Featured The Hustle

Mz Thick 4 U leverages outlet-style sourcing to offer affordable, fashionable plus-size clothing; encourages women to “embrace the characters that we are”

Cynthia Dorenzo makes her pitch at the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce accelerator graduation. Photo by Omar Waheed.

She wants to empower women to embrace their bodies with courage and confidence. Mz. Thick 4 U Clothing & Apparel provides high quality, plus-sized clothing to embrace your body stylishly.

Mz. Thick 4 U, a plus-sized clothing company, creates fashionable alternatives for women in Madison. Its owner, Cynthia Dorenzo, saw a gap in offerings for plus-sized women and was inspired by her experiences with her disability and being a plus-sized woman herself to fill in the gap.

“I want to empower, embrace and encourage other women to let them know that you are beautiful in whatever skin you’re in,” Dorenzo said. “We have a hard time finding clothes that really embrace the characters that we are.”

Dorenzo was on the fence about what type of business she wanted to start, but fashion was always on the top of her mind. Her first idea was to start a social club for plus-sized women to focus on fashion and bring products to them. She opted to start her clothing line instead.

Mz. Thick 4 U started off at an office space at 5135 Wall St. The location wasn’t suited for how Dorenzo wanted to reach customers and lacked accessibility. She is currently operating through the business’ social media accounts while Mz. Thick 4 U figures out a proper retail storefront and finishes developing the website for online retail.

“I need a physical place. I’m paying for storage right now,” Dorenzo said. “I need to either find a physical space where I’ll be able to accommodate my rightnow customers that want and need things right now.”

Before Dorenzo makes the plunge into the new location, she wanted to take a step back to figure out better processes to run her business. She did this through the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce’s MBCC Means Business accelerator program.

In the program, Dorenzo learned more formal processes for balancing the books. She learned how to use things like Quickbooks, an accounting software package, to help streamline the behind-the-scenes operations. But most importantly, Dorenzo learned the art of the pitch.

“I don’t pay myself. I just take the money that I make (and) reinvest in the business,” Dorenzo said. “I think if I had done things a different way, it could have saved me money. I could have taken in some collateral for myself.”

Dorenzo has been investing all of her own money, instead of finding investors, to operate and grow Mz. Thick 4 U.

At Mz. Thick 4 U, customers find high quality, fashionable clothing made from the same manufacturers as designer brands. Her goal, besides creating plus-size clothing, is to create an avenue for her community to have access to designer brands they see on TV but are unable to afford.

The clothing goes up to 5 XL and is called “unauthorized authentic.” The materials and quality are the exact same you would find at brands like Burberry, Gucci, Nike, Adidas and many other brands.

“We would like to bring a difference in our community,” Dorenzo said. “People in our community are not wealthy. They see this stuff on social media and on television and they want the look. I want to be able to provide the look for them at a reasonable price.”

Dorenzo continues to see gaps in fashionable offerings for plus sized women. As New Year’s approaches, and the common goal of shedding some weight comes around, she already has her eyes set on Mz. Thick 4 U’s next line of clothing — active wear.

“All it needs to do is be created for you,” Dorenzo said. “I don’t think a lot of fashion brands have brought that to the forefront. Just because you’re plus sized doesn’t mean you have to dress like a granny.”

While Mz. Thick 4 U is finding its new retail location and finishing up its website, clothing can be purchased via its social media accounts. Dorenzo arranges for deliveries or pickups in the meantime. The shop also features its own Black Friday every week at 6 p.m.