Earlier this fall, Delaney Friesen and Hayley Friesen began to realize that the women they served in their businesses needed a boost of confidence.
Delaney works at Cachet Clothing Co. in Altona, and Hayley at Organic Tan Pembina Valley. The two friends were noticing how their customers were continually making apologies for their bodies.
“They come in for spray tans, and act so self-conscious about every aspect of their body,” Hayley says. “And the stock photos and images we were using in our ads and social media pages were not realistic images of bodies. We needed images of women who were more comparable to our actual clientele.”
Delaney added that trying on clothes is also a struggle for many of her clients, who often act embarrassed about their size and shape. So the two women decided to start a campaign to give women an opportunity to celebrate their bodies and the stories that brought them to where they are today.
Thus, #theEveryBodycampaign was born. They partnered with Fringe Salon and Salina Marie Photography to provide a group of women with a chance to celebrate who they are.
The model call on their social media pages read: “It’s about time we started to use our fingers and toes to list all the things we love about ourselves rather than using them to count our flaws. After all, there’s no wrong way to have a body. And your body is an unfolding story that is uniquely yours. Everyone has a story about themselves inside their own head…but all too often the stories that we play in our head aren’t positive, even though the wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, and curves that remain are signs of pure strength, selflessness, bravery and honour. We need to recognize that every body is beautiful. Even our own.”
They were looking for women of all sizes, colours, ages, and stages of life who had a story to tell and were willing to share this story through their campaign.
Delaney says the response was overwhelming. “We were getting selfies and stories from nearly 50 women. It was difficult to narrow it down to the six that we needed. In the end, we chose the ones that displayed the most forward thinking, and wanted to reflect a positive image of who they are.”
The finalists came from Steinbach, Altona, Winkler and Morden.
Spray tans, makeovers and photo shoots were certainly a part of it, but the stories each woman shared about their personal life journey was a big aspect of the campaign.
Hayley says, “As we read the things they shared, we had an even bigger realization of how much women need to hear that it’s okay not to be the “perfect” person that is projected in the media. It takes a long time to change that mindset, but we want to be part of the change that says that everyone is beautiful, and just because you may not be where you want to be in your journey, that’s okay. You can love yourself right now, just the way you are.”
The process was complete by the end of October, and the results were even more amazing than they expected. As the stories and photos were shared on their social media pages, each of the businesses involved were inundated with incredibly positive feedback.
Model Steph Klassen says participating in #theEveryBodycampaign made a huge impact on her self-confidence. “I was vulnerable and put myself out there, and in return I was able to start feeling some of the confidence I was feeling inside truly surface. I can look at my body – full of imperfections – and feel comfortable, happy and beautiful in my skin.”
She wants other women to know that they were all beautifully created. Since she started sharing her adult acne journey online just over a year ago, she has come to realize that imperfections do not define beauty. “Beauty is something that starts internally and then manifests on the outside. I want women to be brave, bold and confident in themselves.”
Model Christine Doerksen says the campaign brought healing to her soul.
“Loving your “imperfections” is hard. The world tells us to be perfect, but we’re not! Every scar tells a story. Don’t be afraid to share yours. Your scars made you the person you are today. Don’t be ashamed! God saved my life and I can’t not share that!”
Delaney and Hayley hope to run another campaign in the New Year, and encourage women to watch their social media pages for updates.