A cloud of anxiety was over me for about a month, for the first time I was going to be presenting my online thrift boutique DashA’veri Vintage and Thrifted Redesigns in front of all who attended the critical acclaimed Artisan Café event. Being held in City Hall’s Observation Deck, this event was expected to be huge and enjoyable, my only concern was I was putting my babies (both literally and figuratively) on stage for all to see… I speak with total transparency when I say, I was so nervous. Lol. However, the day proved that faith plus work are just like pressure busting pipes, I was beyond bursting with praise.
Saturday morning was drowning in rainy weather, I was looking out the window every thirty minutes, I was definitely about to panic thinking this was the overall day’s forecast. I can remember of all times I have ever been to Artisan Café, I could not remember a day of rain and monsoon. I just knew God wasn’t going to let me go down like that, so I digressed. Hubs was telling me that the weather predicted it would stop eventually and that it’s unproductive to trip about the weather, just “plan your pretty picnic”. Something that he stole from Andre 3000, was definitely not calming me down, but I was soothed by the idea that he tried. After getting haircuts, we finished up packing up our merchandise and displays and opted to get dressed after we finished setting up to save time and energy. Plus no one wanted to get dressed and walk through any potential bad weather before the event started.
By the time we arrived at City Hall the sun was shining bright, the rain had ceased, and the heat was slightly cooking us as we removed out things from the car. Several other vendors were packing up their things and ready to also set up shop on RVA’s City Observation deck. I was anxious and focused, immediately prepared to put the table together as soon as I arrived. I didn’t want to waste a second, in the case I needed to make further adjustments or I came across a bump in the road. I had no idea how much room I was really going to be able to utilize and I had absolutely no room in my living room to do a pre-set up ritual to plan things out. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to see in my head and just started executing that idea immediately. . A special thanks to Ashley of Styledentity (www.etsy.com/shop/Styledentity) for giving me a thumbs up on my table display. As one of the many respected vendors at Artisan Café, I appreciated her feedback so much, she is so awesome and talented.
My husband, oldest son, and sister were my “ride or die” team during what I have been affectionately calling my Super Bowl. I wanted to not only represent the brand positively, I also wanted to sell what I have been passionately working on for months. I was thrilled to have an opportunity to finally meet Daphne Maxwell Reid (http://www.daphnemaxwellreid.com/index.html) of Daphne Maxwell Reid’s “FRESH PRINTSTM“, a collection of limited edition prints, photos, cards and more. Most will know her as “Aunt Viv” of the Fresh Prince Bel Air.
The kids were there for the motivational reinforcement. No matter what happened or didn’t happen for us Saturday, I wanted a constant reminder of why I do what I do and how my actions impact them. Often times I see people get so wrapped up in the hustle and grind of being an entrepreneur/making money that they forget the little things (and people) that make their hard work so significant. My children are that inspiration for me. These little boys give me that inspiration that I crave to be the best at what I do, no matter what it is. I appreciated the hard work that was put in by my entire family, but especially my five year old son, A’veri. A’veri the pint size salesman that he is was not only able to sell the very first piece of the day (a pair of vintage earrings), he was also able to earn some unsolicited tips from clients who were impressed with his customer service skills. I was very proud at the way he socialized with our customers, retrieved bags and receipts, and as well as handing out my business cards to everyone to promote our table. In an effort to teach him responsibility, he ended up teaching me to enjoy the experience like he was apparently doing. I followed suit and just laughed and enjoyed the whole event from beginning to end.
RVA’s stylish and beautiful, entertaining, and all culture and art lovers flooded in at a consistent pace throughout the evening. We started to pick up on orders and it was non-stop from there. I was able to chat with several of my colleagues and peers, as well as make some new friends and meet some fresh faces. People from outside of Richmond were greeting me at the table, in their friendliest tones they expressed their enjoyment and pleasure shopping at our table. Ladies were complimenting the selection and the creativity. I was excited and very blessed to see the positive response from the public. I praised God right then and there, no matter what because it was He that gave me the energy and the gift to do everything. I was blessed to have my family there with me, supporting me and working right beside me. Between my beautiful sister providing her awesome customer service and ringing up orders, and my Super dope husband helping ladies with their selection, taking orders, and playing security, my job was twice as easy that I had expected. I was able to catch up with some awesome personalities and suggest certain items to people myself, thinking the whole time I pray that I can see them wearing this via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever… That’s all I need.
My clothes are quirky, nostalgic, and different when it comes to fashion. I don’t aim to select pieces that always make sense to everyone and their personal style. It takes a certain kind of woman and creative spirit to find use for any of the pieces that I’ve selected for my boutique and eventually their wardrobe, so to see so many women makes purchases was a blessing. I felt that all of those women could see the awesome style potential just like I did. Some women even requested that I do some hunting and specialty fashion shopping for them, some claiming to want to be more adventurous with their style and wardrobe. I was so down for that and gave them more information on how to make that happen.
Overall, I knew that this was going to be an experience to remember, because of my love and support for this event. However, I never imagined that this event would really provide me with a new passion for what I do and the people that I would like to connect to, on top of a very huge return on investment. This was a great opportunity for me to bring my boutique to the forefront and to allow the public to see exactly what I love. Adriane and Melody have done it again, proving that they can provide their vendors with as much information as possible, and it’s up to you to put in the effort to make it a success for you. I didn’t get an opportunity to chat it up with many of the other vendors but I did get a chance to chat with a few friendly faces, such as…
Lisa Johann of Furthermoredesigns.com (http://furthermoredesigns.tumblr.com/)
Julian Greene (https://www.facebook.com/julian.greene.94)
Melanie Modgyrl (http://modgyrlcosmetics.com/)
Nickey McMullen (https://www.facebook.com/NickeyMcMullenSoulJazz)
We worked DashA’veri up until a quarter after 10pm, even having to go back into a tote to pull out a piece that we were packing up. With sore ankles and a huge smile, we gathered our things and headed home to finally have dinner and go to bed. I was excited and exhausted, I received a new appreciation to the amount of work vendors put into each event and promoting their business. It’s no easy task, so to all of those that do it with a smile, a good attitude, and no shade to the organizers and your fellow vendors… A Huge Round of Applause! You deserve it. My 10 month old son, Dash clocked out early, which officially made A’veri employee of the month with DashA’veri Vintage and Thrift and it even earned him his favorite dinner. I spent a good amount of time dancing with A’veri and trying to work out the adrenaline that came from having two lines at one time. I felt God was really working with us, because that was something I never even fathomed before we arrived.
As we drove away, I remembered how grateful I was, thinking about the experience of selling my pieces to people from the DMV area. It was special to me and marked a milestone in my career. I thank Artisan Café for the opportunity and I can’t wait to see what develops from here… Praise God!
