go to those few specialist high street stores that we have here in Brighton (heaven help me). Lets just say this would not provide clothing sufficient to meet my needs.

So when I say I was shopping yesterday, it was not for clothes. I had in mind to buy myself a new bag; in common with a lot of other women this season I wanted a nude handbag. In theory, I should find one easily (they are everywhere at the moment). My problem, however, was one I see among my customers all the time: I am very particular about the item I'm looking for. I would like it to be a true nude, not beige and certainly not baby pink. I would like it to be quite small (with a shoulder strap), and I would like it to be made of really lovely leather. Oh, and Id like it to be vintage-looking, with silver not gold findings. Phew!

Well, I may not be able to shop in most stores for clothing, but I can zoom in anywhere on a quest for bags. So I moseyed round to my usual handbag-hunting grounds. The first port of call was the aforementioned Jaeger. However, I did not go over the threshold on this occasion. I stood outside the shop, casually walking backwards and forwards, trying to see if there were any nude bags within. There were not (luckily I could see this easily and did not have to go inside - something I was only going to do if they definitely had what I was looking for).

Why on earth did I not want to go inside? Well, there is a member of staff in the store, who, although absolutely lovely (she truly is the most wonderful person; had I needed to find a mother to adopt my first-born child, I would have looked no further). However, she is so incredibly chatty and effusive that I find it almost impossible to simply walk into the shop, smooch quietly around for a bit, and then stroll out within fifteen minutes. I would be lucky to get out within an hour. And I didnt have a spare hour.

So, having seen nothing in Jaeger, I went to Hobbs. I like Hobbs handbags this season: they have that vintage vibe off pat. However, as I walked in the door, I was surrounded by a gaggle of assistants, all vying for my custom. When I showed interest in some (gorgeous, long) leather gloves, fisticuffs nearly broke out. This ended up with several pairs of the same gloves on the counter, and two ladies gently trying to nudge each other out from behind the till in order to make my sale. I dismissed the idea of spending any more time there; I thought I would rather come back when there were more customers in the store... I like a bit of attention, but this was ridiculous!

My next shop was a lovely one which we have locally. Its called Comptoir Des Cotonniers... a store that has some interesting leather goods, and there did seem to be a bit of neutral colouring going on there. However, as I idled around the shop floor, I seemed to have a shadow. A sweet young sales lady was following me very closely, keeping up a running commentary on what I was absent-mindedly looking at. Those shoes also come in grey... That belt is sold separately... The jacket has mohair in it. As I knew she was just trying to be helpful, I really couldnt give in to the urge to turn and ask her if she would kindly leave me to my own devices. I left the shop.

Yes, there seemed to be an awful lot of incredibly helpful sales assistants around, and it was making me feel uncomfortable. However, I am aware of the fact that I am a very contrary, unfair creature. If I dont get enough attention, it doesnt take long before that also makes me irritable.

For example, I walked into All Saints, the kind of edgy, youthful fashion store whose design seems to be based on a science-fiction concept of a future where civilisation has collapsed. Apparently, the remaining mutants had to scratch a living selling distressed clothes from some kind of post-apocalyptic dungeon. Anyway, I digress; they actually had a very nice-looking handbag. However, it was hanging on the wall halfway towards the ceiling (I say ceiling: it was more like the underside of a 600-year old, very dirty, interplanetary mining spacecraft). I am quite tall; however, even I would need a step-ladder (or perhaps an anti-gravity device) to get up to the bag. I looked around for the shadow when I needed it. However, this emporium was far too cool to employ sales assistants - so I left several frustrating minutes later, still having made no contact with whatever alien life I would have had to deal with to buy that bag.

So I crept into Reiss, which was almost next door. I was already feeling slightly snubbed, so perhaps by this time I was a delicate creature. As I entered the shop, I was greeted by two sales assistants behind the counter. All looked well here; yes, there were two of them (and no other customers), but they did not leave their safety zone of the counter. However, they did welcome me. Excellent start!

The problems began when I spotted a leather bracelet (sorry, but I am always off-message when I am shopping). Sadly, because the lighting in the shop was so poor, I couldnt see whether it was silver or a gold buckle (the all-important gold/silver issue!). When I tried to make eye-contact with the two of them, suddenly I realised I was invisible. They had far more interesting things to be thinking about than a middle-aged woman who was far too large to buy anything in the store (they may have thought). Eventually, Mohammed had to go to the mountain, and I approached them with the offending object. Almost immediately I found out that the metal was gold (not good for me), but was instantly rousingly assured that this really shouldnt matter! It was just the same as silver, really! I was even given some hints as to what to wear with gold (more gold, apparently!).

As I walked back to my own place, I started to muse about how vital it is to get the level of service right in a shop. Too friendly, and we may actually be wasting someones valuable time. Too keen to make a sale and we dont really help a customer. Too intrusive, and we make people uncomfortable. Too absent, and we are useless. Too distant and we are alienating. Too ignorant and uninformed, and we cannot help. Too uninterested, and we ignore a customers real needs, and dismiss them.

We have to walk a careful path where we are available and capable of providing our customers needs, whilst giving them the time and space to enjoy their shopping experience. I reminded myself yet again that its vital to try to ensure that we always get the balance right.


 Victoria Hollis    Wednesday 21 September 2011 at 20:21

I read this laughing.... sometimes shopping can be almost like a comedy sketch.

The balance with service is a fine line some of us need our hands held whilst others are intrepid adventurers who will quite happily walk alone.

I cannot understand how any assistant worth their salt would say to a lady with your colouring Em to wear more gold like me with my milk bottle blue skin gold just does not work.

But what I can say without a qualm is the mix of lovely ladies you have in your shop are fantastic

Kim the trouser queen, Jac the accessories guru and you yourself the sheer genius I have never felt pushed or ignored in your shop speaking of which I'm hoping to come up mid october so cant wait I was wondering if you had the ponte jersey frill shift tunic from Anna Scholz in store ?


 Emma    Thursday 22 September 2011 at 15:24

Hi Tori

Thank you for your lovely comments!

Yes, I don't know what's worse... a sales assistant (specialising in fashion) who either doesn't know that certain complexions cannot wear certain colours. Or one that knows this is so, but doesn't care!

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news... we did order the tunic quite comprehensively, but (as is usual with Anna Scholz items), it has sold very quickly. We even re-ordered them, and now the cupboard is bare.

However, there is a bright ray of hope on the horizon: this season is one of the best ever, and there are some absolutely gorgeous things here now, and still coming in!

I really look forward to seeing you soon.

 Victoria Hollis    Friday 23 September 2011 at 17:50

Darn it too slow again lol...

I'm sure it will be worth the trip up anyway.

But the thing is and im sure I have mentioned it in prior comments you and the girls genuinely care about your customers and getting it right. I feel totally disenchanted shopping on the high street when staff are in identikit uniforms with a bad attitude more interested in chatting to each other than serving customers.


