Though the resale market has continued to expand in recent years, there’s been one demographic that has been noticeably underserved: plus-size consumers.
In response to the void in plus-size resale, Karine Hsu started CurvyCo, the first e-commerce site for previously owned clothing designed for consumers sizes 10 and up. The site, which officially launched in May, was inspired by Hsu’s work at a tech startup in San Francisco, where she worked closely with a plus-size retail client. During her time liaising with the company, she overheard several customer complaints about the challenge of finding clothing on popular resale sites like Poshmark and eBay.
“I realized how difficult it was for them to shop affordably and stylishly. A lot of the customers would say they would have to look through hundreds of straight sizes to find something, both online and in store,” she said.
Hsu continued to consult plus-size shoppers to get a better understanding of their struggle. In that time, she heard stories of women buying size 14 products on eBay and receiving a child’s size 14 at their doorstep. Due to the lack of plus-size options, many of the women she spoke with were primarily finding resale clothing on Facebook groups designed for the plus-size community. It was through these informal discussions that she was affirmed of the need for a site like CurvyCo.
Since CurvyCo operates as a peer-to-peer site, sellers create an account and list their own items, with oversight from Hsu. They are strongly encouraged to include photos of themselves wearing the item and a fit description that includes ideal body type. Sellers receive a 15 percent commission fee on the listing price.
A seller profile on CurvyCo.
While CurvyCo currently exists only as an e-commerce site, Hsu’s next step is developing an accompanying mobile app, which she said has been a top request from new shoppers. In order to make the move to mobile, Hsu is planning to expand her team, which is based in San Francisco. It’s currently comprised of just herself and her co-founder.
Hsu doesn’t anticipate growth will be a problem. The site has already received strong reception from the plus-size blogging community, in part due to Hsu’s efforts searching through Instagram hashtags focused on plus-size fashion and body inclusivity, and cold emailing influencers. Hsu has also experimented with Facebook Live videos that provide an inside look at the closets of sellers — she streams them directly on the CurvyCo page. The social media hype has led to a partnership with Ashley Tipton, the first plus-size designer to win Project Runway, who is in talks with the company to sell personal items from her own closet.
“It’s such an underserved market, and everyone is overwhelmingly positive about working with us and supporting plus-size fashion,” she said.