Please support them and contact Artisan Café via web www.artisancafeva.com, follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/artisancafeva, like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-ARTisan-Cafe-Richmond-VA/141958772567227
Christian Crawford of Runway Couture (www.shoprunwaycouture.com/), a classy and elegant entrepreneur in Richmond, decided to throw a shopping and networking event at Brickstone Grill last Saturday. Perfect and just in time for Mother’s Day, fashion and style lovers all over Virginia made their way to Midlothian Turnpikes former “Razzles” location. Newly renovated and redesigned, this location turned out to be perfect for shopping and networking with some of Virginia’s hardest working professionals in beauty, fashion, and style. Taking Ms. Sydney Harris (@Sydneyellese) of Young Ladies of Beauty with me, we were ready and prepared to meet all of the beauty and fashion entrepreneurs under one roof in support of Runway Couture. Immediately captivated by all the options available for all types of women, we knew that Christian did a wonderful thing bringing all of these amazing people together. While winning prizes and raffles, patrons were able to shop and get discounts at the bar. From cupcakes infused with alcohol to healthy and energizing water, to eclectic and stylish vintage designs to handmade and crafted dresses, this event catered to a diverse crowd of women, who deserved the ultimate shopping and beauty experience. Unique and original jewelry designs, styles that were not overdone and tacky, retailers provided specialty for a new and prospective clientele that was impressive. Among some of the vendors, I had a chance to chat it up with Jacole Thomas of J-Elay.com, stylish dresses and accessories for curvaceous women. Make sure to check her out. Also, I talked to the beautiful Melani L. Jones, owner of IRock Natural (www.Irocknatural.com), who had an awesome collection of t-shirts and accessories that real natural enthusiast can enjoy. I appreciate the styling and effort she put into her pieces and I can’t wait to see more. One of my absolute favorites, another vintage and thrifting aficionado, Andrea Nicole of La Dainta (www.Ladainta.com) who I got to officially meet for the first time, should also be supported. I love her style and her spirit, a very nice young lady. Among some of the pretty faces in the building was also Virginia Natural Hair Blogger, Jonna of Naturally Glam (www.Naturally-glam.com) Just when you thought that, all the fun was somewhat over, I mean how much shopping and beauty can you tolerate, Runway Couture’s Christian Crawford takes the event up a notch, and all in attendance line dancing. I was tickled, because never before have I seen that down home feeling at a shopping/networking event, and I must say I really like it. A girl like me likes to wobble-wobble everyone once in while, but so often I feel like “I must keep it professional”, however in a beautiful self-made gown this fashion maven made everyone feel relaxed and at-home by suggesting we all let loose. That was truly fun and it made us all look forward to her next event. Overall, the event was awesome and I can’t wait to see what’s next. I appreciate the invitation, and from my understanding she has something up her sleeve for next month, so be sure to follow her and be on the lookout. For more of the baddest creative motivation, reviews, and commentary follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
From Petersburg Virginia, Bernice McKenzie, wasn’t into fashionable shoes and jewelry growing up. However, after graduating from college and coming into her own, Bernice started to have a fiery eye for style, and was inspired to start her own business. She felt that individuals in the Tri-cities’ area, wore the same jewelry and fashions. Bernice noticed that nothing was unique. It appeared as if everyone was shopping at the same stores for accessories. Bernice wanted her clients to look exceptional, and she had to find jewelry that was stylish and different for diverse women.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”(Psalm 37:4)”
Founded in 2009, D’Zirable Shoes & Accessories LLC (D’Zirable) is a business that aims to keep heads turning. The D’Zirable website states that they offer you the convenience of shopping right from your computer. Customer satisfaction is their top priority and they are committed to offering you the best online shopping experience. Bernice has served customers nationally and internationally.
Although currently there are no shoes available on the site, you can still view an array of unique jewelry pieces and accessories. I must say the prices are very reasonable and the accessories look worth more than the cost, which is very convenient for our fashionistas on an extreme budget.
Bernice obviously stands on quality, in her FAQ’s she answers all your questions and/or concerns about your purchase and promises to provide excellent customer service. I think you should definitely check her out regularly, as she ensures to stay on the latest fashion trends to appeal to a large customer base. I personally love the bracelets, purses, and hats and I think you will, too.
*To have your business or brand featured on GaptoothDiva.com, contact me today.
I’m back it again giving love and appreciate to all our artisans, crafters, and designers out there aiming to make the world a more beautiful place. Thanks to connections, I had the pleasure of meeting Rayann Young of Youngs Crochet and Fashion Boutique. YCAF brand was founded in June of 2009, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. After watching her grind for a while, I can easily see that she is a natural talent. Teaming up with her mother, they make some funky and beautiful fashions that convey power and appreciation for oneself. From crochet pieces, graphic tees and accessories, there is something for everyone looking for a distinctive item to call their own.
Their slogan is “You name it, we crochet it!” which also adds to their repertoire of exclusiveness, as it suggests that you can contact them for customized creations as well.
I had the opportunity to ask Rayann some questions about her experience and the YCAF brand. With her answers, I know that you’ll be motivated and inspired.
I asked her, who or what would attribute her passion for creating and crafting? She stated, “My mom has been a huge influence on my crafting. As a child, our family bonding (time) consisted of crafting, cooking, braiding hair, etc. She is a huge DIY mom, and we loved spending time with one another. Most of the paintings in our home were hand-painted, all the way down to our picture frames and tablecloths. Also, the support I receive from my clients keeps me going. Keeping my clients happy and satisfied is my greatest motivation.”
So at what point did she realize this was a business? Rayann says, “Approximately 3 days after opening our online Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/YCAF) we received our 1st sale. A custom order for a beanie and scarf set. At a time when most crafters were struggling to make their first sale, our shop was thriving, receiving tons of positive feedback, and custom orders. Looking back, I’m a little embarrassed by our first sale. Our client wanted a mixture of green and yellow in her scarf & hat set with a bit of glitter. I don’t think we had business cards made or pretty packaging to package her order at the time, as it was just a hobby. Nevertheless, long behold she was beyond satisfied, and let just say she is a frequent client now” It goes to show that all it takes is that first time, whether good or bad to know if what you’re doing is going to grow and prosper. That must have been exciting.
No matter what we decide to do in life, there will always be some bridges to cross and hurdles to overcome. I inquired, were there any obstacles (external and internal) that YCAF had to face? Rayann replied, “Internally, starting a business at age 15 is an obstacle in itself. Adults find it hard to take you seriously. I was turned down by a few bloggers and reviewers because of my age. It was very frustrating and discouraged me. At a time in which I needed the most encouragement and constructive criticism people were turning me down left and right. I didn’t fully understand why at the time, but I have learned the importance of professionalism with bloggers and reviewers. I appreciate the “no’s” now more than ever because I doubt that I would have been able to handle/balance out both the positive and negative criticism at such a young age.” Age is nothing but a number, and this girl’s hustle proves that. So while, many of you think you may be too young, too old, too ghetto, or whatever… stop! You’ll only hinder yourself in the end.
