Interview: Heather Thomson of Yummie Tummie – Stylish Shapewear now in Australia

| 17 May , 2011 | Reply

A few weeks ago I was invited to the very stylish launch of Yummie Tummie Shapewear into the Australian market with creator and designer Heather Thomson. It’s not what I was expecting this is shapewear that can be outwear without offending anyone!

Heather has been a fashion designer and celebrity stylist for over 15 years which has seen her start her career in intimate apparel and working with P Diddy Combs (Sean John Label), Jennifer Lopez (Sweet Face Label) and Beyoncé & Tina Knowles for House of Deréon.

After the birth of her son Jax, Heather went straight to the shapewear section of her local department store and found uninspiring product that made promises which didn\’t deliver so voila, the most stylish shapewear you’ve ever seen was born … Yummie Tummie!

Yummie Tummie is different from other shapewear brands, Heather has been issued patents for her designs and technologies used in each garment and the technology used modifies a garment\’s construction over different areas, which sculpts and shapes the body.  The range initially focused on intimates and basics, but now their offering has expanded into ready to wear.

I sat down with the effervescent and very likable Heather and chatted about all things shapewear and being sexy:

Sassi: Where did you start out?
Heather: I started my career at a intimate apparel brand as the assistant to the president and worked my way into design.

Sassi: How did you become a designer?
Heather: I always played on my Mom’s sewing machine as a kid re-working my clothes and making new creations, but it wasn’t until after college that I knew fashion was my calling. I learned my trade in pattern rooms and on the factory floors.

Sassi: It is something you have always done and it just ended up in the celebrity realm?
Heather: Puffy (P. Diddy) was my first celebrity gig, about eight years into my career as a designer…

Sassi: What was the most challenging aspect of designing your own collection and one around shapewear in particular?∙
Heather: The knock offs have been challenging to swallow. At first its flattering and then it becomes overwhelming and emotional.
The challenge in designing shapewear in particular is changing what people think of it. Dropping the negative stigma attached to shapewear. With the launch of Yummie Tummie shapewear no longer has to hide.

Sassi: And how did the shapewear concept come about?
Heather: It was a selfish initiative. I designed the very first yummie tummie tank at my own dining room table it came out of my own need and desire for it.

Sassi: It is a unique concept, did you dream it 🙂 ?
Heather: It is unique! I’ve earned four patents on it to date! I call it, “happy technology”. I conceptualized the idea out of frustration as a consumer, and dismay as a designer, in terms of the solutions traditional shapewear brands were offering to women. I designed yummie tummie to show that fashion and function can live harmoniously and make women feel happy! Think wow not ow!

Sassi: How long do they last through the wearing, washing, wearing, washing process as they aren\’t cheap? Any special washing instructions or can they just go straight into the washing machine?
Heather: I hold quality to the highest standard and every yummie is  built to last! And no dry cleaning bills! Yes, you throw them directly in the washer and the drier.

Sassi: Can you wear for an extended period of time or it\’s not good to wearing something constricting over a longer period of time.
Heather: Yummie Tummie is made to be worn all day, everyday. Its designed to support shape and smooth a woman’s figure; a curve is the loveliest distance between two points after all! I call it, “the 3rd essential.”  I don’t think anything that squeezes your insides to the point it hurts can be healthy for you. Suffering for Fashion isn’t fashionable. With Yummie Tummie you forget you even have it on! And it supports your belly back and bust all the day through. A woman should love herself and be loved in return and I believe in women, in being happy and putting the two together!

Sassi: Shapewear is a growing market (pardon the pun), do you think it\’s a good idea to promote products that can make you ‘skinny\’ rather than focusing on your natural body shape and being healthy and losing weight if necessary? It\’s one of those ‘easy routes\’ rather than addressing the key problem.
Heather: The yummie brand was founded on the belief that women should embrace their flaws as much as they do their features. Life isn’t airbrushed and sometimes we just can’t fit it all in! (No pun right back atcha :-)).  Curves are beautiful and that a women should adore her body. We are but flesh and blood. We are not sausages and we are not meant to be stuffed into a casing. Yummie Tummie doesn’t take 20 pounds off of the wearer, and it does not say go ahead sit on the couch and eat processed foods. Yummie doesn’t change who you are it allows a happier more confident you to shine through! A women should enjoy getting dressed everyday and suffering through an evening of constricting shapewear is much worse than 20 minutes a day on the treadmill! My brand Mantra is Live. Shape. Happy.
Yummie is about living. Traditional shapewear is about suffering.

Sassi: Initially I found your brand name quite misleading, I thought it was a product just for mum\’s but it\’s not it\’s for everyone, has anyone else said that to you? It may be just me ‘cause I\’m not a mum 🙂
Heather: Yummie by Heather Thomson is the brand and Yummie Tummie by HT is the shapewear range. Our middles are the toughest part of the body to keep mean and lean and new moms are the hardest hit. It was after the birth of my first child that The Yummie Tummie range was born.

Sassi: Working with J.Lo and Beyonce, that would have been an amazing experience, what are the key things you learnt from them that you made sure you incorporated into your new business?∙
Heather: Being talented only gets your foot in the door, nothing comes easy, and anything good takes hard work, dedication, drive and determination and, you need all of the above in order to succeed.

Sassi: What did you love about working with them?
Heather: I loved and appreciate all the experiences I had working in the biz and all of my experiences the good and the bad have helped mould me into the designer and business woman I am today.

Sassi: What are the new products you are releasing that are RTW?∙
Heather: Denim is our newest  product launch and I am very excited and proud of the launch. Its the first a premium denim brand to offer a one amazing fit for women of all shapes and sizes.

Sassi: What are your favourite pieces from your collection?∙
Heather: Hard to answer, I do love it all but I have to say personally, I wear the tanks the most.

Sassi: What are you best selling pieces from the collection?
Heather: The tank tops! They are a universal essential!

There is the requisite celebrity following including Oprah (the brand was featured on Oprah\’s favourite things), Heidi Klum, Alicia Keys, Blake Lively, Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, Katherine McPhee, Michelle Obama, The Kardashian sisters, Martha Stewart, Tyra Banks and Rachel Zoe.

And I’m now a fan, I love wearing the tank, it feels supportive not constrictive in anyway, it’s incredibly flattering and you can’t see the panelling.  When you wear it it looks just like a regular tank, it’s perfect for wearing under longer sleeves during the winter months which is what I’m doing!!

The brand has just launched into the Australian market and is available in leading lingerie boutiques and online at www.yummietummie.com.au, I swear you won’t be disappointed, there’s something for everyone … truly bringing sexy into shapewear!

Love
Sassi
Your Pop Culture Gossip Girl

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