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Today I'm remembering a time with one of our early models, Elly Mayday. Elly was an advocate for women's health, known for battling ovarian cancer throughout her modelling career. This weekend we are joining with Forever Yours Lingerie at their event, #onehellovawoman to fulfill Elly's wish for a high tea to raise funds for ovarian cancer research.
Looking back to our very first photoshoot in 2013
Amongst a group of lovely models, there was a young lady named Elly Mayday at her first-ever photoshoot as well. The location was a classic style Diner called Save On Meats. This was also the very first time we shot with Shimona Henry of Pin-Up Perfection photography.
Soon after, Elly began to model for Cherry Velvet on a regular basis. In 2014, after struggling for some time with symptoms that were not being diagnosed properly, Elly discovered she had ovarian cancer.
After Elly started her treatments with chemotherapy, she knew her hair was going to fall out, so she dyed it teal green: the colour of the ovarian cancer awareness ribbon. Elly made a video for us talking about her symptoms, and the importance of being your own advocate.
Elly lost her hair shortly thereafter from the chemotherapy. As a woman who had also lost her mother to ovarian cancer, I could imagine how difficult it would be to lose her hair at 25 years old, and so I wanted to do something for Elly. I decided to take her wig shopping. Can you even imagine being 25 years old and having your hair fall out? Just that alone would be so difficult to deal with, not to mention all of the other obstacles she faced.
We received a phone call from several of her friends who were planning a fundraiser and fashion show to help Elly support herself during treatments. The event was called Strut for a Cause. They asked Cherry Velvet to help surprise Elly and to get her "event ready" to arrive at the show.
Getting her party-ready and to this event...where she was greeted by friends, supporters and TV cameras was quite tricky to pull off without her suspecting what was going on. That day, Elly did a photoshoot with Shimona Henry with the goal of getting her into hair and make-up. Elly had lost so much weight at this point I thought perhaps she wouldn't have anything to wear so I designed a dress especially for her for that night and we named it after her, The Elly dress.
It was an amazing evening of fashion and friends coming together to show their love and support.
Elly continued to pursue her career in New York as a model and worked on a campaign to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Canada among many other achievements. Sadly, Elly passed away from ovarian cancer in March of this year, at 30 years old.
Elly left her mark on myself and our business. She will never be forgotten.
XOX Diane Kennedy, designer for Cherry Velvet
Did you know that September is the awareness month for Ovarian Cancer - a much less talked about, but very serious type of women’s cancer? Unlike other more well-known types, there is no screening test for cancer of your #ladyballs. (This may be a somewhat controversial name for your ovaries, but it does require both knowledge and guts to beat this difficult to diagnose disease.)
It's important for our designer, Diane, to spread awareness, as not only did this condition take her Mom at a very young age, but her Sister-in-law as well.
You may have heard the story of one of our early models, Elly Mayday, who at the age of 25 was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer too.
We're pleased to join Forever Yours Lingerie's #Onehellvawoman High Tea and Fundraiser in honour of Elly's life and her wish to spread awareness about this difficult disease. We are proudly offering five "Dress of Your Choice" vouchers for the auction, which will raise funds for ovarian cancer research.
"Please spend a few moments learning about ovarian cancer, as discovering it early enough improves your chances to treat it effectively and survive" ~ Diane Kennedy
There is no one specific symptom for ovarian cancer, and the symptoms are generally vague and often mistakenly attributed to other causes. It’s called "the disease that whispers" or the "silent killer", as it tends to be overlooked and under-diagnosed.
Do you do a breast self-exam every month? What about going for an annual pap test? Although these simple steps could save your life, when it comes to taking care of your #ladyballs, it's not as straightforward.
We hope we’ve inspired you to catch up on any tests you haven’t taken lately, and brought attention to symptoms you should pay attention to. Please share this post with all the important women in your life so that they’ll be aware, too.
XOX Cherry Velvet
Last weekend at the Studio Shop a couple travelled all the way from Portland, Oregon, just to see us! We were so thrilled and honoured. And it's such a sweet story....
Meet Andy and Lisa. Andy's birthday gift to Lisa was a weekend trip to Vancouver and an "Empty Suitcase" to fill up with Cherry Velvet frocks. Can you imagine such a treat?
Lisa has a great laugh! And it was so lovely to watch her happy experience. She loved everything she tried on and was overjoyed with the fit and all the fun prints making it so hard to choose. These are the problems we all like to have: having so many choices of pretty dresses that fit!