Rayann also mentioned, “Externally, we participated in a fashion show featuring our crocheted garments, I quickly realized how strenuous crocheting can be on the body in the long run. I had about 2 months to come up with 12 designs and an outfit for my CEO-mom and me. It was very time consuming and took a toll on my wrists. However, I had deadlines to meet and I love my craft. Recently I have launched our natural boss lady collection which consists of crewnecks, t-shirts, snapbacks and iphone cases. This allows me to not only express my artistic abilities with drawing/graphics and such but also make time for marketing and promotion.”
So with all the work that Rayann puts into her designs, what were the biggest lesson that she learned so far that have either hindered or helped YCAF? Rayann answered, “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is the importance of patience and determination. When we launched YCAF I had so many goals and dreams for our brand. I wanted to participate in every opportunity that was offered to me. I was a “champ” at determination! But…. I lacked patience. Things would all work out in its own timing. I had to learn that not every offer is an “opportunity”, sometimes you just have to say no, as there will always be many more opportunities to come in the future. After the failure of our first craft show, we received a lot of encouragement and success with our second show “Fall Fro Fashion Week in Atlanta, GA., Everything came together with patience, timing and determination”. I can definitely appreciate that type of honesty. Things do not always work out in the beginning. However, realizing when you have failed and getting up to start again, is what sets successful people apart from everyone else.
So Rayann, what sort of advice would you give to a up and coming artisan, such as yourself? Rayann humbly explains, “Running a handmade business is a lot of work, you are dealing with clients directly, crafting each item, packaging each item, booking shows, booking models and much more. However, if you are truly passionate in your craft you will be willing to put forth the extra hours & hard work. At the end of the day, you are your own boss, which can definitely be the greatest gift!”
“Set goals for yourself and keep track of your progress, whether it is via Youtube videos, or blogging. Write things down. You will experience some days, maybe even months where there will be little to no business at all, but when you are able to look back at where you started, it’s the most rewarding feeling ever. Last but not least. Step out of your comfort zone, know who you are as a person and be willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.”
Rayann says that one of her favorite quotes from motivational speaker, Eric Thomas is as follows: “At some point in life you have to face your fears, head on, even though you can’t be sure of the outcome. A great deal of people will never reach their dreams and it won’t have anything to do with their ability or skill set. They won’t reach their dreams because they were too afraid to try.”
At Youngs Crochet & Fashion, they believe in high quality, material and satisfaction of their customers. That is exactly what we want to hear from our artisans.
To support Rayann and YCAF, check out their Etsy shop and get your fashion pieces now at http://www.etsy.com/shop/YCAF
Also, follow and support Rayann Young on Twitter and Youtube,
and Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Rayann410
Today I’m doing a review of some handmade earrings coming all the way from Houston Texas. These earrings were specially created by none other than KeKe Smith, www.missfancyfeather.webs.com who is currently growing her business and putting her creations out there for the world to see.
I received three pairs of earrings, all different in style and composition. These earrings aren’t for the timid and introverted, as they are large in size and décor. Now although the packaging wasn’t the best, the earrings design appears to be functional and wearable.
The styles of the earrings are somewhat flashy and ornate, proving that you must be bold to appreciate the intricate detail of each pair. If you tend to shy away from the garish styles when it comes to your jewelry and accessories, you might not fall in love with these pair. However, if you enjoy being a showstopper and love the attention of a crowd, these earrings will definitely be your cup of tea.
I wore each pair to various events, and I of course received mixed reviews. Out of all of them, I would have to say my favorites would be the Red Lip pair and the Green Chained Link design (even though these pair had glue stains on them). I like the purple pair as well, but I couldn’t find much in my closet that I could work with them. I chose a plain white t-shirt, scarf and jeans ensemble, which turned out to be the safest bet. Nevertheless, the earrings were the focal point for that day.
It’s obvious that Ms. Smith is perfecting her craft, which is commendable for any up and coming designer. I appreciate the attention to detail that she put into her designs and think that she has a talent that should be recognized. Despite some evidence of glue stains and other crafty errors, the quality of the earrings is adequate. I wouldn’t pay more than an average of $10 dollars per pair, only because some of these designs I recognize from local beauty supply shops.
From afar these earrings are showstoppers, there is no doubt about that. You will adorn any outfit with the right amount of “POW” if you decide to rock them. However, up close, you may see some spots of inaccuracy and the long-term durability may be questionable. Overall, I give this diva three lips and some xoxo’s for her hard work and crafty ambitions. Go girl!
If you’re interested in purchasing a pair of earrings from Fancy Chic Unique Boutique Check out their fan page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Fancy-Chic-Unique-Boutique/176191502415860
If you would like to contact KeKe Smith directly, check her out on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/missfancyfeather
Leave a comment below
For reviews and motivation, follow me on Twitter (@GaptoothDiva)*All earrings were gifted by the designer for the purpose of this review. There were not purchased by me or any affiliate with GaptoothDiva.com. To submit products for review please contact me here.
Yes! We just wrapped up a great year of having Artisan Café grace us with its fabulous presence. I’m looking for more of the unity and urban collaboration that we have come to expect from Adriane and Melody. The winter edition of Artisan café was held at the very chic Dovetail Construction Company off Chamberlayne Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. I never have been there before, so when I got there it was way beyond my expectation. The event was held indoors, but a portion of the vendors was extended outside covered by tent. I thought it was lovely, so much so I did not want to leave… again. It is getting to the point; they are going to have to carry me out there by security one day. When I say I LOVE Artisan Café, it’s because there are no other words to describe my appreciation for what this event has done for the Richmond business community. By bringing everyone together, with great music, networking, and what we all love… shopping, Artisan Café still maintains my top spot of favorite events to attend. I only missed the first one, and I have not missed one since. My support for this venture is solid, and I hope you feel the same.
Saturday was filled with cozy fashions and warm use of bold colors. I’m especially impressed with how unique and creative Richmond’s fashionable has become. Many attendees stepped far out of the box with certain aspects of their ensemble, it was so different… it was perfect. I’ve made a few adjustments to my style as well, deciding to throw caution to the wind and dress how I feel. There were some classic looks present as well, however although the looks were classic or “classic Inspired”, individuals chose to still add certain details to make even an ordinary look their very own.
From naturals to meticulously straighten curls and waves, women were sporting their made up dos with pride. You rarely ever see an unsmiling face in the crowd, which was flooded with beautiful people. The atmosphere drives you crazy. Never has a person felt so alive, forgetting that the babysitter does have to get off the clock eventually.
I want more Richmond events to adopt some of the style that Artisan Café exudes. It’s all about how the people dress who attend, because honestly neither Adrienne nor Melody can control that. It’s about the support that comes through door. It’s about the attitude of the individuals invited. Everyone know you come to support, to shop, to connect with new and old friends, and to simply have a fantastic time overall. There is no shade, other than the tent. There is no hate, other the feeling of having to go home. These folks come together with purpose and passion, for their business, their crafts and art, and for each other.
