I’ve been a plus-size woman all my life. Growing up, I wanted to participate in fashion, but I felt shut out—stores didn’t carry my size, and I didn’t see anyone like me reflected in the images I looked to for inspiration. Despite my love of fashion, my shopping experiences left me feeling frustrated and alone.
For me, that all began to change six years ago, when I stumbled upon an article in the New York Times about the rise of plus-size fashion bloggers. The article introduced me to bold, stylish women who happened to be plus size—the types of role models I’d longed for since I was a teenager—and the passionate community they were building together. I immediately felt like I had found my people. For the first time, I didn’t feel alone in my style journey.
What I didn’t realize at first was just how far from alone I actually was. I’d later learn that 67% of American women wear a size 14 or above—that’s 100 million women. Yet, we are systematically underserved by the retail industry. Limited options, unwelcoming environments, and a lack of representation have left so many of us disappointed. As I realized the scope of the problem, I became determined to no longer stand by and hope for the change I wanted most—but to do everything I could to help create it.
It wasn’t long before my co-founder Lydia Gilbert and I began working on the idea for Dia&Co. We didn’t know exactly what our company would look like, but we knew what we wanted to accomplish: to radically transform the entire shopping experience for the plus-size community, so that instead of being a source of frustration, it would be a source of joy.
We began with the approach we intended to always take: speaking directly to the women we are dedicated to serving. We reached out to Chastity Garner Valentine, one of the bloggers profiled in the New York Times article, and she generously connected us with hundreds of her followers who shared countless stories of frustrating shopping experiences, as well as their hopes for their own style journeys. From their feedback, we developed our first product: the Dia&Co Style Box, which offers a curated in-home shopping experience, and we officially launched in 2015.
Over the past three years, with the guidance of our customers and the backing of our investors, we have been able to significantly expand the ways in which we serve our community. Dia&Co Style now offers hundreds of the best brands, as well as ten beloved in-house collections, each inspired by customers’ feedback. This May, we launched Dia&Co Active, the world’s largest collection of plus-size activewear, because it was our #1 most-requested category. We partnered with Venus Williams and Rebel Wilson to bring their designs to our community. We teamed up with theCURVYcon to expand its offerings into multiple event formats and content platforms because we’re committed to fostering deep connections between members of our community, both offline and online. And through bold initiatives like a New York Fashion Week runway show, a national newspaper ad campaign, and a partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, we’ve worked to lay the foundation for lasting change in the fashion industry.
And yet, there is still so much more to do. That’s why we’re thrilled to share today that we have raised $40 million in Series C funding, led by Union Square Ventures with participation from our existing investor Sequoia Capital. The fresh capital will further fuel our ambitions for our community, as we work to meet the full style needs of Dia&Co’s 4 million existing users—and the 96 million women we’ve yet to serve.
As we begin this new chapter, we turn to you as we always have to help determine our path forward. Your input and support have served as our compass—and your ideas have inspired the development of new products, new ways of shopping, and new experiences already in the works. Dia&Co is a passionate team of 750 people, each of whom is deeply committed to listening and building the experiences that will matter most to you. Please keep your feedback coming! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’d love to hear from you.
To the extraordinary Dia Community, thank you for sharing your journey with us. Our story is just beginning, and we couldn’t be more excited for the joyful world of style we are building together.
Dia&Co Co-Founder & CEO