 Emma    Saturday 24 September 2011 at 13:27

Hi Tory!

Thanks for that... I'm so sorry you are suffering from 'High Street Shopping Frustration Syndrome'. It's horrible.

I was chatting to another of my customers this week (a gorgeous lady who reads the blog, but does not, as yet, contribute herself), and she had some thoughts about tights.

She used to buy the Levee tights, but hadn't known they had gone down (was that quite recent?).

She also said that she buys a collection called Gipsy, which she has delivered, ordered from their website. It does seem that Gipsy may well be a good option (being definitely currently available; all the others being a little bit of a colder trail).

I hope this helps you; if it does, it will show that the forum is working!

By the way, I have accompanied this reply with an entirely gratuitous picture of Jaq - replendent in a gorgeous Marina Rinaldi coat...

 Victoria Hollis    Sunday 25 September 2011 at 16:40

OOOOHHHH fab coat (Tongue hanging out drooling lol)

I heard the Levee have gone over the last couple of months

Ummm thinking mid october might be too long a wait for a trip down....


Belinda Hopkins    Saturday 27 August 2011 at 16:32

 Post #238 

Subject: First visit to the shop

After my first visit to you and it will not be my last, however I may leave my other half at home next time !!!! I just wanted to say I'm so very happy with all my new trousers and I am thrilled with my new jeans ( Kim you are an inspiration,I never thought that I would ever purchase leggins again - Thank you )Thank you for making me feel normal and alive again with an interest in fashion. All the staff that were in the shop last Wednesday were so helpful and kind - Thank you


 Emma    Tuesday 30 August 2011 at 10:48

Hi Belinda

Thank you for your kind words... I have passed them on to Kim (right), and she is very grateful.

The truth is there is nothing Kim likes more than sorting out someone's 'trouser needs'.... She is our Trouser Queen!

I do hope you enjoy your clothes, and we hope to see you again soon.

Emma    Saturday 14 May 2011 at 18:32

 Post #217 

Subject: The Meet Anna Scholz Day

As readers of this blog will already know, I was very excited by the prospect of our Meet Anna Scholz Day, which happened on the 7th May.

I had several reasons for this. The most important one, of course, was that the event heralded an influx of Anna Scholz clothes (she sent in the cream of her Spring/Summer 11 collection), which always manages to raise my pulse-rate to dangerous levels. True to form, I ended up combing the delivery and selecting some new clothes for myself (like, for instance, a fabulous black silk dupion dress that oozed 1950s retro style).

Another reason to be cheerful was the imminent arrival of Anna herself (and her wonderful sales manager, Darren). I love Anna: she is beautiful, funny, lively, and unique. She tells it like it is, and doesnt stand on ceremony. If she thinks something, she says it, with a German bluntness, which I often find quite hilarious. We always have a fantastic time when we meet up.

We are getting used to the fact that our events are great fun, so I was anticipating an enjoyable day. Our fashion days last year were absolutely wonderful. They are a way to connect with our customers on a personal level: for a while, we arent a shop, we are a scene of entertainment and socialising. During the show, several customers approached me, telling me how much they were enjoying it. Afterwards, all the staff told me that they had a wonderful time, and everyone suggested we do more such events.

Anna Scholz, the clothing brand, has its own following, and I was keen that some of it was enticed into Emma Plus, because nationally there are so few stockists, not just of her line, but of any other good plus-size designer range. I cant help feeling that, once someone has taken the plunge to come down to Brighton, they would realise that it is not all that difficult to come here (it takes 50 minutes by train from Victoria, and our store is just round the corner from the railway station. Also, we are situated right next to a car park). Inside our shop, new customers are often surprised to see the selection that we have. So I was hoping that, whilst visiting us in order to see the Anna Scholz range, women would discover a whole new resource to benefit their wardrobe!

The day itself really was lovely. We re-merchandised everything so that the hardened Anna Scholz clothes-hunters would be able to see at a glance what they were looking for. We had some delicious refreshments (I can recommend Waitrose party food!), and some alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. There was a real party atmosphere, and the shop was packed to the rafters at times. We even had a little chill-out area in our garden (or, more precisely, our back yard) for our ladies to sit and relax.

It was marvellous to see people trying on the clothes, and realising the possibilities of different shapes and colours. I really enjoy the way women bounce ideas off each other, and off members of staff.

When Anna came to do our prize draw towards the end of the day, I was so delighted that the winner was still in the store. I could see there were tears in her eyes when Tori Hollis picked out the dress that she had fallen in love with. It felt good to see her wending her way back to Portsmouth with her treasured prize.


 Kim P    Friday 20 May 2011 at 14:59

You all look super, I'm glad the day was such a success and hopefully mean more lucky ladies know about Emma Plus. I'm sure the air conditioning came into its own with so many people being in the store. I will try and visit Brighton soon!


 Emma    Saturday 21 May 2011 at 14:01

Hi Kim!

Thanks for that-we all felt great!

You're not joking about the air-conditioning! It makes such an incredible difference. It's so nice not to be at the mercy of the weather, particularly when you are trying on clothes.....


Emma    Friday 13 May 2011 at 16:24

 Post #215 

Subject: My Wedding Outfit

Thanks to Wendy, for the lovely comments she asked me to put on our blog...

'I feel like I'm celebrating on so many different levels. I have the outfit I primarily came for and a bit more besides.
My wedding outfit is just fabulous but if you'd described it to me I would have thought yuk! In fact I was dubious before I tried it on and saw myself in the mirror.
I still think you have magic mirrors - I can't remember looking at myself and thinking ''wow girl you look great'' for several years if not decades.
All the items I brought and yet I have left with just one. Everything else you are refining to suit my body and my taste - that is invaluable and surely unique in being included in the price of the garment.
The clothes are all of such high quality and well made. It's a real treat not to have to compromise on that because I have the audacity to be a size 26.
I'm also celebrating the knowledge that I'm going to more than hold my own with all the size 12 & 14s Yippee. I'm going to be 'on show' such a lot during the wedding that it feels a wonderful relief to be confident about how I look.
Finally the experience of your shop. I felt among friends not just because of the 2 cups of tea!
A collection of clothes that are virtually all possibilities, a warm welcome (and air-conditioning when it got too warm), honest feedback - how often does a shop-worker tell you ''No that's not for you''? It felt like I could take all the time in the world and that I could have left without making a purchase.
All in all a tremendous experience and one that will be repeated!
Thanks to you all
Love and best wishes


 Victoria Hollis    Friday 13 May 2011 at 22:08

This is so nice to read - you see Emma Plus really does have the XTRA SPECIAL Factor - Wendy I hope we can see some pics of you in your clothes too


Sue Wooding    Friday 08 April 2011 at 12:06

 Post #206 

Subject: What an experience!

