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Amadora Designs Jewels
A collection of handmade and curated pieces #madetosize for everybody. Healing gemstones, Swarovski Crystals to Bespoke statement pieces, Amadora is about feeling beautiful at any size and wearing what you love without breaking the bank
What inspired you to create your line? Tell me about how you got started.
It really was and is about being a woman who does not fit into everything or anything cookie cutter and is tired of paying what I like to refer to as the “plus tax”. The plus tax is that little extra cost that seemed to apply to everything that fit me.
Exhausted by my love to layer bracelets, and them not loving to layer on me ( all of them were too tight, leaving gaps in the beads and indents on the wrist… Or finding the cutest necklace just kinda drowning in my boobs? or chokers, I love chokers! Just not them choking the life out of me!) there was just a moment. I just had enough! I decided this little jewels thing of mine was going to be for woman just like me. The forgotten consumer, or as I so often felt, was exactly what I needed to be doing.
How have your designs evolved over the years?
It began mainly finding myself, I was not always just one. I had partners, but I became the only one who continued with the journey we started. I was passionate about it, and working my fluffy butt off. I began mainly working with Swarovski Elements, gemstones and Sterling Silver. Making religious pieces to fashion pieces as well as custom orders. I would say it was about 2010, attending Full Figured Fashion Week in New York was what really motivated me to show more of what I could offer to woman just like me. It was empowering, to say the very least. It changed my style and approach to fashion and jewels to what it is today. I am forever grateful to have had that experience.
Why do you think it’s so important to cater your line to the plus size woman?
I feel passionately about wearing what you love. We are so often forgotten in this world of fashion and beauty! We are here, we are stylish, we are beautiful and we should NOT be charged a premium for being extra fabulous. When I make something and put it up for sale, it is not only as you see it but as you need it! I make at any size at no additional cost!
When I curate pieces to offer my customers, they are adjusted by hand for comfortable wear on a fuller figure. My curated collection offers the unique adjustable option that the standard shop does not. I often am a mad scientist in my little work space ripping apart and recreating anew! Body chains are not just for a size 2!
Where do you get the inspiration for your designs? Tell be a bit about your creative process
I feel like I am whirlwind when it comes to my creative process. I literally have a room, my studio that can be overwhelming to some to say the least. The walls are covered in my paintings and handmade artwork. Jewels, chains and beads hang from hooks along the walls and there are gorgeous pieces of jewellery everywhere. The room is just an explosion of me and things that make me happy. Chaos.
I work with a tiny shelf to my left just full of semi precious and precious gemstones and crystals and when beading or working with gemstones it is a very mindful experience for me. I really do craft with love. I learn a lot about the stones I work with and make for others. It is probably the most intimate part of what I do in my craft.
There is really two sides to my creative process. The soulful creative as stated above, then a mad scientist of sorts. Where I take parts of several pieces and create masterpiece. I often find myself sprawled on the floor with rhinestone bits all around me and no real design in mind but come out with something that I am in totally love with. What I love most about that is it truly becomes one of its kind. I have taken something beautiful and fun and added a bit of me and someone will wear it out one day feeling fabulous and beautiful and I had a part to play in it!
What are your core values when designing your products and why?
I feel like I help women feel good. I believe that being able to put on something that makes you feel confident and beautiful is important. It is good for the soul!
From handmade to curated collections, it is important to me to offer reasonable pricing. I inspect all my curated pieces myself before offering them for sale. I want to offer the same fashionable pieces for everybody type.
Ethical sourcing of my gemstones and findings are also important to me when creating my pieces. I shop local as much as I can! I try to support business locally as much as I can, and build relationships with my clients.
What distinguishes you from other designers and brands?
Genuinely, I am about the people who I craft for first. Money is not the reason I started or continue to stay true to what I do. There is a feeling I cannot quite explain when someone gets excited about a piece from my collection.
When someone says to me they have always wanted something like this but could never find it to fit right, I instantly feel gratified. I stay true to what I do and what I believe in, on trend yet consistent to what Amadora really is about.
Not everyone can be successful in the designer world let alone the plus sized What would you contribute to your success?
What really defines success….actually? I think that I have been and will continue to be on a journey. I believe deeply that staying true to yourself and what you believe in in business is what makes one a success. Growing in my skill set, listening to and learning from my supporters, and above all my absolute passion for what I do.
What are some of the challenges that you experienced as being a plus sized fashion designer?
