Claire Theaker-Brown is Owner and Founder of Unbelts, the progressively-made pant perfector. The company has recently undergone a rebrand and expanded into new markets.
Claire Theaker-Brown has had the entrepreneurial bug since she was a child. Always art focused, Claire started setting up tables and selling her drawings, even offering bulk discounts to her customers. While in university, Claire studied industrial design and Mandarin. Her business began in 2011 while she was living in Shanghai.
“My business started out of total desperation. I have always had a shape that meant jeans don't fit me properly. Belts were too bulky!”
The company’s original name, Flatter:Me Belts was changed in 2017. As Claire describes her choice to re-brand, “Flatter:Me Belts was a name from when I was thinking small. When I first started, I couldn't imagine that we would be selling beyond the Canadian market.
Our initial value offering was a flat belt. It became clear that the selling proposition was comfort and flexibility. Our company is totally non-judgemental about size and we're uniquely comfortable. I realized that we needed a name that would highlight the unbelts-ness of our products.”
As the company embraced its new name, they also began to embrace new markets.
“Right now we are expanding in a few different ways; geographically is one way. We had never really pursued wholesale outside of Canada because I knew Flatter:Me was trademarked in the United States. However, now that we are Unbelts, we are starting to partner with US-based retailers. The second way we are expanding is with our target customers. We have realized that our belts are perfect for those who play sports and require a belt.”
As an entrepreneur, building supportive community around you is essential.
“I belong to a mastermind group and have belonged to a few peer mentorship groups, including PeerSpark™. In the beginning, I found business owners I really clicked with in Shanghai and we met every single week for a brain slam. It was hard to lose that community when I moved to Edmonton. My first Canadian phone call was to AWE.
Between friends that own other businesses, the Venture Mentoring Service at U of A and AWE, I have built a great network of support. I really try to be brave about asking for help, but also offering it when it's asked of me.”
Learn more about Unbelts and their story at unbelts.com.