When I’m there, I feel like I’m at a family reunion. I’m drawn to the smiling faces and open arms of people willing to embrace each other’s difference and unite for something bigger and more positive. I’m impressed and infatuated with what’s next for our city. I feel like I belong. When other happenings occur, some of us are on the defensive. We don’t know what to expect, how it’s going to turn out, and if we are going to get our money’s worth. However, at Artisan Café these questions never arise. You can grab your friends and family and walk around feeling great. With amazing tracks pouring out of the speakers, DJ Nobe (@deejaynobe) spins records that are the perfect soundtrack of excellence. I’m jamming in the middle of a graveled floor, forgetting where I am and I loved every minute of it.
I don’t know if you’ve ever read a review of Artisan Café and still haven’t made up your mind if it’s for you. I’m telling you it is! Trust when I say, that everything you want in Richmond Nightlife minus a free bar full of all the alcohol you can drink, this event has got it. There is no need to question should you go. You need to be in the building. I feel like I’m apart of the graduating class of urban art, culture, music, and business. I feel like this is where I belong.
Check out more amazing photos of my night at the Winter Edition of Artisan Café on my Facebook fan page. Be sure to like us for more of the Baddest Creative Motivation, you’ve come to love.
Support Artisan Café by going to there website – http://www.artisancafeva.com
Also, follow them on twitter @artisancafeva
Email them for more information at email@example.com
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
You know we have the wonderful opportunity to meet some fantastic entrepreneurs in the areas of fashion and lifestyle through out the DMV area. I get excited at events when I see so many hard working people with their table displays and their unique products, ready and willing to be a staple in the local style scene. Below I have compiled a list of individual business that you should check out and support for Small Business Saturday on November 24, 2012 and on Cyber Monday on November 26, 2012. If you have the energy to stand in line at large retailers to get great deals on big products, I know you won’t mind simply clicking on a few links and saving yourself the energy and time, shopping online.
Support local small businesses and online stores, as they attempt to knock out the mass-produced and make a name for themselves in their respective niche…
Crystal J. Silks – handcrafted silk printed scarves and accessories www.crystaljsilk.com
PurseSuit of Happiness – Affordable fashion handbags and innovative accessories www.pursesuitonline.com
Statement, LLC – Statement jewelry and accessories www.statementboutique.com
Premiere Designs Jewelry – Where Fashion Meets Affordable www.premierdesigns.com
Man Eating Flower – designer and print maker www.maneatingflower.com
Shoeicide – enhance your stride in unique and stylish shoes www.shopshoeicide.com
SnakX – crochet, accessories, art, etc. www.snakxwithanx.tumblr.com
Shop Our Closet – premier vintage apparel & accessories www.shopourclosetonline.com
Madelyn & Ruby Jewelry Co. – funky fresh custom made jewelry www.etsy.com/shop/madelynnruby
La Dainta – Jewelry Parties, special occasion and vintage class www.ladainta.com
C.U.T.E – Cute unique trendy essentials www.cutegirlsrock.com
Runway Couture – trendsetting apparel, footwear, and accessories www.shoprunwaycouture.com
Kedere’s Closet – Personal style selections www.kederescloset.com
Shefabb – Very eclectic jewelry and accessory designs www.shefabb.com
Doll Factory – delectable makeup and cosmetics www.iheartpuckercake.com
Tree Naturals – all natural beauty and hair products www.treenaturals.com
The Beauty Bar – Full service beauty salon www.beautybarllc.com
Sweet Trinity Aromatherapy – aromatherapy and pampering products www.sweettrinityaromatherapy.com
K Milan Mobile Spa/Ms. Pearl Pretty Parties – Full service mobile spa and pampering www.kmilanmobilespa.com
Candlewax and Wine RVA – custom unique conversation pieces (candles) www.facebook.com/candlewaxandwinerva
Sweets and Soirees – event design, management, and delicious treats www.sweetsandsoirees.com
Remember to shop locally, in order to find great unique and creative gifts (some of them even offer custom selections) for your friends and family. It’s easy to run to the mall and get the latest “it” product that everyone is clamoring for, but try getting your loved ones something they can truly appreciate.
I will be posting a few more businesses in the Part II Shopping Guide, so stay tuned for more links and ideas for your Christmas shopping.
For more, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
What started as a simple idea on a rainy day, RAINRAPS™ became the newest creation of New York transplant, Stacy Struminger. Currently residing in Richmond, Virginia Stacy saw a need for a more stylish, lightweight, waterproof accessory in the often wet and humid Richmond climate.
After a frustrating and long rainstorm back in 2011, Stacy realized she had difficulty finding something waterproof to wear outdoors. She shared her idea for a stylish weather resistant wrap with her friend, Rachel Teyssier. The two both decided to turn their great idea into an even greater venture to sell fashionable waterproof outerwear, called RAINRAPS.
As a self-employed/stay-at-home mother, it’s important for me to dress appropriately for the weather. If I get sick, this completely fabulous operation crumbles, so a diva must keep warm and still remain stylish. I think the concept of the RAINRAPS would be beneficial to all women, whether you’re traveling to and from your 9 to 5, school and the gym, or if you’re just picking the children up from practice. I love the various colors available, and how these ambitious ladies displayed great examples of how to wear this original design for those interested in its appeal. The website indicates that you can wear it all year round, making it practical for the consumer. It is also light, durable, fast drying and easy to store away, especially handy for those of us trying to juggle diaper bags, strollers and handbags during the day.
Water-Repellent/Water-Resistant Outerwear Accessory
Travel friendly (folds up to fit in a handbag and/or suitcase)
One Size Fits All
Measurement from the neck to the bottom of the back hem is 25.5 inches
GaptoothDiva: What or who inspired you to create the RAINRAP? Did you come across any obstacles while doing so?
Stacy and Rachel: The hot, humid, rainy weather inspired us to create the RAINRAP. We were tired of having wet clothes in air-conditioned buildings. We had many obstacles in the process of creating the RAINRAP, but none that we couldn’t overcome. The first was finding out that no one in the United States manufactured the waterproof fabric that we fell in love with.
GaptoothDiva: Does it come with some type of bag or carry case? (In the event that it’s wet when I take it off, how do I put it away without wetting the contents of my purse)?
Stacy and Rachel: Our new, hooded RAINRAP comes with a convenient travel pouch that fits just about anywhere. It fits in your purse, briefcase, glove compartment… you name it!
GaptoothDiva: I see it comes in a variety of colors; will I be able to get a customized RAINRAP?
Stacy and Rachel: One day that will be a wonderful, fun addition to our site, but for now you will have to trust us to pick the most fashionable, practical colors for your wardrobe.
GaptoothDiva: What is the overall response from the public regarding the RAINRAP?