I think with anything fashion in this plus size world you are met with the 2 sides. The love and the hate. The challenge I most struggle with is the negativity. It is never without critics when we full figured babes deliver fashion by the pound, and it took a long time to accept that others views on what I do are their problem not mine!
Tell me about your own personal journey to loving your curves?
A long one! Curvy my entire life, even at the most active It took me a long time to love the skin I am in. I made two precious lives and my body not only housed and fed them, it carries me every single day! it has not been easy to accept the changes to what I considered an already flawed body. I would like to say that I still do not struggle. BUT- It is mine. My one and only. I remind myself all the time of why I love it.
I love fashion, make up and obviously jewels. As I spoke earlier about Full Figured Fashion Week, that was truly responsible for LOVE of my curves. I finally looked at myself and said you know what, I am pretty friggin cute! I started to change. BIG TIME.
I stopped shopping by size first (and if you do that you should stop to!) I stopped limiting myself! If I like something and I like how I feel wearing it, I wear it! Prints? Absolutely I wear prints, and stripes too…sometimes vertical ! (insert gasp here) 2016 I stopped always wearing a Shirt in a pool! I wear shorts in the summer and dresses!!!!!! AND IT FEELS GOOD!
The self body love journey for me will always have its ups and downs. Good days and bad. However, there are more good days then bad!
Do you have any suggestions for curvy women on how to dress their body and feel confident?
Ask yourself how you feel! Seriously! Take a moment to stop, observe, and just be! Take a twirl in the mirror in a full skirt and giggle…. put on your favorite shoes for no good reason.
I layer my gemstones often to harness the energy I want to feel. Find that thing that makes you feel good and wear it!
I love jewels for this reason, it really is a feel good part of your outfit. That final touch of perfection to your outfit, a smile at your reflection and out the door. I swear feel good outfits are a thing.
Tell us a little bit about your early days and starting your own business – what types of challenges did you face and tell us a little bit about how you overcame them
And then there was one? lol The best way I can describe it. It was a few girls, but only I was passionate about it. I went to college for fashion design, worked in an office. This was a little creative outlet I never really let go. It grew into something so much more!
It began with small house parties and rosaries, expanded into vendor shows. I think the biggest challenge for a creative soul like myself was partners. To many visions, ideas, and it never seemed to work out right. Consistency was always an issue.
Understanding what Amadora was took sometime. Trying to keep on trend, meeting requests to do things that were just not fun? or along the lines of my vision for Amadora was so frustrating. It really was a “A-HA” moment that began the journey of realizing what Amadora was meant to be, and why #madetosize is really the best way to describe what I do.
What tips do you have for other women who may be interested in designing and starting their own business or women entrepreneurs in general?
Patience. Persistence. Passion.
I think those 3 things are KEY. Amadora is still a growing brand, I am so proud of where and what it has become but it is so far from where I want it to be.
In life you never stop learning or growing, if you do then you may want to check your pulse. Learn from those before you, and those around you. If they are not talking about you, then you are not doing it right!
Never be satisfied with anything but your best effort and try and be as genuine to who are you are as possible.
A book I once read about being an artist had a part that stuck with me, the name and author I can not recall but the message resonated. Steal like an artist, there are no new ideas just ideas stemming from the ideas of other ideas. Originality is taking from what you have seen, learned,experienced and delivering your versions and interpretations.
What kind of feedback have you received from your customers in terms of clothing style, fit and quality?
Most of my customers are really clients. The greatest compliment is a returning customer. I love getting photos and messages about the pieces people are rocking.
Size and Fit are what I do. My handmade collection I use the highest quality locally sourced as much as possible. I have had such great feedback my clients are absolutely wonderful. I have had such great experiences.
Fashion Jewellery from the curated collection is not all crafted by hand, but it is ALL inspected and adjusted by hand. The recreated statement pieces and body chains seem to be a customer favorite at the moment.
Is there a particular designer or era that has inspired you?
No I can’t say there is a designer or era that inspires my pieces. I have on trend pieces and the classics to my brand.
What are your future plans for Amadora Designs, are there areas you’d like to expand?
Working on men. Especially larger figured men! I want to get to the consumers that are often forgotten and I want to be the affordable yet fashionable brand that does not mass produce looks generically.
I hope to see Amadora as the one day favorite shop for fun, unique and affordable pieces and offer to the world more of the creative free spirit behind the brand