Summer Lucille wants her plus-sized clothing store, Juicy Body Goddess in Norhtlake Mall, to be a safe haven for plus-sized women. When customers enter her store, they are greeted by a recording of her signature catchphrase, “Welcome to Juicy Body Goddess, where you gotta be two-something to do something.”
Though she is now confident in her body and personal style, Lucille said this was not always the case.
“I’m never scared to show any part of my body. [It] took me a long time to get there. It was not overnight, but now I’m not scared to show my arms, my stomach; I’m not scared to show anything,” Lucille said.
Plus-sized women make up 67% of retail clothing shoppers, according to studies cited by Refinery29 and other media outlets. However, according to a study by economic news platform Marketplace, plus-sized clothes only make up 19% of apparel on the market.
This is why Lucille’s store exclusively carries plus-sized clothing- sizes 10 through 30. She said that when designing clothes, she is mindful of all the different body types that plus-sized women have.
“You may not just totally love yourself after you walk out of here, but you want to feel better about yourself. Yeah, and that’s my goal,” Lucille said.
Customers become family
When it comes to her customers, Lucille described the relationship she has with them as familial.
“They’re strangers when they walk in here, but we’re cool; we’re homegirls when you walk out,” Lucille said. She added that some customers recognize her from TikTok when they visit.
Some of Lucille’s recent TikTok videos include plus-sized teenagers searching for prom dresses. While Lucille’s primary audience is plus-sized adult women, she also caters to teenagers.
Lucille said her teenage customers must be handled with “white gloves” due to their insecurities.
“It’s an intimate process when it comes to dressing them,” Lucille said. “Prom season is fun, though, because I get to dress them up. They become my Barbies and put them in beautiful ball gowns.”
In addition to running her store, Lucille manages her social media platform of the same name, which she describes as a full-time job.
“I was just shocked. I didn’t get on TikTok to become TikTok famous. I was just being myself and working, and it happened overnight,” Lucille said. “Hopefully, I’m changing how people feel about themselves through social media,” Lucille said.
While social media has done a lot of good for Lucille, it comes with its drawbacks. Lucille said she spends three to four hours daily managing her social media platform, most of which she spends deleting hate comments from internet users about her body or the bodies of her customers.
Many of Lucille’s TikTok videos feature her styling and uplifting her customers. She makes an effort to delete hate comments before her customers see them.
“A lot of energy goes into that, but I have to manage it. It’s going to get to a point where I’m going to have to hire somebody, but right now, I want to be hands-on, and I want to feel the temperature of what people are saying,” Lucille said.
A style revolution
Lucille studied computer science at Ohio State University and worked in a corporate role before launching her business.
“It doesn’t matter what your major is. Once you find yourself, you’ll eventually go into what you are meant to be,” Lucille said.
According to her, Lucille’s style is “all over the place.”
Her sense of style developed after going through her closet one day and finding little color or uniqueness. “Everything was the same; everything was black. Everything had a peplum. I was just like, you know what? I want to change my closet up,” she told QCity Metro.
When it comes to fashion inspiration, Lucille found muses close to home in her mother and aunt.
“My Aunt Terry is the baddest. She can dress to this day. I’m not going to tell her age because she will fight you,” Lucille said. She describes both women as “fashion icons.”
“Maybe that’s why [fashion] is natural to me. I’ve seen it growing up,” Lucille said. Other inspirations for her style include Michelle Obama and Mary J. Blige.
Lucille said her family is proud of her success and always knew she was “going places.”
“In high school, I was voted most likely to start a revolution,” Lucille said” And this is my revolution: giving plus-sized women a voice.”