How many times have you gone into the fitting room with three sizes of the same pair of pants only to find none of them fit? Do you have shirts that you love but your arms never quite fit into the sleeves?
And, what if you loved exactly how you looked and it was the clothes that were the issue?
That was Chrystal Rose’s experience before she created the idea behind her brand, Rebellia. Chrystal had the physique she wanted but could not find the clothes to fit her muscles. Being a woman all about answers; answers for herself and others, she started working towards finding a solution.
But, first, a little background on Chrystal…
What brought you to Charlotte?
Well, my life fell apart. I was living in San Diego and my life had systematically fallen apart. I was laid off. I was in a horrible mentally, emotionally, and borderline physically abusive relationship. I needed a fresh start, but I had no idea where to get it. My parents were living in this area at the time. It seemed like as good a place as any. I rented a moving truck, packed up all my stuff, and moved across the country ready to start a new life.
That was nine years ago.
Those are good reasons to move her! What made you stay?
My family was here for the first few years, so I stayed because of them at first. I had been hopping around a lot in my 20s and I figured I’d eventually move again. San Diego was my longest stint in one place and that was for three years. As I rebuilt my life, I also began to build really good relationships here. I liked the people, the area, and what I was getting into with myself. Ultimately, I met my now husband (who is in NASCAR) and that’s really what has kept me here.
So, what do you do?
Everything! Most of my energy goes into my role with Rebellia. I’m the founder and head unicorn in charge of Rebellia; an online clothing store rooted in a movement to help women feel better about themselves in their own skin and clothes.
The rooted in a movement part… I like it. What does that mean?
I really want the women I’m influencing to appreciate their lives and bodies each day, in each space. And, like most of my relationships with women, some days are heavier than others. Some days, my Rebel Babes and I are talking about clothes they’d like me to curate for them. Other days, we’re diving into self-love. I actually host a quarterly Self-Love Challenge.
It took me a while, but I’ve stepped into the role as their leader, reluctantly.
I don’t feel like I need credit for what I’m doing. I just want to help people. I didn’t want to be a face, but I realized people need to connect with a face more than a logo. I have to put myself in the forefront to bring life to the brand.
This is very personal to me. This isn’t just I had an idea I had one day. It was me in a dressing room in tears after I spent two hours trying on clothes. But, nothing would work. I was sick and tired of making things work. I found fitness. I found self-love. I was just infuriated. I spent two weeks talking about how angry I was until I thought, “Why not me? Why don’t I fix this?”
So, why the name Rebellia?
It’s about female rebellion. It’s still somewhat rebellious for women to have muscles and a muscular physique.
We don’t have to look like what society says you have to look like.
Is there more to building Rebellia other than just a bad day in the dressing room?
I struggled in my 20s with yo-yo dieting and that stemmed from a lot of stress from my teens in boarding school. I gained twenty pounds my first year there. I was told I couldn’t move on in the school until I lost weight and was on a food plan. I was told I was a food addict. My teenage self was traumatized and once I got into my twenties I still had all of these stories in my head that I wasn’t enough. That I had to fix myself.
I took diet pills. I drank diet shakes. I ate low-calorie TV dinners. I was either on a diet or off the rails. I never thought I’d lift weights. It was something I thought only dudes did. I thought running on the treadmill is what women did and I hated that.
I really had no balance and no lifestyle goals with my health. I certainly didn’t love myself.
Fitness didn’t enter my life until my husband got sober and he found fitness. When he found it, I found it. When you’re in a relationship you either level up or you get left behind.
Wow. That’s really true. So, you went on this personal journey and now you empower others to take the same one. What is it about the Self Love message that really resonates with people?
That it’s freaking okay! Loving yourself has been so lost on people that we’re never okay. We’re so hard on ourselves. You can be a work in progress, take care of yourself, treat yourself the way you want to be treated, and still look at yourself and want to make improvements. It’s not an either or.
I feel like I’m showing women it’s an AND. It’s not either you love yourself or you’re getting better. You can be both. Women can be themselves unapologetically.
You have an online private group built around Self-Love. How did you develop a really special group?
I gave myself freely before I built a brand. I crunched macro numbers for free. I gave away ideas. I was serving people. People knew me as the person who would help them. I selflessly gave away before the group existed. When I launched Rebellia, I did a crowdfunding campaign to see if it would even make sense… These were the people who stepped up and gave to the campaign. I had already given myself to them without expecting anything in return and I systematically put them in my group. This has been years and years of putting effort into it. I’m really protective over my group because I cultivated it over a long period of time.
That makes sense. So, what’s up next for you?
With the brand we’re moving into swimwear. With me personally, I want to build Rebellia to the point where I can step back from the day to day and invest in other women’s businesses and help them grow.
Love it! Now, for my closer… What’s your favorite?
Restaurant: Oak Steakhouse
Coffee: Water Bean
Sports team: Patriots
TV show: Sex in the City
Book: Kiss the Girls
Place to work out: My home gym
New thing in CLT: Drag Brunch
Old thing in CLT: Blumenthal Theater
Author’s Note: You can find Rebellia on Instagram at @rebelliaclothing and Chrystal at @xtalrose.