A Shape not a Size

Dreaming, designing and delivering.

I’ve dreamt for forever about filling my retail store Hayley Joy, and my online store hayleyjoy.com with fabric prints, that have beautiful vertical ob art lines, that would draw the eye down, creating dramatic skimming illusions. As a Plus size Fashion designer, and a Plus size woman myself, those are the lines that make perfect sense for Plus size styles.

Cerise and a Black Raindrops, Miracle Shape top.

Nobody ever listened and it was always one of my great frustrations…until I took genuine control of my entire process, and started designing my own fabric prints. Now I’m buried in the most incredible design journey, and I have to remember to enter the real world occasionally. My whole way of designing and planning has shifted, and I love that with access to all the incredible technology that we’re surrounded by, I can realise my need, want and passion.

Cerise and Black Raindrops fabric designed and printed by Hayley Joy.

Being able to create a picture with different shapes, on an iPhone, and then take it on an editing journey through a bunch of smart apps, and come out with these results, really cements for me how privileged I am.

Random shapes manipulated into the Coral and Navy Raindrops print, designed and printed exclusively for Hayley Joy.

I’ve completed a collection of fabrics called Abstract Raindrops whereby I created these long ob art line illusions in all the colours that you my wonderful clients have asked for. From pretty Pinks and Mints, to Corals and Navy, and finally to dramatic Cerise and Black, this collection is a very important one for me. Firstly because you have all reacted and responded with so much love for what I’m producing, and secondly because it proves that absolutely EVERYTHING is possible.

Abstract Raindrops print for Miracle Shape tops, designed and printed exclusively for Hayley Joy.

Always feel free to send me suggestions, you are all very, very much a part of this incredible journey.

You can email me at info@hayleyjoy.co.za

❤ Hayley

I figured out my passion, which led me to my purpose.

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My passion is my purpose.

I deal with weight issues in every aspect of my life, I am overweight and I design and produce clothes for overweight women. There I have said it, and I didn’t cringe. It is what it is! So when I get asked this question ‘do you not get grossed out making clothes for fat women’…quoted exactly as said, I feel the need to clarify a couple of things and to address this issue.

I like to use the words Plus Size, when referring to my speciality. It has a neutral resonance.

No I don’t get grossed out at all, in fact the exact opposite, I am 1000 percent inspired, by my need to provide ranges of clothing that give plus size women, and in fact all size women, a range of clothing that is funky, fashionable and MOST importantly comfortable. I know that because I am a plus size myself, I really understand how it works.

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www.hayleyjoy.com/size-guide

Let’s play open cards here…none of us plus size women are going to be thin today, tomorrow or at the end of the month. We all battle our weight demons for different reasons. My sole purpose is to provide ranges of clothing that enable all shapes and sizes to feel fabulous…because, yes, believe it or not, us plus size chicks can feel fab, as long as we are comfortable, and are wearing clothing that we know have been genuinely designed with us in mind.

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Respectful labeling honouring a shape not a size.

When I opened Hayley Joy I only sized up to a 3XL, within a year I had started doing a couple of the styles up to 5XL, and then I realized that, actually, there was a very, very urgent need for 6, 7 and 8XL. This is the true forgotten market, these women have minimal or no access to any kind of fashionable clothing. It is a challenge on many levels to produce fashionable clothing in these sizes, but I would not be complete and fulfilled if I was to ignore this market. I have invested many long hours in developing styles that allow me to grade up to these sizes and after years of investment it is now truly starting to pay off. It is the most awesome feeling to put a new range into production and add in those sizes, so that when those size clients come in to the store, there are ready to buy pieces in their sizes. I couldn’t ever explain the amount of gratitude I experience from these sizes, it is the most rewarding feeling in the world, to know that I am changing women’s lives by simply going the extra mile with them in mind. So no, I am not, ever grossed out making clothes for ‘fat women.’

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Beautiful affirmation from a beautiful woman who I’m so proud to dress.

This message from a client, is my ultimate reward  and makes me so grateful to be able to make a living and a difference, whilst doing what I love sooooooooo much.

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www.hayleyjoy.com

 

❤ Hayley

I’m in awe of the smart world we live in.

 

I’m of that age where the simplest, smallest thing makes me stop and reflect on the amazing world we live in.

I subscribe to many different business and fashion publications, and over the last couple of days all I’ve read about is doom and gloom in the retail sector. I agree that fashion retail is facing challenging times, but I still maintain that as long as humans have a heart and a soul, they are going to want to interact with other humans. I think the secret is in creating an environment that is unique, special, interesting and most importantly welcoming.

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My words, my commitment.

The world is so much smarter, and so much more convenient, and so many more people are shopping online. How do you stay afloat in these interesting times?
You assume nothing and you stick to what has always worked. For Hayley Joy, it’s a combination of respectful sizing and exceptionally respectful service.

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Perfect affirmation for my commitment to good, respectful service.

I had a moment today when I sorted out the paperwork with the courier who collects our online parcels. He was busy filling in the waybill slips, and I stood looking at him, thinking to myself, that this man is the amazing conduit between my clients and I. He seamlessly arrives twice a day, picks up my parcels, and magically they are delivered the next day, all over the country. I’ve never really stopped to think how far we’ve evolved in seamless service. Back in the day you would pack a parcel, get in your car, drive to a post office, stand in a queue, book it in, and have no clue when it would reach its destination. Now I’m pretty much guaranteed that it will be there the next day.

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The Courier Guy.

Taking Hayley Joy online has been a very interesting experience, and the ease that online affords you, to reach clients who cannot physically come to the store, is the thing that has really excited me. For so many years I would get desperate emails from all over the country, begging for access to real Plus sizes.
Creating an online store wasn’t easy, because this is not a run of the mill product that you put online and wait for somebody to buy. I suddenly had to start convincing new clients, that my sizing is genuine Plus sizes. The trauma around the lack of decent Plus size clothing has inspired me to keep creating, to keep honouring and to keep flying the flag for genuine Plus sizes, and in this very smart world we live in, that dream becomes easier and easier to become a reality.

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www.hayleyjoy.com

The smart world excites me and at 52 years old I am in the perfect position to take Hayley Joy to the next level, and debunk all the doom and gloom about retail. I’m so up for the challenge.

❤ Hayley

To expand or not to expand (pardon the pun)

 

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This is me, in one of my favourite looks…all black with a pop of colour.

I get asked this question all the time…please open a shop in Pretoria, please open on the East Rand, West Rand, please open in Durban, Cape Town, P.E., Bloem, please open in London, Sydney, Germany, New York etc. etc. I get emails requesting agencies, and so it goes on. I’m going to attempt to explain the ‘why’ behind my decision…here goes…

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All of me focused, is so much better than none of me focused.

I could never in my wildest dreams, have imagined how crazy things would become at Hayley Joy. I opened a store, in a small centre, doing something nobody else was doing. I set out to create a beautiful, safe space, that all the forgotten women out there, could claim as their own. Being Plus size myself, meant that I knew exactly what was needed. I also quickly realised, that the need for realistic regular sizes and odd sizes, was a very real need, so I went from setting out to open an exclusive Plus size store, to having a store that supplies all sizes. This decision has proved to be incredibly rewarding.

Hayley Joy colour and symbol labels.

A Shape not a Size, taking the stigma out of sizing.

Not only do I have the store, I also have a full production facility, that supplies the store. Hayley Joy production, supplies Hayley Joy retail with 99% of it’s stock. I wear many hats at Hayley Joy, but my main job is to develop the shapes and styles, which are unique to Hayley Joy. I have developed a unique size curve, exclusive to Hayley Joy, based on true body measurements. This is what really sets us apart, the Hayley Joy, Plus size range, fits and flatters like a true Plus size range should. The Hayley Joy range is all about respect and honesty. I was determined that when you come shopping at Hayley Joy, there will be enough variety that will afford you choices, you won’t just have to buy something, because that’s all there is.

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My production manager Tina, and I, planning a fabulous new dress style.

So to the dilemma of expansion. Because I wear so many hats at Hayley Joy, I have had to accept my limitations. I cannot be everywhere all the time. The two most important factors to me are the quality and styling of the garments. It takes a huge amount of my time to develop a new style, and I can never delegate this. A lot of the designs come together while I am working in the store. I’ll be chatting to a client and we’ll start thrashing out ideas and I will take that with me to production the following morning, and it’s there that my production manager Tina and I, will start planning a new concept. I’m hands on in production and am militant about quality. I never, ever waiver in my quest to put out beautifully designed, perfectly manufactured garments. It says so much about who and what Hayley Joy is about, good quality shows that we respect ourselves and our business. Once again time is a factor here. Because I insist on such stellar quality, our production is a bit slower, this means that unless I give work out, we can never open more stores. I have attempted to give work out, unfortunately it’s always a disaster, as the quality is never up to ‘my’ scratch. I have an awesome production unit and am really loathe to mess with it. It took a huge amount of input to get it to where it is today. There is such a fine line between growth and reality.

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I’m this hands on!!

The reality is that I absolutely love what I do, I have more passion now than ever before. I want to always feel this way, and I honestly believe that the day it all becomes overwhelming, is the day I will stop loving what I do, and it will show in the final product.

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This says it all!

In my search to find a way to offer Hayley Joy to women all over the world, I took Hayley Joy online, because this is an expansion that doesn’t require me to be too involved. All the background aspects are taken care of by a team, and I only get involved when I need to liaise with a client in connection with size. It will never be as effective as opening bricks and mortar stores, but it carries so many fewer risks, and it allows me to take care of what is most important, and that is constantly creating new styles and shapes, that fit and flatter all of us.

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Online orders, on their way to fulfilling my Shape journey.

 

❤ Hayley

Reflecting and Projecting

2016 was a year of learning for me. In my 52nd year I went back to school for the first time in 35 years. I chose to do an online digital marketing course with Getsmarter…yes me…the once VERY technologically challenged girl!
I ran my business and I studied for 10 very intense weeks, and I passed…proudly.

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A certificate that makes me really proud.

I learnt how to REALLY delegate. Yes me the one time control freak. And how did it feel I hear you asking, it felt sooooooo liberating. If you’re not good at it, try it, it is life changing. Hire right, my business coach Brent Spilkin from Growing Pains said, never a truer word spoken. Delegating allows you to dream big, and deliver even bigger.

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I love these words.

I learnt how to take a random chance and I signed up for an online iPhone photography course, that has completely transformed my life. It has unleashed a creativity in me that I never knew was there. It has taught me patience, it’s taught me to be so much more observant, it’s connected me with some of the most amazing humans all over the world. It’s awoken my creativity on an explosive level.

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One of my favourite photos on my new iPhone photography journey.

I learnt how to expand my business without stretching myself thin. I took Hayley Joy online and have enabled women all over the world to have access to true Plus size fashion, designed by a genuine Plus size designer. To date we have not had one garment returned for a refund, and have only had two size changes. That is an enormous achievement in the online sales world.

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So how do I top 2016 in 2017?

I go back to school to do an online graphic design course, to realise a 30 year dream, to design and print my own exclusive ranges of fashion fabrics. They say that the only way we are going to make it in business, going forward, is to stand out. I have every intention of taking my new found love and knowledge of photography, and creating collections of fabrics that have never been seen before. I am going to listen to the future predictors, and I’m sooooooo going to stand out. I want to be that girl that at 52 took on the world and did it her way.

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Future fabric inspiration from my magnificent Jacaranda tree in my garden.

❤ Hayley

I’ve discovered that there is a difference between being lucky, and being blessed with luck.

I get really, really irritated when people tell me how lucky I am to have my own business, be my own boss, have my own choices blah, blah, blah. I’ve decided to become ‘unirritated’ and choose to accept that I’m incredibly blessed with luck. Blessed to do what I love, blessed to make a difference, and especially blessed to work with some of the most amazing women.

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I’m going to be featuring some of those amazing women through 2017. I thought I should kick off the initiative by featuring a woman who inspires me, who makes me so proud to dress her, and a woman we should all know about because she embraces who she is…very proudly.

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Mari Lee is the founder and CEO of DevCom, a company that prides itself on creating a direct link between effective communication, and achieving business objectives. Mari has 18 years experience in development, project management and strategic projects.

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Dressing Mari is inspiring on so many levels. I’ve dressed her personally, I’ve dressed her team for corporate events, and every time I work with DevCom, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have such grateful and loyal clients…and very lucky too!

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Mari shared these photos with me, and has graciously consented to me sharing them with all of you.

❤ Hayley

 

The endless possibilities of the Miracle Shape top.

I’m so proud of this incredibly rewarding shape. It allows me to accomodate all shapes and sizes, with the confidence that I need, to be able to convince my clients that I really do understand their needs.

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Miracle Shape top with Daisy detail.

So what exactly are the needs of a Plus size women? They’re actually pretty simple if you understand the requirements of a Plus size shape. Being Plus size myself, qualifies me to REALLY understand the needs.

When I started out designing this shape, the first thing that I created was a basic shape that had shape. In my experience on the floor in the store, I came to understand that we don’t put weight on in our shoulders, and we have a waist, yes we really do!

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Miracle Shape top in Multi coloured animal print.

I’ve taken this basic shape and interpreted many different styles onto it, and I love the response that they all get. This past Saturday in the store, really affirmed for me, how perfect this shape is for my market. I’ve built shape into the waist, and given the tummy, hips and behind the correct amount of swing, in order to flatter all shapes.

My reward for the commitment to attempting to accomodate all shapes and sizes is the gratitude received from all of you who wear this wonderful style.

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Miracle Shape top Zig Zag multi floral angle top.

We have a variety of different styles of the Miracle Shape top in store, and online at www.hayleyjoy.com.  I’m sharing some of my favourites with you.

❤️ Hayley

 

Manufacturing privilege.

I am so privileged to have my own factory. Manufacturing my own collections, allows me so many freedoms to do things that I would never be able to do, if I was bound to outsourced production.

I am able to respond to the needs in my retail store, as and when they occur. When I bought this range of prints, it was this red print that really stood out, and I knew it would sell out fast, I just didn’t expect it to sell out in a day!

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Red African print Mracle Shape top.

I was lucky enough to be able to get more fabric, and the next morning, all other production was put on hold, and we cut another range of Miracle shape tops, and they were in store two days later. It still gives me goosebumps, 30 years later, that we can respond the way we do.

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Production on the rail, always a welcome sight in Hayley Joy production.

I often feel like a live in a fashion dream world, because in the real world  you wouldn’t be able to repeat on demand. I have geared my production, so that there is always room to change the plan. I like that we can, it may not always make good business sense, but it sure keeps things interesting.

Walking into Hayley Joy production, is like walking into a sweet factory for me. Seeing the stock hanging on the rails is a moment I always cherish. I have a wonderful team, a beautiful working space and a job that I love with everything I have. I make clothes and I make a difference, my perfect combination.

In my wildest dreams……

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Passionate for Prints.

If you’d told me two years ago when I designed the Miracle Shape top, that I would have built up a following of clients, who would respond the way you all respond, whenever I make a new collection of these tops, I don’t think I would have believed it.

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Production ready for retail.

It is a dream come true, to know that every time I go fabric shopping, and I put this incredibly rewarding shape into production, you all respond exactly as I dreamt it, with such gratitude.

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Pink Paisley miracle shape top.

It is such a privilege to be doing what I’m doing…every.single.day.
❤️ Hayley

In store now in a variety of prints.
Sizes M – 7XL
Prices from R799 – R899

Hayley Joy
Shop 10
Dunkeld West Shopping Centre
281 Jan Smuts Ave
Dunkeld
JHB
(At the back of the centre)
011 325-2488

Understanding the law of attraction

In the past two weeks, I have come to REALLY understand the law of attraction.

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No Limits.

I could never have imagined that putting a picture of myself (very apprehensively), doing Pilates in a pair of Hayley Joy, Plus size, Active wear leggings, would unleash this kind of reaction.
I live my life based on a very simple philosophy…exactly what you put out, is exactly what you get back. I’ve proved it over and over again to myself, that in it’s simplicity, this philosophy is the most simple path to follow, but sometimes the most difficult one to embrace.

I am a Plus size woman, who designs and manufactures Plus size fashion, and yet I struggle to put myself out there as the face of the brand. Why? I don’t have an answer to that question, I guess it’s because I’m a woman with issues, simply put!! But these two weeks have enabled me to have an answer, for what happens when you do put yourself out there, and that is that the rewards are enormous.
I have communicated with women from all over the world, who have come forward and shared their frustrations around being Plus size, and being so frustrated at the lack of availability of respectful Plus size fashion, and especially Plus size Activewear.

I’ve also had an amazingly rewarding time, doing a lot of one-on-one consultations with new clients, who have come to the store because they read my story. I laughed with them, and I cried with them, but most importantly I established a trust with them. In honouring myself, I have proved that I honoured them as women first, and that there is no judgement at Hayley Joy. Your size is of no importance to me, my sole mission is to provide you with a wardrobe of respectfully designed clothing, that makes you feel respected as a woman.

Stepping out of my comfort zone as an entrepreneur is one thing, but it’s stepping out as a woman with body image issues, that has unleashed the greatest rewards of gratitude. I have been completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of gratitude and it has inspired me to keep pushing the boundaries, because I’ve proved with this new little venture, that there are no limits, the only limits are the ones we put on ourselves.

I am in awe of the gratitude. Thank you to all of you who have supported my quest to make a difference, and there are MANY of you.
❤️ Hayley