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Anne: Eat right, try to exercise, drink modestly and most important…be happy. Think happy thoughts. Surround yourself with positive people.If you hate your job more than 50% of the time: QUIT! You WILL find a new job because you're motivated to BE HAPPY!Click To Tweet
Find clothes (like from my store) that scream: proud, happy, fun, comfortable and affordable. Wear good shoes. You’d be surprised how far shoe makers have come with nice-looking shoes that are still good for your feet. Yes, even heels.
Budget Fashionista: What does the phrase ‘body positive’ mean to you?
Anne: Body positive means you love yourself. You do have to LOVE YOURSELF. Every curve, every wrinkle, every sun spot, every fold, every gray hair and every part of your body.
My arms work, my legs work, my eyes work (with a little help sometimes), my digestive system works (again, a little help sometimes). Yes, sometimes my weight doesn’t work (like in a size 12 or 14) but it will fit in a size 16 or 18. And that’s a good thing!
Budget Fashionista: Some women I know treat weight gain as a “thing to be dealt with,” rather than a part of life. Have you experienced the same? Why do you think women react so strongly to weight gain?
Anne:Society tells us that we should be tall, thin, tan, blonde and sweet as pie. YEAH RIGHT! I'm not sure where that village is, but I live in the real world.Click To Tweet
Sometimes I do think, “I have to do something about this weight.” But then life, real life, slaps me in the face and says, “hurry up, you’ve got better things to do.” Like work to pay for shelter, transportation, insurance. And love my husband, children and grandchild even more than yesterday. And be there for family members going through worse things than being overweight, like cancer, loss of a loved one, divorce, etc.
When everything else in our lives is going well, I guess that leaves our weight to be next on the list. Click To Tweet But does it really need to be if we’re healthy, happy and functioning in our lives?
Budget Fashionista: Your weight gain led to the launch of your business. Can you share more details about that evolution?
Anne: When I stated my store I made pillowcases, pillow covers, etc. When I moved to apparel, I thought, what is my niche? Everyone says you have to have something that is needed, wanted and not as easy to find as, say, bubble gum.
My niche is apparel for “real women.” I live in a community where my size 16/18 is average, or even on the smaller side.
I’ve literally only had two requests in the last four years for a size small for my blouses. If anything, I’ve had several requests for 5XL blouses, which I’ve filled and they loved them.
Budget Fashionista: Your Etsy store has amazing reviews — your customers clearly love you and your products. What’s your secret?
Anne:My secret is the personal touch. Click To TweetI acknowledge receipt of each order immediately with an email or, as Etsy calls it, a convo. I send out the orders right away, wrapped in lovely tissue. I include a hand written note, my business card with a discount code written on the back and a little something extra (you’ll have to order something to find out what that is).
Even my packaging includes a Mahalo (thank you) stamp and/or sticker. I often double-check with my customers to make sure my item will fit given the measurements I provided on the description.
Readers, you can shop Ikapela Designs here.
I love Anne’s story and hope you did too. Here’s to body positive resolutions for 2017! Now I’m going to go find and donate all of my ‘target weight‘ clothes!