Body Peace – Groundbreaking Course – Get 25% OFF

Many years ago I met Sarah Harry, one of Australia’s leading specialists in Body Image and Disordered Eating. In my years of work in the plus-size Industry I have honestly never met anyone more authentic or effective at walking the walk when it comes to positive body image and how we feel about ourselves.  I have valued the opportunities I’ve had to work with, refer to and receive guidance from Sarah over the years.  I’ve especially enjoyed my Fat Yoga Classes and was so thrilled to see how Sarah managed to spread the word and influence women around the world to practise yoga.

Now Sarah has found yet another unique way to influence, add value to, and guide us to body acceptance and peace.  Today marks the launch of her “Body Peace – Find Comfort and Ease in Your Body” which is a ground-breaking 8 week course which offers both yoga and therapy to bring you ease and comfort in your body, working across all mediums (video, workbooks, online support) to revolutionise the way you think about your body.

Sarah believes you can’t heal the relationship with your body without doing some work to feel more comfortable in your body (your one and only home), so she has added the yoga component to help you find an embodied sense of peace in your body.  The course is the first of its’ kind to blend psychology with yoga to help you heal and blends a healthy sense of humour and fun from Sarah with the latest research and her 15 years of clinical practice working with people with body image issues.

I highly recommend this course and am pleased to pass on a special offer from Sarah to receive 25% OFF for the next 48 hours!

25% Off Body Peace

 

Body Peace 7 Day Challenge! from Body Peace on Vimeo.

Love your shape!

Janine x

Australia – Plus-size Customer Survey 2016

It’s that time again – I’d really appreciate your voice by completing this important survey which I run annually to compile data and stats which helps me add value to the plus-size offerings here in Australia. The survey is 55 questions long, and you will likely need a cuppa and at least 20 minutes to complete it, but PLEASE do take the time to have your say. PLEASE also share far and wide, the more responses the more significant the data.

Create your own user feedback survey

THANK YOU.

Love your shape!

Janine x

Buxom Envy – Personalised Bra Fittings

Many moons ago I hosted a nationwide event for curvy women where we hosted VIP in-store events in every major city across the country, simultaneously. It was awesome. Sue Bowman who then managed a family business called Cheeky Curves in Adelaide hosted my event with a gorgeous Curvy Ambassador of mine, Natasha.  The event was a huge success. Unfortunately the family shut the doors to Cheeky Curves about 2 years ago and Adelaide curvy ladies lost an important resource with regards to accurate bra fittings.

Flash Forward to June 2016 and Sue has opened what can only be described as THE most incredible luxe personalised bra-fitting service I’ve ever seen – Buxom Envy.

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I was working in Adelaide recently and decided to book an appointment with Sue and invite along a couple of friends Kelly and Lisa, a local, who I know will benefit from this service too.

From the moment we opened the door to be greeted by the ever smiling Sue, we felt like a million dollars – that was before we’d been fitted!  The service is located in a leafy suburb of Adelaide at 45E Sussex Terrace, Hawthorn SA, there is ample parking and the signage is beautiful.

As you open the door you step into a light filled room with luxe furnishings including the most amazing ceiling to floor length black & gold curtains surrounding the most ROOMY change-room ever!  With comfortable padded seats, a beautiful display of bras & knickers and lovely attention to details  like a beautiful window that appears that you can see the outside world and makes you feel like the outside world is looking in – but it isn’t!  It is one-way tinted so that you have beautiful natural light without flashing your curvy bits to the world!!