I wanted to say what a wonderful time my friend Julia and I had when we visited your shop on Wednesday.

Having found your website I had a hunch that it would be worth travelling to your shop from West Devon, in the search for something to wear to my son's wedding in July, and I wasn't wrong.

A veritable treasure trove of colours, fabrics and styles and all in plus sizes. The choice would have been bewildering if it hadn't been for your knowledge and advice in selecting pieces for me to try on. You certainly have a very good eye and I tried on things I would not have thought would have suited me.

In the end, I am completely excited about my chosen outfit although it is as far away from the colour I had envisaged wearing as it is possible to be.

Julia and I agreed that we have never had such a happy time buying clothes ( she succumbed and bought 2 pieces, too) and we couldn't believe that we were with you for 3 hours.

Heartfelt thanks to you both.


 Emma    Saturday 09 April 2011 at 10:43

Hi Sue!

Thank you so much for your kind words! It was a great pleasure to meet you both, and we were thrilled with what you picked out. I thought you looked incredibly classy in the Elena Grunert outfit.

Don't forget, if you are ever tempted, there is a pair of 'sensitive' trousers with you name on them, here in the shop....you only have to call!

I may see you before the 'big day', but, if I don't, I hope you have a lovely time!


diane cullen    Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 18:52

 Post #205 

Subject: shopping trip

Just to say thank you again for your help today. Only popped in to see if some summer T shirts were in stock, and as usual had wonderful range of tops to try on. So lovely to have garments chosen for you, and they always look so good on.
As usual was found wonderful tops and super new trousers. It's always such a pleasure and relaxing experience. So thrilled to have such lovely tops, can't wait to wow my friends in Germany this week end with the exquisite ''personal choice'' chiffon top and sensitive trousers. Thanks you Emma


 Emma    Wednesday 30 March 2011 at 12:07

Hi Diane!

Thank you for your lovely post...we are so lucky to have such lovely customers, and such brilliant models for our clothes!

Hope you have a great time in Germany, and look forward to seeing you again soon-!


Christine Prosser    Friday 18 March 2011 at 14:10

 Post #201 

Subject: Thank You

Hello Emma

Just a note to thank you all for your help and advice on Saturday

Drove down from Wales on Saturday morning looking for something to wear to my son's wedding in August. No idea what to expect but hoping for the best I was not dissapointed

In no time at all I had a rack of clothes waiting to be tried on, believe me a rare treat when you're a plus size I honestly don't think I could have found a better selection anywhere else. I particularly appreciated the help and advice you gave me and the way you were able to suggest things I would never have tried on in a million years I am now the proud owner of a 'capsule wardrobe' in the making and can't wait to clear out all my old stuff to make room for some more of the lovely Elena Grunert.

Once again thank you all for a most enjoyable visit and in the words of a famous movie star 'I'll be back'




 Emma    Friday 18 March 2011 at 14:20

Hi Christine!

Thank you so much for your lovely comments....I love my job!

It was such a great pleasure to meet you on Saturday. Years ago, it was rare for someone to travel such a distance to come here, and I used to be on tenderhooks as to whether we had enough choice available to warrant such an investment of time! Now, however, we find many women travel the length and breadth of the country to come here....hopefully with happy results such as yours!

I was interested to hear of your troubles in posting your comments on this blog. Apparently, our 'spam filter' kept deleting your message, so you sent it to me via email, and I was more than happy to put it on our forum (I am able to by-pass the filter). If any other contributors have similar experiences, they may be interested to know how you circumvented this problem!


Jennie Ferrigno    Monday 07 March 2011 at 15:13

 Post #199 

Subject: shopping

Hi there

I drove to Brighton on Saturday for the purpose of visiting your shop and what a pleasue it was. I found two perfect items to bring home and saw many more that are possibilities. It was also a real pleasure to meet you and your staff Emma and I enjoyed our conversation. When will you open another shop in our nearest town (Marlow):-)


 Emma    Tuesday 08 March 2011 at 14:02

Hi Jennie

Thank you for your kind words... it makes all the difference for us to have this feedback. Also, hopefully, your post will be read by other women who are considering 'hitting the road' to visit us here in sunny Brighton, and will encourage them that it will be worth the trip!

I really enjoyed meeting you, and was fascinated by your encyclopaedic knowledge of the plus-size designer fashion business. It is through meeting people like you that I learn so much, and I was very glad to be able to exchange views and experiences with you....


Emma    Friday 03 December 2010 at 12:04

 Post #179 

Subject: Gift vouchers!

Its December, and the thoughts of many people are turning to the exciting, yet sometimes thorny subject of Christmas presents.

At this time of year we usually see friends, partners or family members surreptitiously entering our shop, discreetly seeking out the perfect gifts for their loved ones.

Some people worry that buying clothing for a larger woman can be a bit difficult. Most of us do not like to reveal our size to all and sundry even our nearest and dearest and, of course, there is the issue of fit when clothes are bought without having been tried on. So there are many people who would love to buy clothes from Emma Plus or elsewhere for someone special in their lives, but find the prospect of it somewhat complicated!

The truth is, buying a present from us is actually quite problem free! Although (as a true English person) I hate to blow my own trumpet, I cant help mentioning that I think we are passed-masters at helping with the selection of the perfect present. We have items of clothing for just about any larger woman, and we have a lot of experience in asking the right questions. We are also very adept at remembering the requirements of many of our established customers.

To put it mildly, our sizing can be very discreet, often with husband only aware that we have sold him a size small for his wife! Unsurprisingly, many in the know make the pilgrimage every year to our shop to pick up a present from us, in the knowledge that we will recommend an array of lovely items from with to select their perfect choice.

As a fail-safe, anyone who buys items from us is welcome to bring them back within the season in order to exchange them, should they need to, and our alteration service extends (of course) to items bought as gifts. Many of our customers are really touched that someone has really paid attention to them to the extent of specially seeking out their shop from which to buy their present.

Another great favourite for a present is a gift voucher. It is a real delight to watch a customer stride purposefully through the door in the New Year, with a glint in her eye, and a gift voucher in her purse! Our vouchers come in denominations of 10, 25, 50 and 100.

Because we are aware that some people are a little behind this year in getting their presents (due to the inclement weather), we have decided to do something we have never done before... a special offer on gift vouchers! For every 50 in vouchers bought this December, we will give an extra 10. At an unprecedented 20%-off, we have produced a limited edition of gift vouchers, which are being sold strictly on a first-come-first-served basis, and you will need to quote this Blog when you purchase. We will happily supply these vouchers by post in time for Christmas. You only have to telephone us on 01273 327240.

How pleasant to be able to find a thoughtful, appropriate present (with added value!), without even having to leave the house!


 Kim P    Friday 10 December 2010 at 13:17

This is a fabulous deal! My vouchers arrived this morning and they are a gift from me to me!


