ormer Liverpool PR specialist and mum of three has set up online women’s clothing store, which has everyday women modelling the clothes, rather than models.
Mum of three children under the age of five; Clare Bates, who lives in Ormskirk and grew up in Skelmersdale, launched Style Button after having her third child and experiencing low mood, low self-esteem and a lack of body confidence.
Style Button has everyday women featured on the website, all of whom are mums. The whole idea is that other women can go onto the site and see what the clothing looks like on real women, of different body shapes and sizes.
Clare Bates, owner at Style Button said: “My youngest was 10 months old and my confidence was at zero, I ordered clothes to cheer myself up, but was disappointed as nothing suited me, despite them looking great on the model. Then the lightbulb moment happened, I realised I wasn’t that brand’s target audience and that’s when I had the idea for Style Button.
“I wanted to open an online clothing store that the average woman on the street could really relate to, with images of everyday women of different sizes modelling the clothes. Personally, I have found it a bit daunting shopping online, the clothes look amazing on a size 8, 5’10 model and I wondered if they would look good on me. I am hoping that Style Button helps to take away that worry for other women, as they can see what a playsuit or dress looks like on a size 8 or a size 14.”
Clare also feels that women; especially new mums are under massive pressure when seeing celeb mums promoting post-natal body expectations of perfection on social media.
The women modelling on Style Button, including Clare are all everyday women, all have had children and have all experienced some of the changes that women go through after becoming a mother. One is a UK size 14, another is a size 10 and the other is a size 8. This is to demonstrate what the clothing looks like on different body types.
Sizes on the website currently range from 8 to 16, and there are plans to include smaller and larger sizes in the future.
Clare commented:“I understand that we need to do more to represent more body types, we have only been trading one month and have a small range of clothing, as we set up with a shoestring budget from my kitchen table. I plan on stocking smaller and larger sizes and have real women modelling those too. I will always represent real women today, untouched and honest. It is so important for me, as the mum of two little girls that we are comfortable in our own skin, it is one of my main focus points as I grow the business.
“Women in my age bracket, aged 28 to 40 are usually in a transition stage, growing in their careers, motherhood or experiencing new life priorities. Few brands cater for them, it is either really young fashion or older. I feel passionately that there is a gap here, more women want to see brands that really represent them. I want women to come onto my website and see what the clothes would look like on someone just like her, an average, everyday woman who wants to look good.”
Style Button launched in June this year after receiving start up support from Lancashire Community Finance, who provided guidance with the business plan and a small start-up loan.
Start Up Loans Manager Elaine Rimmer at Lancashire Community Finance said: “As the local delivery partner for Start Up Loans, a Government backed national initiative aimed at ambitious people who want to start their own business, we offer business start-ups loans from as little as £500 to be paid back within 1-5 years at 6.0% PA fixed with no arrangement fees. Applicants don’t just get financial help, they also get business support, with all successful loan applicants provided with a business mentor to help guide them on their path to success.
“We are very pleased to have been able to help Clare to become a business owner and achieve her dream in establishing a business she is very passionate about.”
Clare added: “The start up support I have received has been great, I have found the mentoring support invaluable and the small loan enabled me to purchase stock and get the business off the ground. The overall reception has been good, I think a lot of women have found it refreshing to see a clothing site using women that are just like them.”