Jaime Mackenzie knows exactly how hard it can be to find plus-sized clothing items in Winnipeg to suit her tastes and her figure.
It was this frustration — and a lack of local buying options — that inspired the married mother of two young children to open J. Mackenzie Fashions at 525-B St. Anne’s Rd. (near Bishop Grandin Boulevard) last month.
After months of searching for the right location, the St. Vital resident recently opened the doors to the business after starting out selling clothing and accessories online last summer.
"I am a plus-sized woman myself, so my customers are often relieved — and surprised — when they see I face the same challenges as them," said Mackenzie, 35, who has made a complete career change after years spent working in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
"One of the challenges I faced is that I couldn’t find any clothes for curvier women that were form-fitting in line with the smaller sizes. You shouldn’t have to wear something big and baggy just because you’re a curvy woman," she added.
To help introduce her new business to the community, the entrepreneur will hold a grand opening event at the store on Sat., March 23.
"Everything that day will be on sale and we will be doing draws, as a few local businesses have donated prizes. We’re hoping for a good turnout and meet-and-greet," she said.
Mackenzie believes she has found a niche in the market, noting that many plus-sized women are forced to shop in the U.S. and elsewhere because of a lack of local choices.
"The plus-sized market is such an underserved one here, as there are only a small handful of outlets in Winnipeg. I hope to provide more choices for women," she said, noting the average-sized North American woman is between a size 12 and a 14.
Mackenzie, for the record, stocks between 0X (size 12) and 6X (size 34) and customers now have the choice of shopping in-store or online.
And whether her customers are looking for cardigans, casual wear, dresses, jeans, suits, lingerie, scarves, handbags and even wedding dresses — Mackenzie hopes she can offer a personal connection.
"I’m small enough where I can order stuff in or help them find stuff by checking with my suppliers," she said.
She explained it was always a dream to start her own business, it was just a case of "finding a need" in the community.
For more information, visit www.jmackenziefashions.com or call 204-421-6014.