 Emma    Friday 10 December 2010 at 17:04

Hi Kim

Yes, it is such a good deal that we have had to do it as a 'limited edition'! The truth is that a wise woman (but only one who reads this blog regularly!) can end up getting 20 percent extra off her sale purchases after Christmas, or from new season's stock!

It's a special treasure reserved for our blog customers... and they don't even have to come into the store!

Nicola Sutherland    Sunday 07 November 2010 at 18:01

 Post #175 

Subject: Compliments

Thanks for another great shopping experience on Saturday afternoon - my second visit to your shop, and the reason I influenced our shopping extravaganza day trip from Southampton to be in Brighton.

You didn't have the Anna dress I was looking for - serves me right for being late - but still had loads of gorgeous stuff and I came out as laden as my first visit in April.

The compliments came from my fellow shoppers - while they are not in the market for your range, both said what a lovely shop, amazing staff who clearly know their stuff, and give amazing service. Most importantly they both saw why I had brought them all the way Brighton!

Looking forward to getting my altered red dress - and the Anna fashion show.

Thanks for another great shopping experience.



 Emma    Monday 08 November 2010 at 17:57

Hi Nicola!

Thank you for your lovely comments... it was a real pleasure to see you on Saturday!

I'm glad you are as excited as we are about the Anna Scholz show. We've yet to finalise the date at which Anna and her team will be coming into our shop to show a wide selection of her range (including items not usually seen in stores). However, as you have given us your contact details, we will make sure you are notified in time.

Any customers wishing to be told when the Anna Scholz show is in town can phone 01273 327240 and be put into our 'little black book', so that we can contact you with the details once they have been settled...

sarah copson    Sunday 03 October 2010 at 20:00

 Post #168 

Subject: lovely clothes, fabulous shop, wonderful staff

what a wonderful first trip to brighton!! treating myself to a much needed day off i made the excuse of driving my daughter to work in burgess hill, and then, well, Emma Plus here i come, and i did and was it worth the trip??
well suffice to say i now have the most perfect wedding dress, EXACTLY what i was looking for, not traditional but luxiourious and simple :-)
and with kim on the staff it doesnt stop there, i was 'kimmed' and it was worth every minute and every penny, i have more confidence in my new look than i have ever had as a big girl. wish i earnt more as so many gorgeous things i could have bought but i have a plan to 'invest' as often as i can not only in fabulous quality clothes but also time with some lovely women who KNOW how to dress us more buxom of women
and hope to see you soon


 Emma    Sunday 03 October 2010 at 21:48

Hi Sarah!

Thank you so much for your lovely comments....it is so heartwarming to know that you were pleased with what you found here at Emma Plus!

You looked so gorgeous in what you chose, which I thought was subtle and lovely. You managed to achieve a fashion-forward look that totally suited your theme and colour scheme (I will say no more...a bride's dress remains top secret until the day).

We are very lucky to be able to work here, not only to enjoy the clothes, but to meet with lovely women like you.

I agree with you that Kim is a treasure, we all love her!

 Miss Tartan Waistcoat    Monday 04 October 2010 at 23:31

She's alright I suppose.........

The teal Brand trousers arrived safely and are gorgeous! Am very impressed with the quick turnaround for the alteration, please thank Denisa for me!


 Emma    Tuesday 05 October 2010 at 13:21

Hi Miss Tartan Waistcoat!

Thanks for your reply... I'm so glad that your trousers arrived safely, and you are happy with them!

I was thinking that the colour may team up with this top, which is being modelled by an anonymous woman!

 Emma    Wednesday 06 October 2010 at 15:25

Dear Miss Waiscoat,

Kim has asked me to pass on the news that some jeans have come into stock that you may be interested in...

Emma    Tuesday 15 June 2010 at 22:40

 Post #141 

Subject: The fashion shows...

We had the last of this years fashion shows on Saturday, and I think we have learned a lot from doing them. Emma Plus had never done any fashion shows before (the store did a number of shows when it was under previous ownership) and, although I had anticipated that they would be fun, I didnt really harbour great hopes for them.

Actually, I think that in many instances fashion shows are a frustrating experience for larger women. It can be rather alienating (not to mention patronising) to watch a succession of perfectly-proportioned women sporting the smallest sizes of the type of super-smart clothing that real people dont often get the chance to wear. Its all very interesting, but you can find yourself wondering how this has any relevance to your own life.

So when we did our fashion shows we tried to put the clothes together in a way that we would expect our customers to understand, and be interested in. Out went the matchy-matchy suits, and in came the kind of smart-casual co-ordinates that women want to wear in their everyday lives. And we put them on ourselves and our customers - in sizes that were right in the middle of our size range.

And we didnt take ourselves too seriously. We wanted it to be a pleasant, amusing way of spending a Saturday afternoon!

The result was a sort of explanation of the kind of looks that we are putting together every day for our customers: colourful, comfortable, casual and sassy, with a fashion-forward edge. In other words, just the sort of clothing it is so difficult to find in larger sizes.

The main feedback we had from audience members was that the show helped them to understand how we put our outfits together, and that it was great fun. It is for this reason that we are considering doing at least one fashion show a year from now on...


 Kim P    Friday 18 June 2010 at 21:06

I had such a lovely day last Saturday, it was so enjoyable watching the fashion show and trying on numerous goodies. Seeing your gorgeous models wearing the clothes with diferent colour combos and mix and match items was so helpful. I'm sure I wasn't the only one to buy an item seen modelled that if had just been seen on the hanger would have been overlooked!


 Emma    Saturday 19 June 2010 at 17:15

Hi Kim

Thank you for your kind remarks... Yes, we've had quite a few women tell us that they have spotted an item being worn by one of our models and ended up buying it, even though they would not have picked out had they seen it on the rails!

The other lovely thing about the shows (which you will know all about now!) is that it is a great social occasion, where we can have a chat, some refreshments, catch a show(!) and generally pass a very pleasant afternoon!

It is our duty, we feel, to offer an alternative to anything drab or dreary!


Emma    Wednesday 26 May 2010 at 22:39

 Post #137 

Subject: Dressing-up

I was lucky enough to have a mother who had a wonderful attitude towards clothes. My mum was a very stylish lady: fascinated by colour and with a natural, sophisticated ability to pick out good quality in all things. She was very much the county lady, not at all fashion-forward (at least in her later years), but always highly appreciative of good design.

When I was a child she was happy to let me play dressing-up with her clothes. I dont think I was told that anything was out of bounds in her wardrobe, although I can remember I did not seek to try on her smartest outfits; I knew some of them were delicate and expensive.

