I get really, really irritated when people tell me how lucky I am to have my own business, be my own boss, have my own choices blah, blah, blah. I’ve decided to become ‘unirritated’ and choose to accept that I’m incredibly blessed with luck. Blessed to do what I love, blessed to make a difference, and especially blessed to work with some of the most amazing women.
I’m going to be featuring some of those amazing women through 2017. I thought I should kick off the initiative by featuring a woman who inspires me, who makes me so proud to dress her, and a woman we should all know about because she embraces who she is…very proudly.
Mari Lee is the founder and CEO of DevCom, a company that prides itself on creating a direct link between effective communication, and achieving business objectives. Mari has 18 years experience in development, project management and strategic projects.
Dressing Mari is inspiring on so many levels. I’ve dressed her personally, I’ve dressed her team for corporate events, and every time I work with DevCom, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have such grateful and loyal clients…and very lucky too!
Mari shared these photos with me, and has graciously consented to me sharing them with all of you.
My Plus size fashion journey is about to take on a whole new direction.
I don’t believe in coincidences, but I most definitely believe in destiny. Signing up to do a random photography course five months ago has set me on a life changing path with destiny, that is going to explode on so many levels in 2017. I love how quickly my eye has become trained, to see a photographic opportunity in every single thing I see. Whilst packing a pink mesh Miracle jacket, into a lime green carrier bag, for a client, I knew I needed to take a photograph. She looked at me a little strangely…
I then explained that I’m on a design journey, that is going to culminate in me designing my own exclusives fabric prints for my Hayley Joy collections. I’ve embarked on an amazing journey and am in awe of what is achievable.
The capabilities of an iPhone and the endless supply of apps has been mind blowing for me from a design perspective. However, if I’m going to achieve the ultimate in fabric design, I’m going to need to know a bit more….sooooooo…it’s back to school in the new year. Time to go and learn all about graphic design, so that we can step and repeat our prints perfectly.
When I look at these designs that I’ve created from a simple jacket in a packet, I get all tingly, because I know that 6 months from now, I’ll look at them, and know that going back to ‘school’ was a very good idea. But for now, if this was all I was able to accomplish, I’d be happy, because I absolutely love the resulting prints gained from my ‘jacket in a packet’ photograph.
I’m combining my passion for fashion, with my passion for print. Welcome to the beginning of my print journey. I hope you enjoy the evolution of my next venture of developing exclusive fabric prints, for my in store, and online Hayley Joy collections.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a dream to design my own fashion fabric prints. For the last five years I’ve been privileged to have a wonderful partner in China, who allowed me the freedom to design my own fabric collections. The only drawback was that I had to use existing prints, that I could tweak colours and layouts of, in order to allow me to order smaller quantities, rather than the usual 1000 metres per colour, per print.
2017 is the year that’s going to allow me the opportunity to design and print my own exclusive designs, in any quantity I desire.
I’m taking my love for flowers, and my new found passion for editing photos with a variety of mind blowing apps, and I’m creating a series of prints, that will become future fabrics, exclusively for my Hayley Joy Collections.
This first series is called FLOATING. The original photo is a Hibiscus flower taken in my garden with my iPhone.
I’m so proud of this incredibly rewarding shape. It allows me to accomodate all shapes and sizes, with the confidence that I need, to be able to convince my clients that I really do understand their needs.
So what exactly are the needs of a Plus size women? They’re actually pretty simple if you understand the requirements of a Plus size shape. Being Plus size myself, qualifies me to REALLY understand the needs.
When I started out designing this shape, the first thing that I created was a basic shape that had shape. In my experience on the floor in the store, I came to understand that we don’t put weight on in our shoulders, and we have a waist, yes we really do!
I’ve taken this basic shape and interpreted many different styles onto it, and I love the response that they all get. This past Saturday in the store, really affirmed for me, how perfect this shape is for my market. I’ve built shape into the waist, and given the tummy, hips and behind the correct amount of swing, in order to flatter all shapes.
My reward for the commitment to attempting to accomodate all shapes and sizes is the gratitude received from all of you who wear this wonderful style.
We have a variety of different styles of the Miracle Shape top in store, and online at www.hayleyjoy.com. I’m sharing some of my favourites with you.
It’s emails like this that make me so incredibly sad. I can only imagine the desperation, and then the guts to actually write and send this email. I still cannot believe that no other stores get the need for respectfully designed Odd and Plus sizes. Surely I cannot be the only designer, with her own weight issues, that gets it…that thought defies logic.
I am constantly pushing the design boundaries for Plus sizes, because the needs are very different to normal sizes, and you cannot think that you are just going to upsize normal sizes. When designing collections for Hayley Joy, I insist on incorporating styles for all occasions, because this is not the first email like this, and it certainly won’t be the last.
The good news is that T arrived, tried on two different styles, first one was definitely not right, second one was amazing. She shrank in front of my eyes. Her relief was inspiring, and so was her gratitude.
Being able to make a difference and make a living…once again, my gratitude knows no bounds.
I am so privileged to have my own factory. Manufacturing my own collections, allows me so many freedoms to do things that I would never be able to do, if I was bound to outsourced production.
I am able to respond to the needs in my retail store, as and when they occur. When I bought this range of prints, it was this red print that really stood out, and I knew it would sell out fast, I just didn’t expect it to sell out in a day!
