As we conduct more and more interviews with innovators in the plus size fashion space, we start to see a common thread that runs through all of their stories: not finding what they needed in the market and going off and creating it themselves!
Linda Wallace-Blau is the dynamite founder of Soulevant, which offers a variety of lingerie and loungewear that features a unique and soft built-in bra that’s WIRE-FREE! Linda was sick of the available options in women’s loungewear that seemed to cater to only young girls or runway models, rather than everyday women who need more support than the standard “shelf-bra.”
“Large-busted women deserve to be beautiful without the hassle of an underwire.”
Soulevant offers lingerie and loungewear for the average woman and women with large-bust who want to look stylish without sacrificing comfort.
Linda has a background as an artist, a teacher, and a mother. She believes that clothing can be – and should be – a form of art, and her art background informs her eye for design. That’s why style and elegance is just as fundamental to her products as comfort and support.
Sitting down with this unstoppable woman proved to me that you should never stop going after your dreams!
Natasha: What is the story behind the company name Soulevant?
Linda: I have always believed that the french were leading designers in fashion. Both of my boys were french majors and suggested “Soulevant” which means “lifting” and I thought it was perfect because Soulevant is the lingerie that really lifts.
Natasha: How would you describe your customer?
Linda: Generally, my customers are curvy and larger in the bust. She is a little more conservative. She is someone who wants to feel good while remaining confident in her loungewear.
Natasha: What were important factors you kept in mind when you were designing?
Linda: I design from small to 2X but the majority of my customers are plus size. I wanted fabrics that don’t cling to you and that are not too constrictive. A woman has to be comfortable or she can’t sleep in the garment.
Natasha: What are some pieces of loungewear that should be in every woman’s dresser?
Linda: Chemises, nightgowns, PJ’s, and pretty bathrobes.
Natasha: What is the inspiration behind your designs?
Linda: I love prints. Because of my art background, I am inspired by the prints and fabrics themselves. It is nice to see that the print chemises are not only good for loungewear but they are popular for resort wear. I find this to be very inspirational as well!
Natasha: Does your loungewear empower women?
Linda: Yes! Soulevant makes women feel confident when they are supported. When you have proper support, then you feel and look good. Our products will lift you up both physically and spiritually!
Natasha: What should we expect from Soulevant next?
Linda: We’ve gotten so many customer requests to make PJ’s so those are coming in spring 2016. Also, printed bathrobes are something my customers have asked for, so they will be coming down the road too!
Natasha: What advice or words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Linda: The biggest thing I would say is if you have a dream you should persevere and keep moving toward your dream. There is no greater feeling than having a concept and see it happen and come to life. You can challenge yourself and make your dreams a reality. It is hard to make connections but you have to keep knocking on doors and live without regrets!
Linda is so brave and bold. Is there something you want to do but you didn’t think it could happen? Take a page out of her book and follow your dreams! Don’t let self doubt or excuses stand in the way of becoming the person you are meant to be!