For Victoria McGroarty, finding plus-sized clothing she actually wanted to wear was a constant battle. She wanted fashionable, well-made clothing in larger sizes, but couldn't find it. It soon became clear that many other people felt the same way.
This gap in the market planted the seed of an idea in Victoria's mind. Over the course of four years, she gave herself a complete education in the plus-sized clothing industry. She comes from a corporate technology background, but realized that her passion lay elsewhere.
Victoria spent four years building the idea of Gussied Up. She researched tirelessly, learning all about plus-sized designers and brands. She assembled her business plan while taking retail courses to learn about retail management, retail buying and more. Finally, the stars aligned and her shop Gussied Up was born in March 2011.
Victoria and her store are part of a community. She knows about her customer's lives, and has seen them get married, get new jobs and go off to school. She chose to open her first store on Bathurst Street, in the same neighborhood she grew up in.
The love of fashion and high quality clothing is apparent throughout the store. Gussied Up carries cocktail dresses, blazers, dress pants, outerwear, underwear and everything in between. Victoria focuses on Canadian designers and more than half of the product in the store comes from Canada. She includes products from Canadian designers such as Joseph Ribkoff, Cartise, and Duchess and Duchess, among others.
Gussied Up believes in customers not having to settle. Victoria doesn't want her customers to buy things because they’re “good enough.”
“The best part is having people come in and not just having to settle on a style because it fits,” she adds. “It’s something they get excited about.” According to Victoria, the hardest part of the business is deciding what to carry. With so many great options on the market, she constantly has tough decisions to make when stocking her store. For someone who loves shopping, clothes, and her community of customers, it’s a great problem to have.