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Lingerie retailer offers rent-free space for small businesses

Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore is offering a large chunk of its showroom floor, free of rent, to help small businesses that need the space for the next six months.

The newly expanded site, which is being offered to help businesses survive the COVID-19 health crisis, is on Sandgate Road in Virginia, Brisbane. It includes a showroom, coffee shop, TV studio and distribution centre.

The lingerie retailer’s owner Karen Edbrooke said the space was supposed to be filled with tables and chairs for their new coffee shop and areas for the kids to play.

“But when COVID hit we put this on hold,” Edbrooke said. “With so many small businesses struggling and having to close down their stores, we decided to do something to help other businesses instead.”

Edbrooke said they then reworked the design to create a large open plan area for pop-up shops instead.

“Businesses will now be able to come and set up their stores in our site for a period of time,” she said.

According to Edbrooke, the site is in a good location and would be beneficial to the small business owners.

“They will be in a high traffic area at the front of our new store, next to our coffee shop, and will also benefit from all of our customers who come into Big Girls,” she said.

Edbrooke added that they will promote the pop-up retailers on their Big Girls live TV show and across their social media.

“We have a following of over 500,000 across multiple social media platforms, so we are going to use this to promote other small businesses as well.”

Edbrooke, who founded the business 28 years ago after a car accident which nearly took her life, said she wanted to help other businesses as a way of giving back. 

“I know what it’s like to start a small business. It is hard work. Thankfully, we are now much bigger and have nearly 40 staff,” she said.

Big Girls, a large independently owned lingerie and swimwear business, provides an extensive range of fashion products. It also is one of the country’s biggest retail innovators, offering virtual fittings and its latest innovation, Big Girls TV.

Big Girls TV is an online lingerie show for plus size and curvy women delivered via the internet. Shows include the live streaming of lingerie fashion parades and other informational segments using real life everyday Australian women as models.

Big Girls has also expanded its virtual fitting service and now offers nine virtual fitting rooms during extended hours to assist women working and in isolation.

“I want to help other businesses and give back. I know that the more we can do to help other retailers during this difficult period, the better we will all be as a retail industry.”

Edbrooke said the pop-up space can also be used by start-up businesses to help them find their footing.

“A lot of business owners don’t want to commit to retail space at the moment, they are feeling very scared.” 

“Hopefully our pop up space will not only help new businesses startup, but it will also help other small businesses to stay afloat and get through this difficult time.”

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