Our investment in Part & Parcel: A New Social Commerce Community for Plus Size Women
One of the characteristics that we look for in an investment is a unique and differentiated insight. When we met Lauren Haber Jonas, the founder and CEO of Part & Parcel, she brought exactly that. I’m excited to announce that Part & Parcel officially launches today and that Lightspeed led the company’s $4M seed round.
The genesis of Part & Parcel is a plus sized fashion blog that Lauren launched in college out of her own frustration in finding clothes and shoes that fit her. She eventually launched a kickstarter to make a pair of boots for plus women and sold $45K of presales in 30 days. That felt like market validation! This success led to her inspiration to build a company that could offer plus women three things; clothing that fits, a like-minded community, and accessible income opportunities.
Lauren’s personal understanding of the customer combined with her professional experience as an executive at Poshmark led her to three key observations.
The first is that plus women are underserved in apparel. Today, 67% of women in America are considered “plus size” — a women’s size 14 and over, yet the options for these women are still extremely limited. “Plus-size” is not the minority, and is now a misleading name for the category. Plus is average, but current women’s fashion offerings do not serve the majority of the population. 81% said they would spend more money if there were more options in their size. 88% said they would buy more clothes if there were trendier options. Because of this lack of choice, although they spend less on apparel than “straight size” women, they spend more per store when they do buy. Lauren is laser focused on serving this community of women that has been overlooked by the fashion industry for decades.
The second is the importance of fit. One of the biggest challenges with plus apparel has been the lack of a universal fit model. Traditional sizing has not addressed the variability of body shapes within sizes, which disproportionately affects plus women. This has made plus-size apparel one of the slower categories to move online. To address this, Part & Parcel’s first collection offers select styles with Dimensional Sizing™, which offers extended options designed to allow women to customize their fit — jackets with extended options in the bicep, blouses with similar options in the bust, and dresses cut by body shape.We should all have such choices.
The third is the importance of community among plus women. Part & Parcel’s Plus to Plus™ social commerce community offers a way for plus women to earn a living by selling a range of affordable and versatile wardrobe essentials to fellow plus size women. We’ve long believed that direct selling is one of the most interesting opportunities in commerce in the time of social sharing. The social commerce community is particularly suited to the plus apparel market because it allows women to try the clothing in the comfort of their own home or in a community environment with like-minded peers, rather than the limited options available with in-store purchasing.
Part & Parcel is a manifestation of Lauren’s unique insights as an operator and member of the plus community. It taps into an important element of women’s daily lives, and offers a scalable social community for discovery. We’re proud to welcome Lauren and Part & Parcel to the Lightspeed family.