Founded in 1991 and named after fashion icons of the time Laura Ashley and Martha Stewart, Ashley Stewart is a fashion-centric store that caters to plus size women with their lifestyle brand. Ashley Stewart serves sassy, stylish women who are proud of their curves. Secaucus, New Jersey, is the current home to this company that currently has 89 stores in 22 states. The road has not always been easy for Ashley Stewart, and their company had grown to bigger proportions in the early days before a tumultuous ride. But after filing for bankruptcy in 2010 and 2014, they are back on their feet again.
Ashley Stewart began as a special project of Joseph Sitt, real estate investor, who was tired of bringing realtors to New York City and finding a gap in plus-size upscale clothing. He decided to do something about it himself. At one point there were 380 stores in 100 U.S. cities, with sales as high as 400 million. Instead of large advertising campaigns, the company held fashion shows, raising money for the communities they were in. They have always had one goal in mind: helping plus sized women look and feel beautiful. This goal has remained the one constant in the last thirty years.
Joseph Sitt sold the company in 2000, and after the company changed hands and declared bankruptcy several times, James Rhee, a member of the board of directors, took the helm and started steering the company in the right direction. In 2016 he was awarded an Entrepreneur Award and Power Player Award for turning the company around and eliminating debt. Because of Rhee’s hard work and innovation, Ashley Stewart stands today as a stalwart of fashion for curvy women, and offers stylish women as well as empowerment.
More recently, the company has expanded into the ecommerce business as well as to international shoppers, shipping to the Caribbean, Canada, and the UK. As Chairman and CEO, Rhee continues to move the company forward, embracing the tool of modern technology and shopping to aid him.
The store is unbelievable in its breadth, and plus sized women everywhere will benefit from all that Ashley Stewart offers in the way of style, clothing, and accessories. Offering swimwear, activewear, tops, bottoms, and dresses for all occasions, plus sized women will be dressed for success whether in the board room or at the pool. The store also features a sizable intimate section as well as a myriad of accessories to take each look to the next level.
The Curvy Girl collection, part of the Ashley Stewart line, offers styles that are bolder, sexier, and trendier for young women to enjoy. It is important to note that the sizing is different from Ashley Stewart, more like a junior plus sizing. This collection is also much more affordable than other plus size clothing you will find, so you can feel confident with your look and your pocketbook.
The Ashley Stewart website is easy to navigate and offers an ecommerce element that continues to grow. (And considering technology, the social media presence of Ashley Stewart is second-to-none.) Notably, the website has a Clearance section, a Holiday Shop, and a New Arrivals section that helps customers easily find what they are looking for. The website even offers voice shopping, which is another intimate way to connect with online shoppers. For many women, shopping online for intimates takes some of the worry out of shopping, and with Ashley Stewart’s generous return policy, the process can be seamless.
Ashley Stewart wants their online shoppers to keep coming back for more. To that end, they offer a reward club online, as well as online shopping codes that can be used for discounts. This makes their beautifully styled clothes even more appealing. The flat shipping rate of $8.95 to the continental United States means that shoppers can get more items with fewer shipping costs, and is a big draw for shoppers online. Installments by Afterpay is another program offered by Ashley Stewart that allows shoppers to budget their shopping money into easy installments after they receive their merchandise. As long as the payments are made on time, there is no fee or interest on this service.
Ashley Stewart takes its online presence very seriously, and advertises via social media such as Instagram in order to gain and keep momentum for their business.
Mission Statement The mission statement of Ashley Stewart is very simple, stating that they “stand for uncompromising style, fashion, fit and empowerment for the trend-savvy woman who flaunts her curves. From the perfect pair of jeans, churchflow dresses, smoking hot outfits, and #DaretoBare intimates, Ashley Stewart has you covered.” This statement permeates everything the company does to celebrate women and their curves.