Jazmin Whitmore always enjoyed fashion, yet struggled to afford buying clothes. As a plus-size woman, finding items in her size was also frustrating. It’s a struggle familiar to many women. According to a study on clothing size standards published in 2016, the average American woman is size 16 to 18. However, too many brands have been slow to sell products above size 12 or 14.
Whitmore is no stranger to overcoming difficulties outside of fashion, too. Since leaving home at 17, she has experienced poverty, as well as mental and physical health challenges. After years of traveling, Whitmore settled in Asheville in 2012 and began receiving disability to help her healing. She transitioned off disability in 2017 and opened her first business, Those Lovely Locks, a wax- and chemical-free dreadlocks studio.
As a self-sufficient teenager and young adult, Whitmore had to learn to alter clothing to have fashions that fit her style. Those experiences made something better for herself and other larger-bodied folks. “To actively support people, especially those marginalized, you don’t have to make choices for them — you have to provide them with choices,” Whitmore says. So she did: In 2019, Whitmore opened More to Love, Asheville’s only Black woman-owned plus-size clothing consignment shop. More recently, she received the 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Western Women’s Business Center.
Xpress spoke with Whitmore about why her store is the type of resource she wishes she had in her youth, her thoughts on the term “plus size” and the continuing need for spaces inclusive for all body sizes.
This interview has been condensed for length and edited for clarity.
Where did your idea for a plus-size consignment shop originate?
The plus-size industry wasn’t something I saw myself being involved in. In 2018, I was shopping in downtown Asheville for a special occasion with a $200 budget. I spent five hours looking for one outfit. I was supposed to be celebrating that day. Instead, it felt like this awful boot camp where almost every shop’s largest option was a “free size” — otherwise known as one size, which is basically a small XL that excludes a lot of people. I did eventually find a beautiful tunic, but the whole process just devastated me. After this experience, I went home and was talking to my sister about it, and had the idea for a plus-size consignment shop. I wanted to put many different brands, styles, and types of fashion in one shop to offer something for everyone who is plus size — rather than a store full of something flirty for a night out or only professional three-piece suits.
What do you wish people knew about consigning clothing with your shop?
We say we want our clothing to have miles left, not inches. We typically price items around 30% of their original value, because that is the consignor’s fee, our rent payment, electricity and the hours spent on labor. A lot of consignment stores only offer their consigners store credit, which is fair. But because money has been a huge issue my whole life, I wanted to create a company that not only made me money but also put money back in the pockets of people who needed extra …….