Stacy and Rachel: People are thrilled at how soft and rich the fabric feels and how lightweight and compact they are. We are finding that our happy customers want to share their find with their friends and family and we just love sending gifts from our customers to our new customers. Spread the love! We have the best customers and we are so thankful for that!
GaptoothDiva: What can we expect from the two of you in the future?
Stacy and Rachel: Oh, we cannot reveal what we have stirring in the pot, but we just received our samples and we are so excited! Like us on Facebook and be the first to see!
GaptoothDiva: Will do and great job on a fantastic design and stylish colors. I wish you nothing but success in the future.
for more creative motivation, follow me on twitter @GaptoothDiva
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and a bunch of other social media platforms, then you should have seen the post urging all fashionable to report to Artworks on last Friday Night. Leslie Marie, from Doll Factory (IHeartPuckCake.com), decided to throw an event filled with shopping and pampering for you and your dolls. This event was to support Dress for Success Central Virginia, which promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help women in work and life. Filled with tables of shoes, clothes, accessories and cosmetics, this event proved to be an excellent addition to Richmond nightlife. Dolls in the City: Beauty Night Out provided patrons with the feel of luxury without the heavy price tag, by giving us the opportunity to shop until we dropped, get spa treatments and makeovers, feast, and socialize with new/old friends. I had so much fun at this event, that I can honestly say, “I really wish I never left”.
Among the vendors that were there, I had an opportunity to chat up a few. I was impressed with their table displays of merchandise and their ability to connect with partygoers rather than just sit behind the table. Shout out to a few of those vendors:
Leslie Marie (Doll Factory) – www.Iheartpuckercake.com
ShesFab – www.ShesFab.com
Ashley Flood – www.amway.com/Ashleyflood
Vanita Baugh (C.U.T.E) – www.cutegirlsrock.com
Christian Crawford (Runway Couture) – www.shoprunwaycouture.com
Christina Foster Jackson (Madelyn & Ruby Jewelry Co.) – www.etsy.com/shop/madelynnruby
Chanel Jackson (K. Milan Mobile Spa) – www.kmilanmobilespa.com
Andrea Daughtry (La Dainta) – www.ladainta.com
Shoeicide – www.shopshoeicide.com
Rashawn Smith-Bolar (PurseSuit of Happiness) – www.pursesuitonline.com
Sonja J. Holt (Coffee Distributor) – www.ogcoffeeceo.com
Raegan Gibson (Sweets & Soirees) – www.sweetsandsoirees.com
I wish I had an opportunity to chat with more, but with all the patrons that attended, I can understand how many vendors were… “Getting that money!” LOL
The décor was excellent, providing the perfect taste of ambiance and fabulousness as we walked around and enjoyed ourselves. Immediately I was prepared to have a great time, not even noticing that the D.J. was late and there was nothing bumping on the speakers. However, when the music did arrive, the tempo of the event hyped up even more, making me want to dance. I laughed with a couple of girlfriends, saying this was the perfect set-up to a long week of working and just what the Doctor ordered. Leslie did amazing!
Style and fashion was definitely evident as RVA fashionista graced the building. Events such as these, give Richmonders an opportunity to not only come fashionable, but creative as well. From Natural and neutrals, to prints and colorful silhouettes, RVA girls know how to bring chic out when they want to and this was the place to do it. A few of the girls that were present mentioned how inspired they get when they come to events like Artisan Café, now with Dolls In the City as another option, they’ll be more inclined to seek out more inspiration and ideas from their peers.
It was an exciting evening, and the host was just as gracious and humble as she could be. As Leslie walked around smiling, you wouldn’t have known the amount of work and pressure that goes into planning and event of this caliber. Just the idea of bringing Richmond women together for a true girls night out, is much more than most people can handle. Nevertheless, the doll did it, hoping for positive vibes and success all the way, and a blessing that wasn’t far from reach. I couldn’t help but be proud, that yet another fabulous female entrepreneur is bringing people together, and promoting other local businesses at the same time. Something that we all know this city needs.
Out of all the trends I spotted, color is still definitely still in play this season among RVA style mavens. Make sure to spice up your fall and winter wear, with bright splashes of jewel tone hues and prints. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and play with different combinations. Something as simple as adding a new lip color to your arsenal, could make a huge difference in any outfit. Consider creative and bold accessories, to make an outfit that is simple (jeans and a t-shirt) into a statement making ensemble for a night out on the town.
Thank you so much to Leslie and all of her dolls, for planning just a fantastic evening of shopping and excellence. A big smooch goes out to whoever decided to put a table of food in the building, very nice touch indeed. The event was superb, proving that anyone can take an idea and make it their own. Dolls in the City is an event made for you and girlfriends to have a good time and do what we all do best, shop for fantastic finds from locally owned businesses who get that uniqueness is a requirement. “Dolls in the City” was an event that gave you the impression of opulence without the feeling of exclusivity, during the night you just feel like one of the girls. If they do it again, I don’t think you want to miss it for the world.
**To see additional photos and footage from this and many more events, be sure to check our fan page at http://www.Facebook.com/GaptoothDivaOnline. “Like” us to get exclusive info on upcoming events and promotions from local and national business owners and events.
I always thought style was an individual thing. When I was a little girl, although my funds would never allow me to express it, I was always into fashion and style. I remember watching the movie Clueless, thinking I have to get a cardigan and some knee-highs like Stacy Dash and Alicia Silverstone. I would marvel at the clothes worn on episodes of Sex in the City, thinking when I grew up and got a job, I would always express my individuality through my clothing, regardless of the price or label. I was enthralled at designs and colors, wanting to be as “fly” and as glamorous as the celebrities walking the red carpet are. While other girls just wanted to look as sexy as the girls in the music videos did, I was more impressed with those who didn’t conform to society’s definition of style. I wanted to stand in a lane of my own, opting to choose different pieces when I could, to reflect my style. I colored my hair in various shades through out my life and even started thrifting before it was cool to admit.
Nowadays, I look online at different style sites and see that trends are being reported daily, some of which may or may not be for me personally. I see people rating others on their style, stating whether they like it or not. Often times, I notice people making very judgmental comments, that often have nothing to do with the entire outfit but mostly about personal choice. Is style something people should agree on or is it based on the individual? When people post their outfit pictures, allowing others to judge them thoroughly on their choices, is this for the individual’s ego or is it to see if the public agrees that their style is acceptable? I’ve never wanted to submit my pictures for something like this, and when I tried to get others to submit their pictures last year, it appeared that many people felt the same. Nobody wants to get bad reviews on their personal style, however it seems like it’s natural to want to know if people like what you’re wearing.
