Welcome to the first official post on the Locals series. This article is particularly exciting for me to write since I am going to be featuring a boss babe I had the pleasure of meeting when I was in my first year of university. Enter here, Bianca Dabney a then fellow student and now graduate from University of Calgary’s Communications program. Bianca’s been very busy since graduating, this past summer she’s launched her own line of minimalistic clothing. The BIDA Boutique has been a long time in the making, even before she knew she wanted to be a business owner. Early in her university career, she used to sketch on her computer in her spare time an idea she revisited just a little over a year ago.
Bianca saw an opportunity, being media savvy herself, she saw a general inclination online towards athleisure and body positivity and was inspired to make her own range of versatile everyday clothing for every girl out there.
The quintessential #bidababe is probably someone you already know. She’s on the go. She’s working, she’s traveling, she’s studying and long story short she’s living her best life. A #bidababe is someone who rocks the BARRE bodysuit underneath a Babaton pencil skirt and blazer set while pitching a marketing strategy and then trades it in for a comfortable pair of leggings en route to power flow yoga. The beauty and simplicity of BIDA Boutique are that the clothes are meant to be multifunctional, depending on what you nab from Collection 1 you could theoretically sport the same joggers you wore to lecture to crush a lifting session at the gym. The ethos behind “clothes you can live in” is ingrained in every part of the BIDA process. Having been an athlete for most of her life Bianca knew the importance of the right fabric, which is why she selected a rayon lycra so her clothes not only look good on you but keep up with your busy lifestyle.
Due to the nature of e-commerce and a start-up business, BIDA is a 24/7 project. The beauty and the downfall of conducting business online are that there is no nine to five. Each day at BIDA looks slightly different, it’s a combination between checking emails, following up with manufacturing and fulfilling orders. Bianca is dedicated to her customers, she wants them to feel that shopping at BIDA is an experience. I can attest to this, having recently picked up my very own KOLA t-shirt, from the tissue wrapping to the product postcard the whole stands out from other online shopping packages I’ve received in the mail. And while BIDA at the moment is only offered through www.bidaboutique.com, Bianca has amazing plans for her brand as she hopes to one day open her own brick and mortar store with its own unique twist. This physical boutique will be wellness central and be a place where ladies can come and indulge with manis and pedis as well as feel first hand the buttery soft, breathable and versatile materials BIDA clothes are made out of.
Even though Bianca is planning a move to Houston, TX in the near future, she cannot be more grateful for the amount of support she’s received from the YYC community. Initially, she chose to establish BIDA in Calgary because it’s where she grew up and she was well aware of style and clothing trends in the city. Between thrifting and fast fashion, she saw a gap where she could introduce locally designed quality pieces. BIDA is set apart from other local designers and brands in that it is more than a collection of branded apparel. Having modeled herself for Sophia Models and attended plenty of PARK events she had gained the connections and understanding of the fashion industry in Calgary to venture out on her own. The pieces then fell together as local photographers, bloggers and models reached out to support and collaborate with BIDA, she notes that she has yet to meet someone who is greedy and that thus far everyone is willing to work and be a part of the action and that all in all she “couldn’t have asked for a better month of launching”.
If you are in university at the moment or have dreams to one day hope to establish your own brand like BIDA, here are few nuggets of advice Bianca can offer. If you’re attending the U of C and not enrolled in a BCOMM program, MKTG 431 (marketing for nonbusiness majors) and COMS 381 (public relations) are great options to consider because they give you a taste and foundation for the creative side of owning a business. While Bianca is grateful that she attended and graduated from university she does note that you may not need it to succeed in this line of work. She does, however, believe that you need the drive to become an expert in your desired industry and the drive to research and push yourself beyond your comfort zone.