Roots before branches

Website: Photographer: Kirsten Hough

A small-town girl with big time aspirations, Cassandra Pons, founder of Lazy Girl Lingerie, talks following your dreams and making it work

For many Australians, there is an intrinsic urge to flee the nest and make a mark in their chosen industries in big cities. However, community and seeking those opportunities is integral to professionals in any field. It’s all about creating opportunities for yourself too – just like Cassandra did when she interned locally, collaborated with Townville’s own designers to run an emerging designers’ store in the CBD and got involved with Townsville Fashion Festival. The lesson here? Soak up any knowledge you can about the industry.

“Creativity is in my blood, with a lifelong love affinity for fashion set into my heart from the moment my grandmother taught me to sew on her old Singer machine. I have spent the majority of my young life tirelessly honing my craft, leaving my small hometown to attend design school in the city and make my dreams a reality. Growing up in Townsville, North Queensland was limiting in some ways, yet beneficial in others – there is a real sense of community that gets behind you to support, however there can be less opportunities, especially as someone just starting out,” explained Cassandra.

Cassandra also spoke of how formal studies drew her to the Gold Coast, though not a prerequisite for every business owner, it allowed her to meet an amazing network of people. She felt what many do when they move to the coast: the hustle is very real, and you must learn to stand on your own.

The other lesson? Nothing good comes easy, and balance and sacrifice is part and parcel of following the ‘dream’ – as is learning the process from the bottom up. Cassandra elaborated, “After moving to the Gold Coast, I was lucky enough to get my first ‘fashion job’ while still completing my studies. I started off in quality control and progressed to design and product development. Launching a business is hard work – the hustle of balancing full-time work to support myself and finding the time to grow my brand was very difficult for quite a few years. There was lots of coffee and not so much sleep!”

We also spoke of the importance of representation and diversity in the fashion industry: it’s a mantle that brands the world over are being asked to uphold. There is a power brands have to create communities, inspire women of different shapes and sizes, and an opportunity for them to be role models in the way they fulfill their responsibility to partake in ethical manufacturing.

For Lazy Girl Lingerie, this means ethical manufacturing, making a positive contribution to the fashion industry with its inclusive design and letting the love shine through. ‘’So much love, time and hard work has gone into the creation of not only each design but also my brand as a whole. Every stage of the process is carried out by me – I dream up new designs in my sketch book, make patterns, sew samples, cut and sew orders, answer emails, co-ordinate photoshoots, and manage my website. It’s a big job, but when I hear back from my customers that something I made had the power to make them feel so special and helped them celebrate their body, it makes it all worth it,’’ said Cassandra.

It was clear that fashion has the power to influence mood, confidence and outlook; also that women are so wonderfully unique its vital we see this reflected in such a powerful industry. Every woman deserves to feel special, and something magic happens when we find these pieces – like lingerie – that mean so much more than practical fit: it’s a sign all bodies are being included.

When it came to her professional direction, Cassandra took on the challenge to broaden her skills and expertise. She found lingerie was her ‘thing’ during an inspirational college course and went on to find a gap in the market. It’s all about embracing what you love and trying different things until something ‘clicks’ for you.

Going back to her roots, Cassandra described, ‘’I remember a saying I had pinned up on my wall as a teenage girl, ‘Life is what you make it’. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been hell bent on the idea of creating a life that I wanted – I never wanted to settle for less than that. Heck, I still have a long way to go! But I have achieved some things I am so damn proud of. I’m just a regular girl, no special abilities or anything like that, and I have worked really hard to make my dreams happen. And I think that anyone that wants to do that, definitely can. My advice would be to work hard, never give up, and believe in yourself always.’’

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