Have you ever shopped at your local plus size boutique? Did you know that they exist? I first discovered Buxom Modern Plus Boutique when I was walking down Broadway, a street in Salt Lake City known for local businesses. I was on my way to a new coffee shop, and Buxom was on the way. As I was walking, my eyes slid past the sign on the door “Plus Size Clothing Boutique.”
I did a double take. A plus size boutique?! In my town?? WHERE I COULD TRY ON CLOTHES IN PERSON? Score. I opened the door, and fell in love with the fashion forward aesthetic at Buxom and began my friendship with Jenny, the Buxom’s owner and founder. Below is a feature on this fabulous shop store and its one-of-a-kind proprietor, Jenny Hayes.
“Growing up in San Diego, I would design my own clothes,” says Jenny while wrapping an online order. “We didn’t have a Lane Bryant, or any store that carried my size. I’d buy plain mens t-shirts and bedazzle them. I made some pretty horrendous outfits actually,” she says with a laugh. Being able to wear pretty dresses and fun trendy outfits was something that she longed for, and would become the series of fantasies and drawings that occupied a lot of her free time as a young girl.
Buxom has long existed in Jenny’s head, and in 2014 she decided to make her dream a reality. She opened Buxom Modern Plus Boutique, creating a space that welcomed everyone to come and shop indie designers and high-quality clothing you don’t get in big stores. “Many of the women that come in have never been able to shop in a boutique and try on clothes,” Jenny says with a sigh. “It can be pretty emotional, in a good way, for them to come in and be able to try on things that they feel cute in.”
One of the challenging things about being a boutique owner, and self-employed business woman, has been to compete with big box retailers. “Plus size boutiques have been disappearing,” says Jenny. “Because competing with the big brands is so difficult. We love to complain that we have no options – but we do have options! We just don’t use them. But we need to support plus-size Indie designers and shop owners, or pretty soon all we’ll have to choose from is the same four stores.”
Pictured is Anastasia Furrow, in a shoot for Skorch Magazine
Jenny’s creative background, and love of photography has created quite the following on her instagram account (she worked for years as a professional interior designer). “I love posting photos of my customers in clothes from the shop,” she says with a laugh. “Women wear clothes from Buxom all over the world. It’s amazing to scroll #ShopBuxom and see where the clothes (and the ladies who wear them) end up.” Buxom customers have shared selfies from countries as far away as Australia, and Jenny just sent her first order to Russia!
Jenny has taken the customer selfie one step further, with #BuxomBabe photo shoots and professional photo shoots featuring Buxom customers. Says Jenny, “As plus-size women, we don’t see ourselves in advertisements – or online at all really. I started the photoshoot project to show Buxom customers in our clothes, and broadcast the world how beautiful and unique they are.” Customers sign up for the photoshoot via her website, and they’ve been a hit.
Photo shoots unfortunately bring up something we all love to hate: Photoshop. “I don’t photoshop anything I do. I do use filters and lighting when we do BuxomBabes. It’s good for folks to see what it looks like on real people. When they see a photo in a glossy magazine they may think ‘It doesn’t look like that on me,’ but it doesn’t look like that on anyone!”
Oh! Did you know that Jenny is also a plus-size fairy godmother-stylist. She dresses over 400 women a month, and has seen first-hand issues of fit. “ When I go to shows to pick next season’s pieces, I spend so much time telling manufacturers where they’ve gone wrong.”
So where does Jenny want to go next? Well, designing clothes of course! Her first capsule collection is due out this fall, and we’ll be following up with her to talk about how she ethically produces fashionable clothes for plus-size women.
#TBT to Buxom's first shoot shot by me with the amazing @shmanishmasia with @niyamodels. This dress was the first piece I ever custom designed. Today, the samples for our new exclusive collection shipped. Can't wait to share them with everyone. It's been a crazy year with many ups and downs, but it has been the most fulfilling. Thank you to all the #BuxomBabes for supporting, liking and sharing! Feeling a little nostalgic today. ? #shopbuxom #newchapters
Learn more about the boutique and the owner at ShopBuxom.com!
Have you shopped Buxom Plus Size Boutique before? Are you familiar with your local plus size boutiques? Make sure you check out our Plus Size Boutique Directory! These are all local, physical shops that cater exclusively to plus size women! Check it out!