The Paige Dress in Flower Power print was the first dress she tried and it was obvious that this dress lit Lisa up. She absolutely LOVED everything about this dress and it fit her like a glove but it was really the bright, vintage floral print that she connected to.
Next, Lisa tried on the Minerva Dress - Fantastic Beast, Unicorn print. This was a dress that she had on her list and was already excited to try on before she even got here. It didn't make it in her bag though.
The final choices included: The Shelly Dress in Slate Gingham, Elizabeth dress in the Graceful Dead print, Norma in the Gamer Girl print as well as the Paige Dress in Flower Power print. After her fun afternoon of shopping Andy took Lisa out for her birthday dinner to Maenam for delicious Thai food. What a day!!
Lots of folks have a heck of a time finding the right birthday gifts for their partner. What to do? A gift card is nice but can feel a little impersonal and a trip is a great way to celebrate another turn around the sun but... our new friend Andy really nailed it in our books. We've told Andy that he needs to spread the word about his magnificent idea! Don't you wish your partner would gift this for your birthday!
Thank-you so much Lisa and Andy! We loved having you visit our shop! Hope to see you next year!
XOX Diane and Barb
As a proudly Canadian company, we love working with local brands and businesses that exemplify the level of care & quality that we maintain ourselves.
...So...that being said...
...have you met Pam? ♥️
She's the lovely face & talented hands of Mirror Mirror Bijoux, a well-known local jewellery designer here in Vancouver, BC and an overall entrepreneurial force.
She also loves our dresses 😘 (She's Team Chrissy!)
Under MMB, she designs and handmakes vintage-inspired jewellery that echoes old Hollywood glamour. Primarily working in crystal and glass, she adds elegant detail like ethereal finishes that sparkle like the night's sky.
She’ll often also incorporate real vintage beads or brooches into her pieces, giving that legit Vintage vibe.
CV Aficionados will be quite familiar with her & MMB, we not only carry her jewellery, including exclusive pieces, but she sometimes drops by our events...
...and often pops in to collaborate with our designer, on the next beautiful baubles to go with our dresses.
Whenever they meet, they pour over a multitude of beads and pendants, to create complementary pieces that add versatility and flair to our clients' wardrobe.
Recently, she's branched out to save us all from the worst thing imaginable...A bad hair day!
Have you tried a Great Hair Day Turband? We have!
They're easy-to-wear, insta-wow accessories for those days when a ponytail or plain ol' hat simply won't do.
Want to try one? Pam will be on hand at our next studio shop weekend @ 1635 Powell Street with a variety to try!
Friday :: July 5th :: 2pm-7pm
Saturday :: July 6th :: 11am-5pm
We hope you enjoyed this little spotlight on one of our favourite local entrepreneurs.
We think it's so important to support our fellow #womeninbusiness ♥️
XOX Cherry Velvet
...We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post for an ANNOUNCEMENT!
Ever since we started holding regular open studio shop weekends, we've wanted to make sure ya'll can Save-The-Dates on our events as soon as you can. We understand how busy life can get and want to ensure everyone has a chance to get some retail therapy in. #selfcare is a thing, after all 😉
Have a peek at this month below & bookmark our new Events Page!
Can't make it out? Can't wait? :: Book a Personal Shopping Appointment with us! ::
We can't wait to see y'all! ♥️
XOX Cherry Velvet
BLOGGIN' NEXT WEEK :: PART 2 of our customer spotlight on The Snow Family.
In the many years that we have been in operations here in beautiful Vancouver, BC, we've watched our customers come and grow into an enthusiastic, body positive community.
Feeling so blessed to have such wonderful people supporting us, we wanted to take a moment or two to recognize one such family, who have been delighting us at our studio with their excitement and charm since 2014.
May we present to you, The Snow Family.
You might recognize Jon, the provocative patriarch, as our erstwhile model for our Men's line of shirts...
But the real Belle of the Ball is the buxom and beautiful, Brandi Snow.
...And of course, we cannot forget our "Littlest Velvet", Miss Isobel!
Even though we don't offer Girls' sizes, we love that Isobel can't get enough of our styles.
It warms our heart to see how much she loves to match with her mum & dad.
But it touches us even more than she's always the first to our door, so eager to help out the team. We love our little Hanger-wrangler! With fashion on her mind, we may have a young designer in our midst...
We love that each member actually has their own favourite look -
Of course Jon loves all our Mens' shirts, but as a lover of all things V, the Chrissy & Marie are Jon's fave dresses (who doesn't love adjustable cleavage?) Both Isobel and Brandi are currently Team Brigitte, with our Pandamonium Print on point.
