Working Together Across Timezones to Build a Clothing Brand

cover art of episode 64 of Changes Big and Small with Silence is Compliance

Sisters Chantalia and Haigann Fevrier-President started their own clothing brand during the pandemic. Chantalia is 17 and in high school in Canada; Haigann is in university in Italy. I’m in Prague, Czech Republic so this podcast episode is truly international.

Listen to find out what inspired the brand, Silence is Compliance, how they were able to get it started, what they learned along the journey and how you can start your own venture even if you’re still in high school! Silence is compliance recently released 5 new products, growing their brand.

I recorded this interview with Haigann and Chantalia as an Instagram Live on March 3, 2021. Since then, they have released 5 new products in their brand.

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You can connect with Damianne on the Changes BIG and small website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. You’re also invited to join the Changes BIG and small Facebook community.

She’s like, can we just hire someone to do this? And I’m like, Haigann, we’re not even getting paid. – Chantalia

I never felt as though, there would be a day that I was doing something that I did completely, nothing for myself, like at all, and feel so much joy and fulfillment from it. – Haigann

Timeline of the Chat

02:10 – Who are Chantalia and Haigann
04:53 – What is Silence is Compliance (SIC)
10:45 – Designing the first SIC product
13:10 – The Cost of Starting SIC
15:15 – What was surprising about starting SIC
18:30 – Working as siblings living in different countries balancing school as well
23:08 – The top activity that neither sister likes to do for their business
25:26 – Why SIC shares Real Life Profiles
28:58 – Look Out for New Products from SIC
30:32 – What Inspires Haigann and Chantalia of SIC
33:15 – Advice for someone who wants to start a business
40:54 – Working alone or with someone els
42:37 – On Self-Acceptance
49:18 – Invitation to Connect with SIC
50:53 – What Haigann and Chantalia like to do for fun

We didn’t have to kind of stand by and wait for other people to post things or say things and decide whether we agree with it or don’t agree with it. We could be the people that other people are posting and reposting. And we could be that positivity in the community. – Chantalia

Quick Links

Can I just be who I want to be. And can we not have all these different situations where you’re trying to put me in this bubble? Chantalia

Transcript of the Episode

Who are Chantalia and Haigann [02:10]

Well I’m Chantalia and as Damianne said I am a sister of Haigann and we grew up in Canada and I’ve always had a passion for any quality, specifically racial injustice considering it is the subject that is close to my heart and an issue that I witnessed from early ages on specifically in North America. 

The older I’ve gotten, I’ve found more interest into researching this issue and playing a role in trying to make change, not only within my community, but trying to learn more about how this is an issue that impacts people on an international level. And further than that, I’ve been trying to do it not only through Silence is Compliance, but I’m also trying to make conversation and groups for us to continue to have these uncomfortable conversations that I think definitely were sparked during the protest for justice for George Floyd, particularly as we saw that was a global uprising. 

So I think since the summer of 2020, we’ve seen the world turn around a bit and I want to be part of that change. And I have been trying to be part of that change for years, and it’s great to see that there are a numbers of people internationally wanting to become part of that change as well.

So thank you. Thank you for having me here. 

Damianne President: [03:31] Great. And onto you then Haigann.

Haigann Fevrier-President: [03:35] I’m Chantalia’s sister. I live in Italy and currently I’m studying fashion design and management, and I’m enjoying it very much. Chantalia has always had, like she said that passion for doing what was right in the situations where she found that there wasn’t an equity and being two women of color in society at this moment, like it’s very difficult for us to navigate. And then as well as even before what was happening with the protests, it was a daily issue that we faced. And so when she had this passion and this drive towards what was going on, I felt like it was just necessary for me to continue to be part of it with her and because it was so close to us and because we experienced a lot of the things that we talk about on a day to day basis.

So yeah, that’s about me and a little bit about what we’re doing doing. 

Damianne President: [04:36] And the big reveal. Well, we’ll save the big reveal for later.

You’ve shared a little bit about your intention and what kind of drove you, but can you tell us what is the Silence is Compliance, briefly. 

What is SIC [04:53]

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [04:53] Well, I can answer that. So Silence is Compliance, as you briefly stated, we are a retail brand that is dedicated to raising awareness through specifically our products, clothing. We’ve came out with a sweater and a t-shirt so far and a few stickers directly inspired by the global uprising that we were witnessing, as I said before. But further to that, Silence is Compliance is a community. We’ve built relationships with people that have the same intentions as us and are just as passionate about the subjects that we want to raise awareness on, and it’s great to have that community, even if they aren’t someone who buys a sweater, but looks at our real life page per se.

And our real life page is a space where we show excellence within BIPOC communities through creativity, businesses, perspectives, alarms, and much more. And that is definitely something that is one of my favorite parts of our brand because we do want to raise awareness on the injustices, but also kind of want to break down the stigma we’re seeing by BIPOC people on the news, or are reposted for bad things that happen, but also celebrate the great things within these communities.

