It’s how you wear your size, not what size you wear

Sherri Axford and Kelly Ilan
Sherri Axford and Kelly Ilan have opened Beautiful Full Figure Boutique in Smiths Falls. Photo credit: Sally Smith.
Posted on: January 26, 2018

Sally Smith

For all the full-figured women out there, your wish has come true. A new shop opened on Nov. 2 in Smiths Falls that’s just for you.

Sherri Axford and Kelly Ilan, both 45 and long-time best friends, have put their creativity, their work ethic and their delight in shopping and clothes to work in a small clothing shop — Beautiful Full Figure Boutique, or BFF Boutique, located at 7 Russell St. E.

The two kid around about the length of time they’ve known each other. “A life sentence is 25 years,” Axford deadpans; Ilan counters with “We haven’t killed each other yet,” and they laugh.

The women like to shop, they describe themselves as full-figured and have heard for a long time from residents in Smiths Falls that there’s very little shopping for plus-size women in town; so they set out to fix that. What is a full figure? They carry sizes 14+ to 6X.

Having been through their own struggles to find clothes that fit well and look good, Axford and Ilan believe with this shop women can be “comfortable, confident and beautiful,” no matter their size. “There’s no reason they can’t look great,” Axford says.

While their Russell Street store opened in November, the two started dabbling with a store model in the summer. They shopped at outlet sales, on Kijiji, Facebook and other places where they found quality clothes for good prices and had their first sale in August at Axford’s house. Her husband built shelves and racks, and the spare bedroom was made into the ‘boutique.’ The cash counter was in the kitchen.

They moved to their present location in October and opened in November. Axford says she’s glad to have her house back now that BFF Boutique is in a public retail space.

The shop is not a consignment shop. The two are quite adamant about that. Consignment “is a lot of work,” the two agree, “and we wanted to avoid that.” So they buy clothing lots on Kijiji and/or Facebook, and sometimes outright from individuals. A recent Facebook post states “just to let people know…we do not consign. If you have items you wish to sell, please message first with pics and sizes, and brands. Then we will make arrangements to meet.”

Axford and Ilan are careful in their choices and the feedback, so far, has been enthusiastic. They buy/sell Pennington, Jones New York, Love and Legend, and Laura Plus, among others.

The store has a Facebook presence and Axford says there are lots of examples of their stock on the store page. “People like to see a picture,” she says.

Tuesday is a special day at the store — Toonie Tuesday — with everything on sale on a specific standalone rack for $2. All the money from these sales goes to a different charity at the end of the month.

Seven vendors also display wares in the small, colourful shop. They rent space, set up their products, and take home 100 percent of their sales. “They don’t even have to be here,” Axford explains, adding the shop also helps promote their products online. The vendors are: Signature Home Style, Park Lane Jewellery, My Natural Living, Swanky Legs, Cindy’s Rusty Roost Auction and Sales, and Found and Fancied-Up.

So, what do best friends do when they have some time on their hands and love to shop? They start a business together.

Check out Beautiful Full Figure Boutique, 7 Russell St. East in Smiths Falls,, Hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., closed Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This article was first published in the January 2018 issue of Hometown News. For more articles from our January 2018 issue, pick up a print copy at a local retailer (find a list of locations here) or read our digital version.