By Nikki Sue Alston
For those like me who don’t wake up #flawless like Beyoncé, we can be our toughest critic, holding ourselves to an impossible standard at times. A clothing and accessory boutique in Lake Charles is changing that with their #freetobeme campaign. Catina Coats and her mom, Ms. Vee, opened Catina Couture in 2012 after closing their family’s donut shop. They wanted to open a dress shop that would be a safe place where all women could feel beautiful, no matter what size or shape. Growing up, Catina struggled with finding clothing from department stores and boutiques. When opening Catina Couture, they wanted to take the stress out of clothes shopping and make it fun again for all women by providing a wide range of sizes and styles.
You Can't Wear Leggings Everywhere?
I have personally been touched by Catina’s amazing staff and store even before their #freetobeme campaign launched a few months ago. Almost 3 years ago I got VERY sick and for 7 months I was unable to do anything but barely get myself to work and home again to sleep. Doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me and I felt hopeless. I gained a significant amount of weight in a very short period of time, shattering my confidence. I had always been thin with some curves, so this new body felt foreign to me. The reflection in the mirror was that of a stranger. It took a year for me to work up the nerve to shop for a new wardrobe. The first store I went into though, I ended up crying alone in the dressing room for an hour. My spirit was completely broken. Being a private person, I was afraid to see people I knew out of fear they would mention the weight or how different I looked, not knowing I was sick. After that traumatic experience, one of my best girlfriends kept pushing me to go to this boutique in town, Catina Couture. Really the only reason I went into Catina’s was to shut my friend up and that I desperately needed a pair of jeans (because you can’t wear leggings everywhere). I was scared to death of having a repeat experience, having an internal panic attack while walking to the storefront. From the moment I opened the door to Catina Couture, her staff was so warm and inviting. I know I looked like a deer in headlights when they asked what I was looking for, but the girls quickly picked one pair of Mavis for me to try and whisked me into the dressing room. I barely had time to put the jeans on when Ms. Vee told me to come out of the dressing room to show her. I was not mentally prepared to show off for an audience but they fit…perfectly. As soon as I locked eyes with Ms. Vee I broke down crying, happy, relieved tears. When I spilled my heart to Catina and Ms. Vee about all I had been through, we hugged and cried together. Who knew a single pair of jeans could impact someone so much?!
It's What They Live For
Moments like those are what Catina Coats and her mom live for. They serve such a wide variety of women and strive to make every woman feel and look her best. As a boutique, they have grown over the last few years but their mission has stayed the same. “We are so amazed to see how far we've come in 3 short years! We love that God has allowed us to be a part of something where women can ‘be themselves’ and comfortable in their own skin. The #freetobeme campaign is so close to our heart because as women, we all want to be someone or something else”, Catina says. For them, it’s not about selling clothes, it’s about spreading God’s love through their message of body positivity and self-love. With the recent launch of their #freetobeme campaign begins a whole new chapter for Catina Couture and I’m excited to see how deep of an impact it will have on the women of SWLA and how many come out feeling #FLAWLESS.
Click HERE to watch the #freetobeme video
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