So in all, Silence is Compliance is a space where we can build relationships and continue to grow as as a community and spread awareness. 

Damianne President: [06:21] You’ve already shared a bit about how you were spurred to create this through the protests that happened in 2020. Can you tell us at what point did you get the inspiration to create this brand? And what was your thought process?

Haigann Fevrier-President: [06:42] I’ll let Chantalia take this just because she’s the one who initially had the idea. 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [06:47] Okay. Yeah, I… Originally I heard… I think we were all in the house; it was quarantine, this lockdown period and the George Floyd incident had been all over the news. There is different perspectives on it and I think I speak for a lot of people when I said seeing this video hit, hit people a bit different, even though we sadly have seen many other videos of black men and women being killed at the hands of police brutality. So at that point it hit me very hard and when I heard about the protests that was going to happen in Ottawa, I already knew I wanted to go and I had been seeing a lot of Black Lives Matter t-shirts on social media and I really liked them, but I wanted something that was a bit more direct and focused on the situation that was going on at the moment and that has been going on for years. So I started designing these sweaters and I had nothing really to do in quarantine at that time.

I was kind of in the house everyday; everyday felt the same. So originally, and my mom didn’t want me to go considering the lockdown restrictions, but I still made the sweater and it was a sweater made out of paper and saran wrap. But when I went to the protest, it was great to see the amount of people that came out and the tone of the space was, it was beautiful.

There were people are dancing and it, it, wasn’t only just people speaking up for justice for this Black man, but people coming together and saying that we’re with you. And it was, it was powerful. But what also surprised me was the amount of people that are complimenting me on this sweater that I may not have paper and like saran wrap.

So when I got home that day, I told Haigann a bit more about it and she also was passionate about the subject as she did go to a protest in Prague. But she kind of, with her fashion design skills, took it from there and got really passionate about it and kind of cleaned up the design that I originally had done.

Haigann Fevrier-President: [08:48] Yeah. So that’s where I jumped in. She had shown me the sweater that she had gone to the protest with, and she was telling me about how all the compliments she had gotten on it and I was like, Oh, that’s great. And she’s like, Oh, I have a couple of friends who would actually want one if I actually make them.

And so I like thinking about it that way, I kind of started thinking about how are you going to get these sweaters to them, like how many people want sweaters and all of this just started to build. And then I decided I want to be part of this because although it was kind of her brainchild in terms of like her already working on the activism part and like also just like her trying to be part of that social change, I just wanted to be somebody who could support her in that, and then continue taking the journey with her and in, because I was also directly affected by what was going on. And not to say that I was like George Floyd’s family or anything like that, but we as black women and as black people in society all felt that a little bit differently than others and like Chantalia said rallied around us. And that’s another reason why Silence is Compliance is the way that it is in terms of trying to uplift the Black and POC communities, but in doing so with other races and everyone in terms of Whites, Hispanics, Native Americans and Black people so that we can create that community that supports one another through our differences.

Designing the first SIC product [10:15]

Damianne President: [10:15] So how did you decide on the design for your first product? Was that pretty easy? Was it an obvious choice or did you have to go through a process for that? 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [10:26] I think the kind of process was cleaning up the original design that I made for the protest because I had this vision for what I wanted this sweater to look like and obviously me making it out of paper and saran wrap, it wasn’t going to look exactly how I want it to look like, or even be a clean product to sell. So once we started getting more serious, we looked at the design that we already had and kind of just thought, how can we clean this up to make it a bit more sellable, I guess. I’m not sure if that’s exactly a word, but kind of more stylish in a sense cause we wanted it to be something that people could style, people could wear it, not only to protest, but to lunch with their friends. So from the original design that I made, it was kind of just more cleaning it up. And then we went from there and talking about colors and stuff like that. 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [11:20] Just creating more of an impact with it cause initially we really had only like three faces on there and we felt like why focus on only three? There’s a lot of other people who have been subjected to racism through societal biases and in reality we wanted people to be able to see the number of faces that we know, and we see in the news and we have seen and so we felt like we had to add some more people in the back of that sweater.

Damianne President: [11:52] So how long did it take you to decide that you were going to be selling this product and then to actually have a product that you could sell and that you could send out? 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [12:04] If I’m being honest, it was very gradual because initially Chantalia had just picked or made that sweater so she could go to the protest. And then she had a couple of friends being like that sweather’s so cool? Can I get one? And she was like, Oh, I think I’m going to make a couple for my friends. And then more and more people said they would be interested, and then also looking at the design, I was like, I can help you with the design. 

So things started to pick up and then I was like, where are people going to get this sweater? She was like, I think that I’m just going to collect names. And I’m like, Hey, and I created a website and things just kept picking up and picking up. And the more that it did, the more that we realized, Oh, we’re really doing something. And then we contacted people in terms of manufacturers and people who could support us in that business venture financially and things like that and it just kept picking up. And I think that it was really just, it was maybe like a month or month and a half of work before we launched; it was very, very short. So yeah. 

