Voyage Atlanta Magazine - VDC Redefining Fashion Standards

MARCH 12, 2020 

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Meet Kelly Smith of Vibrant Dolls 

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Smith.

Kelly, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Without strength, determination, and support from loved ones, I wouldn’t have made it to where I am today. These factors helped me realize my true talent and how fruitful my ideas could become. I started Vibrant Dolls in 2019 with the mindset that there must be plenty of other plus size women who, like me, struggle to find clothes that fir our unique physique. I quickly noticed how few options we had when it came to plus size clothing. Although the fashion industry is attempting to be more inclusive, they have yet to master the fact that plus-size bodies vary as well. Armed with this knowledge, I started directly asking the plus-size community what it was that they wanted. I utilized Instagram stories to interact with my followers and open a direct line of communication. The feedback was amazing. After hearing what my audience actually wanted, I was able to create a vision for Vibrant Dolls. I wanted to redefine the standards in the fashion industry and provide more inclusive, affordable, and fashionable clothing options for my plus size ladies. When you give customers the freedom to have a voice, you create a brand they become invested in, connected to.

So, I took matters into my own hands and launched Vibrant Dolls- an affordable collection for all shapes and sizes, which will now be expanding to dimensions 5/6x. This brand launch was amazing, and I felt great knowing I was curating a brand to please all people. However, this definitely didn’t come without its challenges. Either way, I knew I was onto something great and was so excited.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
What’s success without a few hiccups? Right? I hit plenty of rocky roads during this journey. Even today- you would think by now I’d have it completely figured. But not even close! I’d love to paint this picture-perfect image that everything is 100% on track and under control, but some days that’s not the case. I work a regular full-time job, all while working full time on Vibrant Dolls. Yes, owning a business is a full-time job. Even more of a role than my regular job. Some challenges I have and continue to face is the desire to please everyone. I don’t want people to feel excluded for any reason, but I know that it is not realistic to please everyone. Sometimes, it can be not very easy to keep pushing because it requires so much time and money to make sure everything runs smoothly. Luckily, I have an amazing team of supporters/helpers to encourage me every step of the way and help me through my breakthroughs and coffee drove early mornings and late nights. They were there, my parents, my husband, and my sister. Because of them, I know I can continue to push on and strive to accomplish the goals that I have set for myself, and this company will continue to grow and flourish in more ways than I have imagined and it WILL be the staple for all plus size ladies.

Please tell us about your business.
What I do is never a one-woman job, so I cannot take full credit for how my business makes it day by day, but overall my business originally specialized in plus size clothing for women, which have now expanded into all sizes (small – 6X). I am more than proud of my company regardless of what I go through with the business I have no regrets with Vibrant Dolls. There isn’t just one specific part that I am proud of “most” because I am proud of everything! I have great supportive customers, and I know my brand has a purpose, so THAT is what makes me proud.

What sets me apart from others?
I’m sure to some people they feel Vibrant Dolls is another boutique. Still, I feel like my company is different from others because a lot of what I do, release, and design is based solely off what THE CUSTOMERS WANT – doing social media surveys and allowing them to direct message Vibrant Dolls and voice what it is they feel is needed most! Instead of just releasing clothing or having designs curated and it’s not ideal for what my customers are wanting or looking for! Everyone has a say-so, in Vibrant Dolls, everyone can give their own personal opinion and help with redefining fashion – no company is a one-woman job, so I always appreciate the help I get from everyone.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
ALL OF MY SUPPORTERS! If I could name all the customers that have supported my brand from the time I started to now, I think I’d run out of breath. Like I have been saying throughout this interview, I’ve had a great support team that backs me up every step of the way, and I could NOT have made it this far without them. To list a few. My Parents, Sister & Husband – coming from a family of entrepreneurs I knew they were all going to be great mentors on the basics of business, they first thought me “Quality over Quantity” and I knew for a fact that is one of the best things I was going to learn from them. But they have been my rock through all of this. They have walked me through tons of challenges, helped with mapping out how things should overall run with the business, and I couldn’t thank them enough. Also, I’d love to give credit to some of my brand ambassadors, customers, and my models I appreciate them so much and can’t wait to continue to grow with them all.

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Image Credit: @DonsViewPhotography

   

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