My sister and I still have some of her dresses today. I cant help feeling that my mother had an uncanny ability to capture the fashion zeitgeist for each decade she lived through - summed up in at least one perfect dress. There is a cotton satin dress with a wide skirt, for example, emblazoned with large blue roses, that could only be from the fifties. There is a cream, gold and turquoise beaded column dress that epitomises the glamour of the sixties. And there is a patterned chiffon evening gown, complete with long, fairytale sleeves in gorgeous Monet water-lilly colours that shouts the best of the nineteen seventies.

Actually, come to think of it, it was probably the fact that I would not have dreamed of taking these gowns out of their wrappings that permitted my mother to let me get at her wardrobe!

So the times that I spent trying on her other, more everyday clothes and matching them up with her accessories were very happy ones. I would find scarves, necklaces, bags, blouses and colourful knits, and team them up; parading each look through the house for my own little fashion show.

I had almost forgotten the simple, childish joy of this, but I have been reminded of it while organising our recent set of fashion shows here in the store. How fantastic it is to be trying-on outfits and selecting combinations. Not with a view to actually buying anything - or even to find something appropriate for someone else. No, the joy is in being a different person for a while and seeing the models putting on looks that were not about themselves, but simply about the look.

When you are doing fashion shows like ours, you have carte blanche to explore a large, beautiful wardrobe, with no ego - no reason to be sensible or adult. You can experiment, and just try to look different and lovely.

This may be one of the reasons why the fashion shows have proved to be such fun. We will definitely be doing more of them in future.

Our next fashion show (the last this year), however, is on Saturday 12th June at 2.30pm.


 Kim P    Friday 28 May 2010 at 20:17

Your mother's wardrobe sounds wonderful. I was picturing each decade's outfit as you described them.

I really want to come to the event on the 12th, depends how I'm feeling after an evening at the 20/20 cricket the night before! Please let Jaq know that she really does know what is best for me. The blue flower Nanso top I had passed over is a joy to wear and has received several compliments.


 Emma    Saturday 29 May 2010 at 14:28

Hi Kim!

Thanks for your kind words about your top... I have passed them on to Jaq. We do think these Nanso tops are lovely (I don't know whether you saw this one when you were here?). There's something about them that is so smart, and yet easy to wear.

I wish I could have showed you some of the dresses I had kept from my mum's wardrobe - I had them here in the store for years! They have since gone to my sister's house, where her daughters may be interested in making some use of them. All of my nieces have keen fashion eyes.

I suppose it isn't difficult to see where I got my fascination with fashion from!

I hope your night of 20/20 cricket goes well... and that we are able to see you on the 12th!

Emma    Saturday 15 May 2010 at 16:50

 Post #135 

Subject: Our next fashion show...

We are already getting excited about our next fashion show next Saturday (the 22nd May). All of us agree that the last one was one of the most enjoyable days of the year!

Some members of staff who were not originally timetabled to work that day have asked to come in because it was such a pleasure to be involved with. We are glad, because we now realise that we will probably really need the extra help!

The show next week may end-up being completely different from the previous one, because we sold a lot of the items that were modelled!

Anyone is welcome to come, but if you are thinking of attending and would like to sit down, then please contact us and we will reserve you a seat...


Emma    Saturday 01 May 2010 at 16:04

 Post #132 

Subject: Fashion Shows on Saturdays 8th May, 22nd May and 12th June, at 2.30pm

As ever, Im back from holiday and straight back into the thick of it with events at the store!

This time we are preparing for the first of our fashion shows, taking place on Saturday 8th May at 2.30pm.

This is the first fashion show that Emma Plus has ever put on! I suppose, if I were to offer an excuse for this omission, I would say that we have previously always left the fashion shows to the experts. I consider Emma Plus to be very good at being a store... but how would we perform when putting on a fashion show?

Well were about to find out! To celebrate our refit we decided to showcase the new-look store, alongside the new seasons stock (which is the widest choice we have ever had). Accordingly, on Saturday, we will be gathering together some models (our staff and customers!), providing some refreshments, and plunging in...

We will be having three shows in all. After this one, we will be showing again on Saturday 22nd May, and on Saturday 12th June - all shows taking place at 2.30pm.

Everyone reading this blog is welcome to attend... I dont know exactly how it is all going to pan out, but I do know it will be fabulous!


 Kim P    Wednesday 05 May 2010 at 12:44

Will the shop be open as normal before the fashion show on the 8th May. I was hoping to call in but it will be in the morning not afternoon. Hope the fashion show goes well, sounds like good fun.


 Emma    Saturday 15 May 2010 at 18:30

Hi Kim!

So sorry that due to technical reasons, I didn't answer your post before. Obviously, you now know the answer, as you came in last Saturday!

But it does occur to me that this may be a question that other customers are asking, so I had better post an answer to it.

Yes, we are open as usual on our fashion show days, which means that we will be here from 10am to 5.30pm for customers to make their purchases. It is only from 2.30 until about 3pm that purchases will probably not be possible!

Elizabeth Shaw    Tuesday 30 March 2010 at 01:34

 Post #126 

Subject: wedding outfit for lady size 22 in wheel chair

Looking for mother of the groom outfit In a wheel chair
looking for trousers and a nice bright top and jacket with out looking like an American football player. As I will be sat in the chair the whole time. The trousers can not be too tight down leg due to tube. The wedding will be in June, i hope you can help by suggesting what to get and what to wear with it on my head Hats get in the way of the person pushing me. Thank you


 Emma    Tuesday 30 March 2010 at 12:15

Hi Elizabeth

Thank you so much for your enquiry, and congratulations on your happy event! You will be glad to know that you have come to the right place! We have many customers who use wheelchairs, so we always make sure to have just the right kind of outfits to suit their needs. The size you mention (size 22) is towards the smaller end of our sizes, and all our range is stocked in that size.

If you were thinking of visiting us by car, the good news is that (with your badge) you will be able to park right outside our store - and access into the front of the shop couldnt be easier. We are an easy shop to navigate, and - should you require assistance in accessing anything at any time - our staff are experienced enough to give you all the help you need.

We have several ranges of beautiful, brightly coloured jackets at the moment - some plain, some patterned. I would hesitate to recommend a particular one to you without seeing you first - the choice is simply too great! From what you say about American football players Im guessing that you have problems with wide shoulders (like most of us). The good news is that we have sourced a number of items with narrower and/or less padded shoulders. In any case, we usually ensure items are specially fitted to you, so the fit is perfect.

A perfect jacket for a wheelchair user should be soft, with some structure and shape, but not too nipped-in at the waist. It should be of a minimal-crease fabric, and the shape should not be too full. We have a great selection to choose from that meet these criteria.

When it comes to trousers, I have found that three particular aspects should be borne in mind. Firstly, it is best to have a slight 'stretch' fabric. Im not talking about anything too stretchy and flimsy, but a good medium-weight fabric with enough stretch for them to keep their shape and fall well from the knee. Then I would select trousers with stretch at the waistband for comfort. I would also be looking for trousers that are not too narrow (this can be unflattering on the legs as you rightly observe), but not too wide and floaty (which can foul the wheels).

