A former CPA has found a new fit as an entrepreneur.
Laura Ricker this month opened Fit For A Queen, the new incarnation of Kathi’s Kloset, a West End consignment shop for plus-size women in the Ridge Shopping Center on North Parham Road that she purchased and renamed.
Ricker, who most recently worked in finance at Travelers Insurance, had been considering a career change when Kathi’s Kloset owner Kathi Tudor passed away.
As a longtime customer of the store, Ricker saw an opening and made the leap. Kathi’s Kloset closed in late September. Fit For A Queen opened on Nov. 10
“For me it’s a labor of love, being a curvy woman myself,” Ricker said. “I was deciding to make a career change this year and it all kind of converged. This opportunity presented itself, so I’m excited to serve these women.”
As Kathi’s Kloset did, Fit For A Queen serves what Ricker refers to as the “curvy community.” She believes those women are underserved by the market but also, national brands are beginning to cater to those that require larger clothing sizes.
“I think a lot of major retailers are realizing there is a lot of money to be made because when you look out into society, a lot of women are size 14 and up,” Ricker said. “This was the only consignment store for curvy women in town,” she said of Kathi’s Kloset.
In coming up with a new name for the shop, Ricker said: “I wanted to create a brand that is reflective of what we do, but is also tongue in cheek and positive.
“It’s all about curvy women. It’s about body positivity and a positive place.”
Ricker has redesigned the store, expanded its offerings, and added more clothing racks, a paint job and new logos. To accommodate more working women, Ricker has extended the closing from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Ricker has reached out to Kathi’sKloset consignors and also plans to market her company to a new audience. Within the past two weeks, that reaching out resulted in consignors filling the store with clothing size 14 and up. She said Kathi’s Kloset clientele extended beyond Richmond, with some customers driving in from Charlottesville and Northern Virginia to consign or purchase clothing.
“There has been overwhelming support from the curvy community and they have been bestowing fabulous items. We’ve honestly been very humbled by the response,” Ricker said. “We had to push our grand opening back because we took in more clothing than I anticipated, and it took us some time to price and organize it.”
Ricker also plans to host events in the consignment shop starting in 2019, with speakers on topics such as body image and body positivism, health and wellness.
More immediately, she is planning an open house where frequent consignors can gather and get to know each other. Soon, a section of the store will be named “Kathi’s Korner” in honor of the late owner and will feature products such as stationery with inspirational quotes and jewelry by local artisans.
“Kathi was beloved in the community here,” Ricker said. “Everyone who comes in talks about her, how inspirational she was, and how she helped people.”
Ricker is leasing the 2,400-square-foot space from Marchetti Properties.
For each consignment, Fit For A Queen pays 40 percent to consignors, and plans to offer an option for consignors to donate the amount to charities of their choosing.
Prices to purchase consigned items range from about $20 to $75.
“We are marketing to the everyday woman. So it’s not an extremely high-end boutique,” Ricker said. “It’s your career clothing. It’s what you’re wearing to church. It’s your workout clothes.”