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Black-owned Kurvy Kouture Co. opens new storefront in downtown Lethbridge to promote body positivity

The Lethbridge community and its citizens have embraced Kurvy Kouture Co., which is on a mission to show women that “your body is good."

Black-owned Kurvy Kouture Co. opens new storefront in downtown Lethbridge to promote body positivity
Natasha Gurney, owner of the Black-owned Kurvy Kouture Co. in downtown Lethbridge, Alberta, celebrates the launch of her new storefront with her husband. SUBMITTED PHOTO 

When Natasha Gurney started Kurvy Kouture Co. in Lethbridge, Alberta, she couldn’t help but wonder if her Black-owned plus-size clothing store would be vandalized.

As a Black woman in a conservative, predominately white town, one can imagine why her fears might be valid. But instead, the opposite happened.

The community and its citizens have embraced Kurvy Kouture Co., which is on a mission to show women that “your body is good.” Last week, she opened a store in Lethbridge’s downtown core, which was well-attended.

“When I moved into a spot downtown, it was absolutely terrifying,” Gurney told Black Dollar Magazine. “Month by month, I had no idea what would happen. ‘Are you going to come? Are you going to buy the clothes?’

“The second thing that was terrifying is I live in a very conservative town, and I’m a Black woman. On the front of my door, there was a silhouette of a curvy Black woman, and I was terrified that it was going to get graffitied and disrespected — all because of the shape of the woman. I've lived here since I was 17, so putting myself out there was scary, but my people, who are for Black and Indigenous-owned businesses, have come and found us,” she added.

Gurney started Kurvy Kouture Co. in January 2021, during the height of the pandemic. The business sells clothing in sizes 12-22 at the corner of 4 Ave. S. and 6 St. S. in downtown Lethbridge.


Her husband, a registered nurse, was in the thick of it. But for Gurney, a fashion lover, an idea was born to provide access to plus-size, quality clothing.

She took $1,300 and bought her first pieces — an open cardigan, a couple of T-shirts and a skirt: the staples. Then she built a website on Shopify in March of that year and began doing trade shows through the spring and summer.

By September, Gurney rented space in a storefront — $250 a month on top of an automotive shop in Lethbridge. After four months, she moved the business downtown, steadily growing month over month. In March 2022, Gurney made her first hire.

She also began travelling to boutiques outside Lethbridge to network and source clothing. Gurney said she’s currently sourcing materials from the U.S. but also wants to work with Canadian suppliers.

“While I did trade shows to get my clothes out there, every cent I earned, I just poured back into the business until I had enough money to pay the first month’s rent and damage for a spot downtown,” Gurney said. “I had no blueprint for this. I don’t have a business background. I just knew the importance of sharing the fact that your body is good. It’s so prevalent and needed right now.”

Then in November 2022, an influencer, Alicia Mccarvell shared a social media post about ordering clothes from Kurvy Kouture Co., and the business took off. Mccarvell, from Halifax, is renowned for championing body positivity.

“I freaked out and my staff recorded it. And we made a video. And Alicia shared just about me a couple of times organically. That really moved the needle I probably got like 1,000 more followers. She ended up wearing one of our dresses on a red carpet in L.A.,” Gurney said.

She said Kurvy Kouture Co. is a place for all — teens, young women, mothers, and seniors. Gurney added that providing a safe space for women with curvy bodies to express themselves freely is part of changing the narrative of how they are perceived by society.

“I started to understand that people think that curvy or fat bodies, or whatever you want to call them, aren’t worthy, but I’ve always been in a curvy body,” Gurney said. “After I had my kids, there were times when I was immersed in mom-diet culture just to go to a wedding. Those were things that made me hyper-aware that my weight was a problem.

“One day, I had a lightbulb moment at the doctor’s office when they asked me to weigh myself after having a baby. It had nothing to do with my appointment, so I said, ‘No, I’m going to advocate for myself, and I’m going to stand strong.’ It was making her uncomfortable (that I wouldn’t do it). It was like, ‘How dare you?’

“Your body is good. I have two teenage daughters. No one gets to make you feel less than,” Gurney added.

Gurney said she plans to drive that message home with her new store. Last week, she was joined by her husband, kids, friends, family, and customers to celebrate the launch of her new home in downtown Lethbridge.

Located near Festival Square, Gurney believes she has the best spot in town.

“God secured this spot — no one else. It was all in the details of Him,” she told Black Dollar Magazine. “It means the world to have a store on the corner (in the downtown core). “Our city is a very prominent location. All our windows are glass. You can see everything. It’s incredible to be here in the centre of our city. And whether you want to or not, we’re here and not going away. I’m Black, and I’m here.”

Natasha Gurney cuts the ribbon at her new storefront for Kurvy Kouture Co. with friends and family. SUBMITTED PHOTO