To match the outfits that we have in the store, we have a fantastic selection of 'fascinators'. These are like hats, but much easier to wear, as they fit to the head like a hairband (see picture). They are light, so do not disrupt ones hairstyle, and are not too large - so will not get in anyone elses way. Those we have selected have proportions that particularly suit larger women, and are in colours that go with our range. They have been very popular, so I feel sure you will be pleased when you get the chance to try one on.

I would urge that you try to come into the store as soon as you can. Even if you leave visiting us to later in the season we have so many items that there will always be something lovely for you, but some styles are already selling out. In order to get the pick of everything, it is a good idea to be the 'early bird'...

Emma    Sunday 31 January 2010 at 23:27

 Post #112 

Subject: Shameless self-publicity

Dont you just love the BBC? I have to say I think it is a national treasure. I dont know what I would do without 'The Archers', and I know my sister is addicted to Larkrise to Candleford. Before Christmas, I couldnt get enough of Strictly Come Dancing.

In Sussex, our local BBC radio is very good (BBC Radio Sussex). There is one presenter in particular, Alison Ferns, who does an excellent talk-show. On Monday lunchtimes she presents a programme called Wagtime, which is inspired by Loose Women on the TV. Local women are invited to go on to talk about their loves and hates, and the ins and outs of their week.

I get asked to go on it every now and again. Actually, I will be on it tomorrow (1st February) at about 1.30pm. If anyone would like to listen to it and cant do so at that time, it is also available on the main BBC website for a week afterwards.

I was there at Christmas, and we were asked to dress up for the occasion. To be honest, there was so much snow around that travelling into the studio seemed like making some kind of Artic expedition, so it wasnt possible to go in for full-on glam. However, we all scrubbed up well, and we took some photos.

In the front (seated) is the broadcaster herself, Alison, and in the middle behind her is her producer, Jenny Day. I am on the left, and on the right is another Wag, Nicky, who has a business called Mumsinbiz - all about networking women.


 Kim P    Monday 01 February 2010 at 18:54

I hope the broadcast went well, you all look like you're having a good time. How lovely you look, is it Anna Scholz?
I hope to come by in the afternoon of the 11th to pick up my dress and trousers and of course admire your beautiful new shop!


 Emma    Monday 01 February 2010 at 22:23

Thanks, Kim

Yes, the broadcast went well - its always a bit of fun. In the photo I am wearing (as you rightly guessed) an Anna Scholz dress, from the Winter 09 season.

I cant wait to see what you think of the refit - you wont know the place! We should have a few rather choice things to show you on the 11th, as the new seasons stock is now coming in...


 Kim P    Thursday 11 February 2010 at 02:16

The weather has scuppered my plans to come and visit the shop later today but I hope to come next week instead.


 Kim P    Friday 19 February 2010 at 18:50

The shop refit looked lovely. The lighting was brilliant and the decor and layout so stylish, no wonder you are so pleased with it!

I managed to find a lovely turquoise top that goes nicely with the beaded grey Simply top you had in stock. It matches the beads very well so my purchase on Thursday was meant to be!

 Emma    Saturday 20 February 2010 at 15:30

Hi Kim

It was great to see you the other day. Clearly, this was a purchase that was 'meant to be'! These lovely Simply tops are going like hot cakes - I'm loving the turquoise!


Emma    Saturday 16 January 2010 at 23:35

 Post #106 

Subject: Us!

I thought that our customers in cyberspace might like to see a photograph of all the Emma Plus crew.

This picture was taken at our annual Christmas lunch, which takes place at a lovely restaurant called Terre-a-Terre in Brighton.

From left to right, there is Clare (director), Denisa (alterations), Lisa (who usually works on Thursdays), Kim (who previously worked for a store called Cinnamon and is now Assistant Store Manager), Jaq (Store Manager), the wonderful Beryl (floating part-timer), Tessa (who usually works on Tuesdays), her daughter Phoebe (Saturday staff), Jackie (also late of Cinnamon, now floating part-timer), me (Emma, shop owner) and Hilary (our book keeper). Theres quite a few of us!


Emma    Monday 26 October 2009 at 01:08

 Post #85 

Subject: The journey

As many women reading this will already know, you dont always go to a designer clothes shop just to buy some clothes. Thats the main purpose, of course; even with recent improvements in the high street brands, the independent store still remains the prime source of fashion.

You can simply go into a shop, quietly select the clothing of your choice, try it on in a peaceful environment, make the purchase, then just go home. There are many women who choose to do exactly this, and are very happy.

Most women, however, whether they know it or not, are actually using another service provided by this kind of store... the service of a skilled stylist.

What does a stylist do? Most of us have seen a certain type of fashion stylist at work on television. This kind of stylist will normally take a woman who has avowedly no interest in fashion (and, often, shocking taste) and do a makeover on her - seemingly turning her into a completely different person.

Often this changeling not only ends up looking different, but also benefits from a complete emotional overhaul, usually (apparently) against her will. She goes on a journey... No region of her body is held sacrosanct from prying eyes, cameras and often hands, and all areas of her psyche, no matter how private (or apparently irrelevant), are probed. The all-knowing stylist will brook no opposition, and by the end of the programme the transformation is complete. It has to be said that the participant usually looks younger and much more stylish as a result of the process - but often more than a little shell-shocked and browbeaten.

Its not for the fainthearted - and thats just the viewers! I do enjoy these programmes, and I feel they fulfil a purpose. They give ideas and advice that we women can put into practice in our own lives.

The enjoyment is a rather guilty one, however. Its a kind of fashion blood sport; a modern take on throwing Christians to the lions for public entertainment. The original woman, shown in all her bad fashion and 'old hag' hair, with 'mad woman' makeup and gnarley teeth, is cruelly exhibited for our titillation and disgust. The stylist is seen as the all-powerful force for good. And the transformation is magical.

This could not be further removed from the work of the stylist in her everyday life in a fashion store. For a start, the women who call on her advice and help are far from being fashion-challenged. They are usually the most stylish women in any given population. This is, after all, one of the locations where all the most fashionable women buy their clothes, although by no means are these the only people that frequent the fashion store. Most customers have a less maintained look than the diehard fashionista (and are real women who actually have a life, after all), but they don't have hag hair. And their makeup does not scare small children.

The customers of a designer store emphatically do not need a makeover... so why do they require the services of a stylist? These are women who know what suits them and get a lot of joy out of dressing well. By and large, if they could not find a stylist to help them, they would still look great.

However, there is no denying that a really good fashion stylist is a very useful tool in the important task of looking fabulous. She is the 'go-to' person when you are looking for something particular that you really cant live without. (Need that little black dress for your pear-shaped figure? Or that pair of velvet trousers? Or the business suit for the important interview?) Even if it is not in stock anywhere, your friend in the store will move heaven and earth to obtain it for you.