Open Door at Buxom Envy

Change Room 1 Change Room 3

Our session (a group booking) included coffee, tea and bubbles, macaroons and a personal consultation and expert fitting service. (To make a group booking with 3-4 maximum, email Sue at info@buxomenvy.com)

Lisa Lisa with a cuppa Kelly

 

 

 

 

Lisa volunteered to go first and as she disappeared behind the lush curtains, Kelly and I relaxed in the plush chairs and chatted. It wasn’t long before Lisa glided gracefully out of the change-room with her first option of bra on – amazing! We dissolved into giggles as we discussed the “incredible impact that bra has on the girls” LOL. Sue has so many options to choose from, but what I loved is that you are not bamboozled by bras everywhere, you literally are provided with a selection of bras to try that are expertly selected by Sue. I was astounded at how accurate she was in selecting the correct options each time for all of us.

Kelly was next, always bubbly with a wicked sense of humour she had us in stitches, but equally, she was seriously astounded at the difference the bras Sue selected for her were accurate and flattering.

KellyFunnyYES – she does realise it’s upside down! Kelly was thrilled when the sports bra she chose came in her favourite colour 🙂

Then it was my turn. I’ve been professionally fitted for bras consistently during my lifetime, and when at home in Melbourne I favour Brava Lingerie as my go-to store.  The service and expertise there is second to none and they always have what I’m after. However, there is just something over and above in having your own personalised time to relax, enjoy and really talk to an expert about your options. The opportunity to share it with some good friends and make an occasion out of it is too good to pass up.

Sue & Janine

Sue specialises in sizes 8-34 (30-56) F-K cups and 18-34 (42-56) B-E cups and stocks the following brands, Elomi, Goddess, Freya, Tutti Rouge, Today’s Woman, Panache, Sculptresse, Elila, Hotmilk, Oh La La Cherie, Sonsee Woman seamless intimates & hosiery,and many more.

Sue, congratulations on your new store and fitting service Buxom Envy, the Adelaide ladies are so lucky to have you! I highly recommend you book yourself in to experience this service for yourself.

Don’t you think “my girls” look amazing in this post-fitting/wearing my new bra photo?!

Please tell Sue I sent you.

Love your shape!

Janine x

 

A WIN for Australian plus-size Designers

Finally I can spill the beans, I’ve been working hard and holding onto a secret for so long. But today I can share with you that three deserving Australian plus-size designer brands are available online at Autograph!

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H&H on Autograph ADD on Autograph

You may be asking yourself why is this such major news? Let me tell you.

In March 2015 I began a Wholesale Agency, United Curves specialising in Labels that cater to the size 12-26+ market.  My passion has always been in supporting the Australian plus-size designer Labels, and what better way to do that than to work with them on expanding the opportunities in our local market here in Australia, and beyond. Word spread quickly about United Curves, and before I could blink the telephone was ringing and enquiries were coming in thick and fast. It was such a surprise to receive an enquiry via the Hope & Harvest Website from Autograph who were enquiring about the H&H range for an upcoming project they were working on.  I picked up the phone and called Justine, who is managing the project.  She explained that she had been tasked with launching a “Brand Store” on the Autograph website to offer more choice for the Autograph customer.  Justine invited me to visit with her in Sydney and bring some samples of the Hope & Harvest collection with me.  Justine asked if I could recommend any other brands, and when I explained that I also represented other plus-size Australian designers, she encouraged me to bring samples from all the Labels.

There was a great effort from the brands to provide me with the sales tools I needed for this important meeting. I boarded a flight to Sydney with two suitcases of samples and landed on the doorstep of Specialty Fashion Group.

Our meeting began at 10am on a sunny Sydney day, and I was greeted by Justine – a gorgeous woman with an amazing smile. I was ushered into the meeting room where it was immediately clear that a lot of work and research had gone into this moment. Justine was so passionate about plus-size clothing and so very excited to be leading the Brand Store Project.

During my years of working in the plus-size Industry I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in a lot of offices and boardrooms talking with major retailers about what’s missing for the curvy consumer. I’ve often felt that my well researched and qualified opinions and suggestions have fallen on deaf ears, and that there is always an excuse for why something can’t change or can’t be done. I’ve felt that there is a disconnect with major retailers and the customers, not understanding their wants and needs.  With you, my loyal readers help, I’ve collected data, comments and images to back up my opinions and suggestions – this has helped immensely – thank you! I am so familiar with the same old responses that I was taken aback when I discovered the meeting room I was sitting in was covered in survey data and comments from a very well thought out survey that was sent to all Autograph customers a few months before.

