45. Style and Substance
Founder: Kathryn Heaven
Head Office: New South Wales
Style and Substance founder Kathryn Heaven has loved clothes from the moment she was old enough to dress up in her mum’s shoes. But after exploring a number of different ways to break into the fashion industry, she hit a hurdle.
“I soon discovered that being overweight was a significant barrier in fulfilling my dreams of working in the fashion industry. My body, no matter what size I was, never seemed to fit mainstream fashion ideals.”
After some extremely difficult personal challenges, she eventually launched Style and Substance, an online retailer dedicated to providing plus-size women with the latest fashions.
“I believe that true beauty comes from within and all women deserve to look and feel as beautiful as they truly are. Style doesn't end at a size 14; all women should embrace their curves,” Heaven says.
Some of the bigger challenges she has faced include learning about importing products from the United States and figuring out the sheer amount of physical space that clothing products actually take up.
“From this I learned to get as much information about the type of business you are embarking upon, perhaps find a business mentor before you begin your business journey!”
And while she says the financial independence provided by the business has been one of the best elements of starting up, the “thank you” emails and Facebook posts from plus-size customers who have earned new confidence from their new outfit are also rewarding.
“I am a passionate fat-shionista and a strong advocate for women to always believe in themselves and their capabilities.”