I was lucky enough to be able to get more fabric, and the next morning, all other production was put on hold, and we cut another range of Miracle shape tops, and they were in store two days later. It still gives me goosebumps, 30 years later, that we can respond the way we do.
I often feel like a live in a fashion dream world, because in the real world you wouldn’t be able to repeat on demand. I have geared my production, so that there is always room to change the plan. I like that we can, it may not always make good business sense, but it sure keeps things interesting.
Walking into Hayley Joy production, is like walking into a sweet factory for me. Seeing the stock hanging on the rails is a moment I always cherish. I have a wonderful team, a beautiful working space and a job that I love with everything I have. I make clothes and I make a difference, my perfect combination.
If you’d told me two years ago when I designed the Miracle Shape top, that I would have built up a following of clients, who would respond the way you all respond, whenever I make a new collection of these tops, I don’t think I would have believed it.
It is a dream come true, to know that every time I go fabric shopping, and I put this incredibly rewarding shape into production, you all respond exactly as I dreamt it, with such gratitude.
It is such a privilege to be doing what I’m doing…every.single.day.
In store now in a variety of prints.
Sizes M – 7XL
Prices from R799 – R899
Dunkeld West Shopping Centre
281 Jan Smuts Ave
(At the back of the centre)
A common conversation in Hayley Joy retail is body image. This quote made me start thinking about how every conversation has the same thread…if only I could lose some weight.
Well let’s be honest, by now we do understand that we didn’t arrive at our current weight in one month, so it definitely isn’t going to take one month to lose it. We spend so much unnecessary time obsessing about our size, and what other people think about our size!!
I love walking on the beach, but I don’t love being in a bathing costume, so I don’t walk on the beach. Why? Oh because I think the whole beach is looking at me, well they’re not. They are more likely to be doing a bunch of other things, than they are ever likely to be looking at me. So why do I allow my insecurities to define what I do and don’t do.
I have a very strong opinion about this fact, actually I have two options. The first one is, what makes us think that we are so special that everybody is looking at us, because they aren’t, they are looking at their cellphone screen, scrolling on Facebook…that’s the reality. My second opinion is that if we spent as much time loving ourselves as we do bashing ourselves, we would have so much more time to do the things that make us happy.
In my never ending quest to make women feel better about themselves, I have started to design styles that I would normally never have designed, because I was being led by my assumption that nobody would wear sleeveless, nobody would wear white, nobody would wear anything that wasn’t a traditional cover up for Plus sizes. The response has been phenomenal and I am loving how I’m getting previous stalwarts to shift their emphatic ‘no I will never go sleeveless’, to ‘what the hell, I’m done worrying what everybody thinks’. It is a very important shift for me and my business going forward, because I hold many keys to unlocking self love.
I strive to be the Plus size fashion designer who designs respectful and well fitting fashion, and now I’m taking it a step further and pushing the limits ever so slightly, by designing Odd size and Plus size styles that are not perceived as normal for these sizes.
I’ve designed a fabulous sleeveless swing top sized from S – 7XL, with perfectly engineered armholes, because we don’t get fat in our armholes. I never understand why Plus size armholes are always cut out so deeply, that every bit that we don’t want to stick out, sticks out. I’ve incorporated every design aspect that is required to fit and flatter all shapes and sizes, and every time I see this design on the various body shapes, I gain more confidence to push the design boundary even further.
My design journey is a very inspiring one and it is now becoming a very fulfilling one. More love for ourselves ❤️ Hayley
In the past two weeks, I have come to REALLY understand the law of attraction.
I could never have imagined that putting a picture of myself (very apprehensively), doing Pilates in a pair of Hayley Joy, Plus size, Active wear leggings, would unleash this kind of reaction.
I live my life based on a very simple philosophy…exactly what you put out, is exactly what you get back. I’ve proved it over and over again to myself, that in it’s simplicity, this philosophy is the most simple path to follow, but sometimes the most difficult one to embrace.
I am a Plus size woman, who designs and manufactures Plus size fashion, and yet I struggle to put myself out there as the face of the brand. Why? I don’t have an answer to that question, I guess it’s because I’m a woman with issues, simply put!! But these two weeks have enabled me to have an answer, for what happens when you do put yourself out there, and that is that the rewards are enormous.
I have communicated with women from all over the world, who have come forward and shared their frustrations around being Plus size, and being so frustrated at the lack of availability of respectful Plus size fashion, and especially Plus size Activewear.
I’ve also had an amazingly rewarding time, doing a lot of one-on-one consultations with new clients, who have come to the store because they read my story. I laughed with them, and I cried with them, but most importantly I established a trust with them. In honouring myself, I have proved that I honoured them as women first, and that there is no judgement at Hayley Joy. Your size is of no importance to me, my sole mission is to provide you with a wardrobe of respectfully designed clothing, that makes you feel respected as a woman.
Stepping out of my comfort zone as an entrepreneur is one thing, but it’s stepping out as a woman with body image issues, that has unleashed the greatest rewards of gratitude. I have been completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of gratitude and it has inspired me to keep pushing the boundaries, because I’ve proved with this new little venture, that there are no limits, the only limits are the ones we put on ourselves.
I am in awe of the gratitude. Thank you to all of you who have supported my quest to make a difference, and there are MANY of you.