As Domino Dollhouse prepares to close it’s virtual door, I reminisce about the company that started it all for me:
For as long as I can remember, I knew that I was meant to work in plus size fashion. I had the passion and the drive to create wearable looks for plus women, but I had no outlet that would allow me to express my creativity. As I embarked on my journey to develop a new career I knew I needed someone to believe in me and give me a chance. I was lucky enough to get that chance in 2012 and work for the most creative, fashion forward, and ground breaking plus size fashion company this community will ever see.
My first encounter with Tracy Broxterman, owner of Domino Dollhouse, was on set for her very first collection. I was a freelance writer for the Examiner and Tracy was kind enough to let me interview her and cover her first shoot (you can find the article here ). I arrived at the location and was greeted by her very welcoming crew as well as Tess Holliday (formerly Tess Munster). The show was my first time meeting Tess, as Domino was the first company to book her. After I arrived, I found my spot to sit quietly in the corner and watch the magic happen. As a fashion junkie I was in my element and in complete awe of the items that were being shot. This was my first time seeing such one of a kind clothing in my size. The pieces were edgy, sexy, fun, and even a bit gaudy…all the things I love. I knew at that moment, I was hooked!
After that shoot, I made it known to Tracy (maybe even obnoxiously) that anything she needed I would love to be a part of it. I was excited that Tracy’s and my path would cross a couple more times in the future and enjoyed staying in touch. She styled a photo shoot I was modeling in for a TV show, I also volunteered to help with her next collection named, Dotty Noir. It was after this collection that Domino Dollhouse hit the big time and I was offered a job to be Tracy’s first employee.
At first I could not believe that Tracy had been running Domino Dollhouse all by herself. Designing, shipping, inventory, social media, and customer relations; she was doing EVERYTHING. As the consumer, I had no idea how much went into running an indie fashion company. I learned SO much about the business and I couldn’t believe that I used to be one of those customers that complained all the time about price, options, styles, etc. Until you work in that field, you don’t realize how much is out of your control and you do the best you can. Working in plus size fashion really needs to be a passion project, because it isn’t very profitable and for the most part, the only feedback you hear are complaints.
Working at Domino Dollhouse also really opened my eyes to the downfalls of the plus size community. I never realized how shopping was such an emotional experience for the customer. I had a hard time escaping (and I still do as editor in chief of Skorch) not taking customer complaints personally. There would be times customers would scream at us and you are just left feeling sad because this is something you worked so hard for. It was at times like these I had to look at Tracy and wonder how she could be so strong.
In addition to learning about the industry, I really looked up to Tracy. She has such a strong fashion point of view and really lives, dies and breaths everything fashion. I found myself learning something new every day. I couldn’t believe I was a part of something that I dreamed of doing my whole life. I was a fangirl turned employee AND my opinion mattered. Every new collection, I was able to give my input, help with accessories, style on set, and made to feel like I was a part of her dream.
When I say that Domino Dollhouse going on hiatus is an end of an era, I fully believe it.
Domino Dollhouse was the first indie company that had major success. They were the first company to produce plus size fashion without compromise. They were the first company to take a chance on a model over a size 22. They were the first company to make it a priority to always use a person of color as a model (something the industry desperately lacks). They were the first company to use a drag queen as a catalog model, they were the first company to use a US manufacturer that was run by a woman.
To me, Domino Dollhouse will always be the pioneer of the plus size fashion community. I owe SO much to Tracy for taking a chance on me. She mentored me and helped me with my career and has always supported me. So much so that when I left Domino Dollhouse to work for Skorch full time, yes, there were tears, but above anything else there was nothing but support. Tracy said to me that this industry needs people like me to keep pushing the boundaries, but little does she know I wouldn’t be who I am without her.
My experience working with them was life changing. Without any hesitation, I can say that every company from here on out will always be taking their cues from the company that started it all, Domino Dollhouse.