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Betsie Larkin: From The Stage to Shapewear
What do you get when you have a woman from the East coast transplanted to the Gulf coast who earned her degree in Math, mix in a healthy dose of electronic dance music (EDM) vocals, stir in a smattering of live performance shapewear fails, and top it with a fair amount of frustration?
You get Betsie Larkin, CEO and Founder of HONEYLOVE and creator of Sculptwear, a new body positive lingerie brand.
Betsie’s path to entrepreneurship was a circuitous one, but the secret dream of owning her own company was destined to become her reality. Betsie is a go-getter. She’s a prime example of a woman who had a dream and pursued it. While still in college, Betsie started a band. After earning a Math degree from Boston University, she relocated to Los Angeles to focus on the band while working in production at MTV. Soon, things began looking up. She recorded a demo, began working with one of the world’s top DJs, had top 40 hits in Europe, and secured a record deal with Black Hole Recordings to release her own music. See her videos on YouTube.
Unbeknownst to her at the time, Betsie was also destined for a more “undercover” stardom.
HONEYLOVE’s Sculptwear has been in the making for the past two years. At the time of its inception, Betsie was a recording artist in the EDM world. Back then, she was touring and performing all around the globe. As a vocalist and performer, the stage was where Betsie really shined.
During one performance, as Betsie stood on stage with the microphone in hand, all eyes were on her. She wore shapewear underneath a black bodycon dress with gold print that hugged her body like a second skin. While performing, she bent over a little bit and that’s when it happened: she ended up with a rubber band of fabric around her midsection, cutting into her skin. “I really wanted to pull it up,” she quips, but was unable to because she was in the middle of performing. The show must go on.
She’s not alone. Whether performing on stage, enjoying a night out on the town or attending a cocktail party, we’ve all been there. “I needed my clothes to look perfectly. I needed everything to be perfect because you just want to do a great job when you have that many people watching,” Betsie says. The shapewear’s squeezing of her rib cage and the various wardrobe malfunctions soon became an occupational hazard for Betsie that turned into her “ah-ha” moment.
Failing shapewear was the catalyst that inspired Betsie and launched her on her Sculptwear designing journey. She wanted to create something better, and that’s what she set out to do.
When it comes to designing, Betsie is candid about her experience. “It’s something that I’ve always had – ideas when it comes to fashion – but I don’t have a design background. I mean, I’ve taken a few sewing classes…”.
As an amateur sewer, Betsie spent the first couple of months working on the design herself by retrofitting some of the shapewear she had, adding features she thought would help them stay put and work better. Later, she brought in reinforcements.
“I teamed up with people who had design experience. There were two additional sample makers who worked on Sculptwear with me over that two-year period. We started out with the initial pattern, got it to work perfectly on me, and then we started getting it to work on everybody else.”
What exactly is Sculptwear?
HONEYLOVE Sculptwear is not your momma’s shapewear. It’s not a girdle or a corset. It’s somewhere in between. It’s the next generation of shapewear. However, unlike shapewear, which is typically a single layer of thin, lightweight fabric with very little structure, Sculptwear contains SoftFlex structures in the side seams to prevent the dreaded roll down. It has targeting shaping, not just uniform shaping. It honors the female form while providing added posture support. Sculptwear doesn’t have generational parameters. It has a universality to it – it’s for every woman, regardless of age, shape or size.
Betsie explains why HONEYLOVE Sculptwear is different from the competition.
“What really differentiates us from pretty much all the other shapewear brands is that we understand that in order to actually say we’re going to give a particular result, you have to have structure in order to do that. We use different types of fabrics for different parts of the garment in order to really sculpt to your form rather than just this uniform squeezing.”
HONEYLOVE is on a mission to empower women to feel strong, sexy and unstoppable. And women are clamoring for Sculptwear. With HONEYLOVE’s Kickstarter campaign, not only did they raise their goal of $30,000, they far exceeded it, raising a whopping $100,000 in only three days! The campaign, which to date has raised over $210,000, ends on April 6 after which time they go into production mode.
Betsie still loves music, however, the thrill of owning her own business brings about a new level of excitement. She has wound down the musical aspect of her life. Now, she has unleashed the beast and is ramping up the designer/businesswoman/entrepreneur within herself.
Betsie and Body Awareness
“This process of starting HONEYLOVE has made me a lot more aware of my own body.” As a woman designing for women, she’s on a quest to help women not only feel their best, but to also appreciate themselves. “Find a way to see your own beauty and embrace where you are.”
For a performer turned designer, Betsie’s path to entrepreneurship feeds into the narrative of many other women who recognized a need for something different in the marketplace and filled the gap. She found her niche and is running full steam ahead with it, all the while being comfortable with the woman she has become. For women who may be grappling being their best self and the notion of loving themselves, Betsie has this bit of advice:
“Just be you. I think a lot of times there’s this idea behind shapewear and all these things that you have to change something about yourself. That’s the opposite of what we’re doing. We’re trying to make people feel like their best selves on demand. If they want to feel a certain way in an outfit, they have this garment as an option.
Overall, I would say, no matter what shape you are, no matter what age you are, just love that about yourself. I think that’s a healthy way to think about your body and yourself. Appreciate yourself and wherever you are, just honor that.”
About The Author
Valerie Albarda is a Women’s Empowerment & Transformation Coach, author, midlife blogger and creator of Midlife-A-Go-Go. In her everyday life, she’s wife to Maarten, mom to dog Chaka and active in and around her community. Follow Valerie on Twitter @MidlifeAGoGo