Curvy Brides

September 7, 2011: Curvy Brides

Sometimes markets are underserved for no good reason. The plus-size clothing market was ignored for many years, even though the average clothing size for American women was 12 (it’s currently size 14). Eventually many fashion designers and traditional retailers started serving the plus-size market…and profiting.

But not all factions of the plus-size market were being catered to. Curvy brides often had no place to go to buy fashion-conscious wedding dresses. That apparently is changing. According to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, economic pressures have encouraged high-end fashion designers to “find new revenue streams…in the country’s $2.1 billion wedding dress market.”

Led by Kleinfeld, the legendary New York-based Valhalla of wedding dress establishments, which now sells more than 10 percent of its bridal gowns in size 12 or larger, more traditional wedding retailers like J. Crew, David’s Bridal and Priscilla of Boston are jumping on the bandwagon.

But it’s still relatively early in the game, and there’s a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to reap big rewards. Bloomberg Businessweek shares the story of Yukia Walker, whose entrepreneurial endeavor was sparked, as so many are, by personal need. Walker was frustrated when she was looking for an “upscale wedding gown” and couldn’t find one in her size (20). She opened Curvaceous Couture in her basement two years ago, and is doing so well she’s moved her business into a 5,000-square-foot showroom.

The trend has spawned a TLC reality show on plus-sized brides, Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss, and promises to deliver a lot more to savvy entrepreneurs ready to move into this promising market.