Rebdolls Founder Grisel Paula On Building a Fashion Brand for Every Woman


Grisel Paula started her career as a plus-size model getting to the know the ins and outs of the fashion industry and noticed something important was missing from the market — trendy clothing suited to plus-size bodies. She used this knowledge to found Rebdolls, a fashion brand that sets out to make every woman, no matter what size, race, or body type feel sexy and powerful. Today Rebdolls has hundreds of thousands of customers and fans, who love the brand’s clothing in sizes 0-32 and live by the company motto #SexyForAll.

We spoke to the fashion entrepreneur about how she first launched her brand, what distinguishes Rebdolls from other plus-size clothing brands, and what her biggest successes have been to date.

Tell me about your experience in the modeling world. Did being Latina and plus-sized affect your work at all? If so, positively or negatively?
Grisel Paula: I started modeling when I was in college and was one of very few Latinas at my agency. I approached the modeling industry as a business; it was a way for me to get to the next goal. It was a stepping stone into the fashion industry.

How did this experience lead to your founding of Rebdolls?
Modeling was really important for Rebdolls. I wouldn’t have realized just how much was missing for curvier girls in fashion if I hadn’t started plus-size modeling. When I became a plus-size model, I would switch between the large and extra-large sizes of mainstream brands. I was used to shopping at straight-size brands and just grabbing the bigger one. I didn’t fully comprehend that once you pass the extra-large size your options are limited. I never thought about this as a consumer until I started plus-size modeling and seeing that the options for girls that were 2X, 3X, 4X were just not the same as straight-size girls.

What’s unique about Rebdolls? What void does the company fill?
Besides inclusivity, Rebdolls makes fashion and we make it fit. We focus on trendy stuff you’ll want to wear and we put a lot of focus on our size chart and size guides. For us, it’s really important that you get the same things that are trending with other brands but with the right fit that you can trust. A lot of fast fashion brands are focused on trends but with Rebdolls we make sure these trends are fitted to our sizes. With Rebdolls, our goal is to bring consistency to the fast-fashion market.

“There isn’t only one standard of beauty and that’s what sexy for all means.”

What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome building a brand?
I think the hardest part of launching a startup is access to funding. I emigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic, so I didn’t really have the knowledge when it comes to finances here. I didn’t know what it takes to get something off the ground, how to make a dream materialize. In the United States, if you have a brand that you want to make into a household name, you have to be able to fund it and that’s what stops the dreams of many entrepreneurs like myself.

What’s been some of your biggest successes?
My biggest success is creating a brand that people are loyal to. It takes a lot of hard work not just to get customers but to make sure that the customer continues buying from your brand. You have to create trust with her and a lot of what I do is to ensure that my customers trust the brand. To me, that’s my greatest success to date.

Your slogan is #SexyForAll, how does your brand showcase this?
We believe that “sexy for all” means you have different options to wear what makes you feel comfortable. Sexy isn’t defined by just a tight, short mini-dress. Every woman should feel sexy in her own state of being, so we wanted to make sure that we’re showing a wide variety of women — different types of bodies, nationalities, sizes, and races. We want women to come to the site and feel like this is the place for them.

“There isn’t only one standard of beauty and that’s what sexy for all means.”

Tell me about your work with influencers like Denise Mercedes, how do you collaborate to create collections? What do you like about working on capsule collections?
I think bloggers and ambassadors come with so much knowledge and understanding of their followers. They have a strong opinion of what works for them and their demographics. When we collaborate with ambassadors, it’s a completely open forum. It’s a never-ending interview process during which we’re always asking for ideas. We know they’re not designers so we don’t expect them to come with sketchbooks. We’re interested in seeing what kind of style they want to see, what kind of fabric or colors are they’re interested in. We’re looking for general ideas and once we have them, we narrow down key pieces based on our experience as a brand and what their followers want.

Rebdolls Coupon Code

You’ve been vocal about Black Lives Matter on Instagram. Why do you feel it’s important to take a stand in these times?
I think that you can never hold back when it comes to the value of life. I think that in this country right now we’re seeing our brothers and sisters from the black community not being seen as equals in this country that is theirs too. We want to make sure that we, as a brand, use our platform to say that we are with them, we’re their allies, and we can’t continue to be silent.

What’s next for Rebdolls?
Oh God, a lot! We’re in a full growth mode. We’re working on creating more styles and collaborations, and expanding overall. We’re working on denim for the fall. We want to make sure Rebdolls becomes a household name and it’s a non-stop work to make sure we give girls and women as many options as they need when it comes to clothing.

Use the Rebdolls coupon code NAIRANYC to get 20% off through June 30, 2020

Rebdolls Coupon

Follow Rebdolls on Instagram and Grisel Paula on Instagram

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Poetic Justice Curvy Fashion

Poetic Justice Clothing: Celebrating Curves and Black Girl Magic

How Poetic Justice Clothing celebrates women of color and created the ultimate curvy fit.

Read More >
Denise Mercedes White Top and Skirt

Denise Mercedes Shows Us That Style Not Size Is All That Matters

She’s inspiring people and giving us styling tips.

Read More >

Designer Johana Hernández: From Humble Beginnings to Fashion Powerhouse

How she launched her own brand and boutique in Beverly Hills.

Read More >