The Cost of Starting SIC [13:10]

Damianne President: [13:10] How much money did you need to be able to start this, like are we talking $10,000, a hundred thousand dollars? 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [13:18] We’re actually talking exactly half of that. So yeah, we’ve put a bit of our money in, but we started with about 5,000 and yeah, we’ve earned that money back. And it’s been really great for us to see that. We currently give everything that we receive in terms of profits or, well, yeah, profits we give back and everything else goes back into the business in terms of buying and shipping and packaging and all of that. So everything does get given back. 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [13:54] I will say I think we underestimated the costs. I think that’s one thing that we’ve definitely learned. It’s been a big learning process.I’m still in high school, so I’m not a huge economics fan. I took intro to business in grade ten, and that was pretty much it. But I think, from when we started to now, it’s been a big learning process specifically in terms of the accounting situation because when we first started, we were like, Oh, we’ll be fine. But it’s definitely been a good learning process and something that I hope we continue to learn and continue to figure out because we are a young brand, but definitely from the start to now, I’ve seen a lot of changes to our style and stuff.

Haigann Fevrier-President: [14:38] And that said like a lot of people start their business ventures or even start creating collections or whatever like six months in advance, like a year in advance. It really depends on what they’re doing, but for us to do that in a month, it was very, very short term. And for us to consider financially this, that, and packaging, all of this, we were able to do it, but I think we definitely underestimated it. So as we’ve moved forward it’s beensomething that we continue to work on and improve in. And it’s been drastic improvements from the beginning to where we are right now. And it’s been really great to do so. 

What was surprising about starting SIC [15:15]

Damianne President: [15:15] So what surprised you. I mean, you didn’t really start out to start a business. It’s not like you came up with all of these ideas about what you were going to do to start a business, but really it kind of happened gradually based on you seeing that people were actually interested in a product that you had, and you weren’t even thinking about it as a product.

So what has really surprised you about this journey besides the fact of how much money it needed? 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [15:38] That’s a really good question. I think personally, at least for me, when we first started out someone messaged me and said, Oh, this is great what you’re doing. I appreciated that it was great to see people were supporting us and then they said, but don’t you worry about the negative comments. And that was the first time someone had ever brought it up. So that kind of surprised me. And even to this day, we haven’t had any negative people coming to our page and saying what we’re doing is wrong, or they don’t agree with us. And I don’t exactly see why they would, as we are just trying to uplift people in our community and bring people together.

But when someone asks you that, I didn’t think exactly about it, or even when we started, I didn’t think about it at all. So I know a lot of businesses go through rough patches, but to this day we’ve been lucky  and to see that a lot of people support us and don’t have anything bad to say about what we’re doing, even though I know there’s a lot of people out there that have opposing opinions on the subject of racial inequality.

So I guess that question kind of surprises me, but yeah. Haigann, how about you? 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [16:50] That said, we have a lot, we have a long road ahead of us. So I do think that there’s definitely a possibility of things happening like that. But the community we have right now is so strong, the people who come out and the people who come to our page and express what they like and what’s going on and what they’re seeing have been nothing but positivity and it’s been great because as that community grows, we grow as a brand. 

And it kind of feeds our ego a little bit because it allows us to continue to just wanting to do more. Like I said, we aren’t financially compensated for any of the work that we do. So it’s really like, we’re doing all of this for our community. And I think that that fulfillment has been different for me because I never, if I’m talking about past experiences right now, I never felt as though, there would be a day that I was doing something that I did completely, nothing for myself, like at all, and feel so much joy and fulfillment from it.

So I would say that was the biggest surprise. And it was a really good surprise. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed getting to spend so much time with my sister. As I said, I live in Italy and she lives in Canada. So we get to spend every week talking and a lot of those meetings run quite late because we’re talking about other things and just catching up.

But that’s also been a really great experience of it all. Just getting closer to her and creating a business relationship outside of a family relationship or sibling relationship or friendship; it’s very different.

Working as siblings living in different countries balancing school as well [18:30]

Damianne President: [18:30] So that also is very interesting because often when people work with somebody in their family, that can be quite fraught with difficulties and challenges. And I am sure you’ve had situations where you need to work through some sort of conflict. And also the fact that you are living in vastly different times zones, so there was six hours between you most of the year. You mentioned about having the weekly meetings, but how do you make sure that you guys are on the same page?

How do you split up the responsibilities? And then how do you balance this with the fact that you’re also in school? You’re in university, you’re in high school, you have stuff to do for that. How are you juggling all of those things and what do you do when you’ve got disagreements? 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [19:17] That’s a loaded question. The first thing is like we do our meetings once a week on Saturdays. It’s at five for me, 5:00 PM for me. And it would be 11:00 AM for her. So it really gives me about a five hour window before I start getting a little bit tired and before she needs to do some work or like move on to something else.

