New Brunswick woman donates designs to support anti-violence charity
Bibilyn Designs featured at weekend's World Wine and Food Expo in Moncton
A Shippagan, N.B., designer launched a fashion line last weekend to help raise funds for a domestic violence charity.
Lyne Chantal Boudreau debuted Bibilyn Designs, a clothing line of made-to-measure, custom-made designs for women, at the World Wine and Food Expo in Moncton.
Expo president Bill Vance asked Boudreau to make eight dresses for the event. They were featured on the posters for the expo and two were auctioned off.
Support for victims of family violence
A portion of the profits made on each piece goes to the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation, a New Brunswick organization with the goal of "preventing and eliminating family violence."
"I have this charity very near [to my heart]. For me, it's very very important to eliminate all those kinds of violence against women and children," Boudreau said.
Boudreau, who is a university researcher and professor at the Université de Moncton campus in Shippagan, said she has been closely affected by family violence, although she did not want to discuss details.
She began developing her designs in 2014 when she noticed it was hard to find exclusive pieces while shopping for clothes.
"I had always been involved in the community. That's where the idea to create an exclusive dress for each woman came from, because each woman is unique and different," said Boudreau.
"I wanted to give back some self-esteem to those women, to believe in their potential...it's also about giving women a bit of control back in their lives," she told CBC in a French interview.
The designer's cat, Bibi, serves as the brand's mascot.
Boudreau said she and her daughter rescued the cat seven years ago during "a difficult period" in her family's life.
"In his own way, he saved [our lives], so I wanted to pay tribute to him."
Challenges as a francophone designer
Boudreau, who designed her own wedding dress and maternity wear, sketches the designs and contracts a team of seamstresses to make them.
"The challenges are many as a female francophone designer in New Brunswick. For example, how do you find high enough quality products to make made-to-measure designer dresses? I have to leave the province in order to get the elements I need to build this company," she said.
She said starting her business was not easy and she hopes to one day serve as a mentor to other women wishing to become entrepreneurs.
Looking ahead, Boudreau said she has begun a collection for young girls, with two dresses already made.