Personal style is supposed to be about what makes you look good and feels comfortable on you. If society has to ok your outfit of the day, are you really dressing for yourself or for applause? It’s harder nowadays to determine if something is of someone’s taste, or if they’re wearing something that is simply of the current trend. Nevertheless, if you have a personal style and you’re just a follower or trends, you may have posted a picture or two online, to display your new purchases. I see people (especially on Instagram) posting newly bought shoes, clothes, jewelry, etc. hoping to get likes for buying the most heavily labeled items out right now. I don’t want to believe that in order for any of my pieces to be considered “hot”, it has to have someone’s name heavily attached and monogrammed on it. My style is about the piece. Is it colorful? Does it fit into my wardrobe? Can I wear it in various ways? Can I up cycle the item when it gets old, damaged, or too big/small? If I wanted to look like other females, I would just stalk them while they shopped and I would pick up everything they bought. Unfortunately, that’s not my agenda. Although it seems to be for every girl that wants to wear something just because someone with a well known name has it on. I prefer to wear something that I know I won’t see at every event that I attend. Regardless of what your style goals are, there are a few things to remember and to keep in mind. Below is a list that may help you in perfecting your personal style, and not that “wanna-be” attitude that makes everyone else seem like copycats.
Wear what fits your body type – I’m very blessed in the breast department, so I know going bra-less is not an option. I also know that crop tops and body cons, are items that I have to prepare for. I won’t wear anything tight without some foundation on (girdle, spanx, etc.) and I have to wear a good bra that can carry the girls, because they’re huge. I see too many females walking around with sagging bellies and breast, wearing tight clothes that look like they’re suffocating the person wearing them. Wear your size and get realistic about what that size is. Even if you’re slightly thicker than the rest of us, no one wants to look like a busted can of biscuits.
Not every trend is for you – Of course, it would’ve been nice to wear those body suits that looked so good on Ciara and Rihanna when they came out. However, if your stomach looked as if you just gave birth to some baby Ciara’s and Rihanna’s a few weeks ago, then you probably should have just sat that one out. People love trends because of their look and style, but if your body type makes the look appear less than stylish, then why try so hard to be in the loop? The look shouldn’t look totally different just because you put it on, we should still know what you’re going for. Nevertheless, some of you will still try to get into a trend that just wasn’t fit for you. I loved the cat suit that Nicki Minaj wore in “Beez in the Trap”, I thought it was very sexy and I couldn’t help but imagine that style on me. However, imagining is where my desire stopped on a piece like that. With my love handles and uber thick frame, I could never wear something like that. Well, can someone tell that to the thousands of wanna-be Nicki’s that decided to get similar outfits for the club and nightlife events. Nicki was in a music video, you’re not… please sit down. Thanks!
A label shouldn’t break you – If your bank account doesn’t reflect that of a LV bag wearer, a Chanel jacket owner, or a Balmaine buyer than what are you doing? Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and wear clothes in your budget. If your closet is filled with luxury name brands, but you have no furniture, no car, and no food, your priorities are all mixed up. These labels don’t know you personally and will not send you free stuff, just because you’re a Stan. I don’t know of anyone’s life improving just because they went out and bought something that a rapper mentioned in a song. Forget about stepping into the hood and stunting on the poor, and wear clothes that fit into your budget. It kills me how many people will stand in line for the latest Jordans, but still have not registered to vote as of today. If the name/label wasn’t on the clothing or accessory, would you still have a desire to wear it? That’s the determining factor in whether or not this is your style or you’re just copping something you saw or heard about. Don’t be a label-whore!
Don’t turn your nose up – When I first started to talk about thrifting, some people were like “Eeeww”. I didn’t get it then and I still don’t now. People try clothes on at Nordstrom’s and Macy’s, just as they do at the thrift store. Some folks take things home wear them and bring them back, which means eventually those items end up back on the floor. To turn your nose up at the idea of thrifting is the same as saying I don’t buy off the rack. If you can afford to have your clothes custom made, then… do that. However, for those of us who can’t, we should consider all available options to find great items for our wardrobe. I can shop anywhere and make it work for me. I’ve gotten items from Thrift stores, Walmart, and even Family Dollar. I’ve also shopped (the clearance racks) of Nordstrom’s and Macy’s as well. It’s about how you put the pieces together. There is a such thing as “mixing highs and lows together” seamlessly; creating an outfit that is still stylish and chic. Fashion doesn’t have to make people feel poor or destitute because their clothes aren’t featured in this month’s issue of Vogue. I believe having style is the ability to make even the low priced items look amazing with a little creativity and pizzazz.
Create what you can’t find – If you live in an area like mine, you may feel restricted and limited on various styles that you may want. I get it! Nevertheless, you have many more options today than we did a while ago. These days, you can go online and have whatever you want shipped right to your door. You no longer have to travel hundreds of miles to get a certain look you saw in a magazine or pay a large amount to have it custom made. People have the ability to obtain any look with just a click of a few buttons and patience waiting for the mail carrier. What about DIY (do it yourself)? With a little research and some creativity, you can very well create a look yourself with just a few embellishments and a glue gun. I learned how to sew, paint, knit and bedazzle because I wanted to have the ability to make something I sought after. It was the most rewarding feeling to know that I can look at something and make it myself. I don’t worry about where I can find something or how much would it cost to have it shipped to my address. I just go to the craft store and get the things I need and I’m halfway home to a personally custom-made piece that looks good on me and fits my style perfectly. You can learn new techniques and DIY tricks online, with the vast amount of tutorials and articles available.
Reuse, Re-New, Recycle – While we’re on the subject of DIY, I just thought you should know I hate waste. I have clothes in my closet from high school, and yes before you throw yourself out the window with laughter, I do still wear them. I was taught that nothing is new under the sun, so all the trends coming out right now, aren’t anything new (just tweaked a little). I have no intentions of just throwing clothes away because they are no longer trendy or the “hot thing” now. If I don’t want it anymore, I look at my other options. I could add something or take something away, to create a very different piece for my wardrobe. This option ties into creating what you can’t find. Since style keeps revolutionizing, you can change and alter your clothes to update them to fit the current trends. If that is not an option, consider finding a new use for the item. I use old t-shirts for cleaning around the house, I’ve made pillows and stuffed animals out of old sweaters and coats for the kids, and I’ve even turned old accessories into embellishments for other outfits. I won’t waste a thing. If I can’t find use for anything and I really don’t want it, then I donate them to a local thrift store. Someone just like me may be able to find use for it that I couldn’t. There is nothing worst than just throwing clothes away, like food, you never know who could’ve needed it.
Think about your Intentions – Do you want to feel sexy? Are you trying to be comfortable? Are you dressing for yourself and your self-esteem? Are you just dressing to be seen? Think about why you want to wear a certain piece and how it fits into your daily lifestyle. No matter what you do, if your intentions don’t align, with what you’re wearing than you will always look uncomfortable and it won’t work. People have the hardest time admitting their true intentions, and most of the time they spend the whole evening concerned about what they look like. Their outfits always need constant adjustment and no matter how hard they try, they appear self-conscious about their outfit. This also ties into wearing something just because it’s on trend and doesn’t fit their body type as well. Be honest with yourself and the reason why you really want to wear a certain piece of clothing. When you dress with a certain intention and your outfit matches that, you normally feel comfortable all day and not worried about the small details of your look. You can’t say that you just want to be comfortable, when you’re wearing six-inch heels and a body-con dress, you sound crazy. Be realistic and wear what you want, just don’t have a false sense of what you can wear and what you want to wear.
