Photo: Tim Geaney/courtesy of Yummie Tummie
As any woman with a Bravo addiction and a few extra winter pounds can tell you, Yummie Tummie founder Heather Thomson is a major player in the women’s empowerment game–the no-nonsense mom built an empire on making us look and feel our best (and declawed some of the Real Housewives of New York’s biggest villains with wit and class). To celebrate our Yummie Tummie sale (today at noon on Gilt!), we sat down for a chat with her:
Gilt: What was your first experience with shapewear like?
HT: It was not positive! I was looking for tank tops, and I remember holding them up and they were six inches long. I remember clearly being perplexed…as a consumer I was distraught, as a designer I was perplexed. My issue was really my belly. That was where I held my post-baby weight, and there was nothing out there that was the right solution. It was not a good experience, but good that it prompted me to do something about it.
Gilt: So how did you want Yummie to be different than what was already out there?
HT: I think before it hit the market, shapewear was something we could talk about, but we certainly didn’t want anyone to see it. Yummie took shapewear out of the closet because it was really good to look at. It was more than shapewear, it was lingerie on steroids. On top of that, it was comfortable. Not only was it a sexy, good looking solution, but it also offered the wearer comfort. It was fashion and function.
Gilt: About that sexy thing…did you test things out on your husband to make sure they were guy-friendly?
HT: Well, Jonathan once caught me pulling up a pair of bottoms from another brand, and he was like, “What the hell is that?” My confidence was pretty deflated at that point. I had my child and was left with a deflated inner tube around my middle, and I felt for the first time in my life, ugly. As a designer, I never wanted women to feel that way. So when I designed my original Yummie Tummie tank, I remember prancing out of my bedroom, and I had a DVF wrap dress over it. He said, “You look great honey,” and I remember opening the dress and revealing my creation. I absolutely flashed him! From there on in, I thought, never again do I want my husband to see something he doesn’t want to peel off!
Gilt: Let’s talk Housewives. What was it like getting the call to be on the show?
HT: The first time they called me on the phone, the call came through my marketing team and when she said “Real Housewives,” I took the call because I thought they wanted to do some kind of product placement. Then I realized it was me they wanted, and I said oh gosh no, I’m not your girl. You don’t portray women like me on the show.
Gilt: It was kind of a product placement though–an incredible, season-long one! Is that what finally convinced you?
HT: I was skeptical, but the casting director who called me was very talented and very convincing. By the end of the phone call, she had me considering it. She said, 2.9 million viewers…I thought, how many of those people know about Yummie? Probably very few. It was the platform I’d been looking for.
Gilt: What’s been the best and worst part about doing the show?
HT: My favorite part about the Housewives was probably Carole. I barely knew her when we started filming, and now I cant imagine my life without her. We became dear dear friends and I love her and I’m so grateful for it. My least favorite thing is how much time we put into filming. I’m a very efficient person. We can film up to 1,000 hours and out of that, they may get 50 hours of footage. It’s a hard balance.
Gilt: And finally, we want to know…what are your best body confidence secrets?
HT: Feeling good is looking good and looking good is feeling good. They really go hand in hand. If you don’t feel good, you’re never going to look your best. And if you don’t take the time to look your best, you’re never going to feel good. You know what it looks like when a woman walks through the door and knows where she’s going–that confidence, it’s everything.
Get your own body confidence boost now at our Yummie Tummie sale on Gilt.