Don’t Call Us A Plus Size Brand, We’re Just A Great Brand Catering To Amazing Women
The idea for Caliburn came about just as I was heading back to work after Maternity Leave.
Much like returning from any lovely holiday with someone’s company you really enjoy, the idea of trading walks in the sunshine for office drudgery seemed like a ‘hell no’ from me.
* I work in Healthcare so either way I was looking at unusual body fluids heading my way & the cranky demands of a handsome man with sparse hair.
The idea of starting a business & being my own boss was really appealing (I was obviously hugely sleep deprived to not realise that I’m a parent & I won’t be my own boss again for the next 18 years or more). I had a million ideas, none of them very good. More pressingly, I had a million bills, so it was back to work for me.
Providing Healthcare to a small, lovely community it a privilege. Providing said services in a town without a Daycare is a literal shitshow. I lived right on the beach, a few minutes from work, but then I would have to drive an HOUR in the opposite direction to get to the nearest Daycare, sob uncontrollably for 45 minutes or so, feed bub, then drive the hour back to work. Madness.
On the upside, Bub knows the words to every song ever played on Triple J now.
(Is that an upside?)
It was on one of these long morning drives that I saw 3 warrior women making the trek down from a nice little hill climb that was visible from the highway. They were nearing the bottom & I saw all 3 of them tugging at their shirts because not one of them was the length they needed. It was 6:30 in the morning & these girls were coming DOWN the mountain. They would’ve had to set the alarm 5am or earlier, they’ve hiked up this bloody hill, it’s summer in North Queensland, 35 degrees even at that hour, 90% humidity & yet the thing causing them the most discomfort was their dismal shirts not doing the job they’d been purchased for. & I was like ‘I’m HEARING you ladies. I have the same damn problem’. How bloody hard is it to make a shirt that actually covers my post-baby (also, post food-baby) tummy????
Really hard, as it turns out.
Designers, technicians, manufacturers, the lot – no-one really understood what I was trying to do here. There was resistance at every. single. point. There were so many moments where I felt like Julia Roberts in that scene in Pretty Woman - I had money to spend & no-one wanted to do business with me (although my wad of cash was much smaller & my hair nowhere near as well behaved. *I’m including the terrible wig in this. The bloody humidity here is nonsense.)
I understand some of the resistance. My list of demands was stupid long.
Extra length to cover the tummy area properly.
A little bit of extra room in the mid section so I could sit on an exercise bike & not worry about thinking I looked like a very tightly wrapped roll of Lifesavers.
Really great fabric
Being able to put a shirt on & get through a tough workout comfortably.
But also being able to slip it on, climb onto the lounge & have it be soft enough to feel like I was nestled in with a pile of fluffy ducklings.
& just to be a proper punish, a few areas where I was absolutely resolutely passionate & wouldn’t be budged from. That made things really tricky…
No sweatshops. I wanted to make sure every person involved in the process was being paid fairly, working in a safe environment & a true superstar at their craft.
No fast fashion. There’s masses of $3 shirts clogging up shopping centres, only to be thrown out unworn & head for landfill. No new brands need to add to that mess.
As Green as we could Go. The fashion industry still has a long way to catch up to the environmental standards that customer’s now demand. Being new to the industry there’s a lot for us still to learn too. It was really important to use fabrics that had a smaller negative impact on the environment, to minimise waste & reduce packaging.
Some places could tick some of the boxes, but it was frustrating trying to find someone that could deliver on all the important points. I very nearly gave up thousands of times. But…. then I would jump onto Stylerunner.com looking for a top & have the sizes stop at Size 10. Or go into a sports shop looking for brands that I knew went into a Large or XL, just to find the store only stocked the XS & S sizing from that brand. Then I would channel all that pissed off energy into building up the brand. A woman in pursuit of flattering fashion. Unstoppable.
So here we are.
2 years development.
Tears, tantrums & an insane amount of feedback from our customers about what worked, what didn’t, what needed to be done better.
And we aren’t a Plus Size Brand. We’re just a brand that’s passionate about listening to our customers & giving them what they need. Our customers that are professionals, athletes, women recovering from chronic injuries & illness or starting out on a whole new adventure. Great women, fierce friends, the stunning & kind WARRIOR women who deserve to not fall off the sizing chart when they click on their Shopping Cart.
We are YOUR Brand & we hope we’ve done you proud.