Part & Parcel founder and chief executive officer Lauren Haber Jonas fluctuated between a size 20 and 22 since she was 10 years old and suffered all the indignities of a fashion industry that historically turned a deaf ear toward women size 14 or above. “I was that kid wearing maternity clothing giving the graduation speech for my class,” she said. “And, I was that kid in college wearing Jos. A Bank [men’s wear] for an internship. I’ve been a member of this community my whole life.”
The plus-size brand, which is sold by the brand’s customers, often as a side hustle, today is launching Part & Parcel Talent, a response to Haber Jonas’ own challenges in finding and booking plus-size models. Talent’s inaugural modeling class consists of 15 women whose sizes range from 14 to 36. Haber Jonas plans to triple the size of the modeling pool by early next year.
Haber Jonas in college launched a fashion blog, the Pear Shape, about her fruitless searches for apparel that fit. When she posted her measurements on the Internet, it resonated with so many women that the blog “grew to be a very large community,” she said, noting that it amassed 150,000 monthly unique visitors at its height in 2008.
“I heard from women facing economic and workplace realities,” she said. “Life as a plus person wasn’t only challenging with clothing, these women were literally walking in a world where they didn’t fit.”
Haber Jonas — who led Poshmark‘s expansion initiatives from 2014-17, launching and managing new retail products, wholesale, plus size, men’s and kids, which accounted for nearly 40 percent of the e-commerce site’s business — launched Part & Parcel in May. She said Poshmark ceo Manish Chandra is a mentor.
“We call salespeople, partners,” Haber Jonas said. “We’re in over 30 states in the U.S. We launched in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s majority plus, has been in a three-year-long recession and it’s a clothing desert. Big-box retailers are shutting down and Amazon Prime is very weak. From there we’ve had partners popping up in many states that most retailers don’t go to.”
Part & Parcel works with designers based on the category. There are different designers for tops, bottoms, boots and flats. “We work with consultants,” Haber Jonas said. “We don’t have any in-house designers intentionally, and by design, because we want to be able to serve a lot of categories. We drop product every four weeks, but we retire sku’s quickly. We want to make sure we can get her the best price point, so we source every category.”
While size inclusivity is a growing conversation for many brands, Haber Jonas pointed out that plus is Part & Parcel’s sole focus, not an afterthought. She said 70 percent of American women are plus size, and only 2 percent of brands cater to that consumer. Throughout the company’s development, Haber Jonas has looked for ways to create opportunities for plus women.
Part & Parcel Talent, Haber Jonas said, is a talent platform exclusively for the plus community. With Talent, Haber Jonas is doubling down on the company’s mission to create more economic opportunity and representation for the plus community — starting with a vertical that could use an evolution: modeling.
“We realized very quickly that fit models for our campaigns don’t exist,” Haber Jonas said. “We couldn’t find a modeling agency to hire a 3X, 4X, 5x or 6X. We decided we were going to do it ourselves, not just for models to work with Part & Parcel, but to work with other brands. We want them to earn money and thrive.”
Part & Parcel raised $4 million in a Seed round led by Jeremy Liew, who was the first investor in Snapchat. Haber Jonas said the company will likely do another round in 2020.
“We have models representing every physical ability and gender pronoun identification. Talent is racially diverse and height diverse. Everybody needs to see plus-size models. The agency is a call to other brands. We’re starting with modeling, but there will be other verticals,” she said.