Behind The CurvyCon: CeCe & Chastity
Can we share a secret? We're still reminiscing about all the fun we had at The CurvyCon back in June and can't wait for the next time we'll get to be a part of this amazing event. (2017 can't come soon enough!) To hold us over, we sat down with founders CeCe Olisa and Chastity Garner to hear more about their friendship, how it all began, and what's next for The CurvyCon. How did you become friends?
We actually became friends at a plus-size fashion event three years ago. We had been online fans of each other for awhile, but then when we met in person we connected immediately in a very strong way.
When you’re a blogger, sometimes people don’t fully understand that you also have to be a businesswoman. They see that you take pretty pictures and inspire people, but they don’t see all the work that happens behind the scenes. Sometimes you have to take off your pretty shoes and just take care of business! We really connected because we both had a strong understanding of that—we were entrepreneurs and our own bosses, working hard in an industry where sometimes all you have is yourself. We’ve been friends ever since!
Is this how you became partners in The CurvyCon?
The CurvyCon was an evolution of a longer conversation—what could we do for our fans that they deserved and maybe weren’t getting anywhere else. As influencers, we have the opportunity to go to special events, cool trips, and parties, but we realized our readers didn’t get to have those same experiences. We decided we wanted to create something that was on par with what you could experience as a blogger, but for everyday women, and that’s how The CurvyCon came to be!
Did you have an initial goal when you launched the event?
Our first goal was to bring five hundred women into one room. Five hundred body positive, curvy women who understood one another. We wanted it to be a diverse group of women—that way whether you were a stay-at-home mom or a YouTube star with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, you would feel safe and comfortable to just hang out and have a good time.
For the past two years, we've surpassed that goal! We’ve now sold out of tickets two years in a row, and this year we were even able to add additional standing room tickets! We’ve been fortunate to create a space where Sherri Shepherd is sharing her body image issues and it’s okay for someone to raise their hand to ask a question. No one feels like they’re better than anyone else—we all have the same common ground of self love, body acceptance, and being curvy!
What was it like when ELOQUII joined as a sponsor?
One of the more surprising things that we ran into when we introduced The CurvyCon was that while we have successful brands on our own, once we started the conference as a new venture people didn’t just sign on with us right away. We kind of expected that our reputations on our own would kind of back up our new project, but so many people that we reached out basically said, “Let’s see how you do and maybe we’ll support you if you’re successful later.” That was a hard pill for us to swallow.
We always say the first investment for The CurvyCon came from the ticket holders. Our amazing ticket holders bought tickets before we even had any sponsors, and meanwhile we were selling clothes from our own closets to raise money! ELOQUII was one of the first brands to say “We’re in,” long before anyone knew what the event would become. For ELOQUII to sign on and agree to be a part of The CurvyCon was a huge win for us! We were able to say to other brands, “You know ELOQUII is a part of it,” and then people really started to listen to us. We’re super grateful to the ELOQUII team for taking a chance on our event and supporting us more and more every year!
We’re so glad to be involved! It’s an honor. Speaking of—tell us about next year! You made a big announcement recently.
Yes! Next year we have decided to move The CurvyCon to New York Fashion Week in September 2017! We are just so excited to make that move. In making this decision, we took a look at our own philosophy when it comes to fashion and style. We believe that style and size have nothing to do with each other—you can be fashionable at any size. Therefore it only makes sense for us to have our big fashion event during the biggest fashion event in New York—NYFW—and to hold it in the fall when fashion is beautiful and exciting and there’s so much to choose from.
We’re excited to take ourselves to the next level in that way and bring the experience to women who may have never thought that they would be in New York during Fashion Week! We’re so happy to do our event in that realm and bring The CurvyCon to the mainstream.
We cannot WAIT! Thank you CeCe and Chastity!!!
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