Out of the data that they collected,  one of the key points was that the Autograph customer was looking for more choice and styles than sits within the usual offering from Autograph. The data also gave the team a broader understanding of their customer and her needs and wants.  The survey is a credit to the Marketing team who compiled the questions, I read through the survey when it landed in my inbox and remember being impressed that finally here was a survey that was serious about understanding the customer.

The meeting that day went until 5pm! I had the pleasure of meeting the team of people behind the scenes that make things tick, from the buyers to the marketing team, brand manager and so much more.  The work we all did that day was historical as it opened up an opportunity that has previously been out of reach for the smaller independent labels.

(L-R) Justine, Vanessa (Sonsee), Alexa, Lisa Lunch with the Autograph Team during one of our visits to Sydney

The initial opportunity to stock Sonsee Woman in Autograph happened quickly. First with the Hosiery range, and shortly thereafter with the incredible Seamless Intimates Range.  The Autograph customer was thrilled with the Sonsee range and we will shortly be launching a premium active wear range by Sonsee Active available with the accurate Sonsee fit for sizes 14-28.

Sonsee on Autograph

The opportunity for the other brands has taken a little longer to negotiate. In fact it’s taken just on 12 months of negotiating & planning the deal. It’s been a rollercoaster of ups and downs and a huge learning curve for myself and brands to position ourselves to meet the needs of a large retailer.

I’m so proud and thrilled to share that today the amazing Australian plus-size designer brands Hope & Harvest and Alison Dominy Designs also went live on the Autograph Brand Store. We are all so proud and happy to be part of this opportunity and want to thank the team at Autograph who made it possible sincerely for their efforts.  I want to thank Justine who has worked tirelessly and passionately to smooth the path to this point, bravo!

It’s time to crack open the champagne. It’s now over to you – YOU the curvy customer who is deserving of great designer fashion.  We’ve worked hard to make it more accessible and it’s important that you support these initiatives to ensure their longevity and success.  This is just the beginning.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

Love your shape!

Janine x 

 

Vale Victoria

Vic&Janine

This week the curvy ladies of Melbourne lost an important contributor to our Plus-size Industry, and I lost a friend.

About 12 years ago I discovered Big In Black.  I was looking for a dress for a wedding and a friend of mine recommended I check it out.  As I pulled up outside I could see from the garments hanging in the window that there was at least something in my size. The Betty Boop image on the window was quirky and curvy, but until I opened the door I wasn’t convinced I was in the right place.  I was immediately greeted by a booming voice – “Hi, I haven’t seen you before, want a cuppa?” BigInBlackAnd so began my association, and friendship with the most lovable, loud and vivacious woman I’ve ever known.  That day I did find the outfit I wanted. I left happy, and I left knowing that this was somewhere I would visit again.

Flash forward to 2009 when I opened my first business Real Women Have Curves. When I was formulating my ideas for how to structure the business, Victoria was one of the first people I contacted.  She was so supportive and encouraging and she added significant value to my business over the years.

Victoria opened Big In Black in 2000, she was plus-size and one of the most confident women I knew.  Her knowledge of what the customer wants was vast.  Victoria’s husband Clotaire was a regular in the store, his wide smile and warm manner coupled with his great knowledge of garments added value to the store.  In fact, Clotaire is a brilliant dressmaker and the store offers custom made garments.  Big In Black is renowned for being able to cater to all sizes, and I’ve been in-store and witnessed first hand a bridal party consisting of women ranging in size from 12-36 all being fitted for dresses that flattered and worked. The beaming smile on the Bride’s face, and the look of relief on the Bridesmaid’s face as what may have seemed like an insurmountable feat – turned into something quite perfect. This is unique and not something any other store can offer.  There are many stories like this that I’ve seen and heard over the years and there is no doubt that Big In Black has an incredible following of loyal customers to be proud of.  In fact the wall behind the counter is covered in photos of beaming brides, mother of the Bride/Groom and women in beautiful after-five wear all thanking Victoria and her team for their help in making them feel beautiful on their special day.

