What does women empowerment mean to you?
What is fashion for you?
Do you think motherhood and career can both be achieved?
These are just a few of the things our founders, Pat and Margaux, were eager to talk about with the ladies who attended our first-ever Conversations with Coral & Pearl, held at one of their partner stores Frankie & Friends in SM Aura on a Saturday afternoon. In case you missed it, we ended Women's Month on a meaningful note by holding our first ever discussion, where we invited YOU—the long-time followers of the brand!
It was small and intimate, and over a mini spread of cheese, cold cuts, cookies, with sparkling wine to boot (c/o Garnish MNL), we shared our views and opinions on some of the topics closest to our hearts. Pat and Margaux began the conversation talking about how both brands were built, and the strong movement that drives it forward. More than just being a swimsuit and mama-friendly clothing brand, Coral and Pearl are all about uplifting women, reminding them of their dignity, and using fashion as one of the many ways this can be expressed.
Another topic was on women empowerment and what it truly, really means. Is it about wearing what you want? Doing what you want with your body? Living for yourself?
The founders share how the concept of empowerment evolved for them over the years, and became more about being free to make choices that affirmed their dignity, such as embracing modesty and motherhood ...even if they were counter cultural.
Margaux shared that having worked in the fashion industry, it was difficult at first because she always wanted to wear what was trendy, and not exactly modest. Until she eventually realized that it was important for her to dress in a way that would reflect her values, and she started to consider her faith in choosing her outfits. On the other hand, Pat, who once believed that "if you got it, flaunt it," also began to question her own motives for dressing the way she did. She realized that she was getting validation from attention, instead of growing in a real confidence that doesn't come from the approval of others.
Similarly, the attendees shared how the one-piece swimsuits from Coral helped them feel more confident and forget their body insecurities...because there was a lot less pressure from the brand to show off! One of the attendees who had scoliosis, mentioned that she felt uncomfortable and super conscious wearing bikinis, and felt a lot better wearing one-piece swimsuits.
The ladies were also able to share own experiences about being open to life and the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood. They talked about being partners with their husbands, and not competitors, respecting each other's roles in the family and supporting each other's dreams, too. So, yes, it is possible to build both a career and a family! More work, creativity, effort, and energy management are needed, of course, but from the insights of Pat and Margaux, becoming mothers has only made them stronger and braver to pursue things they never imagined they could do!
The moms in the group could all relate to not feeling exactly their best-looking selves during pregnancy, especially since their bodies changed so much while they were pregnant. And wearing clothes that made them feel pretty, such as the ones in Pearl, was one of the many ways that made them feel better, not to mention support from their husband and family. It was great to hear about the supportive husbands of the moms who attended. They shared how they would take turns caring for their baby, as the other would be in the office to work. As opposed to sticking to one role—such as one being the house husband/wife and the other, the breadwinner, they share in the parenting responsibilities and support each other's dreams! :)
It was also mentioned that growing up, we were exposed to advertising messages bombarding us with unrealistic ideals of beauty, and a lot of us agreed that our views on what beauty means have been heavily influenced by mainstream media! But the good news is in realizing that we can make the decision and effort to stay true to our femininity and live authentically, because we eventually feel freer and more empowered that way!
It was a lovely afternoon getting to know the women who have been supporting our brands and we couldn't be more thankful. We realize that while our message isn't one that's easy to share and communicate, we find strength in women who are open to share their thoughts and ideas and engage in conversation with us. We hope you get to join us in the next one!
The Coral & Pearl team