Indie plus size fashion retailer Closet Queen empowering woman
A Barnsley fashion retailer has taken to designing her own ranges after becoming frustrated by the lack of fashionable options for Plus-size women.
Mum of two, Claire Swallow, runs The Closet Queen in Barnsley’s Victorian Arcade and has recently started designing outfits and having them manufactured.
Claire turned designer after customers to her boutique store kept telling her they wished clothes were better designed for women over a size 18.
She now sends her designs to skilled manufacturers in the UK and Italy and sells them in her store, alongside key ranges she’s hand-picked herself.
Closet Queen is one of many businesses benefiting from the transformed town centre following the development of The Glass Works.
Footfall across the town centre has increased* and Barnsley has also been awarded a Purple Flag, which recognises the safe, diverse and vibrant evening economy, for the third consecutive year.
Claire’s business has grown rapidly in recent years. After outgrowing her successful stall at Barnsley Markets, she moved to The Victorian Arcade three years ago. She moved again to a larger unit in the Arcade last year and business remains strong.
Closet Queen also makes expert use of social media to gather feedback for Claire’s latest designs, ensuring that the final product will be on-trend and popular with the store’s fans.
Claire and her loyal staff host a Facebook Livestream every Tuesday to engage with followers. They are also active on TikTok, where a video showcasing a comfy jumper went viral and was viewed by over 100,000 people. The viral sensation resulted in a surge in online orders, particularly from America.
Closet Queen’s identity and company values are firmly based on Claire’s own struggles to find well-fitting fashionable outfits for Plus-size women.
“All my customers have bought clothes, especially online, only to try them on and find that they don’t fit,” explained Claire.
“It’s really upsetting as it makes you think you’ve put weight on. Then you have to go through the hassle of packing it back up and getting your refund.
“That’s why whenever I get new clothes in for Closet Queen, I resize them myself so that when someone buys from us, it will be hassle-free and they’ll feel wonderful.
“I also model all of the clothes myself to make sure that they will look beautiful on women of all sizes.”
Claire’s outfits will be on display at this month’s fashion show extravaganza – an exciting event celebrating, fashion and style as part of Barnsley town centre’s fashion and lifestyle month. Closet Queen will be one of the many fashion retailers participating in the event, with other retailers joining in from The Glass Works, The Alhambra and the wider town centre.
Find out more about events taking place in Barnsley town centre throughout April here: https://www.barnsley.gov.uk/events
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