November 21, 2018
Nearly 70% of American women—about 100 million coast-to-coast—wear a size 14 or larger, according to market research firm Houston-based Plunkett Research. But what are they wearing? Only 18% of the clothing sold in 2016 was considered plus-size, Port Washington, New York, market research firm NPD found in a recent study covered by the cable network CNBC.
On a personal level, that’s something that Nadia Boujarwah, CEO and co-founder of New York City-based Dia&Co, has realized for a long time. The former Wall Street executive says on her company’s website, “I’ve always loved fashion, but struggled to find clothes that fit my body and worked with my personal style. I’ve been everything from a size 12 to a size 22 and I couldn’t help but notice, no matter my size, that there was nothing for me.”
Indeed, she told CNBC in a recent interview, since the retail industry isn’t catering to this majority, “the average plus-sized woman is only spending 20 cents on the dollar that women in smaller sizes are spending on apparel.”
“So instead,” Boujarwah says, “I co-founded Dia&Co in 2014 [along with Lydia Gilbert], as a way for women just like me to embrace their individuality. It grew out of a personal need and now, Dia&Co is a place where everyone can explore all the incredible things that style can really do.”
The company offers clients personal styling exclusively in sizes 14 and up, as well as monthly boxes of curated plus-size clothing. A spokesperson for the company said the styling service has had more than 1 million users and ships to all 50 U.S. states.
Like the popular online retailers, Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, Dia&Co asks prospective customers to complete a profile, and then a stylist curates the items that are shipped to her. Dia charges a $20 styling fee, and the customer pays for the clothes she wants to keep.
Boujarwah told CNBC that her company is not only helping the customer find clothes, but it’s helping create clothes as well. “We do everything from work with brands to enter plus for the first time,” she said. “We build our own brands, all the way down through really creating the content and the community, to inspire her to participate.”
She added: “If you think about how many problems that are inherent” among plus-sized women, Boujarwah explained, Dia has taken “a very comprehensive view, and we’ve really said every part of this challenge for her is our job.”
Research contact: @erincstefanski