Vic&ClotaireVictoria & her husband Clotaire

On entering the store, you could be forgiven for being confused – the space is jam packed with thousands of garments ranging in size from 8-34 and interspersed between these treasures are some odd offerings such as golly wogs and witches, bejewelled shoes and accessories.  The one constant is that Big In Black – overseen by the vivacious Victoria – remained a treasure-trove (or wonderland as she says on her website) for the woman with the fuller-figure.  The staff too are amazing, Heather who has been a loyal member for many years and Kelly who make up the great customer service that you can expect from BIB.  Last year I actually worked for a month on Saturdays at Big In Black to get some insider understanding on the retail aspect of how things work. I really enjoyed my time there and learnt a lot from Victoria and Kelly.

biginblackbettyOver the past 7 years of working with styling customers I have NEVER taken a customer to the store and not found THE perfect outfit.  Big In Black has been my go-to store for after-five, special occasion and bridal outfits.

Victoria has shared a million stories with me over the years, having started out in 2000 well and truly prior to the social media revolution, she worked hard to get the word out about her business. She had a great story about a well known women’s magazine who approached her for a story and visited the store to interview Victoria and take some photos.  Victoria, (as am I) was pedantic about not being associated with anything weight related when it came to dealing with customers – so she wanted to be sure that the magazine understood this – she even went so far as to insist that the magazine send her a “proof for approval” prior to publication.  The magazine did this – and then when the double-page article was published Victoria picked up the magazine to find that they had printed exactly what they’d provided her with in the proof – BUT they had inserted an ad for weight loss products in the border of the article.  I would NOT liked to have been there when Victoria had that conversation with the magazine – Victoria wasn’t one to mince words – and I admired her greatly for that. She was a woman who saw it and said it as it was. A woman after my own heart.

Over the years we formed a great relationship, and when in 2011 my dad passed away she was one of the first to contact me when she heard the news.  Not a year later her own beloved father passed, he’d battled cancer but unfortunately passed due to a heart attack.  Together we chatted about how this felt and understood each others grief.  In 2012 when my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was sitting with my mum at her first chemo session, terrified and attempting to be a good support when we suddenly heard a commotion at the door of the chemo ward.  In walked Victoria, bold as always, with her mother Margaret.  They were coming to visit the chemo nurses and thank them for the great care they had taken of Victoria’s father during his earlier treatment.  Victoria spotted us and came over immediately.  Her energy and fun manner immediately shifted our mood as she sent us all into fits of laughter with her antics.  It was a terrible time for them, and for us, but as always she led the way with her amazing approach to life.

Not long after Victoria received the news that she had a battle of her own on her hands. She too was diagnosed with breast cancer. I couldn’t believe it, and I believed if anyone could beat it, she could.  She fought an incredible battle, I remember for a woman so bold and outward she was also private, letting a select circle of people share her journey. During that journey I watched Victoria, her husband Clotaire, her two beautiful sons, her mum and friends love and support her – always with her outwardly hilarious sense of humour (one that sticks in my mind is Victoria and her friend Jean dressing up in Pokémon costumes during the chemo treatment phase entertaining the other patients) and ultimately when she had the all-clear – Victoria worked tirelessly raising funds to support the hospital that treated her and donating important equipment to help save more lives.

Through it all, I thought she’d won the battle. I was wrong.

