business curves fashion modeling motivation

A Seat At The Table with Tavira Tapley of TNT Unique Designs

February 17, 2017

Good Afternoon Loves,

As you know being a curvy woman has its benefits, but it also has its disadvantages, particularly in the world of fashion. Many women have a hard time finding custom designed pieces that truly embrace their identity through fashion.  However, TNT Unique Designs is one plus boutique that has been breaking the mold in plus designs by offering high-quality, diversified, and affordable options to women of all shapes and sizes in the curvy community.  After working with her on a few of her print campaigns in 2016 I was inspired to discover what lead her to this journey of not only being a provider of fashion, but being a female voice for the plus size community.  She provided some excellent words of wisdom, encouragement, and business insight:

COC: Why did you enter the Plus Fashion Industry:

Tavira: Well first of all, I am plus size myself and I wanted to have quality clothes that were not being worn by everyone due to limited boutiques offering plus sized clothing.  I was tired of showing up to events and parties and seeing 4 other women with my same dress on because we all shop at the same store because it’s the only store in town that sells edgy clothing for plus women.

COC: LeSe Williams is your house model correct? How does she represent the TNT Brand and Image?

Tavira: LeSe has the body type that truly represents what being a plus brand is. She is a size 3x with a full curvy body and that to me is what plus size women are looking for when they shop.  Most women who shop with my boutique are not a size 10 through 14, so it doesn’t make sense for me to use a model that truly doesn’t convey what my clothes will look like on them.  They want to see true plus size representation and that is what I offer with my brand.

COC: What was the biggest challenge you faced starting your boutique?

Tavira: It was hard trying to find my target market because I wanted to please everyone. Eventually, I came to the realization that I had to offer what I saw fit and represented the direction in fashion that I found most trendy and unique.

COC: Why did you choose to be a mobile boutique instead of having a storefront?

Tavira:  I know a lot of boutique owners and I know that I could have a store but I want to keep my prices as low as possible. A store front is a lot of upkeep and the in order to meet the cost margins, I would have to mark up my clothing.  I have seen dresses inside of other boutiques that are selling it for $140.00 that I am offering for $79.00 because they have to take into account of all the expenses of maintaining that store when they price their product. They have to place it at a price point so that they can profit from the sell of the item and have money to pay for necessary store upkeep. Additionally, I want my customers to leave with the feeling that it is affordable to look great. That it won’t take a whole lot to look amazing, and still feel that the clothing is of high quality. That is What TNT Unique Designs is about.  Additionally, being a mobile boutique makes it easier to network  with different business opportunities in the area.  I can take my business wherever I go and be able to capitalize from that experience.

COC: What trends is TNT focusing on this Spring?

Tavira:  Lots of neon yellow and royal blue pieces. More items with fringe and tassel details.

COC:  I see that you occasionally showcase your boutique in fashion shows throughout the East Coast, do you ever host Model Calls for these opportunities?

Tavira: No, I have my models that I have built a strong relationship with that I know I can depend on when I need to host events or present at fashion shows.

COC: What is the one piece of advice you would give plus size women when it comes to fashion?

Tavira:  Never be intimidated to try something new and to embrace your curves. They are beautiful and you should own every part of yourself.  You don’t have to cover up and hide behind your clothes.

COC: What are some future projects that you are working on?

Tavira:  One of my future aspirations is to start a swimsuit line for TNT Unique Designs, it will be a distant goal due to the research and finding the right material and designs I want but it is definitely something I have been simmering on for quite some time.  Another goal I am working on is creating a workshop for female entrepreneurs to teach them some of the tools I used to start my business and build my success and to also build a networking opportunity in the DMV area for women to meet and feel empowered.

It was definitely an honor being able to speak with Mrs. Tapley and really getting a better understanding of her and the TNT Unique Designs Brand.  Below are some of my favorite looks offered at TNT Unique Designs. Click the link to go directly to her website and shop Today!!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.