When she exited Forever 21 Keisha Holmes could not predict that she would lead a company to a $3 million profit within a year, but that’s exactly what she’s done with Curvy Sense. With 25 years of experience in the fashion world spanning from lingerie at Frederick’s of Hollywood, to retail at National Stores, and Torrid Keisha Holmes wanted to create something, from the ground up, for women that looked like her. When a small merchandiser Keisha had purchased from in her past position approached her about investing in a plus size e-commerce company, it seemed that her stars had finally aligned.
As a curvy woman and entrepreneur, Keisha’s story was intriguing. I sat down with Keisha Holmes to ask her a few questions:
Q: What is your job experience/history?
A: As a veteran in the Fashion Business, I’ve been in the retail fashion industry for 25 years. I started at Frederick’s of Hollywood & have worked for various retailers such as National Stores, Torrid & Forever 21.
Q: What happened at Forever 21?
A: We had successfully launched the plus-size department at Forever 21. After seven years of growing the business and eventually overseeing the ecommerce side, the company was reorganized and I was laid off.
Q: How did that departure affect your next step?
A: After dedicating much of my career to mass market fashion houses, I decided that my next gig would afford the opportunity to build a brand from the ground up. Despite wanting the opportunity I remember feeling so nervous about making the jump to Curvy Sense. In reality I had the hands-on experience to lead, and the vision to create a strategic plan to surpass the brand’s ambitious growth target. With drive and determination, we have grown this humble online boutique in to a go-to for affordable plus-size fashion, creating a $3million company. Had I given into that fear, I would have missed out on this opportunity. Do not be discouraged or deterred by road blocks or fears, stay on your path and trust the timing.
Q: Why did you pick Curvy Sense?
A: I was offered a few opportunities for mass market fashion houses but I️ wanted to start something fresh from the ground up. I could’ve taken a buying job somewhere, but the potential of building an ecommerce business was much more appealing.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for a plus-size woman to be in the lead at a plus size company?
A: Having a plus-size woman at the helm of of a plus-size brand affords the brand keen insight in to customer’s perspective, because I am SHE. When we’re fitting & picking fabrics, it comes from a personal point of view. Bra lines & undergarments are all taken into consideration. It is imperative to me as a merchandising executive and a consumer that our styles fit well and complement her curves.
Though small, the Curvy Sense team is mighty. They are determined to transform the plus size market, and provide women world-wide with trendy, quality, and affordable clothing. With so much accomplished in a mere 12 months of business, it seems the sky’s the limits for Keisha Holmes and her team as they strive to always put the plus size woman first.
Keisha’s advice to anyone considering pursuing their dreams is “to remember, when one door closes almost always another opens often times with bigger and greater things behind it”
Writer Charvelle Holder is a Multiracial, Los Angeles based Actress, Plus-Model, Body-Positive Advocate, Founder of the #beyourownleadinglady Movement, and Social Media Manager. A woman with vision and drive, Charvelle holds a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Catch up with Charvelle @thecharvelle