The Western Women’s Business Center (WWBC) presented Jazmin Whitmore, owner of More to Love plus sized consignment, with the 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Whitmore launched her business just one year before the COVID-19 pandemic started. During a challenging time for many entrepreneurs and small businesses, Whitmore pivoted her business to add online sales and took advantage of economic disaster programs to remain resilient in her second year of business.
A serial entrepreneur, Whitmore launched her first business, Those Lovely Locks, in 2017 as Asheville’s only wax and chemical free dreadlock studio. In 2019, she launched her second business More to Love, which addresses the need for fashionable clothing for plus sized women. “I have always enjoyed using fashion to express myself. As a plus-size woman it can be very challenging to find a wardrobe that you love and can afford,” said Whitmore. “This point was driven home for me one day when I was shopping downtown for an outfit for a special occasion. I had a $200 budget and I was very excited to finally have the money to buy a locally made outfit. I spent 5 stressful hours going from store to store.” Whitmore’s experience showed the need for more options for plus-sized women. The average American woman is a size 16, according to a 2016 study, while most retail clothing shops sell only up to a size 12. More to Love sells new and used clothing starting at a size 12.
Each year during National Small Business Week, WWBC presents this award to a business that has shown success and serves as an inspiration to other small businesses in the region. “We want to extend a heartfelt congratulation to Jazmin Whitmore. She is the epitome of a true leader and inspiration in our community,” said Zurilma Anuel, Western Women’s Business Center Director.
“I want every woman to know, if we show up for each other and support each other, what we can do is unlimited. I am really proud to be part of the latest generation of Black female entrepreneurs who know that if we don’t fit into one space, we can make our own space,” said Whitmore. “I think it’s really important, particularly for minority and women entrepreneurs, that we don’t wait. Because we are so chronically underfunded and under supported that we have a tendency to wait until we have the money or the opportunity. But just do it. At the end of the day you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
The WWBC’s mission is inspired and driven by those it serves: entrepreneurs and small business owners, especially those who are women, people of color, and people in rural distressed areas. The WWBC meets the needs of women entrepreneurs through one-on-one business coaching, workshops, and access to capital. Our team of experts offer support on a range of topics small businesses need to start and grow. “We are proud to have supported Jazmin with one-on-one coaching for her business. Starting a second business brings up specific issues for entrepreneurs and our expert coaches were there to help. We can’t wait to see where Jazmin goes from here,” said Tara Brown, Western Women’s Business Center Associate Director
About the Western Women’s Business Center
The mission of the Western Women’s Business Center is to reduce barriers and serve as a catalyst to the success of women entrepreneurs in Western North Carolina. The Western Women’s Business Center is a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund, a statewide nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a mission to foster economic development in the state of North Carolina. The WWBC meets the needs of women entrepreneurs through one-on-one business coaching, workshops, and access to capital. Our team of experts offer support on a range of topics small businesses need to start and grow. For more information, visit www.wwbcnc.org.
About Carolina Small Business Development Fund
Carolina Small Business Development Fund fosters economic development in underserved communities through access to capital, business services, and policy research. Since 2010, the nonprofit CDFI has invested more than $68.4 million through 992 loans to small businesses across North Carolina helping to create or retain more than 4,181 full-time jobs. For more information, visit www.carolinasmallbusiness.org.