 I think at the beginning, it was quite difficult. Sometimes I’d wake up and be like you posted something and I didn’t get to see it. And it was very difficult, but now it’s become this kind of rhythm of like, I wake up to messages from her, she wakes up to messages me, and then we have the day to kind of sort those things out. And then we have that window where we’re both awake and we can kind of talk about the things that we did or didn’t do and the messages that we did or didn’t get while the other person was sleeping. So that’s one thing and it was difficult.

 It was very difficult, not to speak for Chantalia. She can say her part after, but it was really difficult to manage school and to manage work, but we’ve created a little bit of a schedule where our busiest periods of time in terms of like new jobs and stuff. are a little bit after my midterms and stuff. So that’s really helped. 

I have to kind of put my focus to SIC at times when we’re in that busier periods, but because it’s not during the busiest period of time during my schoolwork, it’s, it’s really worked out so far. It’s only been six months, seven months so we still have a lot of time to go and a lot of things can change in the next couple of years, but I think that we’re working through it and it’s only getting better the way that we work together.

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [21:01] I think in terms of the family and business situation, surprisingly, I think it kind of helps in a sense cause we know each other so well; we grew up with each other and now we’re on calls every day talking about things.

So there has been disagreements, but I think it’s kind of like…. We’re both very similar people. Sometimes we both need space to think about things and to be able to do that and kind of know each other in that way makes things a lot easier when it comes to disagreements on certain topics. And in terms of time management, surprisingly I think I’m doing part-time online, part-time in school and some days I, I choose to stay home when I can be in school. This has helped me a lot because on lunch breaks at school, I wouldn’t be able to just call Haigann.

 It’s a very tight schedule that they have right now considering COVID restrictions. So the breaks I have in between classes with the current distance learning has made it a lot easier for me to at least time manage and figure out what I can do in a day, which I wouldn’t be able to do in a regular school day considering transportation time; that’s time I can use now to do stuff for SIC. And I think in terms of my focus, sometimes it’s hard to switch my focus from school to SIC. So some days I do fully SIC and the other day I just put it away and then do school because it’s hard to just turn it off and still have these ideas going, I can do this, I can do this but I’ve, I’ve figured it out and definitely from September to now it’s, it’s a lot better. 

Damianne President: [22:35] Well, that.Is very useful and helpful for life actually because you know I have the podcast and I also have a full-time job. And often I need to decide, how am I going to batch things? And I find that the batch system really works well for me, in terms of some days I’ll work on the podcast for a chunk of time, because sometimes task switching from podcast back to something else and back and forth means that it actually takes longer to do stuff. So that’s actually a great productivity tip in general.

The top activity that neither sister likes to do for their business [23:08]

Okay, now you have to really dish the dirt though, because what is the thing that you don’t want to do either individually or together as SIC that you sometimes have to do anyway? 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [23:21] The accounting. 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [23:23] I was about to say that. I hate doing that. I’m always like, did you do the books? And she’s like, she’s like, I thought you were going to do it.

And I’m like, no, it’s not my turn.

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [23:36] She’s like, can we just hire someone to do this? And I’m like, Haigann, we’re not even getting paid. 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [23:43] Like who’s going to pay them. Yeah. That’s that’s one thing I think definitely. And then like, I, we love the Real Life posts, but I do all of them so sometimes it is a little bit much. You want to have a good real life, like you don’t want to just post something to post something. You want it to be something informative, something that people will engage with, something that people like to see and it is also encompasses the content that we’re actually looking for and like, so it’s difficult to find those things but have them different every week and then have it out every week.

So it’s a difficult schedule to kind of maintain and then just posts as well. So those two things I find that they take me the longest. And that’s probably why they end up being the thing that I’m like, Oh, I have to do this, I have to do this, I have to do this. It’s more of like a nagging burden until I finish it.

 If I procrastinate, it’s worse, that’s what really what it is. 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [24:42] For everything, for anything, it’s really like that though. But in terms of things I don’t want to do in the future, I think I’m not sure at this point. I think Haigann and I are both pretty creative people. In terms of actually putting their creativity into a product, Haigann is definitely better at that than me.

But we both have very different and big ideas for the future in terms of addressing different subjects and right now, I think we want to also, maybe in the future sometimes focus on other people of color specifically. Right now we’ve seen anti-Asian racism and Asian based crimes on a rise in North America.

Why SIC shares Real Life Profiles [25:26]

So yeah. 

Damianne President: [25:27] You’ve made reference to real life. Can somebody tell us what is that? 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [25:33] Okay. The real life was like a segment that we started when we started the brand. At first it was called our community page and it was where we took anybody in the community that was contributing to their community in any kind of way, shape or form.

