Interview With Marla Wynne… Your Power, Your Breakthrough, The October 2022 Issue!
It was during a plus size event in NYC that we met Marla Wynne almost eight years ago. Already an established and successful brand Marla had her sights set on learning about the plus size customer. Marla was not interested in “grading up” and cashing in, she wanted to know “US” the community, the fashion, the people, and how she could celebrate her plus-size customer.
Today Marla Wynne is one of THE top brands at HSN and her plus-size customer base has increased significantly due to her genuine passion to offer clothing that is made with her curves in mind.
Marla has some exciting news to share with you about her launch and where the Marla Wynne empire is headed.
[PMM] We have been following your professional journey for the past 8 years and your passion to reach the plus size customer was not something you HAD to do, it’s something you wanted to do. Can you share your thoughts?
[MW] I wanted to reach this customer for two reasons. First, I wanted an inclusive brand that could address the needs of all women and secondly because in business it seemed foolish to ignore one of the most important segments of the population. However, as someone who came to this career as a second act I instinctively knew that in order to make apparel for the plus size women correctly, the learning curve would be steep.
I did my research and quickly realized that Madeline Jones had one of the most distinguished and authoritative voices in the plus industry. I made it my business to meet her. Through Maddy, I have learned that it’s not about size, it’s about shape and not just making things bigger as so many manufacturers tend to do. Her remarkable willingness to share her expertise and her passion for inclusivity – heightened my own determination to get it right!
[PMM] We are living in uncertain times and watching how many people (especially women) are following their journey to entrepreneurship. With all your experience and knowledge what are the most important lessons, you have learned?
[MW] While not an easy road to traverse, it is a journey well worth taking. You must remember that when you start something new, you are going to make mistakes so don’t aim for perfection. I truly believe that if you are not making mistakes, you are not learning. Instead, commit to being a lifelong learner.
Learn to pivot.
Accept that you may not be the smartest person in the room.
Hire people who challenge you. People who question you. People who are smarter than you and then listen to them.
Make diversity and inclusion a goal.
Surround yourself with people who are willing to embrace your vision but see the world differently.
Be fearless and trust your instincts.
[PMM] We are celebrating the launch of your NEW Denim Launch on HSN later this month. Can you take us through the process and why you think so many of us have a difficult time shopping for denim? Any shopping tips?
[MW] When I started to develop denim, I had no clue how difficult it really was and why it is so hard for most of us to find a pair of jeans that fit right off the bat. Much of it has to do with the nature of denim itself.
Denim is a unique product – from the fabric itself to the process of dying denim, to the nuances of shading and fit.
You’ve all heard about “premium denim” and seen the $200 plus price tags. So, is it worth it? Premium denim uses high-quality longer staple length cotton and it is often heavier due to a higher yarn density and the nature of cotton which tends to give while wearing. I didn’t want that. I wanted a denim that didn’t stretch out while I was wearing it. I wanted my denim to fit as good the first minute I slipped into my jeans as they did through many washes and wearings. I don’t want to “wear it in”. Like most of you – I just want to put it on and wear it, love it and not pay $200 bucks or more to get it!
I chose a performance denim that is slightly lighter weight and less dense so that it would be comfortable to wear from the get-go. However, just like premium denim we use longer staple length cotton with a touch of viscose so it feels soft from day one.
Most mid-priced denim lines use commodity-based denim and as a result fail to achieve what our performance denim offers. The average fabric stretch in the most common mid-priced denims have a stretch score of 30% with a recovery of 85%. WYNNEDENIM achieved a 42% stretch score and 92% recovery score, offering the stretch I wanted and working with the natural movements of my body and not bagging out after the endless hours I spend seated in front of my computer.
If you are a pear or hour glass shaped woman, you know that sometimes denim tends to either be too big at the waist to comfortably accommodate your curves or vice versa. Look for jeans that cut the waistbands on the bias and, as in the case of WYNNEDENIM, have some sort of smooth elastic at the waist to allow for stretch but prevent gaping—particularly in the back.
So many of us carry weight in the mid-section so look for jeans with some sort of additional technology or attention to detail in that area. For WYNNEDENIM we have used woven pocketing that goes from the side seam to the zipper with a stitching technique to offer additional smoothness and hold across the tummy.
You will also notice the “busted” or flat open side seams in premium denim. While more expensive to do, the flat open side seams also offer a smoother fit.
After all…. denim really is all about the fit but shouldn’t be so much work. After testing our denim on over 30 women (sizes 2-24) I am delighted by the responses. However, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised since WYNNEDENIM has been designed by women, for women!
[PMM] From Television producer to top designer at HSN. What’s next for the Wynne Empire?
[MW] My company is currently expanding our brand to include shoes and focusing on the growth of our jewelry, handbags with an eye toward further expanding our home collection and other new classifications. We are currently available in the US, UK, Canada, Japan and Italy and look forward to increasing our channels of distribution.
However, what is most exciting to me at this point in my life is helping to launch other new brands with talented young women (and men). While we have some exciting new high-profile collaborations in the works, my pride and joy is to have had the opportunity of working with Maddy on the launch of “everydayJones by Madeline Jones”. Maddy has proven to be a much quicker study than I ever was and I know she is going to be an amazing success!