Real Life

Supersize my stockings

This woman’s plus-size problem became a business opportunity.
Supersize my stockings

Finding herself in a tight spot after trying to buy stockings to match her new best dress, Taupo mum Bernice Cannard has been led into a new plus-size business venture.

At 1.95m tall and weighing more than 100kg, Bernice has managed to find clothes and shoes to fit and has always preferred jeans to skirts. But when she bought a new dress to wear to a wedding last year, she was determined to get matching tights. She tried store after store, but always with the same result – when she put them on, they didn’t fit.

“I could get them on if they were really generous, but then they would rip in the crotch,” she explains.

Bernice’s online findings led her to be the first and only New Zealand distributor – and business has been booming since her website’s launch.

Bernice (44) rang around several plus-size fashion stores and still couldn’t find any that stocked larger tights for her size 24 figure. She then turned to the internet, but without much luck.

“After four months of searching, I found All Woman pantyhose,” she says. “When they arrived, they fitted. I was amazed.”

She was so impressed with the tights that she contacted the UK stockist and asked to become the New Zealand distributor of the product.

“I never had second thoughts because I knew there would be a demand,” says Bernice, who still works full time as a chef, despite her successful new venture. “I bought in 1000 units six months ago and I’ve already sold them all through Trade Me. I’ve done no advertising. “They’re so comfortable. I’ve only had one pair that didn’t fit and they were too big.”

Sizes on Bernice’s website start at 18 and go up to 32. The range includes stockings, pantyhose, thick tights and fishnets. In the height of summer, Bernice has been selling two or three pairs a day.

Despite her height, the mum of one, who lives in north Kinloch with her husband, has never had a problem sourcing other items of clothing, or shoes for her size 12 feet. “Everything else is out there. That’s why I found it so hard to believe that stockings weren’t available,” she says.

Now that Bernice has a big range to choose from, she has started to experiment with a whole new wardrobe.

“ Stockings make a huge difference. They give you more options and complete an outfit. “I don’t feel so self-conscious about my legs. I have choices and I don’t have to settle.”

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