Perhaps you just arent sure about something... does your bum look big in this pencil skirt? You know that she will subtly steer you clear of fashion faux pas.

She makes her living by being your secret weapon in outshining the thin girls in the office at the Christmas do - just when you were about to feel a bit intimidated about finding the right thing to wear.

She will also tirelessly dig through all the tops to find the one that goes with the skirt you love. And she will magic-up a colour that goes perfectly - and is on trend.

She has no other agenda than to make you look good. After all, if you look good, she looks good. Your psyche is none of her concern, and she will keep her hands and eyes off your private areas. Shes in your corner. She does not compete with you, judge you or browbeat you.

And the only journey she will expect you to go on is into the changing room for a jolly good trying on session...


 Liz Rylance    Monday 26 October 2009 at 09:18

Good morning Emma
I just had to respond to your comments on the 'stylist' Emma. Before I found your wonderful shop I wouldn't have been able to relate to this at all but for the last 15 or so years that has all changed. Whenever I come into Emma+ I KNOW that I am going to have a wonderful time both socially and as a shopping experience. You and Jaq find a fantastic selection of clothes for me to try on some of which are well outside my 'comfort zone' but thank goodness for that! Thanks to your knowledge I have worn so many more colours and styles - even - shock horror - a white linen long jacket (one of my absolute favourites)! Me? In white? Surely not? Oh yes, and it makes me feel fantastic :-)
So thank you both for opening up the world of fashion to me. Long may you reign!

 Emma    Monday 26 October 2009 at 09:36

Hi Liz

Thank you so much for your kind comments. When I referred to stylish women who get joy out of looking good you were just the kind of woman I was talking about!


 Lara in Melbourne    Friday 30 October 2009 at 15:13

Hi again from the antipodes.

Emma, Jaq; please consider a relocation. The weather's lovely :) Sitting in the lounge with the aircon charged, and it's only October. Time to get the lighter gear out for comfort.

Reading your discussions on stylists was intriguing; I'm bordering on a career change, and a land purchase (with a view to dropping a house on the block at some stage; all too scary to deal with :) )

It's makeover time. I need to drag myself out of the "special pieces are for special times" mindset that my current job, working from home, has allowed me to slip into (well, and that I've allowed myself to fall into), and get back to "I want to look fabulous every day!"

Odd how the prospect of additional money makes me want to present myself at my best, when at the moment I'm prepared to have only one or two "special" pieces which are brought out only for "good". Why should I not feel "good", every day?

To be honest, I have no idea why I've let myself bumble my way into only owning one or maybe, at a push, two outfits I'd be pleased to be seen in in public. The rest are "acceptable", or "not embarrassed" to be seen in. Not a great start. I need to be more brave, and ditch the stuff which makes me feel less than fabulous. I need to make the effort. For me.

I'm looking forward to the transformation my change in circumstances and responsibilities will bring. I've started with the basics: nails and hair. Next is a full rework of my makeup. After that, it's time for the "real world" clothes . And then I can adjust the hair, nails and makeup to match the package. I can't wait :)

Wishing I was in the UK, because I know exactly where I would be spending my next Saturday. Hell, I'd bring the bottle of bubbles for effect.

Best wishes, and hoping everything is running smoothly,


 Emma    Saturday 31 October 2009 at 15:53

Hi Lara

Thank you so much for your post. I dont know whether you realise this, but to the reader what you have written comes over as very inspirational!

All the time I see women in similar positions to the one you describe. This is often what brings a customer into our store for the first time.

There is sometimes a moment in life when things start to move forward and change, and you realise that you have the opportunity to shape the kind of person you are going to be in the years ahead. To use an Aussie analogy, its a wave that has come along, and you can choose to catch it and ride it for a while.

These are really precious moments - and can be the source from which a lot of different opportunities spring. If your instinct is to develop an aspect of yourself, then I would definitely go for it.

Fifteen years ago I was made redundant from a job I loved. I had little money, and the economy was tanking. For some unknown reason, instead of being depressed I felt liberated. I took over the shop and reinvented myself into the kind of person that I am most happy with.

It was a scary time, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I wish you the very best, and I hope that you move forward towards where you want to be. I only wish I was there to see it...


Emma    Sunday 04 October 2009 at 17:56

 Post #81 

Subject: Navel gazing

When reading the way fashion is written about in newspapers and magazines, one sees the various angles from which this subject is usually tackled.

There are journalists that talk about fashion from the top down, and examine the influence of the most famous designers from their shows in New York, Paris, London and Milan. Alternatively, there are writers that concentrate on what is happening on the high street, or the youths that create street fashion.

Some journalists get obsessed with the influence of the economy on clothing trends, whilst others turn to politics (high heels as seen from a feminist angle, anyone?).

You can read articles about what women should wear at any particular age. And there have been many helpful stories about the best looks for people with various different coloured complexions, and body shapes.

However, there is one huge area of fashion that seems to be virtually ignored by the learned fashion writer. Im talking about the massive impact that personality or psychology has upon what an individual is prepared to wear, and the look one is trying to achieve.

What kind of thing am I referring to? One important issue is: do you dress for yourself or for others? How confident are you?

For instance, imagine yourself in this situation. You are standing in front of, say, 50 people - all strangers - wearing an outfit that you are particularly pleased with, and feeling good. Then you find out that the people with you are going to be asked to comment on your clothes.

How does that make you feel? Are you relaxed? Confident? Do you have any idea what the people are likely to say? Will their opinion override your own? Indeed, is this whole scenario your worst nightmare?

So the 50 people all proceed to have their say on your outfit. Of that number, imagine that 49 agree with your own analysis of your style. The general consensus is that you are looking hot. Your look hits the spot - its fashionable, stylish and suits you.

However, there is one person among the 50 who has a different opinion. She feels that you are looking frumpy, lumpy and stumpy.

Be honest with yourself: would you actually be more likely to listen to that one dissenting voice, simply because it is being critical? Are hers the comments that you will take home with you? Do you find it easier to accept criticism than praise? Maybe that is what you are actually listening for?

Actually, are you your own worst critic? Even if everyone admires the way you look, do you still doubt yourself?

Perhaps you take an almost scientific, dispassionate view. To have the huge percentage of people agreeing that you look wonderful speaks volumes about how you are seen by others. And that one disapproving observer? Well, we all know that there is simply no pleasing some people!

On the other hand, are you the kind of person who can stand your ground, even if the proportion of approval to disapproval were reversed? Imagine that out of 50 people asked to comment, 49 felt that you were not dressed successfully, and only one felt that you looked superb. Would you simply smile, shrug and quietly realize that you were in the company of philistines, with the exception of one enlightened person?

