Life and Religion
|Big dreams and Infinite Style|
|Renita Martin answers call to launch plus-size fashion boutique|
|Published Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:30 am|
|PHOTO/ CALVIN FERGUSON|
|Renita Martin launched Infinite Style Boutique in 2010 to afford plus-size women an online store that caters to their sense of fashion.|
After being laid off three times in a two-year period, Renita Martin decided it was time to take matters into her own hands.
In 2010, she launched Infinite Style Boutique, an online clothing store that caters to plus size women.
When the Detroit native earned her bachelors degree in health communications from Grand Valley State University, she had no intentions on pursuing a career in fashion. Her goal was to become a pharmaceutical sales representative.
“I just wanted to make good money,” said Martin, 29.
However, she found that it was a very competitive market to enter.
“You basically have to know someone,” she said.
After a couple of visits to see a family friend in Charlotte, Martin fell in love with the city and relocated here in 2010. Three weeks later, she landed a job with a logistics company. After a series of layoffs, she landed a position working at a pharmaceutical company, only to have her position as a financial analyst outsourced to India.
“Corporate America kind of beat me up,” she said. “I was sick of punching the clock and making somebody else rich. I felt like a number and not Renita. At any given time, they could just let me go. It’s tough when you don’t feel valued.”
The lack of job security became too stressful.
“I can’t live like that,” she said. “I decided to take things into my own hands and create an opportunity for myself. Even though it meant sacrificing some things and not making as much money as I used to, I’ve never been happier so I felt like it was worth it.”
When Martin launched Infinite Style in 2010, it was a side hustle to supplement her income. When she was laid off for the third time in 2012, she decided to invest her energy and resources into the business fulltime.
Last May, she held a launch party to reintroduce Infinite Style, and more than 300 people showed up.
“I don’t even know 300 people,” she quipped, adding that she had barely been in Charlotte for two years at the time. “That makes me really happy. Even if I’m not the richest person from what I do, as long as people know that this is my passion and I can help somebody else, then I’m happy.”
Martin said the response she has received from plus-size women has been overwhelming.
“It’s definitely become something much bigger than I thought it would be when I first started,” she said. “I find that girls write me all the time saying, ‘I’m so thankful that you are making things affordable for women like me,’ ‘I don’t have to dress in boxy clothes any more,’ and ‘The way you dress gives me confidence.’”
Martin said she has also heard from a handful of plus-size women who now say they want to get into modeling.
Martin said confidence has never been an issue for her.
“I’ve always been pretty confident,” she said. “I’ve never felt bad about myself.”
Martin anticipates 2013 will be a busy year because she has so much she wants to accomplish before turning 30. She hopes to expand Infinite Style, which offers fashion consulting for special events and wardrobe makeovers in addition to retail, to include her own clothing designs. She is in talks with production companies to discuss the next steps in getting the Infinite Style label off the ground.
In the meantime she has two fashion shows scheduled, including one that will take place during CIAA week. She is also casting for confident, curvy models to walk the runway and model for her online catalog.
For more information, visit Infinitestyleonline.com or follow the boutique on Twitter and Instagram at InfiniteStyle4U.
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