Amy Skerratt always knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur.
She just wasn’t sure what that looked like. Inspired by her father, who owned his own business, she took a business-minded career path, majoring in marketing and management in college. The northern Michigan native moved to Nashville seven years ago and soon saw a space in the market for a shop that would offer stylish options for plus-size women. Unable to find fabulous fits for herself, Skerratt began to dig into the idea of opening her own business to give other women the styles and sizes they were so desperately seeking.
“I got curious about what it would be like to walk into a boutique with clothing that actually fits my body,” Skerratt says. “I started researching plus size fashion, boutique shopping, small business, entrepreneurship, and more. I teamed up with a business coach; I created spreadsheets, lookbooks, vision boards, and budgets.”
The result is The Extended Shop, a Capitol View-based boutique that offers plus size clothing for women in a space that feels welcoming and accepting. We chatted with Skerratt about the early days of her business venture, finding the perfect location, and the importance of making all women feel beautiful in their own skin.
Nashville Lifestyles: You started with pop-up shops. How did those turn into a brick-and-mortar store?
Amy Skerratt: The Extended Shop pop-ups began as an accessible first step in discovering if the Nashville community would be interested in what I had to offer. Through Extended Shop pop-ups, I got to meet customers, hear and see what they were interested in buying, and use that experiential knowledge to develop my dream of opening an actual store. I knew from the beginning that I wanted The Extended Shop to be a brick-and- mortar store, and more, I knew I wanted it to not just be a store, but an experience. When customers walked in, I wanted the store to be aesthetically pleasing, smell good, and be stocked with beautiful, trendy clothes in larger sizes. Because the pop-ups were a success, generating a loyal customer base who’ve supported The Extended Shop from the beginning, I was able to take the next steps to find a permanent storefront.
NL: What can shoppers expect from the inventory?
AS: So often plus-size people are relegated to the online shopping experience because large brands/ businesses rarely carry their plus-size clothing lines in their stores. We offer an intentional, welcoming space for the plus-size consumer. When you walk into The Extended Shop, you belong. We carry a curated selection of brands that offer classic and trendy styles, and we offer a staff well-equipped to help style you for whatever event big or small. Currently, most brands in the store offer their styles up to 3x, and we will expand to 6x by the holidays.
NL: What made Capitol View the right place for The Extended Shop?
AS: I worked closely with my real estate agent, Liz Craig, to find the perfect fit for The Extended Shop. We explored many different neighborhoods and options, and ultimately, when I toured Capitol View, it felt right. Capitol View is an established shopping destination, it’s close to downtown, and it felt like the perfect fit for the first location of a plus-size clothing boutique in Nashville.
NL: How are customers responding to the shop?
AS: Many customers walk in vulnerable. They bring with them a lot of body and shopping trauma from years of not having a space like The Extended Shop. I can’t put into words the joy I feel watching customers feel welcomed and celebrated in their bodies and I hope customers find themselves resonating with our mantra, “you belong here in your body, in your size” as they leave the store. I’m most proud of the community we’ve created and what the store offers to people who need it. The plus-size community has waited far too long for a place like The Extended Shop. It’s joy embodied, and I’m so proud that a place like this exists in Nashville.
(409 11th Ave. N., extnddshop.com)
Originally published by Nashville Lifestyles