Young Gun: Rachel Avery, President of Kalloné Intimi

  • Published
  • July 16, 2014
image of Kalloné Initmi's Rachel Avery
Rachel Avery, President of Kalloné Intimi
We love the tell the stories behind Canadian small business and the story behind Kalloné Intimi is an oldie but a goodie. It’s the classic tale of a gap in the marketplace being filled by an enterprising young go-getter. In this case, the marketplace was swimwear, the gap was ill-fitting garments, and the go-getter is Rachel Avery.

From a young age, Rachel discovered a love for fashion and learned to sew with her grandmother and aunt. Her early creations ranged from purses to dance costumes, but it was when Rachel grew tired of tracking down swimsuits that fit properly that she decided to make the leap into business and solve the problem herself.

We interviewed the founder and President of Kalloné Intimi – a swimwear and lingerie boutique featuring hand-picked collections of high-quality apparel – on what life is like at the head of a young company and what the future might hold for Rachel and the business.

Tell us a little bit about your business. Who are you and what do you do?
I am the founder of Kalloné Intimi, a swimwear and lingerie boutique. Kalloné has taken the idea of your traditional swim and lingerie store and given it a modern vibe to appeal to a broader audience as opposed to the more specific demographics that most other stores market to. We bring exclusive brands to the Canadian market that were not available in the past and put a large focus on customer service to ensure that our customers are completely happy with the product they take home.

I come from a family of entrepreneurs so I’ve always had it in me. Even when I was a child I would sell tickets to my dance shows (they consisted of me flailing myself around my yard to the Pocahontas soundtrack – probably not worth the $1 I charged).

What made you choose this business?  What inspired you?
My personal experiences. I started Kalloné because I have always found it difficult to find bras and swimwear that fit me properly.  Being 28 inches around for a long time (I have finally grown to a 30!) I couldn’t shop at the mass market lingerie stores where my friends shopped because they didn’t have my size. Instead I would have to go to stores that targeted a much older demographic to find proper fitting garments. I realised that I was not the only one with these issues and that there was a lack of quality stores that focused on fitting with styles for a younger demographic.

image of the toronto Kalloné store
The Kalloné Store at 309 Queen St. West.

Did you have to convince your friends and family you were serious or were they behind you from the beginning?
I was fortunate to have the support of my friends and family from the beginning. This business would not have been possible without the help of my family – my parents and my brother have been extremely supportive throughout the process.

Can you describe a typical day?
Every day is different. I typically wake up, do some yoga, go through my emails and work on paperwork. Then I am usually off to work at one of the stores or on my way to a meeting. From there it depends on what is going on with everything at the stores and the office – I am constantly communicating with them to see where my presence will be most beneficial for the day.

Simone Perele Swimsuits at Kalloné Intimi
Simone Pérèle Swimwear at Kalloné. (l to r) Dress Code, Ankara One Piece, Dakota.

They say you have to fail first to succeed – have you stumbled or has it been smooth sailing so far?
I actually laughed out loud when I read this question. It has been far from smooth sailing, but the rough patches are where I have learned the most. I give myself constructive criticism and always try to stay positive.

I know that with every mistake I make, I’m learning and getting that much closer to accomplishing goals.

What’s your style on a day off: take time to recharge or always hustling?
Always hustling. Even when I’m relaxing I am thinking of ideas to improve the business (especially when I’m lounging at the beach – so many swimsuits!).

Any tips for a young gun just starting out?
Everything happens for a reason. If you didn’t get a job/promotion that you really wanted that is because an even better job is on its way. I have had to remind myself of this a lot over the years when things didn’t go as I had planned them to. I love the cookie metaphor – if you eat an ingredient such as baking soda on its own it may not taste very good, but the cookies will not turn out without putting baking soda in the mix.

What does the future look like?
So bright that I can barely see it! Haha I’m not completely sure but as of now I am continuing to work on building Kalloné, as well as putting some focus on the lines that we have distribution rights for. I am in the process of creating my own swimwear line which I am super excited about!  I will have more details on this in the upcoming months.

Content Manager at FS Local

Jesse is a typical class clown. Born and raised just north of the Toronto, he fell in love with the City on school trips to the ROM and the Science Centre. He tried Vancouver for a few years, but the call of home was too strong to resist. Today he lives in the North-East Upper Beaches. (What? It’s a thing!)

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