But Brandi admits that she will always have a fond place her in heart for one of her first styles (and one of our earlier designs), a little number named, "Melody".
We think it's so neat that Jon was able to send us this old snap from a past Studio Shop way back at our old Gastown location.
...Could this have been the very moment she decided to say "Yes" to the Dress? ;)
Stay tuned! In next week's blog, Brandi shares her thoughts on aging gracefully and why 95% of her wardrobe is Cherry Velvet dresses! <3
XOX Cherry Velvet
There is a buzz of excitement here at Cherry Velvet headquarters. The rumours are true, Ms. Tracy Po has returned to the Cherry Velvet fold and we couldn't be happier. Tracy is fulfilling her new role here as the Social Media Manager for Cherry Velvet so stay tuned for some very fun, and creative content on our social media pages.
Tracy brings an intimate knowledge of our brand and buckets of positivity and enthusiasm. Diane, our designer describes her as a (t)whirling dervish of energy. Tracy comes in like a wrecking ball of sunshine and has been quoted as saying "In all honesty, I'm the kind of person that turns lemons into lemon vodka and would rather look forward with my eye on the horizon than look down behind me."
With a passion for all things Disney. (Guys, she REALLY loves Disney!) and a unique and amazing sense of style and upbeat personality, it's kind of like having Mary Poppins join the team.
When she was asked why she was excited to work for Cherry Velvet, Tracy said "I love seeing the delight on our clients' faces when they see how wonderfully our dresses fit them. You wouldn't know it by looking at me, but I have struggled and continue to struggle with my weight. I know how depressing and disheartening it feels to have to settle for a less than perfect dress. I love that Cherry Velvet takes care of confidence-boosting style for our clients. It is incredibly inspiring to work for a brand that promotes the idea of being #StunningAtAnySize!"
Always whistling while she works, she has a passion for customer service. She'll be working at our Studio Shop this weekend. Come say "Hi"!
Friday, May 17 from 2pm-7pm + Saturday, May 18 from 11am-5pm
Welcome back to Cherry Velvet, Tracy! We're all so happy to have you as part of the team.
XOX Cherry Velvet
There’s a part of me that never outgrew the dress-up stage of childhood. Back then it was pretending to be an empress or witch-queen – anything that was equal parts regal, mysterious, and magical.
These days, give me a halfway good reason, and I’ll still spend the better part of an afternoon getting all dolled up for an evening out. It’s a lengthy process that starts, of course, with deciding which dress suits the occasion and my mood. After that, a host of secondary decisions: does it need a crinoline? Which shoes will match? How should I do my hair and makeup? Then there’s jewelry, accessories, a purse, hosiery, and various underthings. It’s dress-up, but for adults: less “witch-queen” and more “grown-up glamour” – but still full of whimsy and pleasure. Admittedly, getting “dressed up” like this can take a lot of time, and most of us wait for special occasions when the extra effort seems worth it. In the meantime, our dresses end up relegated to the back of the closet, on hold until a special dinner, wedding, or some other equally fancy event crops up. But wearing a dress is not always the same as getting “dressed up.” Believe it or not, wearing a dress can be just about the simplest wardrobe decision to make, and the most comfortable and efficient way to get dressed and out the door in the morning.
Everyday Easy Dresses
Without fail, when I wear a dress someplace casual – like picking up the kids after school or having a quick coffee with a friend – I get a compliment for taking the time and energy to get “dressed up.”
But pulling that dress over my head and popping on a pair of shoes was likely much more simple - and more comfortable – than any other outfit I might have chosen. More often than not, the dress was the easy solution. Pants and tops have to be coordinated. Waistbands pinch and pull. Shorts ride up uncomfortably. Trousers rarely fit properly in length or inseam without tailoring. Blouses come untucked, skirts twist around. To be honest, it feels like I’ve cheated my way into this compliment when I get it - and I almost always confess this sentiment to the person offering it. People see a dress and assume it’s taken a lot more effort because we’ve married the idea of dresses to the notion of being dressed up. Or, even worse, we’ve concluded that dresses themselves are uncomfortable and unwieldy – usually because we’ve worn styles that didn’t suit our bodies, made out of unpleasant or cheap material, or were constricting and uncomfortable in some way.
