Yes, it is possible for lingerie to be too hot.
The young couple behind the charitable lingerie brand Cherie Amie are rebuilding — and keeping their sense of humor — after fire destroyed their Texas home just before the brand’s launch.
Tara Smith had just returned from a month-long trip to Cameroon, where seamstresses produced Cherie Amie‘s first collection, when fire broke out in the Irving house she shared with fiancé Ryan Schuett (above) on Nov. 7.
Tara escaped with minor injuries, but about half of the company’s inventory was lost in the blaze. The fire was ruled accidental and was apparently caused by a malfunctioning furnace. The couple were renters and their losses were not insured.
“We are enormously thankful to our friends, family, and supporters, all of whom came out in force for us after the fire,” Ryan told Lingerie Talk on the weekend. “We received considerable financial and material help from people who want to see us back on our feet. We feel overwhelmed by the love and support we see in people who want to help us make do-good lingerie a reality.”
Cherie Amie was set up as a fair-trade lingerie label, employing artisans from Africa (where Ryan and Tara had worked as Peace Corps volunteers) and returning all profits to micro-finance groups that provide small-business loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world.
Tara (above) spent the month of October in Cameroon working on production with a local team of sewers, manufacturing Cherie Amie pieces such as their Humanitarian Hottie briefs and Benevolent boxers for men. She arrived back in Texas with the inventory only hours before the fire.
The label was originally supposed to launch this week with an online shop, but that timetable has been pushed back as products are cleaned and the couple gets back on their feet.
“Although the fire rattled us, Tara and I remain committed to our mission and eager to move forward,” said Ryan, who was in Houston the night of the fire. “We are reminded of the women we’ve met in Africa and realize how fortunate we are to live in a country with abundance. Their perseverance and faith inspire us. We owe them no less than a strong launch during the holidays.”
Cherie Amie raised startup capital through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, and says it will still fulfil gift pledges to its donors from its remaining inventory and a promotional calendar shot in August.
The label expects to be fully functional in time for the holiday shopping season, and Tara is planning a return trip to Cameroon next year to work with the production team on new inventory.
In the meantime, Cherie Amie welcomes donations that will go towards funding Tara’s return trip to Cameroon. Donations can be made to the company’s PayPal account at besexybuyfair.com.