Cheers to Embracing Our Curves
Today's featured entrepreneur needs no introduction. She's a model, positive influencer and motivational speaker, but today we'll be hearing all about her journey as an entrepreneur.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Embrace Your Curves started as a movement for women of all shapes and sizes to Embrace openly and unapologetically who they are. It has fast become the hashtag on everyone’s lips and has grown into a small business founded and owned by myself, Candice Manuel (one of Cape Town’s pioneers in the Plus Size industry).
Apart from our community work and quarterly non-profitable events, we host an online store with apparel ranging from t-shirts, mugs, bodysuits and recently, all-inclusive activewear and bike shorts. Our items are all branded with catchy phrases for women to openly share their self-love and self-acceptance in a world where doing just that can be hard at times.
Along with this, I am a keynote speaker and do talks at schools, corporate events as well as many women's events, sharing my journey of self-acceptance and encouraging women to never give up on a dream.
How old is your business now?
I’ve technically always being involved in many uplifting and enrichment programmes, since the age of 14, but I started my own little business about 4 years ago and registered it, Embrace Your Curves.
How did you come up with the idea of and name for your business?
Embrace Your Curves is a catchy phrase I’ve been using in tag lines in my pics for the past 9 years and felt it was fitting to suit the movement I created.
What is that “one thing” that this Lockdown period has taught you and that you will be using in the future? How will you be doing business differently?
Definitely pushing more online purchases and using more efficient delivery services and suppliers. In future we are working on integrating e-commerce into our website, something I’m super excited about.
What makes your business unique?
We pride our business on being All-Inclusive. We are a Women Empowerment brand first and believe our brand has positively impacted so many lives. We have mentored Media and PR students from UWC who have been working hand in hand with us over the past few months on all of our press releases and media kits.
Also, every 3rd month we join forces with non-profitable organisations in need of assistance and we host events in their aid. To name a few, we have assisted in sanitary towel drives, collection of non-perishable food items, collected water during the drought, toy drives for orphanages in Mitchell’s Plain, blanket drives and have issued a cheque of R 10,000 to Little Brinks Orphanage. Apart from this we have sponsored 5 unemployed ladies with bursaries to further their studies through False Bay TVET College and have recently sponsored an A-student girl for her matric ball dream with prizes totaling over R 50 000; her mother was unable to support her due to having a stroke in the past year.
Are you a solo-entrepreneur or how many members does your team currently comprise?
I am a sole owner but currently have 6 employees who assist me in making the business run most effectively.
How do you market your business, and which methods have been most successful for you?
Statistically, our numbers now reach a volume of nearly 38k followers across social media platforms and has assisted in my personal brand exposure as well.
We have become pioneers in the body positivity community and have assisted and inspired so many more brands to do the same – Women Empowerment platforms.
Even some who hate to admit it (haha)!
What does a typical day look like for you? And how many hours, on average, do you work daily?
Its hard to tell as I’m a personal public brand as well. So, I feel I’m always hustling and always thinking of new ideas. I have an assistant who does the online orders during office hours. In the evenings I sort orders and shipment, which usually runs into the early hours of the morning.
Apart from the hustle, I am a wife, so evenings are set for me cooking dinner and chilling with my hubby. Lockdown has made this even better with being able to juggle many things at once.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your life?
It's been amazing! - Rewarding, blessed but also so tough!
It has its ups and downs, but my faith and perseverance has pushed me to constantly elevate my brand. I am blessed to be able to do what I love and have that put food on my table at the same time.
If you could go back in time and start up your business all over again, what would you do differently?
Nope, I’ve never believed in changing things. Our paths are set out from the start and rolls out as per God's plan. As it is said; When we make plans, God Laughs.
What is one piece of advice you’d like give to someone just starting out?
Remain HUMBLE and FAITHFUL. Only do what you love and are passionate about, not what the rest of the world says is “trendy”. Authenticity is key and earns you the most respect. It makes things run a lot smoother and it helps you to put your heart and soul into it. From there, it naturally flourishes when it's something you refuse to give up on.
Where can we find your business on social media?
Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/embraceyourcurve
Instagram handle: @embraceyourcurves_cpt or @candashian_cpt
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