Perhaps you would delight in their disapproval of your clothes, because nothing makes you happier than to be a rebel, with your own renegade style?

Or, if you were told that a group of people were going to make a comment on your fashion sense, would you simply not want to hear what they had to say, because you would find it tedious and pointless? You have no interest whatsoever in what people think you look like (we could call this the Anne Widdecombe attitude).

Do you get impatient with all this navel-gazing, and feel that we should snap out of it?

A womans reaction to these issues is key to the kind of look she is trying to achieve. Yet very often she has never really given any conscious thought to them. This is a major cause of confusion and frustration in my business.

There are women who know they look good in various colours and styles, and who feel that they ought to wear them - yet find something standing in their way. Friends try to encourage them to break out of their safety zone, but they are unable or unwilling to do so. The obstacle is coming from within themselves.

Then there are women would love to try a more colourful, exciting, perhaps more revealing style, but instead stick to dull colours and demure shapes, which draw less attention (and less judgement) upon themselves. They are feeling pressure from others.

I think that, when it comes to buying clothes, you have to think about more than just your body shape and colour suitability. You have to understand, embrace and develop your own psychological makeup with reference to your look. Because although your body and skin may slip effortlessly into a chic, colourful and distinctive style, your psyche may have to be shoe-horned into it - with real mental discomfort!

The only way to deal with this is to meet it head on. To look at how you would like to dress, and what is standing in your way. You may decide that you really have nothing to fear and should ditch some of your inhibitions, embarking on making a radical new departure.

However, you may conclude that your tried and tested style has stood you in good stead, and has given you a welcome comfort blanket which has helped you in your life. Stepping outside this safety zone would not be worth the net gains... you have a busy life to get on with!

Either way, its worth knowing that it is a choice that you make each day of your life. In fact it is never too late to change, and I know from personal experience that real people do so all the time. The results can be truly life-altering!

It would be a good idea to think about what you are up against, though. Because if you find that for every 50 people voicing admiration for your look, you always seem to hear one negative opinion, it may be worth checking out the source of that one critical voice.

It may just be coming from inside your own head.


Emma    Monday 25 May 2009 at 22:06

 Post #50 

Subject: Art and design

Jaq (the Emma Plus store manager) and I were chatting the other day about how our backgrounds affect the way we do our jobs.

It was in the context of one of my previous posts. I had implied that we do not have a particular stance on how girly one should be in ones appearance. I had mentioned that I thought that many boutique owners and sales assistants seem to think there is only one way to look (usually a hyper-feminine one), and that any other style is an aberration.

We simply dont have this philosophy at Emma Plus. Its not that we are at all muddled about what we are trying to achieve with our clothes. We certainly have a point of view. Its just that we are not overly prescriptive about our fashion. Put simply, we are only interested in whether a look works on a particular woman... in other words, whether it is an informed, successful look.

Jaq and I have worked for years together in the shop - we are the two longest-serving members of staff. Neither of us came from fashion backgrounds, but we both have an art education. Jaq was a fine artist, and actually qualified to become an art teacher. She has an amazing facility with colour and form. However, in fact, I think her real talent is fashion. I have never met anyone who has such a natural flair for this subject - and I have spent most of my adult life amongst fashionistas. I was astonished when she first worked with me, because she seemed to already know so much about an art form that she had just come to.

My background is in design. My degree was in three-dimensional design, specialising in jewellery making. By the time I had been out of university a couple of years, I already knew that I did not want to be a practising artist. At that time, I wanted to have my own gallery. Funnily enough, it almost worked out that way - a womenswear shop is a kind of art gallery. The works designed by the artists (the fashion designers) are selected, displayed and sold there. But the wonderful thing about fashion is that it is for everybody, not just the elite.

I have an obsession with fit, and I hope that I have some of the skills to make a garment fit most women. This is not because I know my way around a sewing machine (heaven forbid!). No, my interest is in the subtle differences that can be caused by changing the form of the garment, as it fits around the human figure. I find it fascinating and very rewarding to get the fit right. This is an entirely three-dimensional pursuit, and it is informed by my experience in three-dimensional design. I also like to think that it may be a family trait: my great-grandfather was a Saville Row tailor.

Once the alterations are formulated, Denisa, our seamstress, undertakes them. I think that when Denisa first worked with us, she probably thought we were quite mad with all the alterations that we do for customers. But it didnt take her long to understand the vital role this plays in our business. We simply cannot bear to see a woman leave our shop with an ill-fitting garment, whether the problem is a tiny one, or a major undertaking.

When Jaq and I do the buying (it is usually the two of us who have this responsibility), neither of us have any agenda when it comes to look. We think it is our job to be informed about every fashion style.

You could choose a really edgy fashion-orientated look - perhaps an Anna Scholz stretch silk dress. Or you could go the opposite way and seek quite a hippie style, like something, say, from the Angel Circle collection - which supplies colourful, drapey clothes, many of which would not have looked out of place at Woodstock.

We are delighted to offer sleek Italian styling, from ranges like Elena Miro and Persona. Or sharp little sexy jackets from Personal Choice. Or pared down classic cotton separates from Brand or NP. There is no look that we havent got an interest in, if it can be made to work for the larger woman. This is the thread that binds the collection together - that informs our point of view. Does it work...?

Although our looks can be very different, they have a strong common thread. Both Jaq and I can see an Emma Plus garment a mile off. Many times there may only be one or two items that fit the bill from any single designer. This is one of the reasons why we have so many suppliers. It often happens that Jaq and I trawl separately through hundreds of garments, just to pick out two that are suitable. And even though we were not together at the time, we have both always selected the same two items.

We dont put any particular look above any other: just good taste and judgement, backed up with fashion knowledge. Many times a customer in the store does not know herself what category the look she is seeking falls into, and we are tasked with finding that out first before we can help. We work side-by-side with our customers until we all know what it is we are trying to achieve. If the customer does not need our help, we will give her the space she requires to make her own informed decision.

We do not create any of the clothes ourselves. We rely on the fantastic fashion designers to do that. Together with our customers we make good use of our aesthetic educations to help with the selection and development of the looks that leave our store. We never forget that we are incredibly lucky women who get to spend all our working lives dealing with the beautiful creations of talented artists working in the field of fashion design.


 Go to page
Page 1 of 0

RSS subscribe button

In the interests of good communication this forum/blog is unmoderated, but offensive material will be removed as soon as practicable. Images posted by members of the public whose publication is known to infringe copyright will also be removed as soon as practicable, along with all unauthorised advertising. Emma Hayes and associates accept no responsibility for the content of this open forum/blog.

Please contact the Webmaster if you have any difficulties making posts or responses, or if you believe any content to be offensive or illegal. Emma Hayes reserves the right to edit posts and replies.

Copyright © 2008–  Emma Hayes. Design: Webmaker Limited. All rights reserved.