 It kind of evolved into taking artists who are doing great work or spotlighting black owned galleries, things like that. We try and do that every Wednesday.

And the reason why we did it is because yes, we were selling these sweaters, but we wanted it to be a little bit more personable with our audience as to why we were selling the sweaters. I think for a lot of people, it could feel really far the George Floyd incidents, it’s like, this didn’t happen to me so I’m not affected as much or even just distant because of how often it happens to black people in general in North America. And so it feels very distant. So we wanted it to bring it back home in that sense of being like there’s somebody in your backyard or like the person down the street who makes your coffee, like that’s owned by a black woman and if something like this were to happen to them, like, how would you feel? It’s, it’s more so just giving people that perspective of being like, there are black and POC people who are contributing to your community every day and to not have them contribute would be completely devastating. 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [27:04] I think further than the connection, and then having people feel connected to the issue, even when they may not be able to do that on a personal level, it also shows how these are people that have been victims of police brutality or people like you and me. And people have lives, people have businesses, people have aspirations. I think too often the media portrays BIPOC communities based off of stereotypes. I think in a lot of ways, the media is changing, but it still has a long way to grow.

So we can show that anyone can have a business, anyone can be doing great things, anyone can be doing bad things. But when we highlight the good things within the community, I hope it, it breaks down these stigmas of BIPOC communities.

Damianne President: [27:52] So it sounds like you’re really attempting to turn the story, take control of the narratives to some extent in terms of portraying, some of the are positive stories that may not be sensationalist enough to get widespread media attention and try to build these connections within communities.

Haigann Fevrier-President: [28:11] Yeah. The biggest thing when starting this brand, it was like, we didn’t have to kind of stand by and wait for other people to post things or say things and decide whether we agree with it or don’t agree with it. We could be the people that other people are posting and reposting. And we could be that positivity in the community.

I think that that was like one of the biggest things and like that realization of not having to be on the other side of it. And we could be on the side of like creating that narrative was so like monumental in creating those business and what we do now, for sure. 

Look Out for New Products from SIC [28:58]

Damianne President: [28:58] So what’s next for you? So right now have clothing, you have some stickers.

What else do you have? I noticed you have some packages, what’s involved in those packages and what’s next. 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [29:11] Okay. First thing is what’s involved with the packages. There are comfort packages and we dropped them around Christmas time. Cause it was holiday season and people would really like something to comfort them, especially during these very uncertain times. And so we dropped those and they have like socks and like candles and you can either get a small one or a large one and a small one comes with the t-shirt and the large one comes with a sweater. And it has up to eight items in them. So that was one thing that we decided to do and it’s been great.

I think that people enjoy them. And in terms of what’s next for us, me and Chantalia have been working really, really hard, these past six months. So as soon as we dropped our last collection, we started working on a new one and that will be coming out on Friday.

So yes, we are very excited about it. We have five items dropping. We’re excited about it.

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [30:12] It is based off of taking inspiration from the past and bring it into the future. So if you look at our recent posts we kind of focused on these different aspects of black culture from 1960s, 1970s period, and how it has evolved to today and kind of what is there to come into the future.

What Inspires Haigann and Chantalia of SIC [30:32]

Damianne President: [30:32] How do you get motivation for these ideas? So what inspires you to create those new offers?

Haigann Fevrier-President: [30:40] I think the better question is what doesn’t inspire us, because I feel like every week we have our meeting and Chantalia’s like, Oh, I think we could do this for the next job. Because something in the week happened where she just, she feels a connection. She’s like maybe this could happen, maybe this could work.

So we actually have an abundance of ideas. It’s actually the fact that we can only work on one at a time that’s hard, but yeah, things happen to us every day. And especially with Chantalia being so interested in the activism and social justice part of things, she’s constantly constantly reading about it. She’s constantly surrounding herself with that content. And so it allows for her to kind of always have ideas about what we could be doing now. 

Damianne President: [31:25] I have a recommendation for you. As people of West Indian background, even though you were born in Canada, but as people with parents who were immigrants to Canada, there is series on Amazon prime called small axe.

 It’s by McQueen. And it tells the story, not of Canada, but of the United Kingdom and the black struggle, the immigrant experience in the United Kingdom, in London, in particular. I’ve only watched two of the, I believe there are four or five episodes, but they’re quite long. So one of the ones I watched was an hour long and the other one was two hours long, but I realized that I really didn’t know a lot about black history from the United Kingdom. I tend to know more from North America. And so you might find that very interesting, but yeah. 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [32:19] I don’t, I don’t know much about it at all either. And as we expand and that’s a little hint too, as we expand, that would be really great for us to, I think, read up on it and watch it. It might be something we do over a meeting. 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [32:32] Yeah, I’ve heard a bit about Black history in the United Kingdom, specifically how many Caribbeans came to United Kingdom how it kind of mingled with the United Kingdom culture and how Notting Hill carnival is like this big thing now that everyone in the United Kingdom comes to and it’s kind of changed. It’s not as Caribbean as it was before, and now it’s a mixing between United Kingdom. And I think it’s interesting. Specifically during black history month, I looked at a bit of Caribbean history and I think it’s very interesting, different communities that came here. But I have not looked at much of Europe, so that’s definitely something I’ll look into.

