AYMIE RONDEAU, FOUNDER + CEO OF CURVY COLLECTIVE ON THE EARLY STAGES OF LAUNCHING HER OWN BUSINESS
After Calgary entrepreneur Aymie Rondeau raised over $9,000 through ATB BoostR, she was declared the winner of their Build Her Business crowdfunding competition. Along with 19 other finalists, Aymie will be able to keep the money she raised through crowdfunding to launch the first phase of her business — Curvy Collective’s online shop. However, as the official winner, Aymie will also receive a personal mentorship session with Manjit Minhas, ATB board member, venture capitalist and dragon on CBC's Dragon's Den in addition to a $5,000 MasterCard from Moneris and ATB and a three-month coaching program with Anita Kemp, of The Purposeful Entrepreneur, valued at $1,500.
“The name Curvy Collective was inspired by being proud of a woman’s curves, celebrating size diversity, and bringing people together. We are founded on the values of exceptional customer service, body positivity and encouraging health at every size. We believe that plus-sized women deserve safe, non-judgmental spaces to shop in, and the same quality of service and design, and quantity of fashion that is available to straight-sized women. Curvy Collective’s goal is to change the conversation around how the world views and accepts people in larger bodies, and how plus-sized women view themselves: as confident, capable and worthy.”
Although she has worked as a chartered accountant for 15 years, Aymie has always had a love for fashion and shopping for unique and carefully curated pieces. It was only once she started shopping plus-sized lines that she became deeply disappointed with the lack of selection available in Calgary and the poor quality of designs. It was through connecting with other plus-sized women across North America who voiced similar complaints about the lack of modern, high-quality, size-inclusive fashion, that Aymie developed the idea for Curvy Collective in 2018.
“I was frustrated by the lack of high-quality plus-size fashion available in Calgary and across North America, so I decided to do something about it. Curvy Collective’s initial concept is to build an online shopping platform, with online and in-person personal styling services, and offer pop-up shops in the Calgary area.Our long-term plan is to open a brick-and-mortar boutique in Calgary where we will offer unique, high-quality and reasonably-priced size-inclusive fashion not readily available today in the Canadian market, sourcing brands from North America, Europe and Australia. Our target market is modern, professional women in the 25-55 age range.”
Before launching her site, Aymie wanted to refine her business plan. She had met Alison Geskin, facilitator of PARK Mastermind, through Curvy Collection’s crowdfunding campaign and wanted to work directly with her on creating a strategy.
“Going into PARK Mastermind, I was working through a business plan that would have involved me taking on an excessive amount of risk. Alison and I were able to quickly refine my business plan and give me a path forward that was less risky, at least in the early stages of launching a small business as a solopreneur.”
For Aymie, the biggest takeaway from her time at PARK Mastermind was not to take on too much risk at the outset, to pivot when things don’t go as planned, and to not give up control of her business too easily or quickly.
“Having dedicated time each week to focus on your business and strategy is invaluable. This is an awesome opportunity to be surrounded by other entrepreneurs, while learning from one another and a seasoned strategist like Alison Geskin. Her insights and advice have been absolutely invaluable to me. I loved being able to bounce ideas off of her and brainstorm together. She is a wealth of knowledge and ideas, and absolutely helped take my business plan to the next level. I am excited for what the future of Curvy Collective holds - it's all up from here!”
Website + online shop coming soon
Click here to learn more about PARK Mastermind