Charmaine is a 25-year-old blogger from New York. She works in consulting while running her modern, fashion- and lifestyle-oriented blog, Charmant Style. On her blog, she writes about an array of topics, from fashion, to travel, to food. We interviewed Charmaine recently to learn more about her growing business, Charmant Style.
Check out her story below!
Please tell us about yourself and your upbringing.
I was born to Caribbean parents in Queens, New York. With a mom from Barbados, and a dad from Haiti, I am accustomed to life in two different worlds, making me well-equipped for childhood as a black girl.
How did you fit into your world outside of your home?
At my prep school, I was often “the only one”, but I stayed true to my New York roots. New York is one of the fashion capitals in the world, where everyone strives to keep up with the latest and greatest. As a result of growing up in that environment, I developed a keen eye and love for fashion.
What was it like standing out?
For many reasons, I always stood out. I was one of very few black women in my high school, and I was a plus-sized girl, so there was no such thing as blending in for me. I was easily noticed, but I used that experience to define my own beauty and build confidence in my looks and the way that I carry myself.
Where did you get your confidence?
A lot of my confidence came from my mom and the other black women in my family who constantly affirmed my inner and outer beauty. My mom particularly influenced my beauty and love for fashion, as she frequently took me to malls and outlets to teach me how to dress for my body type (and find good deals!)
During your adolescence, you inhabited very different spheres. What was it like transitioning from childhood in New York to boarding school in western Massachusetts?
In New York, things are fast paced and diverse; it is easy to be yourself, and it was comforting to be home in New York.
Boarding school was a life-changing experience. At my school, there were very few students of color. Most students were quite affluent; I was going to school with the 1%.
What did you learn from your journey and your experience standing out in a crowd?
As I hunted for beautiful plus-size clothing, I grew passionate about sharing my unique story and experiences with a larger audience. I knew I had to do more for this community of plus-sized women, who were often overlooked and even admonished in the fashion world. This moment was the beginning of my blogging journey.
You mentioned the start of your blogging career. What was the most important decision you made leading up to this decision?
The best decision I made was leaving my first job to pursue my 5 year plan. Coming from Caribbean parents, you want to always have job security, but pursue your dreams NOW! Just do it.
Your business, Charmant Style, stands out in the fashion world. What do you feel makes your business special?
Charmant Style is not just about plus size fashion. It is about people, experiences, and empowerment as it relates to the black community. Through my business, I want people to feel included and have a sense of community.
What are your plans and goals for Charmant Style in the next two years?
I want Charmant Style to be profitable. I also hope to expand brand collaborations, increase advertising, and become self-sustaining.
How would you summarize the mission and nature of Charmant Style?
Charmant Style is always evolving. My aesthetic is 100% driven by my upbringing. Growing up in a caribbean household, I had to always look put-together and elegant -- my mother would not let us walk outside of the house without looking presentable! Through my own experiences, I’ve come to learn that perception is everything. I enjoy looking my best and having an elevated look. That is definitely represented in my brand.
What is your advice for other women seeking to break the mold to pursue their passions?
If you have a passion that you want to pursue, that is exactly what you should do! Believe in yourself and get started. Work hard on your craft. Surround yourself with people who are positive and support your dreams. Hold yourself accountable, and never give up! You only have one life to live - live it with no regrets.