Advice for someone who wants to start a business [33:15]

Damianne President: [33:15] If there is somebody who’s listening or somebody right now, or later who thinks I have an idea, but I don’t even know where to start. What would you suggest as the first thing that they could do? 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [33:28] I think the first thing you can do is just run with it. I think people are too scared, are scared sometimes to often do things. Specifically, at least for my age group, we’re often worried about what other people are going to think. And I think even when we get older too. But I for sure. But,

I think when you’re in high school and you’re in a small community, you just want to kind of be accepted. And I think at least during this time, you don’t really meet people a lot.

So if that’s something you’re worried about, I don’t think you should be worried about it because at the end of the day, it’s kind of what makes you happy and what makes you to sit down and do the work. When I’m doing SIC work, it doesn’t feel like work, even though accounting is. And then I feel passionate about it.

 At the end of the day, you’re pleasing yourself and you’re pleasing other people if that’s what you want to do. So I think the biggest thing that holds people back is the fear of what are other people going to think? What are other people going to think about this?

Haigann Fevrier-President: [34:31] I think and with that, what you said, like the fear of failure in front of other people. I feel like when you fail in the comfort of your home and no one is there around you, you can kind of pretend like it didn’t happen. But if everybody sees you fail, it’s like you have to kind of continue to live that out.

 That’s the biggest fear that kind of holds people back.  You just have to start. I was so fearful to do a lot of the things that I wanted to do when I was in high school, just because I thought like, Oh, can I do this? Is it accessible to somebody my age?

 Seeing Chantalia do so much work so much, so much more work on SIC at the age that she is, it’s really, really commendable. Like the fact that she can just work so well with being in the situation that she is, or just like the atmosphere that she is in terms of school and, and being the age that she is, it’s really crazy how well she handles it. I think at times she handles it a lot better than I do. And I think part of that’s because of how passionate she is. It’s just on another level, but yeah, like I think that you just have to start even if you feel as though maybe I’m not doing the right thing or it’s not perfect, it’s not going to be perfect the first time.

 Chantalia Fevrier-President: [35:46] Just start, just the first foot in the door. And if you don’t even want to be in that room, then you’ll leave. But to test it out or do what you’ve been wanting to do is, it’s something you should do for sure, for sure. 

Damianne President: [36:01] I asked you already about what you find hard, but what surprised you that you thought, Oh, that would be so complicated and then in reality, it wasn’t as scary as it lookeds when you knew nothing about this opportunity or this area that you’re in. 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [36:18] That’s a good question. I think on my end, I’d say that the most difficult part or something that kind of surprised me, but I thought it would be difficult was I think the marketing aspect. I still think that’s still something that’s difficult and we’re, we’re trying to figure out, but It’s crazy when you’re from the point of view where you’re trying to get people to buy your product and you’re trying to get people to be part of this community. For a really long time, I was the consumer and I’m still the consumer but I’m also the person that is trying to get people to go to our page, follow us, like our stuff.

So once you figure it out, it’s pretty, it’s pretty simple, the algorithm of how you’re supposed to do it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely something that took a while to figure out. But once I did figure it out, I was like, Oh, this makes sense. This is why I always see this when I’m scrolling through Instagram; this is why Nike does this, that kind of was an interesting realization.

Damianne President: [37:22] Interesting. Now I’m going to have to get some tips from you off camera. 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [37:28] It’s difficult because like, I think that what it was was like, one thing that we thought was going to be really scary was like contacting people just to ask them to be part of it even though we didn’t know them.

 At the beginning we were trying to find models and stuff and I was like, just ask somebody. And she was like, I don’t know anyone. And that was what stuck us, because it was like, we don’t know, like in our vicinity, we didn’t know people who could, we didn’t know enough people who could model for us. And that was like one of the biggest points, I think at the beginning where it was like, I was constantly pushing her to find more people, but she kept saying, Oh, I don’t know anyone.

 I’m not in Ottawa so if I found anybody who would all be in Italy and it wouldn’t make sense. So I was just pushing her and I was pushing her to find people and she was like, I don’t know anyone. And when we finally were over that fear of asking people that we didn’t know, like just asking random people, like, we think that you’re cool, can you please do this for us? Or we like what we see here, would you mind supporting our products. The fear of just going out there and asking people around, it’s so much easier now. I feel like there’s no fear around that anymore, but it used to be something that we used to stress over like for days it would kind of bloom. 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [38:42] I was in a Clubhouse room a few weeks ago and someone said, if you can make it, I’ve heard the same before, but you can make it in New York can make it anywhere. And you think about the hustle and bustle of New York, you’d have to kind of be a loud voice and kind of just speak up and do what you want to do, do what you need to do. And when you think about having to contact people, I think having contacts and having people to talk to is definitely something that you need in order to kind of make these connections and make things a lot easier. And originally we didn’t have that. 

