Who's doing what:
•Plus-size designer Gayla Bentley persuaded clothing manufacturer Daymond John and real estate magnate Barbara Corcoran to invest $250,000 for 50% of her company on ABC's Shark Tank in October. Her size 2 to 28 label will be in Von Maur department stores starting this spring, and she expects to announce another deal with a major department store any day. Bentley, whose clothes are already sold at many boutiques, NeimanMarcus.com and GaylaBentley.com, says she also has a deal in the works with a home shopping channel.
•Torrid, owned by Hot Topic, had double-digit growth in its online sales in the fiscal year that ends Jan. 30. The site sells sizes larger than the size 12 to 26 options in stores. Torrid President Chris Daniel says the brand caters to young, "curvy fashionistas" and has the "if you've got it, flaunt it mentality."
•Abby Zeichner, owner of the size 2 to 24 fashion line Abby Z., is now selling her fashions on the online and TV shopping channel HSN and hosts her third shopping special on Feb. 9. Zeichner, who wears a size 16, laments that larger women seeking high-end designers are "lucky if there's a size 12," the others are "skinny-only."
Stores often only buy one of each of the small and larger sizes in her lines, Freeman says, and two of sizes 8 and 10. But she says it's her smallest and largest sizes that sell out first. Store sales clerks complain that they don't have enough 12s, 14s or 16s, Freeman says, "but we don't make up the ratio of what they carry."
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