Clothing exchanges… no big deal, right? Yeah, kind of a big deal when you’re a plus size woman. You bring a bomb pair of boots you don’t like anymore and what do you get? A headband? Yeah, that’s not going to work. Well, check out Emily Treischel from Big, Beautiful, and Broke. As CEO of one of the most organized and fastest growing clothing exchanges on the West Coast, Treischel is not stopping until she brings big beautiful women inexpensive quality clothing! And, guess what…. she’s pretty BOLD! We caught up with Treischel this past weekend and we’re so excited to tell you all about it. Hopefully, we can get her to go to the XLence Plus Vegas Bash and bring her clothing swap ways! Check out how it went, below:
Bold Magazine: Okay, Emily. we love this idea! What are you hoping to accomplish with Big Beautiful and Broke?
Emily: Over the last few years our swap has changed quite a bit. Through all of the growth the one thing that has remained the same is our mission- Building women up mentally, spiritually and physically by helping them find affordable clothes that fit and feel great! Encouraging them to branch out and become part of the team. Building that strong foundation of community between women, especially plus size women is so important! All of us curvy ladies have to stick together!
Bold Magazine: I hear that! So, how did it all start?
Emily: In 2012, I was working as a teacher. One of my students’ moms was a curvy gal. She was always super fashionable and had all of the newest and hottest clothes from the plus size stores I couldn’t afford to shop at. I would compliment her outfit almost every time I saw her! One day I jokingly told her we should exchange wardrobes and that’s when it all clicked. I went back to my classroom and started brainstorming. It was one of those crazy brainstorms where so many ideas are flowing you can’t contain your excitement. A few months later we had our first Big, Beautiful and Broke Swap! The rest is history.
Bold Magazine: Amazing! So far, what has the response been?
Emily: We have had a fantastic response! The outpouring of support from my team but also our community has been phenomenal. People get so excited about our events! After a few events we realized this was truly an underserved population in Northern Nevada. Every woman who walks through our doors is grateful for us and that makes it all worth it!
Bold Magazine: It sounds like you’ve made a huge impact! Tell us a story about someone you helped or made an impact with.
Emily: One of our very first swaps, a lady actually found her wedding dress! The dress cost her $0 and she looked absolutely stunning in it on her wedding day. We also serve a lot of women who have spent their lives hiding under baggy clothes, or men’s clothes because they felt they had no options. If they walk out of my swap with their head held a little higher than when they walked in, we know we are doing something right.
Bold Magazine: That is INCREDIBLE! So, you mentioned a pretty intricate design and operational setup. How does Big Beautiful and Broke work?
Emily: The fun thing about being an independent group is we get to change our structure as we see fit. Operations are constantly being improved and redesigned to make the shopping experience better and the set up experience better for our volunteer team. We keep the costs to a bare minimum and make it accessible for anyone regardless of their finances. Essentially, you drop off your clothing, on hangers, we sort it and assign you credit based on what you bring. After you shop, you check out and anything over the amount of credit you earned you can pay the difference in cash. Any leftover credit you may have, we save for you for next time. If you don’t have clothes to swap, you can simply come shop our killer deals. Nothing is over $10!
Emily: Aside from the beautiful, curvy ladies you’ll see only at our events- we strive to make it an uplifting shopping trip for women who usually have the opposite experience. We hang body positive quotes all over the place, blast the feel-good music, have a potluck and dedicate volunteers to help you shop. It’s really just one big, plus size, fashionable party!
Bold Magazine: We love it! Can we come? What goes into putting a swap together?
Emily: This is a great question! I feel this part of our events is often overlooked. Months and months of planning! Coordinating when and where to hold the events. (We don’t have a cash flow, all of the money we make gets donated, or used for overhead costs so finding cheap or free spaces to hold our events can be tricky). Volunteer training and coordinating, sorting and hanging the most clothes you’ve ever seen in your life, and of course storing them in between swaps. We are also constantly accepting donations of clothes to ensure we have a good selection. Finally, there’s the set up and tear down. We work ourselves to the core on swap weekends and none of it would be possible without our dedicated volunteers!
Bold Magazine: You and I have chatted offline about being a plus advocate. Friends you’ve met, people you’ve confronted in a positive way when they were doing harm. How do you see yourself making an impact?
Emily: At the end of the day when the madness of the swap is over. The 30 volunteers have gone home, our 100+ shoppers are gone and I finally lock up our storage unit for a few more months, I sincerely hope the women I interacted with that day see me as a ray of plus size sunshine. I want to be living, breathing, fat proof that you can love yourself at any size and you don’t have to fall victim to what society wants the world to think about you. If I can pass that mantra on to even one person, then it is all worth it.
Bold Magazine: That’s awesome! You’re such a rock star! What is next for you personally for Big Beautiful and Broke?
Emily: My best friend Tawana and I are working on rebranding Big Beautiful and Broke, and incorporating a heavier social media presence. Through our personal blog called Sisters of the Curve and many local organizations that support the body positive scene, we want to start a meaningful movement in Nevada. It’s time for plus size men and women to be seen and heard and we are prepared to be a vessel for that change.
Bold Magazine: Can’t wait to hear more! Lastly, what makes you BOLD?
Emily: What makes me BOLD is my fearless approach at helping women in my community. I am willing and ready to put in the sweaty ground work for everyone’s benefit. Tossing the haters to the left and marching forward with my dream of a big, beautiful and broke world of people loving people! Thank you, BOLD team for so passionately highlighting something so special to me!