So I think us having to, you know, we had to step out of our comfort zone just go for it, ask this person. Oh, they said yes. Okay. So the fact we were getting a positive response for something that we were so scared of doing has made it a lot easier, has put us in a zone where we are able to do that a lot easily.

And at least for me, I find it difficult to kind of talk to new people and I’m still struggling to get in that sort of confidence with new people that I’m meeting, but through this business, having to make new connections, needing to make new connections has shown me that it’s not as scary. You’re so scared to come and be like, no, Oh, I hate you or whatever. 

People are surprisingly nice I guess. I guess I don’t know what I was thinking, but we find a lot of models that enjoy modeling for us, enjoy our product; they’re just enthusiastic about it. And that’s beautiful to see cause we were originally scared to even contact them.

Damianne President: [40:04] Well, you’ll definitely get, or you’re likely to get rejection sometimes, but one thing that I’ve definitely learned from podcasting is that people are so much more generous than we give them benefit of the doubt about. And even if somebody doesn’t want to do a collab with you, or if people don’t want to be on the podcast the first time, it could just be that it’s not right at that moment.

 It doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen. And it doesn’t mean that you’re not worthy or that you don’t have a great product or any of that stuff. And so it’s funny that we can sometimes get caught up in our heads and telling ourselves these stories. But we’re just making stuff up. We really don’t know what they’re thinking or what the real decision is behind somebody’s conversation or what they share. 

Working alone or with someone else [40:54]

For years I wanted to do a podcast and I kept asking friends to do it with me and they would just like not reply or they would say no. And so I put it off for a long time, because I was kind of afraid of doing it myself.

And then eventually I managed to overcome that and started having a podcast, even though I’m hosting all by myself. Do you think it was easier for you to do it with a partner? Chantalia, what if Haigann had said no. Would you still have continued with this endeavor? 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [41:29] I think I would have continued. I don’t think it would be as good to be quite honest. 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [41:34] I don’t think it would have been as big. I think you would have sold them to a few of your friends and it would have like ended.

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [41:39] I think us together we’re able to bounce off the motivation off one another. What if we did this. Oh that would be so cool, like having that inspiration from one another.

But I think if I were to do it alone, maybe it would have been as big, but not as quickly as it has. And I’m grateful that it has taken off because we still got the support. And I think support motivates you to be like, there’s people that want to be part of this community, let’s make it bigger, let’s make it better.

So I think at the end of the day support, even if it’s not from your friends, that’s why I said reaching out or people has been a great thing that we’ve been able to over come the fear of because having the support from people that you don’t necessarily know, but have that connection of oh, my gosh, this is so cool, this is something I’ve always been interested in. It motivates you and it makes you want to continue to do what you’re doing, even if you’re doing it for yourself. So definitely, but I think at the end of the day, it’s the support that’s been there that’s been great. 

On Self-Acceptance [42:37]

Damianne President: [42:37] This season on the podcast, I’m talking to people about self acceptance and I think that that’s probably something that many people, all of us at some point have to struggle with, have to think about. If you think about your own journey and I mean, you grew up in the time of social media, in the time of having a device in your hand, like all the time, and all of that kind of thing. 

How do you approach self-acceptance? Is that something that you’re conscious of? Is that something that you think about or is that something that’s not really relevant to you right now from your perspective? 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [43:21] No, I think, I think I practice it every day. But at a younger age, like you said, we lived in a Caribbean household, yet we were born and raised in Canada. So we had a very different life from those who were around us.  The culture for Canadian children was very different from the culture for St. Lucian children. And I’m not saying that our parents brought us up with Saint Lucian rules completely, but there were certain things that were just different.

And so growing up in a society where you have one thing but another thing is shown, it’s very difficult for you to accept yourself. And I think that I had a very difficult time throughout my high school years, and then getting out of that, I moved to Italy and it gave me some perspective and some time to just sit with myself and to realize what do I want, what makes me happy, all of these questions that I never asked myself before.

 I was doing a lot of people-pleasing and then when I answered those questions or at least started to answer those questions, it became something that I had to continue to work at every day to be like, am I doing this for myself? Am I doing this for somebody else? What parts make me happy? What parts make me upset?

 And so even with SIC, I have to kind of sit back and I’m like, am I doing too much? Am I doing too little? What’s making me happy. What’s not. And what parts are like good for me to give in terms of service or community like giving back. And then what parts are a little bit too much. 

