Fifteen years. 15 Events. 3,590+ Articles. 850,000+ fans, followers, and subscribers from the US, Italy, and the UK to Australia, Canada, Brazil, Japan, and China. This year’s birthday (Christmas to be exact) marks an anniversary that I never dreamed of reaching– marking 15 years (and counting) of The Curvy Fashionista bringing you the latest in plus size fashion news, style, and resources!
I thought for a while about which direction I wanted to go with this reflection on the past 15 years. Not only have the plus size community and the fashion industry grown, evolved, and transformed over the years, but TCF and I have grown, evolved, and transformed. Do I fashion a “best of,” “top moments,” or a “what I’d like to see from plus size fashion” approach? Could that possibly capture everything I have to say?
This year, especially after the last two years, has been so impactful and transformational for me personally and professionally that it doesn’t make any sense to create a listicle. I’d rather share a reflection of this growth and the excitement I have about what is to come… from the lens of a founder, an Editor-in-Chief, and a member of this community.
Reintroducing The Curvy Fashionista
So, where do I begin? Let’s first start with where I am– because this year has been truly a blessing in disguise– one I like to refer to as my Phoenix raising from the ashes. This has been a year of healing. A year of transition. A year of education. A year of foundation. And best of all, a year that has birthed a renewed excitement and vigor that I missed!
I must admit… it was not until last year that I truly realized what (and the value of) what I had built. After a failed business deal that eviscerated and deflated any sense of self, I have been on a transformational journey that has helped me realize my worth, find my confidence, and provide clarity on what I was building and why.
It’s been a journey that’s begged me to ask myself, “How am I showing up for me?!” How could I show up for my business if I didn’t show up for myself? My community? My friends and family?
Now that I have clarity, allow me to reintroduce myself:
Hello! My name is Marie Denee, and I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Curvy Fashionista. This reintroduction, getting more personal than I ever have, is my way of showing up for you. For TCF. For those who help make TCF what it is and will be. Because darling… this conscious confidence I have found? This self-awareness? This healing? This drive and ambition? I am sooooo geeked for what is to come.
For my fellow entrepreneurs, you will understand me when I say, “When you are good, your business is good” and vice versa! BUT! What happens when you completely neglect yourself? I didn’t even realize that I had been pouring so much of what I had and knew into TCF that I failed to care for the most important thing- ME. And I didn’t realize how important I was in the equation that is my business.
I let disappointments, heartbreaks, lost friendships, mistakes, and the fear of rejection, acceptance, or both dim my light. I fell all the way back. I made myself small. Along with the depression that led to my therapy journey, I was carrying the residue from childhood traumas that I thought I had dealt with. It was there I realized the need for the community– the community I had spoken about so much. It was the impetus for launching our TCFStyle Lounge. I needed that. I needed YOU. But because I fell so far back, I didn’t know HOW to show up.
It was with last year’s divine realignment and repositioning that I truly realized, questioned, and actually saw the many mistakes and lessons that I needed to address and how TCF was in its perfect position to grow and scale to higher heights. Divine timing.
When the Student is Ready, The Lesson Appears
I wrote a reflection on the BOMESI Accelerator Program, and shared how my new mentor helped correct my mindset and approach to TCF and the business of publishing. It was mind-blowing and eye-opening! It showed me a whole new world.
You see – when I started TCF, I had no idea that this journey would bring me here! Blogging was not a formal career that you could make a living from. There was no business plan. No strategy or organization to make it work. It was all organic growth and lots of leaps of faith.
After a few cool campaigns (Evans, Chevrolet, Marina Rinaldi, Nordstrom, and Gap) and awards (The Root 100, Ebony Future50, and the FIIAs, among a few others), I knew where I wanted to go, but I had no name for it or roadmap for how to get there.
I’m chuckling to myself as I write this in hindsight realizing how hilarious it was not knowing what I was building or what industry I was truly aligning with. And I didn’t have the conscious confidence to make it all happen. Even still – my big hairy audacious goal of TCF sitting next to WhoWhatWear, The Zoe Report, or Refinery29 was never a matter of if I could do it, but how.
And it felt like the spirit answered my question.
Folks say when the student is ready the lesson will show itself, right? Well, this year has shown that to be so true for me! Thanks to the BOMESI Accelerator and other divinely aligned folks, I have a clear direction of where I want and need to go, the tools that I need, and the ecosystem needed to support me and my vision. Moving forward, one of the ways I’m honoring all that TCF is and can be is by no longer identifying as a blog, but as a fashion digital media publisher.
For the “how”, this is where the New Voices 2023 Madam CJ Walker PACE Bootcamp comes into play when it comes to my personal level up as a business owner and founder.
My personal journey has been a lot of realizing and acknowledging my mistakes, learning from them, but NOT beating myself up about it (which is hilariously hard to do as a Virgo with a Cap moon IYKYK). It also means learning how to ask for help and not judging myself for momentarily forgetting that I am not a Superwoman. It also means learning how to acknowledge, receive, recognize, and celebrate myself– period.
What to Expect in 2024 from The Curvy Fashionista
While we make this transition, there will be small changes here and there as we tinker with the new tools and resources at our disposal. You can expect to see new topics, deeper dives, and new faces on our platforms. Now, I want to share how I see TCF growing and what you can expect from me.
This new chapter is all about controlled growth, leaning into the newness, and being intentional. In the past, TCF grew hella fast in certain areas- only to have to contract when it did not work or when I had no idea what I was doing. So, now? It is all about education, strategy, planning, and audacity.
Since I am more aware of the business of publishing, I now know and see where we have opportunities for growth. I want the interviews, the in-depth reporting, the introduction of topics that we love, but never understood how to roll it out– which brings me to Micah.
Our Managing Editor, Micah Gause (please welcome her, y’all) is such a breath of fresh air of direction, organization, and strategy to the team. Her content strategy experience, resourcefulness, and beauty background, paired with her being a plus size person living on the East Coast bring a beautiful balance and direction to our content!
As I learn how to defer all things content to her, I will be working on driving the vision of the brand. Events, partnerships, and this *new & shiny* column. You will see more of ME in new ways. Now that I am back home in Southern California, I will make sure to show up in ways that challenge my past Cancer rising hermit comfort.
But this is where I need your help.
As I work on showing up for me and TCF, could I have your support here? As I learn to ask for help, I think my first step is asking you to help hold me accountable. If I slide back into being quiet or you want to challenge me to show up more, please don’t be shy… tag me in!
I would also love your support in the comments. Sharing our content on social. Subscribe to our newsletter. Reply to our newsletters if you have a challenge, question, or need some advice! If you are on X (formerly known as Twitter), stop by and say hi to me @mariedenee! That’s where I am THE most active!
I honestly would not be able to grow with TCF if it had not been for each one of you reading throughout the years. So, for that, I thank you. Thank you for every way you have shown up for me, even when I didn’t know, couldn’t, or was afraid to show up for myself.
I hope that you are ready for what is to come because I know that I *finally* am. Thank you so damn much. Here’s to 15 years, and looking forward to 15+ more!