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Entrepreneur Chat

theCURVYcon's Chastity Garner Valentine

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Everyone has a great idea. But not everyone has the temerity and grit—not to mention the organizational and leadership know-how—to make it happen. Chastity Garner Valentine and CeCe Olisa—co-founders of theCURVYcon, an annual convention "to chat curvy, shop curvy and embrace curvy"—do. Here, we talk with Garner Valentine about the start-up life and how the friends built a movement from mere concept to reality over G-Chat.

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Q&A

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What inspired theCURVYcon?
We were G-Chat wishing there was an elevated space for plus-size women where important conversations could be had. That's when we thought, What if we created that space? The domain was purchased on the spot and the next year theCURVYcon was a thing.

How did you and CeCe first connect?
Business! We are both creatives who also have a business and entrepreneurial mindset. Sometimes both can be hard to find in a creative.

Most exciting part about starting your own business?
We get to write our own roadmap and make the rules up as we go along. Owning a business like this truly comes from our minds.

And the greatest challenge?
Giving theCURVYcon a different feel year after year. The event itself has its template but, content-wise, we are always trying to bring a different experience to the attendee.

Running a business together is like…
Being married.

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We were G-Chat wishing there was an elevated space for plus-size women where important conversations could be had. That's when we thought, What if we created that space?

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What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I wish I knew that theCURVYcon was going to make it. There are a couple of risks that we would have taken had we known the unknown.

It's been five years since theCURVYcon launched. How have things changed in the body-positivity space during this time?
Body positivity is definiteiy more mainstream and seems to be on the tongues of all women… big or small.

What are some issues you feel still need to be addressed?
There's still a narrative of making sure plus-size women are being seen in a diverse manner.

How do you balance running Curvycon with your own separate careers?
In all honesty, I'm not the best at this. For a long time my businesses were running me, but I feel like every year I get a little better with priorities, like getting to the gym, going to therapy, and shutting down work by 6 PM.

Best career advice received?
Don't get in your own way.

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Shop the Looks

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