As long as I can remember I have had business ideas; some simple in concept others far more complex. Each one I have thoughtfully considered and analysed for their potential: carefully weighing my passionate believes against economic viability. From a small catering company when I was in university to global luxury travel services, I have never met an idea I did not like. While I do believe that tenacity plus a modicum of intelligence can result in a positive outcome, I now know that success comes firmly in a passionate, almost always personal, conviction of the problems your business is solving.
This is why I started appeeling – a nipple pastie company.
I have battled breast cancer twice. I was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30. My daughters were only 4 and 2 at the time – a time when I was still trying to figure out my plan to to teach my girls the self-confidence and body positive tool they needed to navigate life. I knew that this was a difficult feat as I felt that my own self confidence was the biggest barrier I have faced to achieving what I wanted personally or professionally. I simply wanted to eliminate barriers for them. This diagnosis was a big wrench in my plan. How could I promote body positivity when my body was about to change forever, and my femininity be redefined?
The only time I recall stopping to think about the effect of the drastic changes to my body was to decide whether to undergo reconstructive surgery. I ended up choosing to for myself, but for my daughters as well. I wanted them to see their mother as feminine and strong but also as normal as possible. I did not want them to fear their own bodies.
On the eve of my first surgery 17 years ago, I promised myself that if I had to have any further surgeries, I would host a party the night before with close friends and family. I am happy that I made this promise because 11 “boobie parties” later, they became an instrumental pillar of my healing process and an important reminder to my daughters that their bodies are beautiful and should be celebrated regardless of any deviation from what social convention dictates.
At the last of these parties five years ago, I gave away nipple pasties to everyone as a party favor. Before long, both men and women were wearing them. Most striking to me was that everyone was wearing them with pride and smiling. I also saw body confidence issues dissolve and, in its place, was pure celebration – body positivity at its finest.
This became a little idea that stuck (pun intended). The economics of the business made sense but what was even more convincing was the belief that body positivity is something that every-body needs a little more of. Further, it became clear to me that holding this belief meant also that we could lovingly embrace every-body regardless of gender, size, sexual orientation or ethnicity. The world quite literally started to sparkle, and we knew we could help by spreading a little more.
Appeeling, I am proud to say, is a fun and flirty brand that sells beautiful pasties to decorate every-body - promoting body positivity, one tassel at a time. We are a female run business and work with artisans around the world to create designs for women and men alike who want to celebrate and decorate life any way they choose to — whether it is for a public glow or private show. We believe that every-body deserves to be celebrated and we love watching being a witness to this vision with the remarkable, unique personalities that brings every set of pasties to life. As we say, pasties are nothing without personality – no two are the same.
We have clients who wear them under business suits for that added hint of confidence, under outfits, as a top or simply with just a smile. Whatever the occasion, the reason or season, there is something magical in the ability to help people bring out their inner fun, flirty and confident self.
Through appeeling™ I am able to see that there are occasions when we all have issues looking at the mirror. But, I also see that by having a little fun, you see the sparkle and not the shadows.
My daughters are used to me sitting them down and saying, “I have a new business idea”. This one required a little bit more explanation. They were finishing high school at the time and I did not want to go to market with something they would be embarrassed about. Without any hesitation, they said, “GO FOR IT” and they have been involved in this company since day one. Their reaction made me realize that I no longer needed to teach them a thing about body positivity and that in fact, they were teaching me. Together, we hope to change body positivity one tassel at a time.
Andrea is a global entrepreneur, marketing strategist, speaker, storyteller and passionate community activist. She is the founder & President of Appeeling – a body celebration brand selling fun and flirty pasties that are perfect for everybody. See more at www.beappeeling.com