So I think that it kind of flows into every aspect of my life at this point. And it’s something that I do consciously think about daily. 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [45:16] I think for me or my perspective, I think we’re all still growing, but I’m still in this period of my life where I’m in high school. I go to this school; it’s very routine and I haven’t fully been able to get out of that comfort zone to figure out exactly who I am, but what I’ve been trying to do is make sure that I’m aware of my emotions and how I feel in certain situations.

 I think at younger ages, I kind of pushed that to a side to try to please other people or please what I think other people would want from me. But I think, at least for me, I’ve been lucky to, at a younger age, being able to switch out of that mindset of been like, it’s okay to want to be myself or it’s okay to be accepting of myself and once I did that, I found that my confidence boost it up and I kind of put myself in a situation, in the type of person that I wanted to be, and that made things a lot easier for me. And it kind of made me thrive. And I think if I didn’t do that, I don’t know if I’d be even starting Silence is Compliance because for a long time I wanted my hair straight but I went home and I was the same skin tone as my parents. Then I went to school and I was either too dark or I was lighter than my black friends and telling me, Oh, you’re light-skinned you’re light skinned and you get all these different perspective. And it’s like, I’m just me. 

Can I just be who I want to be. And can we not have all these different situations where you’re trying to put me in this bubble? So once I started to accept myself and trying to teach people, no, my food doesn’t look weird cause it’s Caribbean foods, Caribbean dumplings.  Just cause you have macaroni cheese doesn’t mean it’s bad.

When I started like being okay with the type of person I was, I found myself to thrive a bit more. And I think I am lucky to have been able to do that at an earlier age than sadly many young black women specifically and black men as well. 

Damianne President: [47:10] I was just reading a book today. I was reading the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, the Dale Carnegie book. It’s an iconic book and I haven’t read it before so this is my first time reading it. I don’t remember exactly what the example or the scenario was, but I thought, Oh, come on, can you just like leave people alone sometimes?

And it’s interesting because, because we do talk ourselves in terms of beating ourselves up about guilt, shame, displeasure dissatisfaction, all of those things. And then we also allow ourselves to be open to receiving that from other people as well. And so being able to say no, like I hear you, but no, thank you, that’s a really hard thing to do sometimes, to be confident enough in yourself to be able to say this is who I am. And regardless of what you think, or regardless of what you say, I am a person of integrity and a person of worth I have value.

Haigann Fevrier-President: [48:14] I think that it’s more, more of a fear of, I mean, less of a fear of actually stating what you’re not happy with and more of a fear of.

The confrontation that happens afterwards and like there being consequences to the fact that you aren’t happy with what’s going on. And that’s been something that I’ve always been a little bit difficult, like, or it’s always been a bit, a little bit difficult for me, because I think that once somebody starts to confront me about anything, even if I feel as though I’ve, I’ve expressed myself adequately and respectfully, I always get like kind of tense because I don’t want to put somebody else in like a negative situation.

But sometimes you have to kind of have those conversations because to speak or to not speak on things better bothering you or things that you don’t feel comfortable with. It ends up to build, like it ends up building up and you end up becoming a person who you’re not quite happy with because you’re not being true to what you actually want.

Invitation to Connect with SIC [49:18]

Damianne President: [49:18] Is there anything else that… Actually, the big reveal, the big reveal is that I am also a sister of Haigann and Chantalia.

 Is there anything else that you want to share with people who are listening?

Haigann Fevrier-President: [49:35] Not necessarily, except if anything in this conversation interested you, hop on tour Instagram and continue to be on the journey with us. We would love that; we would love to see you there engage with you. 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [49:48] Yeah. And further than that, I think we love having new people contact us for Real Life posts. So you have your story or you have a perspective that you want to share, we want to be that platform for you to be able to do that on whether it means that you comment under our picture or you do a real life post. So I just hope that from this conversation, people know that we have this safe space that we want people to join into.

 Or even if you DM us, we appreciate all the different people that we get in touch with that are on the same page as us or have things that they want to share and feel comfortable to share because we want to be that inclusive, inclusive platform. And at the end of the day, I think we just want everyone to feel that they can do what they want to do.

 And so I hope our story kind of inspires that for you to finally make that YouTube channel or finally make that podcast, whatever it is. I hope that you decide to do that for yourself.

What Haigann and Chantalia like to do for fun [50:53]

Damianne President: [50:53] And the last question that I like to ask every guest is what do you like to do for fun? And you can only give us one word, no long essay.

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [51:04] Dance.

Haigann Fevrier-President: [51:05] You took mine. 

Damianne President: [51:10] That’s okay. You can both like the same thing, you know, 

Haigann Fevrier-President: [51:13] Yeah, but doesn’t make it very interesting. What do I like to do for fun? I paint sometimes. 

Chantalia Fevrier-President: [51:21] I knew you were going to say that.

Am I doing this for myself? Am I doing this for somebody else? What parts make me happy? What parts make me upset? – Haigann


Just start, just the first foot in the door. And if you don’t even want to be in that room, then you’ll leave. – Chantalia

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