TARA: First of all Hello! I’m so grateful and excited to agreed to chat with Mimp Magazine about your amazing company and journey so far! What did have to found to be the biggest challenge so far as an entrepreneur?
CHANTAL: The biggest challenge is distributing and balancing tasks that need to be completed within the business especially with limited people and financial resources. Wearing different hats and doing things that I haven’t done before can be daunting. However when you do push through these tasks, though it may not be perfect, getting them done is the best feeling ever!
T: Do you have a particular role model or hero you’ve felt inspired by during the process of starting up your company?
C: I wouldn’t say I have one person in particular, I watch a variety of women in my community who are hustling and creating the life that they want and that helps to elevate me and keep me pushing forward. I seek these type of people to watch and be around as are tough times and loneliness as an entrepreneur.
T: I ventured through Love & Nudes Instagram archives and Journal on your website - I love how thoroughly you documented the process of creating and developing the piece’s. Once you had the idea, how did you go about finding and selecting a manufacturer?
C:Thank you for checking that out! It’s important for our brand to show what the process is and what’s involved to our customers and fans! I tried to have my pieces made locally but regrettably that did not work out as lingerie manufacturing in Canada is pretty much non-existent or not set up in a way that would work for me. I spoke with an awesome women entrepreneur who was also creating lingerie who told me about manufacturing in Colombia. I was able to go there and found a women owned manufacturer that were very much about enabling their community, paying fair wages and working with single mothers! As I was once a single mother, this resonated with me and is very parallel to what Love & Nudes stands for, uplifting our communities.
T: You used a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for your first production run and also put out an Instagram casting call to find models for your first photo-shoot. Do you think it would be harder to get this project of the ground and grow your brand without the social media outlets available today?
C:Most definitely, it would be so difficult without social media! I think social media can really be effective in reaching an audience you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Traditional advertising costs on TV, billboards and magazines would be way too high for start up brand. Social media gives people the opportunity to make connections with others and reveal your brand to others in a way that can work for your business. It has given me the chance to promote Love & Nudes and connect with others like Mimp!
T: Is it surprising to you that so many lingerie brands are offer such a limited range of options given the diversity of consumers? Do you think big brands and designers have a responsibility to change this and if so what would be your advice to them?
C: I wish the process was more naturally inclusive for brands to include people of colour when they are creating their products. The default for decades has been European skin in the media and products, so it is probably difficult to realize that there is a need to be inclusive. Hence why Love & Nudes was created, to show that people of colour also need to be represented in every space as we do exist! 2/3 of the population has a darker skin tone and this should be reflected. When people don’t see themselves represented any where they can internalize this as not being worthy or important. We want to be part of a movement that celebrates the beauty of difference. Everyone deserves the chance to shine the way they were created and to be able to wear fashion any way they choose to. We hope that other brands will get on board with this too.
T: As you’ve got underwear covered, what brands do you recommend for outerwear?
C: Well I’ve got to represent my Canadian brands, I absolutely love M0851 a quality outerwear and accessories brand that has an architectural urban vibe that I rock daily; Mackage which is a little more fashion forward that also has wonderful designs and finally Smythe Les Vestes, that focus on interesting and stylish blazers that I love.
M: What’s next for Love & Nudes?
C:What’s next is knocking it out of the park with Love & Nudes brand awareness! We are looking at developing an extended size line for our bras and panties as there has been a demand for this. We are taking baby steps and navigating very carefully, however we can’t wait to introduce new products.