About 3 months ago she went very quiet.  I had frequent contact with her, but it became via Facebook Messenger rather than phone conversations or face-to-face. I had no idea that things were not good. She kept this very quiet.  Just 4 weeks ago I heard she was in hospital again and tried to arrange a time to visit. She said she was “taking bookings” and I laughed, not realising how serious things were and said “of course you are – you’re so bloody popular”.  That was the last I heard from her until I got the awful news early Monday morning.

I am gutted to the core. The outpouring of grief from friends & family has been massive, not unexpectedly for such an incredible woman. Victoria’s contribution to the plus-size Industry, the curvy customer, and to me personally and professionally is immeasurable. I want to say THANK YOU Victoria for being you and for having such an amazing impact on my life. I’ll miss you.

Big In Black is open for business as usual except for this Friday 6th May for the celebration of her life.

Please continue to support this incredible store.

Love your shape!

Janine x

Curvy Girl follows her dream…

Two weeks ago in a café in inner Melbourne, I had the pleasure of meeting two amazing women, Kelsey and her mum Sue.  The purpose of their visit to the “big smoke” was to source amazing garments for their customers and to tap into some Industry knowledge.  Over a cup of coffee we sat chatting about their business plan.

Kelsey is a 20 year old who knows what she wants and is willing to work hard for it.  It was such a pleasure to see her excitement and passion.  Kelsey has graduated from High School and has been running the local Royal Hotel Euston Pub Kitchen.  Her dream to run her own boutique has been brewing for quite some time.  She knows the pain of trying to find  great fitting garments to flatter her curves, and especially being in a rural setting, this becomes an even more difficult undertaking.  She loves her job running the kitchen, but there was more.. she talked about it for months, dared to dream and then decided to act.  Sue, Kelsey’s mum is a vibrant woman with curves who is clearly as passionate as Kelsey about her daughter’s dream. So much so that she’s thrown herself into the project with gusto.  Equally, Kelsey’s sister Juscinda was behind the dream too.  What happens when you have a dream, and you have all the love and support you could imagine – dreams come true, and the hard work begins!

So over coffee, In my usual style, I was more than happy to flood them with information on all things curvy fashion and curvy business and Kelsey soaked up the advice and added it to her bag of magic.

Flash forward a week and a half, and the KJSista’s doors opened for the first time late last week.

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How gorgeous are these two sisters?! The name KJSista came from K=Kelsey (owner) and J=Juscinda her sister.  Clever!  Decked out on opening day in gorgeous 17 Sundays, the two girls were inundated with locals who couldn’t wait to check out what was on offer and the flow of customers hasn’t stopped since.

It’s so amazing to see girls so young KNOW what they want, and go out and get it.  At 20 I was travelling the world, and I was learning to love my shape. It took me a lot longer than 20 to do that and realise there was a way to work and love what I do.

Congratulations Kelsey, and congratulations to your mum Sue and sister Juscinda for backing you and your dream.

IMG_0242 Sonsee Woman seamless bra and anti-chaffing shorts available at KJSista

KJSista stocks a range of labels available in sizes 8-26 including:

  • 17 Sundays – Boutique Plus-size Designer Fashion Label – Sizes 14-26
  • Hope & Harvest – Engineered for Curves Plus-Size Designer Fashion Label – Sizes 12-28
  • Love Your Wardrobe – On-Trend plus-size fashion – Sizes 14-24
  • Sonsee Woman – Ultra Stretch Hosiery & Seamless Intimates Range for the Curvy Figure – Sizes 14-28
  • Teaberry – sizes 8-16

You can find KJSista at 9 Perrin Street, Robinvale Vic 3549.

Opening Hours:

Tues-Fri:  9:00am-5:00pm

Sat:          9:00am-12:00pm

Also stocking a fantastic selection of accessories including beautiful jewellery and handbags.

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Click on the image above to follow KJSISTA on Instagram.

Shop local and support Australian designers.

Please tell Kelsey I sent you.

Love your shape!

Janine x