Amy Rosenthal stands a striking 6 foot 3 inches tall. Her sister, Alli Black, is 5 foot 10. Throughout their adult lives, they have been frustrated at being unable to find clothing that fits them appropriately. Most clothes are designed for women who stand 5 foot 3 inches. Even fashion designs that come in “tall” lengths generally are suited only for women up to 5 foot 9 inches in height. Not only that, but Black and Rosenthal have received unwanted attention due to their height since they were girls, in the form of uncomfortable comments and stares. Speaking to other tall women, they realized that this sort of societal treatment often negatively impacts confidence and self-esteem.
The sisters decided to take action. In 2014, they cofounded Amalli Talli, an online clothing retailer catering specifically to tall women. Not only are Black and Rosenthal helping tall women find clothing that fits them well, but also they are hoping to improve how such women feel about themselves. In March of 2018, they launched More Than My Height, an online platform devoted to sharing stories of their own journeys to self-acceptance as well as other positive content.
“Shopping was always a complete nightmare for me and led to bouts of tears more than once.,” says Rosenthal. “It started in middle school, when I was supposed to wear khaki pants to a concert but the only potential ones long enough to fit me were from the men’s section. When you can’t find clothing that is both cute and well-fitting, it reinforces that idea that you aren’t normal. It was another nail in the coffin of my self-confidence. For years, I hated being tall because I could never make it through a day without some comment or stare. It’s very mentally draining. Even though my height provided an opportunity for me to play volleyball collegiately, I didn’t learn to appreciate my body until my 30’s. It then became a passion for me to change this problem for other tall girls and women, who are experiencing the same challenges.”
“Imagine a shopping experience in which you were really excited to try clothes on, but when you got into the dressing room, you became depressed because nothing fit you,” Black adds. “That is frustrating. But by far the biggest hurdle to jump over as a tall woman is the number of comments that strangers make about you and your body, alienating you and making you feel so different. Unfortunately, the comments never stop, even as you get older. It took the two of us many years to get comfortable and confident in our own skin. These experiences fueled our drive to leave our corporate jobs and do something. We truly have a passion for this work.”
Rosenthal and Black offer these tips for coping as a tall woman:
- Think through responses to commonly asked questions and comments so that you can control your mindset. That way, the negativity of others won’t deflate you in the moment.
- Find role models and a larger community to connect with so that you feel less isolated. It’s never easy to go through something alone. We hear all the time from tall women how helpful it is to share their stories and experiences.
- Find your interests and passions in life. Discovering who you are overall as a person and achieving success through those channels breeds confidence in other parts of your life.
- Understand that people who have something negative to say are projecting their own insecurities onto you. Do your best to dismiss their comments, which are really just an unfortunate way for them to cope with their own demons.
As the two women behind Amalli Talli, Black and Rosenthal wear all the hats required to run the business. Rosenthal’s background is in marketing, so she leads the charge in that aspect of the business. With an education in finance and accounting, Black focuses on operational strategies, including analyzing sales trends and budget allocation. Both oversee the design and production of the line.
“Our biggest purpose in designing our clothing is to help women realize that there is nothing wrong with their bodies,” says Black. “It’s amazing what kind of confidence we can instill in women simply by producing clothes that fit them. Hearing from our customers that they feel good about themselves and their bodies is a true joy that we will never, ever take for granted.”
Rosenthal adds, “There’s absolutely nothing you can do to change your height. So, it’s an indescribable feeling to help tall women find love and appreciation for how they are built. That motivates and inspires us on a daily basis. It is so important to us that we play a role in helping to end the cycle of body hatred, especially starting with young girls.”
The biggest challenge the Amalli Talli founders face is wanting to do it all right away even though they are only a two-person operation. Eventually, they would like to expand their fashion line beyond everyday clothing to include swimsuits, shoes, formal dresses, and athletic wear. But on the whole, they are extremely grateful to be running a business that is fully aligned with their life purpose of helping other tall women.
To others looking to tap into their life purpose, Black offers this advice. “Your life purpose may be sitting right in front of you or, as it was in our case, weaved into who you are. Follow your heart and pursue the things in life that make you the happiest. We both always loved clothing and shopping, but we never had much success at finding things that worked for us. That’s how our clothing company concept was born.”
“No matter which direction you go with your career, there will inevitably be challenges,” says Rosenthal. “Unless you have a passion for your work, you’re going to burn out or get defeated easily. Surround yourself with people who continually support and encourage you, and let go of those who don’t.”