In 2017, Adelaide copywriter Alexia Frangos was looking for a dress for her 22nd birthday, and couldn’t find anything to wear.
Curvy and not the standard size stocked by most retailers, Frangos remembers finding it “really hard” to find something affordable and nice for the event.
Frangos had hoped someone would take the initiative to start a clothing hire business targeted for curvier women, but soon realised she’d need to take matters into her own hands.
“I kept seeing hire stores popping up on my feed – there was a new one every week on Instagram or Facebook – and I was just like, ‘why is it only sizes six to eight?’”
Naturally, Frangos took her frustrations to social media.
“I went on a bit of a Facebook rant, as we all do, and I got heaps of comments back and people agreed with what I was saying,” she said.
“People were just like, ‘you should do it’. And I thought, ‘you know what f**k it I'm going to do it’.”
Despite a few obstacles in her way (living at home and a lack of funds), Frangos chatted to her boyfriend, Joshua, and his dad, Mario, that night about the idea to open up her own curvy clothing hire business in Adelaide, and they agreed to be her partners.
“They both thought it was a really good investment opportunity and decided to back me,” she said.
“Within about four weeks, we drew up some partnership papers, looked for the clothes and came up with a brand and the name and all that, and we were open.”
Her business, 808 Threads, is appointment-based, which means women rock up to Frangos’ home to see the clothes and try them on.
808 Threads stocks between a size 12 and 22, and specialises in women with pear or hourglass shapes.
“We get a lot of demand for sizes 24 and 26 too. Those sizes – you basically have to go and get them custom made, and it wasn’t actually on the cards for us in the first year and a half because we couldn’t find a wholesale relationship with a designer.”
Now, Frangos says she’s been approached by local brands who want to stock their curvier items for women.
And she’s been inundated with great feedback and happy customers ever since.
“You don't want to go and buy a $200 or $300 dress for one occasion and never wear it again,” she said. “There was such a demand, a thirst, for this,” she said.
So much so, that Frangos had to cut back from full-time work as a copywriter to freelancing just to keep up with the demand.
“I was basically on the verge of burning out.”
“I was working full-time and couldn’t concentrate on the business that much, and it was being affected. It was a lot on my plate.”
“It ended up being really good that I went freelance and was able to give myself a break. I've got more time for the business and I don’t feel like I'm drowning.”
Running a side hustle doesn’t come without its challenges
Luckily Frangos’ boyfriend and his father understood the business-side of things to get her up and running, but Frangos took the reins from then.
“I didn’t feel stressed about it [the business] because I had someone with me along the way, but opening a business is not all it’s cracked up to be.
“There are late nights, running around doing errands, fitting people in,” she said.
But it’s not without its rewards either.
“It doesn’t feel like a job to me and I get so much enjoyment out of it and meeting new people.
“Having that impact and trying to help people with their body positivity has been really rewarding for me – it’s something I’m really passionate about.”
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