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What is the nature of your business?
We have a Curvy Gurl Collection, where we cater to Curvy Gurls. We have Curvy Gurl Model calls to represent every body type. We also have events that include empowerment sessions, to help the everyday Curvy Gurl raise her self-esteem, and learn to feel more confident about herself and her body.
What inspired you to create your business?
Being a Curvy Gurl myself, I was tired of trying to shop for myself, only to find boxy fitting clothes or colors that were not pleasing to the eye, or even patterns and material that were unflattering.
How has your business evolved over the years?
The business is growing. We did our first major fashion show at Essence in New Orleans, and the clothing line was launched at Macy’s in Lennox Square on August 4th
Why do you think it’s so important to cater to the plus size woman?
Plus size women like to feel sexy, and comfortable. Plus size women like to have clothes that can smooth out certain curves, but accentuate others.
What are your core values in business and why?
Empowering women to love and embrace their curves, because confidence is key and no one should tell you how “beauty” is defined.
Customization, because we are not built the same. This gives the customer that “one-on-one experience” that makes them feel like their clothes are specially and specifically made just for them.
What distinguishes you from other companies?
We carry a full fashion line with custom pieces, couture pieces, and everything is hand sewn.
What would you say has contributed to your success?
I have a great team behind me.
What are some of the challenges that you experienced catering to plus women?
We’re still not a household name as of yet, so the support is not there. Also, not all plus sized women are built the same, so it becomes difficult to mass produce an item, because not all will fit.
Tell us about your own personal journey to loving your curves.
Realizing that this is my body, and as long as I’m healthy and able to do whatever I need to do in life, then nothing else matters. Plus, I love clothes! So once I get dressed, and that particular garment lays just right on my body, it makes me love these curves even more. Sometimes, our curves is what actually make the clothes look better!
Do you have any suggestions for curvy women on how to dress their body and feel confident?
There are all types of material and designs that create an illusion. High waist skirts, tops with ruching, and definitely invest in good quality shapewear!
Tell us a little bit about your early days and starting your own business – what types of challenges did you face?
The initial struggles of starting a business is definitely money and support. I was able to overcome these obstacles by researching my local resources, reaching out, and utilizing the networking contacts I made.
What tips do you have for other women who may be interested in starting their own business, or women entrepreneurs in general?
Do your research. Which ever market you’re trying to reach, check demographics, ask questions, and never be afraid to put yourself out there. Build a solid team that you know will have your back, and assist with building your brand.
What kind of feedback have you received from your customers?
After the fashion show for Essence, everyone was anxious and excited for our Macy’s launch. They are ready to be able to purchase from the Curvy Gurl Collection.
Is there a particular person in the body-positive community that has inspired you?
In the beginning, it was Monique. She embodied that “Curvy Gurl attitude.” Now that I’m in the position that I’m in, I have to be the inspiration for other women.
What are your future plans for your business, and are there areas you’d like to expand?
I hope to be in multiple retail stores in the future and have our online boutique be just as popular. I’m also looking forward to putting on more fashion shows and giving more Curvy Gurls a platform.
FB | @curvygurlcollection
IG | @curvygurlcollection
photography | D’Juan Williams
makeup | Nzinga Imani
clothing | Curvy Gurl Collection