My original goal was to open Gussied Up Spring/Summer 2010 but then a little thing called life happened. I got distracted, managed to lose motivation and was really just too busy enjoying life. Time seemed to go into fast-forward and before I knew it, it was February and I hadn’t ticked off the major items on my Gussied Up to-do list. The decision to not open this past spring was a hard one but one that I needed to make. It was hard to get motivated and back into the mind-set of opening a store as it is a very daunting task. There was one event that I was particularly looking forward to: Full Figured Fashion Week in New York City. I booked the flight and hotel, signed up for workshops, fashion shows, and shopping excursions all with the hope that sometime during this trip I would find my stride and hit the ground running. FFFweek took place mid-June and even now I find it hard to put into words how incredible each day was.
Although the week kicked off on Wednesday, I wasn’t able to go until Thursday morning. I hopped on a little baby plane from YYZ to JFK.
Checked into the Hilton Manhattan East. The cutest hotel ever. I walked in and was immediately in love because there are aspects of the decor that I picture in my store.
The first day I roamed the streets of New York. Walked, walked and then walked some more. Stepped in to an Irish pub to get a pint, a bite to eat and catch the Mexico vs. France World Cup game.
Friday morning I was ready to go to two workshops/seminars that I had signed up for: Plus Side of Business and the State of the Curvy Community.
Plus Size of Business panel was hosted by Jennene Biggins, Founder and CEO of Voluptuous Company Inc. The panellists included:
- Stephanie Penn-Danforth, Editor in Chief of www.dailyvenusdiva.com
- Tonye Fubara, Director of Melons and Peaches, luxury lingerie line for plus size women in 2011.
- Kimmoy Matthews, Author and CEO, The Curvy Coach. www.thecurvycoach.com
- Glen L. Johnson, President of Full Figure Network www.fullfigureplus.com
- Rhonda Wilkins, CEO, Diva’s Unlimited Inc and Executive Director of the S.T.A.R.S. Leadership Foundation www.divasunlimited.com
- Yulia Raquel, Founder and Designer, IGIGI by Yulia Raquel www.igigi.com
They covered a wide variety of business topics: building healthy business relationships, protecting intellectual property and trade marking your brand, building a business model, knowing your market, building a business based on your passion, blogging and social media, contracts and celebrating your customers.
Yuliya Raquel from IGIGI was particularly inspiring. She spoke with such grace and emotion. I hung on to her every word as everything she said was quotable. Yuliya started sewing at the age of 5 and by the time she was a teenager she was creating designs for her family and friends. Some of her clients were plus-size women who wanted the same feminine fashionable clothing that was available to thinner women. When shopping with her plus-sized mother, it became especially apparent that these options just weren’t available. This is when IGIGI was born. She celebrates her customers and encourages everyone to do the same. Although we all live in our own reality, we still want to be inspired. Fashion creates a fantasy and gives us all inspiration.
Yuliya showed her collection during the FFF week runway finale
The second seminar was on the current state of the Curvy Community. The panellists were:
- Erica Watson- Plus Size Comedienne (hilarious) www.ericawatson.com/
- Madeline Figueroa-Jones- Editor of Plus Model Magazine www.plusmodelmag.com
- Yuliya Raquel- Founder/Designer of IGIGI (see above) www.igigi.com
- Golda Poretsky- Founder of Body Love Wellness www.bodylovewellness.com
- Mad Fashionista- Plus size fashion blogger and personality from Diary of a Mad Fashionista www.diaryofamadfashionista.blogspot.com/
It was an open discussion amongst panellists and the audience. The room was filled with warmth and emotions. We laughed, we cried and most importantly, I knew that I was on the right path.
Stay tuned for more from FFF Week:NYC