Style for me has been an ever-changing experience, finding my true fashion sense as I matured in life. What I loved in my teens, I’m no longer interested in now that I’m in my twenties. I’m more conscious on how things look on my body and I dress more for myself, rather than the people I’m going to see. I think it’s important to be an individual no matter what and do what makes you feel comfortable. If it doesn’t fit, then you must… quit. Move on to something more fitted for you, your personality, and your frame. Don’t attempt to keep up with every other girl reading the same fashion magazines as you. Be creative and personalize your pieces, while wearing clothes that fit your lifestyle. It’s easy to try to keep up with celebrities, but who wants to take the easy route? Style is subjective; it is slanted towards the individual, and what he or she prefers to wear. So, always make sure that your personality and your intention is reflected in your outfit, not your taste in copying famous people and your bank account.
I highlight my personal style on “F Your Style” because I want to promote dressing for oneself, without spending tons of money, and displaying self-confidence while doing so. I don’t go running to buy the latest trends, and most often, my clothes are thrifted and up-cycled. I’m a plus size mother of two, with fashion sense. However, I don’t spend my time in major retailers buying up every trend, just to run back home and show the world that I can buy stuff. I want to show people that they can get great pieces from anywhere and make it their own. I want to show that style is about your creative ability, not the swipes of your credit card. To see my personal style, check out FYourStyle for more of my personal style and life at http://www.fyourstyle.tumblr.com
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram: @GaptoothDiva
Last year when I did my first haul video, I enjoyed myself so much. I wasn’t sure if people would like it or not, part of me didn’t care. I just wanted to share one of my passions, which happened to be thrifting. Most girls do their fashion haul videos and it’s consisting of stuff bought from all the major retailers. I don’t think that’s interesting at all. In my opinion, it’s easy to go to Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe, and just pick up the latest trend and take it home. Then these girls sit in front of the camera as if they did something amazing. They did not.
I think it takes more creativity and courage to post a video of stuff you found at a thrift store or flea market. Not everyone else can see the potential in thrift store treasures. In addition, more people are pretending as if they are too high class to shop at thrift stores. With today’s economy and my eclectic personality, I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t. I love it, with no trepidations I shop until I drop. That’s why I’m almost complete with my challenge of “At Least 90% Thrifted”, where I only where items that I either already own or I’ve thrifted. I can’t buy new retailer items, unless it’s cosmetics or accessories.
So look forward to me sharing new stuff… and try to see the potential. I dare you!
Over the weekend, I decided to take a trip to a thrift store that I can never seem to make it to, The Family Thrift Center on Midlothian Turnpike of Richmond’s Southside. This store is located on what I can only describe as the worst streets on Southside, due to all the construction that is currently going on. I hardly ever go down this street, but when I do, I always see the Family Thrift Center’s parking lot packed with people who are shopping. I always tell myself, I’m going to stop by one of these days, but between the awful road conditions and my busy schedule it never happened. Not until Saturday afternoon did I make the trip, and it was well worth the wait… well sort of.
I definitely liked the selection and the prices (the only reason why it would be packed), although some of the prices were a bit higher than other traditional thrift stores. You could tell that someone who worked here is the designated fashion professional because everything that “appeared” trendy was priced way higher than everything else was. The clothes ranged from some up-to-date items to a section full of vintage. They have a huge coat and blazer section for both the women and men. The shoes left a little to be desired, even though I found one pair that I damn near had to wrestle to get. They have a plethora of purses in various styles that I think needs to be shopped immediately. I have enough purses, so I wasn’t in love with anything but one. However, I know some of you may love the options available. The clothes were in great condition and there were so many. I knew as soon as I seen the options, that this is where most of Southside thrifting is done.
They have a section in the back that is considered boutique. Let’s just say a lot of that stuff could move on up to the front of the store with the rest of it, because it didn’t appear to be of boutique quality. The whole section looks a mess and severely overpriced, but I understand that you have to mark up some nicer things every now and then. I just wish that it wasn’t so much back there, and then you could see what you want. It’s so piled on top of each other; you’re just standing there staring at a pile of junk rather than shopping.
The customer service was null and void. I asked two sales associates for assistance, both of them told me to go ask the other. Are you serious? No one was really friendly or personable while I shopped. I heard someone cursing under their breath about people making a mess and dropping clothes. It was so loud that I turned around thinking it was another customer, but it was not. When I got to the register, I decided to ask the cashier a question about the store. The question was, “What are your slowest days of the week?” She laughed and said, “We don’t have those. I’ve been here three years and have never seen a slow day unless we were closed.” Just like that, I knew that I probably won’t come here often, but I would be back. I can’t stand a lot of craziness while I’m shopping.
Overall, Family Thrift Center is always crowded with so many people shopping; you probably won’t receive great service from the sales associates. People are on top of each other looking for great finds and trying to snatch a bargain. I wouldn’t bring kids with me, unless they were strapped down to a stroller. There is so much pushing, shoving, bumping, and tripping all over the place, it was insane. As I mentioned before, I can’t function like that when I’m spending money. It is not the service that brings the crowd, but the stuff that makes them return. I have to have an equal amount of both, though. Therefore, I could only recommend that you strap up before you go. Just joking… I think. I do recommend this spot but at your own discretion, it’ll grow on you eventually.
Family Thrift Center
5432 Midlothian Turnpike
Richmond, Virginia 23225
Another year comes around and the annual Fashion Night Out rears its head. As I suspected big shopping centers like Stony Point and Short Pump promote their retailers FNO events, but other than that… silence. Disappointed I almost fell back, yearning for something much different. It was at the brink of calling in the towel that I hear something about a Curvy Fashion Night Out event at Ashley Stewart’s, in White Oaks Shopping Center on Laburnum Ave. Thrown together by Theresa Flatts and Ashley Stewart’s Manager Danielle Davis, which from their own testimony was not an easy task. They promised a night filled with raffles, discounts, a runway show and performances, and I wasn’t about to miss this for the world. I think many of the other stores in the shopping center should take advantage of the Fashion Night Out crowd, so it was exciting to hear Ashley Stewart took their chance this year.
Hosted by the lovely and incomparable, Earl, the runway show proved to be equally lovely. From denims to spicy girls night out ensembles, Ashley Stewart displayed their latest looks of the 2012 fall season. Collections filled with plenty of textures and metallic, I loved every outfit. Earl pointed out that peplum was really big this season, and that couldn’t be more correct. From great dress silhouettes to curve hugging looks with printed leggings or jeans, this Ashley Stewart showed variety in this trend.
