Big Girl Gear proprietor, Monique Jurgen lives in sunny California a place known for its sun, tan skin and bikinis. Monique's career started off in Marketing and Creative advertising but then her "need and love for beautiful clothing eventually took over". When she's not busy providing fashionable clothing to Big Girl Gear customers she spends her free time swimming, cooking or reading.
Moe: How long have you been running BGG?
Monique Jurgen: Since 1998 when I opened my first Boutique. I have had two retail stores. One in Palmdale CA and the other in Orange CA. BBW Boutique was a wonderful place for plus size women to find the things the chain stores did not carry.
Moe: Is Big Girl Gear only online?
Monique Jurgen: BGG is primarily sold online. But I do attend plus size events as a vendor. That info can be found on the events page of my website. Every year I attend the annual Vegas bash thrown by the BBW Network. It is a great place for BBW's to shop, make new friends and meet men who love them. As a vendor I provide items they can't find elsewhere.
Moe: Do you design the fashions?
Monique Jurgen: I design my line Big Girl Gear. But I do carry other lines as well. I create out of need and desire. When ever the need or the desire hits me that's when I make something new. It could take a week or a few months, you never know how long. BGG is fun, comfortable, real clothing for real women. I offer sizes 1x to 10x.
Moe: Was it important to you for BGG to offer Super Sizes and are you plus size?
Monique Jurgen: First off I am a super size woman. I have always been a woman of size and proud of it. I believe every woman should be comfortable in their own skin and love themselves as they are. Secondly super size woman have been neglected by the fashion industry long enough. I didn't have anything that fit and my options in the retail stores had run out. So I decided to design a line of plus and super size clothing. I figured I wasn't the only woman out there bigger than a size 28
Moe: Your fashions are funky and fashionable, is this by customer request or your design?
Monique Jurgen: By my design. I was in my late twenties when I began, so I needed clothing for all occasions. I have a love for beautiful clothing. I start out with something for myself then everyone keeps asking "Where did you get it?" Then I end up making it since they have asked for it. All women should have nice clothes to wear.
Moe: How are you able to keep the prices so low?
Monique Jurgen: I know how to shop around and I pass the savings over to my customers.
Moe: I love the plus size models. Where did you find them?
Monique Jurgen: Some of the models are personal friends and some are women who saw the site and asked to be a model. All of my friends were very excited. They love the clothing as much as I do.
Moe: If someone wants to model for BGG what should they do?
Monique Jurgen: They should send me a full length photo and they need to live in the southern California area. All of our photo shoots are done in southern California.
Moe: When people think of California the images of bikinis, tans and bodybuilders comes to mind. What's fashion and shopping like for the super-size woman in California?
Monique Jurgen: They mostly shop on line or at BBW conventions. That is where they can work closely with merchants that specialize in super sizes. There are very few Boutiques out there that cater to the super size woman these days.
Moe: What's your impression of plus-size fashion today?
Monique Jurgen: It is getting closer each year in understanding what plus size women want.
Moe: What do you hope BGG accomplishes for your customers?
Monique Jurgen: That they feel great in our clothing.
Moe: What is your vision for the future of BGG? Women's Fashions?
Monique Jurgen: That we keep making clothing that women love.
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