I am so excited that I finally got to interview Devine. AKA the Godfather of Curve Nation, LLC, an Orlando, Florida, nightclub that is rapidly becoming a watering hole for the BBW (Big, Beautiful Women) community. He is also the very first man I’ve interviewed for Curves, Cats, and Creams, so read on to hear how the other curvy half lives.
1. Question: Why did you choose to found Curve Nation, LLC?
Answer: I noticed a gaping hole in the market for a classy venue for plus-size patrons. Most BBW clubs in Florida are overly sexual and we deserve a true red carpet experience.
2. Question: What were some of the challenges you faced when launching Curve Nation, LLC?
Answer: The other clubs that had been in business for awhile became jealous; I was trash talked because I brought awareness to the situation. They felt their businesses would be threatened by the addition of another club that provided something new and exciting.
3. Question: Who was your biggest supporter?
Answer: Gwen DeVoe, the founder of Full Figured Fashion Week, also known as the “Curve Nation Godmother”. She has really shown us love and support by using her connections in the industry to bring awareness to our cause.
4. Question: How is a typical night out at Curve Nation, LLC different than one at a normal BBW club?
Answer: The atmosphere is so much more welcoming and professional. For example, our employees are all in uniform and at your service. The focus is on helping people get to know each other and mingle; it’s definitely not a cliquey environment like most BBW clubs in Florida.
5. Question: How do you feel your past at Konnect Media has benefited Curve Nation, LLC?
Answer: The network of connections that I built at Konnect Media has really helped me launch Curve Nation LLC and reach the right customer base for what we’re trying to accomplish.
6. Question: What is your favorite event Curve Nation, LLC has produced so far and why?
Answer: Definitely my “Red Carpet Affair” event this past January 25th. Having such a high class event really differentiated Curve Nation, LLC from the sleazy BBW clubs and reinforced the idea that we are legitimate, professional, and classy.
7. Question: Do you feel that being a man has helped you in a field that is largely targeted to women? Why or why not?
Answer: No, because I’m usually not taken seriously. Thankfully, my go-getter personality and true belief in what I’m trying to accomplish helps me overcome that.
8. Question: Why do you think the plus size industry focuses on women and not men?
Answer: Men are usually less self-conscious and don’t pay as much attention to detail as women. We don’t have as many options, so it’s easier. It’s not fair, but society lets us get away with more. Women have more options with hair, makeup, and clothing, and feel more pressure to be more conscious of their appearances. I don’t fit this mold because I love to shop, but most men I know don’t love to shop. Many of them have their wives or girlfriends shop for them.
9. Question: Do you think that men will be more active in the fashion industry in the future? Why or why not?
Answer: I think once men understand and feel more comfortable in the fashion industry, they’ll get more vocal about what they want to be wearing and designers and retailers will have to listen if they want to stay competitive.
10. Question: Who is your personal favorite designer and why?
Answer: Steve Harvey, because I love his suits. I’m also excited to see Shaq’s new line!
11. Question: Who has been the biggest influence on your own personal style?
Answer: Believe it or not, my mom! She was such a fashionista and made clothes for both herself and me if we’d go shopping and couldn’t find anything we liked. People were always asking me where I got my clothes and, thanks to her, I even won “Best Dressed” in high school!
12. Question: As a graduate of Brown University in Rhode Island, you’re familiar with the New England market, so do you think Curve Nation, LLC would be successful here? Why or why not?
Answer: Absolutely, because up north, they tend to support local businesses more. Florida’s cliquish, and it seems that curves are only acceptable in certain circles, like in the hi-hop community, and not in others, such as in the “old money” or prominent communities, where size 2 is “fat”!
13. Question: Why do you think that most plus size models are non-Caucasian?
Answer: In black and Hispanic communities, curves have always been a normal part of life. We have mothers and sisters with hips and asses, and it’s beautiful. I remember my Caucasian friends growing up believing they had to be thin to be beautiful. This is changing, but the size acceptance revolution is fairly new to most people.
14. What would you say to the critics who claim that encouraging people to accept themselves as they are will lead to an increase in the obesity epidemic?
Answer: There’s a plus and a minus to that because there is a way to be thick and healthy at the same time. Being BBW doesn’t give you an out to being unhealthy. For example, I used to own a gym and I made sure my patrons focused on being healthy, not necessarily on losing weight.
15. Question: What are your hopes for the First Annual Plus Size Expo this July?
Answer: To bring more awareness to Curve Nation, LLC. It’s going to be a lot different than the “bashes” that most clubs have, which focus mainly on sex and alcohol. I’m especially excited that Rosie Mercado, the star of Nuvo TV’s Curvy Girls, will be there to encourage women to embrace their curves and even help aspiring plus size models learn the ropes of the industry.
16. Question: What are your plans for both Curve Nation, LLC and yourself for 2014?
Answer: We’ll be opening Curve Nation 2 in Texas later this year, and we’re releasing the first collection of the Curve Nation, LLC clothing line in August/September, a stylish yet easy collection of true plus sizes, not junior plus sizes, keeping in mind the everyday plus-size woman. With an affordable price point of $20 – $80, it will initially be carried online, but we are in talks with several boutiques that cater to full-figured women.
For myself, I hope to be more prosperous and to continue coming up with more business ideas that will help bring awareness to the BBW community.
17. Question: What are your hopes for the curvy fashion industry in 2014?
Answer: I hope that there will be a lot more custom-made curvy clothing, since there’s no such thing as a set shape in the BBW community. I also hope that prices will become more competitive, since I think it’s ridiculous for women to pay more for clothing simply because they’re in a larger size.
Curve Nation, LLC