The great thing about all the low prices and discounts were the bevy of accessories on deck. There were unique and fabulous statement necklaces under $25. Their earrings, bracelets, rings, and other things range from basic tones to more colorful and designed pieces. Since I’m addicted to accessories, I promise I will be stalking these displays on a consistent basis.
The event was supposed to be from 6 to 9pm, although I arrived at 6:30pm I don’t know if I missed the performance by talented local singer Candice Nicole. I did however; catch the runway show that was flooded with several beautiful and charming local plus size models. Coordinated by Ms. Naneen Cottrell Johnson and makeup done by Michelle Renee and Cecily Hickman, the models did a fantastic job highlighting this seasons hottest Ashley Stewart looks. Nevertheless, the event ended too early in my opinion. I wished I could have seen more, because it truly was a great show.
I suggest all curvaceous dolls looking for great fall looks for work, nights out, or just casual weekends make a b-line for Ashley Stewart in White Oaks Shopping Center. There were some great looks that appear more youthful and trendy, than what is offered at some other locations. From what I hear, this is not the end of fantastic events coming straight from this location. Be on the lookout for even more events dedicated to promoting the community in a positive way.
To see more pictures of the models and the new outfits for this Fall 2012 Season, go to our Facebook fan page at www.Facebook.com/Gaptoothdivaonline
4500 S Laburnum Ave. Space # 120
Richmond, VA 23231
I wanted inspiration for an outfit that I would wear to these local hip-hop showcases. I’m really shades of grey and multi-toned earthtones at the moment. I couldn’t think of anything that came in those colors all at once. I decided to put those hues togather myself, coming up with this bohemian stret style look pictured. I really like this outfit it’s ability to be fashionable but comfortable at the same time. Hightop sperrys are really hot right now and with the boys t-shirt I think i could go to any music related event in this. I also love the attached jewelry, making this look more girly and femme. By adding a great functionable bag, it’s easier to understand that a blogger needs her tools. Heels are dead for me sometimes, opting for more of a casual look at the music fest and events, makes it easier for me to network and move around.
- I’esha GaptoothDiva (@GaptoothDiva)
Items in this set
Co-founded by Daquan and Donte’ Williams in 2008, Young, Fly & Dangerous represents youth(s) who are not afraid to take positive risks and fight for their dreams.
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Cool, gorgeous, focused, and stylish were all the words that came to my mind when I modeled along side Dominique. Her presence on the runway would leave an insecure woman in shame, but her warm personality let’s you know she is not intimidating but inspiring. She accepts her size and her beauty as her own, which is exactly why I’m featuring her on my site. I feel with her testimony, not only will more Full figured women see a martyr that they can relate to, but find some of the characteristics that should have within themselves.
I first met Domonique at the Curves at Full Throttle Fashion show in 2010; she was promoting her lingerie line, Empress Lingerie. I credit her as being the first person who made me walk out in public in a lingerie ensemble, one of the most exhilarating experiences in my life. Back then, I had no idea she modeled but I could tell that she appreciated her curves and wanted to ensure that the girls wearing her clothes did too. I wasn’t scheduled to walk in her set that day, but after seeing me during rehearsal, she kindly asked me to try on one of her pieces and of course, I agreed. It was amazing, but not half as amazing as her contribution to this year’s Tropical Diva Fashion show. In this show, she wasn’t the designer but the fierce runway vixen, strutting down the catwalk with her God-given voluptuous frame, advocating for the “above-average” woman in us all. A breath-taking and inspiring experience, I couldn’t wait to feature this week’s beauty for some bona-fide motivation.
I asked Domonique what inspired her to start Empress Lingerie and what can Full Figured women gain from shopping there? She answered, “As a “real size” model, I was inspired to start Empress Lingerie for woman like me, the above average woman! As full-figured women, many times we find ourselves searching high and low for that perfect piece of garment, particularly lingerie that makes us feel sexy inside and out. We have what you are looking for! Never again will you have to ask, “Does this make me look fat?” When purchasing from Empress Lingerie, our mission and goal is to provide you with pieces that are flattering and add that extra pizzazz, to your sleepwear/costume collection! We are also currently working on swimsuit line, that too promising to please and caress each and every curve of a woman’s physique.”
The message she wants people to gain from her testimony and her online store, Empress Lingerie is simple. She wants people to “Give their Curves the Royal Treatment”. Embrace who they are and never settle for anything but the best. Shoot for the moon and should you miss, the least you will do will find yourself amongst the stars. Dream big!
Now of course, with any positive endeavor, there is always someone or something trying to stop you on your road to success. However, a vibrant personality like Domonique won’t allow obstacles to deter her. When asked what obstacles she had to face and how she overcame them, she answered “There have been obstacles at every turn of my journey; People telling me that I was not good enough, too big to be a model, that I “just didn’t have the look.” My strength came in not believing those lies. I used all those negative comments as fuel to propel me to the next level. Yes, you are not going to be what everyone is looking for and will experience quite a few doors close and people that say “No”, but the reality is that all you need is one “Yes” to catapult you/your career to the next level.”
So what are some of the greatest accomplishments about what she does? Domonique says, “Every opportunity, appearance, interview has been a great one! One to network, gain exposure and let the creative juices flow. Recently, I have had the opportunity to be apart of FFFweek (NY), Tropical Divas (VA), 17…Days of Fashion (PA), The Philadelphia Fashion Collection (PA), as well as, working with esteemed plus models and organizations, such as Terri Murray, Nicole Zepeda, Anthony Henderson and 4H4 Awareness.
The lessons I’ve learned have been to be present in the moment. Sometimes you must go out of your “comfort zone” and push yourself to the limit, while also standing your ground and not compromising your beliefs, morals and values. Also, ask questions, exchange emails and phone numbers, knowing that advice, opinions and opportunities are abundant and sometimes it’s all about who you know, as well as, being in the right place at the right time.”
I am so proud to have the opportunity to feature such a dynamic personality. Her attitude and her perseverance is the reason why much success is coming her way now and in the future. So what advice can she give for other up and coming Full Figured Models and Entrepreneurs? Humbly she states, “My advice would be to create your own path and destiny. Modeling and owning a business is hard work, but you have to set your self apart from others, creating a competitive advantage. Know that there is room for everyone and you should focus on your goals and what you set out to do. What is meant for you will be.”
So what’s in your destiny?
With Empress Lingerie, your journey begins here… Treat your spirit, mind and body to a complete and extraordinary reviving, experience with sexy, luxurious lingerie from Empress Lingerie. Whether you’re looking for a gift for the special person in your life or just something to slip into after a hard day at work, we have something for everyone. At Empress Lingerie, every woman is a queen.
Check it out today www.EmpressLingerie.com
Also, check out her modeling site http://www.wix.com/domoniqu4/empressdnique#!
For more inspiration and motivation follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva