Woman starts clothing business for women of color
Written by: Sarah Chase
"The salted Toffee Jumpsuit is the most cute
and simple lounge piece ever! I love it
because it is such a beautiful color and
comes with a gold belt that syncs in the
waist a bit!"
Tabitha Clavin is only 21 years-old and launched her clothing brand “Complxen” in January of this year. Her pieces are simplistic and are meant to complement women of color. Her shop ranges from bathing suits to bodysuits and much more.
Calvin is not only a business owner, but she is also a college student. Many know that college is already tough to navigate and balance and Calvin does the best she can with the time she has. She chooses to use her free time wisely to make sure she is accomplishing school and growing her business.
“I think balance is not something that I will ever achieve because I do not ever think I will reach the point where 50 percent of my time is dedicated to my studies and the other 50 percent to my business. I just try to spend the portion of my free time, when it is not studying or in class, working on my business and promoting my business,” Calvin said.
Calvin believes that the best tones that compliment people of color are the ones that contrast against their own skin. She utilizes that knowledge to make pieces and find colors that will do exactly that and that will look great on people of color.
“For example, yellows look beautiful on people of color, but at the moment my store does not carry yellow,” Calvin said. “Right now we are offering a snake print bathing suit that has a pinkish, red tone to it and because that is extremely different from our complexion, it stands out beautifully against our skin.”
Calvin is passionate about representation and inclusion in fashion. She believes it is important to provide pieces that look good on every skin tone. The fashion industry already provides pieces that look good on people not of color, so Calvin wanted to fill that void of the lack of colors that look the best on women of color.
“The fashion industry lacks a specific store or brand that caters specifically to my community and puts our interest for us before everyone else’s,” Calvin said. “Unlike other boutiques and fashion chains, my boutique is different because not only do we offer nude clothing for women of color, but we also offer other hues that complement their complexion as well.”
Building a business is not an easy task. Promoting and sharing takes a lot of energy, but when Calvin started she did not stop. That ambition is what rewarded her with her online family. She feels extremely blessed to have the community she does and she cannot wait to see how much it grows over time.
“The thing I love the most and take the most pride in is my community,” Calvin said. “As I said before, they are extremely important to me and they are the ones who pick me up when I am feeling down. They are ride or dies honestly, so that is what I love most about my business. It is my customers, it is my community. I love them the most.”
Staying motivated is also not easy. There are days when orders roll in and they are days when there are no orders at all and many small business owners have opened about that struggle and how they keep going. When Calvin has those days, she turns to her community. That online family that she loves is always there to pick her up.
“My motivation for anything if I am just having a bad day, sales are extremely slow or I need a pick me up, I always talk to my community. They are sweet, they are understanding and they are open. I have told them I have made mistakes. I have made many mistakes and I am still learning. Because I am very transparent with them and open, they accept me,” Calvin said. “It is easy for me to not feel alone because I know that they will always be there supporting me and supporting what I stand for because they care about not just my business, but me as a person.”
To the people out there who want to begin their own business and make their own money, Calvin stresses the importance of customer service. Make sure that your customers believe in you, your mission and do your best for them. She stresses that customers need to trust you and your business. Customers are what makes a business flourish.
“For someone who is starting a business, a piece of advice that I would give them is to prioritize building trust with your customers above everything because that is what is most important. If a customer feels like they can not trust you, they are not going to shop with you regardless of how low your prices are, how good of a product you have or how amazing the quality is. If someone feels like they can not trust you they are not going to do business with you point blank,” Calvin said. “Prioritize building a community first before everything else and the sales will follow."
"Sweet Mocha is a double layered body con dress that is soft as a blanket and fits like shape wear!"
"Olive set is so comfortable and versatile! It is my new favorite set!"