A majority of American women have curves, whether the fashion world likes it or not. And while many clothing lines try to ignore curvy women, a line called Babes and Felines embraces them.
Ciera Roger launched the collection of affordable leggings, maxi skirts, denim, swimwear, graphic tees and bodysuits specifically designed for curvy and full-figured women. The pieces come in a spectrum of signature colors that span from earth tones to nudes and are tailored to accentuate a wide range of body types, from slim to full-figured and maternity.
The line was an instant hit on social media, especially on Instagram, where celebrities Kim and Khloe Kardashian found out about Babes and Felines and ordered from the line. Not only did the clothes that flatter the curvy women attract attention, but also Ciera refused to Photoshop herself or any of her models going for the natural look. Women loved it, and the line started with loyal clients and followers.
Rogers, who worked as a fashion stylist, launched Babes and Felines in 2013 and today she has more than 2.3 million followers on Instagram while Babes and Felines has more than 275k.
Ciera Roger tells TNJ.com her plans for Babes and Felines.
TNJ.com: How did you come up with the name Babes and Felines?
Ciera Roger: I have always loved cats so that’s where the word “Feline” came from. Regarding “Babes,” one day I was visiting home from L.A. and this guy came up to me and a friend and called us “hot babes.” It was super weird because it was random and black men in Houston don’t really talk like that. So, it stood out and I used it for my brand.
TNJ.com: How have you been able to attract such high-profile celebrities as Kim and Khloe Kardashian?
Ciera Roger: They found me! Kim actually purchased items off my site and I’m guessing she told her sister about it because Khloe recently wore my line during her pregnancy. Kim stumbled across my brand online. Her stylist told me that she is a heavy user of Instagram, despite what people may think. She buys clothes online all of the time, which is pretty cool considering she can probably get clothes for free. She found my brand through my Instagram page and purchased the items from there. It feels surreal. I get nervous sometimes because I know the Kardashians are used to high fashion (haute couture), but they decided to mix that with my brand.
TNJ.com: I love the designs. How have you been able to make the items so affordable?
Ciera Roger: I think I start with the price. How can I design this item for a low price? Most designers start the other way around. I’m focused on the price the whole way through manufacturing.
TNJ.com: I read that your mother inspired you. What would you say you learned from her?
Ciera Roger: She was always an entrepreneur, so that mindset has definitely taught me a lot just from watching her. Because of her, I always tried to figure things out that I didn’t know how to do. I don’t see challenges, I see possibilities.
TNJ.com: You majored in public relations and marketing. Even though you are now in fashion, how did these studies help you?
Ciera Roger: Marketing has helped me tremendously. Knowing your audience is important when you’re trying to sell to a variety of customers. As far as PR, I wouldn’t say I learned much in college. I learned everything outside of it. Technology has changed so much that I have had to learn new ways to promote myself and my business over the years.
TNJ.com: You started out with vintage clothing. What made you change focus and what were some of the challenges in changing the focus?
Ciera Roger: I changed focus because I moved to Los Angeles. When I got here, everyone was up on vintage. They knew how to thrift and where to go. It didn’t seem like a skill here compared to Houston. There weren’t many challenges because wholesale and designing is much easier. It can be more expensive, but the process is much easier than thrifting.
TNJ.com: How much of a role has social media played in making your business a success?
Ciera Roger: It’s definitely a major role. I’ve managed to increase my following so there’s free promotion. I communicate with a lot of my customers daily through social media. It’s an important tool.
TNJ: Why did you go with a spectrum of signature colors that span from crisp white and earth tones to nudes and basic black?
Ciera Roger: Personal taste. And also because those colors can be worn over and over. I want Babes to be in your closet forever. I want you to pick up that black skirt or that nude dress and pair it with other items multiple times. I want you to get your money’s worth. I think neutrals and solids are easily paired with anything.
TNJ.com: What is your top selling item?
Ciera Roger: My tummy control legging has been my top selling items for years, although other pieces like to steal the shine some months!
TNJ.com: Why did you decide against to using and and photoshopping your photos?
Ciera Roger: I Photoshop lightly. I do not do heavy editing because I like real women! I like to see real bodies on my site because they are relatable. Over editing takes away from that.
TNJ.com: What can we expect from your upcoming men’s line? When will it be available?
Ciera Roger: I am releasing a few pieces this week, but the whole collection will be available by the end of the month. I want basics for men, but right now I am designing some fun pieces for men on vacation.
TNJ.com: Why did you decide to feature Sade in your new line of products?
Ciera Roger: Well, she’s amazing and beautiful and my mom played her all the time when we were growing up. I just think her look and music are calming and I can’t really think of anyone who doesn’t like her. Her photos are iconic to me.
TNJ.com: What has been your biggest challenge since opening your business?
Ciera Roger: I think keeping up with competition has been something new. There are so many boutiques now, so it can get a little overwhelming trying to monitor the trends and competition.
TNJ.com: What are your ultimate goals?
Ciera Roger: My ultimate goal is to have Babes become a Target for America. What I mean by that is that I want all people of all backgrounds and economic class to shop with me. I want my line to be a quick and easy decision for you. Beyond that, my passion would have to be film. A lot of people don’t even know that. I am actually working on a short film now. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m excited about the future.