Body Positivity and Self Acceptance with Keira Kotler

The arrival of a new year fills us with hopes and plans. Often times, this involves setting goals for our health and bodies as well. 

But this can be a tough process as many of us are pretty harsh when it comes to the relationship with our bodies. And it's especially challenging when facing life events that deeply affect our bodies. 

So I chatted with Keira Kotler, the Founder and CEO of Everviolet, to remind us to be self compassionate when we set our goals. 

Everviolet is a beautiful lingerie and loungewear collection nurturing changes in a woman's body following meaningful life events. Their garments are made in an ethical factory in Los Angeles using luxe sustainable jersey and ultra-soft lace, and they are designed for all stages of healing and recovery from a myriad of physical challenges (breast, thoracic and heart surgery, pregnancy, stroke, MS, skin sensitivities, etc.).

Xi: Hi Keira, tell us why do you do what you do, and how did you get started? 

Keira: Everviolet was born out of my personal experience with breast cancer. Following a double mastectomy, I struggled to find garments that were comfortable, natural, well-fitting and attractive. After trying on over 200 bras in six-month period (no exaggeration), I started speaking to other women, only to find this issue to be universal. The more women I spoke with, the more I learned how far beyond clothing this issue went -- that the inability to start each day free of discomfort, pain or confidence was the difference between feeling like a patient and feeling like a person and a barrier to full healing. It was with this realization that I vowed to pay my good prognosis forward and solve this problem for others, helping them reclaim a sense of self and femininity following change.

Xi: Wow I can't imagine how frustrating that must have felt to try on 200 bras and find no fit. It's so so wonderful that you are addressing this important need. I know building a business is full of challenges, and I'm curious what the most difficult thing you did in your business was? And what did you learn from it? 

KeiraThere have been countless challenges along the way, but one of the most profound lessons I've learned is the value in asking for help. I pride myself on being able take on many tasks and manage them all, and initially I thought I could run all aspects of the business myself. However, I quickly learned that I needed the help of others. Since then, I have amassed a power team, each member with different skill sets. The collaboration not only strengthens the business, it's a lot more fun!

Xi: That's so inspiring! I definitely feel the stress of having to do everything for the business, and I'm starting to learn the importance of asking for help. So, I know you work from home a lot, What are three things you must have when you do? 

Keira: I am a big believer in setting boundaries between work and other aspects of my life, so the first thing I need when working from home is a quiet corner that is simply a designated "work corner." I also need my aromatherapy diffuser to infuse the air with energizing or calming scents (depending upon what I most need), and a really nice cup of coffee to start my day.

behind the scenes clothing production

Behind-the-scenes of Everviolet

Xi: A big part of designing our clothing is to allow women to be comfortable and confident in their everyday, so they can more easily navigate between the many aspects of work and life. Tell us a bit about what a typical day looks like for you and how you find balance between work and life. 

Keira: I wake up early, because I love to see the light change as the sun rises. I usually have my first cup of coffee at that time and then sit down to check emails and catch up on the news. Then, religiously, I exercise. It's a gift I give myself every day, rain or shine, and I vary my workouts between barre classes (via Zoom), outdoor hikes, yoga and other cardio programs. I then shower and get dressed the way I would if I were going to an office. And then my official work day begins, along with a second cup of coffee. With an endless list of things to do, my days are often long, but I am sure to cap it in time to come home and have dinner with my family. This time is an important part of our home life, and I relish in making healthy, delicious meals for us all. While I sometimes have to hop back on the computer afterwards, I try and maintain a clear boundary from work following dinner.

Xi: Let's talk about body image. What struggles or myths have you seen with women in relation to our body image, especially in face of change?

Keira: Our culture offers many opportunities to modify our physical appearance unnaturally, and almost suggests it's something we, as women, SHOULD do as means of preventing aging or aiming for perfection. Whether through celebrities, intentionally misleading photography on social media or other outlets, there is still not enough dialogue around accepting our bodies as they are naturally. Norms around ideal body type, hair style, weight and fashion permeate everything we see, and while we're starting to move into a more inclusive space, I feel there is quite a ways to go, especially around physical changes due to illness or disabilities.


Xi: I can't agree more. We are socially conditioned to be critical toward a lot of the most natural aspects and changes in our bodies. So what advice would you give to women who may face these critical outside and inner voices?

Keira: I believe true beauty radiates from the inside out. There's nothing quite like seeing a confident woman who is comfortable in her own skin. Remember that all of our bodies will change over time, for one reason or another. While the age and severity of what we experience will vary, no one will be spared. Therefore, the earlier we can start to know, accept and truly love ourselves for who we are naturally, the better our quality of life will be. Focus on inner radiance and what makes you YOU.


Xi: I love that so much. I think a lot of these things that we've been told to run away from are exactly what make us human. What have you seen in women's journey of healing and accepting their own bodies?

Keira
Everviolet celebrates the beauty of change, and by far, my most touching moments have come when I've seen or heard women express that they feel beautiful again after physical challenges. Changes from pregnancy, surgery, illness, disabilities and menopause are common experiences that leave us feeling estranged from our bodies. But because our garments combine beauty, fit and comfort, women are able to reclaim a sense of themselves and once again, be in the world with confidence and joy.

Xi: That's so beautiful. Clothing has such power to lift us, and it's our job to make sure that our designs truly serve women. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Where can people find you?

Keira: Our website is https://everviolet.com/ and you can follow us @everviolet on IG, Twitter, FB and Pinterest. We've recently launched our special holiday collection of color block bralette and panty sets! 

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