Tomorrow an iconic Melbourne plus-size designer is closing her doors.
Over four years ago when I began Real Women Australia, I travelled to Glenferrie Road Malvern to meet with two other retailers catering to curvy women. I randomly parked my car in front of Cheryl’s store and realised that the mannequin in the window was curvy!
I took the plunge, opened the door and was greeted with a warm smile and gorgeous boutique housing some amazing creations. The store was Chez Statements.
That chance meeting was the beginning of my passion for plus-size designers.
Cheryl Canute began her career in the fashion industry 42 years ago, she just recently turned 60.
At the beginning of her career she worked her way up to opening her own retail fashion store catering to women of all shapes and sizes and focussed on buying in labels. She tells many an amusing story of the “rag trade”, buying from wholesalers in Flinders Street, then the hub of the fashion world.
The customer base soon grew and it soon became apparent that catering to the many different shapes and sizes of women’s bodies was not an easy task.
Being a keen sewer and having an “eye” for design, coupled with her desire to meet her customers’ needs, Cheryl began applying her passion for design and introduced her customers to made-to-order designs of her own. What began as an on-the-side service grew so rapidly that the label Chez Statements was born and Cheryl moved into her existing boutique in fashionable Glenferrie Road, Malvern.
Offering sizes 12-26, she focused on assisting women find their own individual style. By combining Nineteen Twenties, Asian & Middle Eastern influences in her designs the garments have interesting, humorous and subtle detail quite unique to this brand, and offered in casual to formal styles with everything in between. The fabrics were handpicked, always of the uppermost quality and natural fibres, and the sizings always tailored to flatter and accentuate real bodies.
This recipe for the Chez Statements label resulted in the most successful business Cheryl has owned.
Over the past four years Chez Statements has always been on my itinerary of destination stores for curvy women. I’ve visited with one-on-one personal shop customers, group shopping tours and hosted a VIP shopping evening with Cheryl. I’ve always been delighted at my customer’s reaction when they view the label. We have thoroughly enjoyed our experience with Cheryl’s label and were thrilled to find this gem.
Chez Statements is arguably not a well-known label. It’s fair to say that marketing was not a focus of Cheryl’s she had no need to promote her label, the customers word of mouth referral and stylists like myself who were lucky enough to find her, were loyal from the start and spread the word – the best form of marketing in my opinion. She is very humble and works always with her customer in mind and as the focus of attention.
I was sad to hear that Cheryl was closing her doors – but there is good news:
- Cheryl is able to close her doors at the highpoint of her career – not many who can say that! She literally feels it’s time to retire and take some “me” time
- The Chez Statement label will not be disappearing!
That’s right, although the bricks & mortar store is closing down, Cheryl is already planning her new range! The website will remain and be updated (my guess is that people like me have badgered her so much that she had to!) and she plans to release a small range of one-off handmade individual pieces a couple of times a year. Music to my ears!
Cheryl’s heading off on some trips over the next few months, so keep an eye on this space for news of the exclusive range when it’s released.
In the meantime, you’ve one day left to snap up a bargain at her closing down sale – all unique exclusive designs:
FINAL SALE DAY: TOMORROW 31st August, 2012
Chez Statements – 69 Glenferrie Road, Malvern Vic 3144. – 10:00am-5:30pm
Cheryl, from me to you, and on behalf of the curvy women whose lives you’ve impacted so positively, I thank you. Congratulations on your invaluable contribution.
Love your shape!