Keep It Simple
Obviously not all dresses will do for everyday wear. Leave the satin and sequins for evening glamour and fancy events. Instead, go for less structured shapes (I like an empire waist because it feels so comfortable for my body type) and try a cotton dress, in a simple colour or with a fun, lighthearted print. Skip the fancy hair and makeup. Pop on a cardigan and wear it with a pair of white Keds, simple sandals, or even flip-flops. Pull on a pair of matching capri or full-length leggings underneath, if the weather is cooler; in warm weather, don’t worry about hose or tights at all. Finish with a ponytail or messy bun. No doubt, dresses won’t work for everything. You’ll still need the right kind of clothing to hit the gym or weed the garden (although I’ve been known to mow the lawn in a simple t-shirt dress). But for almost all other settings and activities, don’t overlook the ease of a dress. It really can be as simple, or as complicated, as you want it to be.
Fancy is Still Fun
Wearing a dress doesn’t need to be a major production – it can be as easy as pulling on a pair of pajamas, but just a lot more fashionable. The notion that a dress is complicated, fussy, or time-consuming is largely a reflection of how we perceive fashion, and the abundance of ill-fitting, constrictive, overly stuffy or too-formal dresses many of us have in our closets. But if you find the right dress, the simplicity will surprise you … and you won’t want to keep it tucked away in the closet for a special occasion anymore. And if even the easiest of easy dresses still leaves you feeling a little bit fancy? Take a deep breath and just go for it anyway: you’re never too old for dress-up, even if you’re only going to the grocery store.
Over 200 Rock Star Makies brought their beautiful handmade goodies to the PNE Forum and we were there! It was our first time having a booth and it was so much fun!
Thank you so much to all those that came out to see us and brought such good vibes. We LOVE the reaction of new customers when they discover our fun printed dresses with pockets for the very first time. We managed to fit a small fitting room in our booth and the patrons took full advantage! One of the best parts was having new Cherry Velvet devotees step out of the dressing room in one of our dresses and having passersby commenting on how amazing they looked. Unsolicited compliments are always welcome!
Most of all we just love meeting our customers old and new. It means the world to us to be able to show you our new wonderful prints and get invaluable feedback. Our customers are the best!
What a great group of people that put on the show and participated. We're grateful to be part of such a badass group of Makies who are so positive, upbeat, and FUN. This show is well organized and so well run.
There were SO many incredible Makies, who also had amazing booths! Everything from art, jewelry, food, pottery, distilleries, nature photography, chocolate, clothing and so much more. It's such a special experience to meet like-minded entrepreneurs who share our passion and enthusiasm for doing the work they love and made locally.
We love being part of The Handmade Revolution and are so proud to make all our dresses right here in Vancouver as well as supporting other businesses that do the same. Hope to see you for the Christmas Market in December!
XOX Cherry Velvet
Are you sometimes frustrated when you can't find your dress size? If so, we're here to explain how and why that might be and what you can do about it!
Maybe this is a good time to state that we are a smaller, boutique-sized company. While our active online presence may give the impression of a larger business, we are actually a team of just five individuals! If we manufactured our dresses overseas like a lot of larger companies, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation. This is not something that will ever happen with us, as we are proud to be a Canadian company that manufactures our dresses in Canada. This is something that means so much to us as well as the knowledge that no one will ever be exploited while making our dresses. The good news is because we are small we can be more fluid and make small changes that we feel our customers want.
While we do our very best to offer the widest selection of dresses possible, it all comes down to the ratio of sizes. You may or may not know that most companies cut their production of clothing in a ratio. The majority of units will be cut in the most popular sizes (middle sizes) and the smaller and larger sizes will receive fewer units. This is common practice in the clothing industry and it's also how retail stores order clothing for their stores, too.
As a small online retailer with a local shop, we can't make masses of dresses in each print we offer. We usually make 12-40 dresses per each unique print and those units get divided up over the sizes we carry. That's not a lot of dresses per size as we make 8 different sizes! Unfortunately, some sizes can sell out quickly.
FYI, we're bringing the classic Chrissy Dress back and it'll be available in all sizes at our Studio shop and online soon in these new prints:
To avoid any disappointment, please consider ordering your size early. As we see an increased demand in different sizes, we'll add more units in those sizes. We truly care about you, our amazing customers and do our best to respond to all your requests. We're always listening!
We love to hear all of your ideas, feedback, and comments!
If you are in the Vancouver area this Friday and Saturday we would love to see you at our Studio Shop!
Join us this Fri, Apr 12, 2pm-7pm and Sat, Apr 13, 11am-5pm
@ 1635 Powell St. Vancouver, BC (Free parking is available)