Check out Gayla’s mentor, the inspiring Nell Merlino, founder of the Count Me In and “Make Mine A Million $ Business” (an organization that encourages and supports women economic independence…Visit their website http://www.countmein.com) Be sure to join the Make Mine A Million $$ race at www.makemineamillion.org/race
More info from the Figure Magazine interview…
“Take Our Daughters To Work” Founder Nell Merlino Shows Us How To Think Big
Clear a path for entrepreneur Nell Merlino. The outspoken, innovative rabble-rouser we’ve long admired as the creative force behind Take Our Daughters To Work Day is on a mission – make that a crusade – to encourage women to stop waiting, set goals and start getting what they want. “It is important that we define success for ourselves,” Merlino says. “It’s all about seeing what you want and chaning the system to get it.”
It’s a mantra she’s championed for years, but her latest inspiration came from an unlikely place – a public restroom on the New York State Thruway. After making a pit stop on the drive to Vermont from New York City in thic weekend traffic, Merlino found herself smoldering in an inexcusably long line for the restroom. Whie she waited – bladder full, toes aping – her husband sauntered in and out of the men’s room without any pause.
The inequity sparked the concept for her first book, Stepping out of Line: Lessons for Women Who want It Their Way in Life, in Love and at Work (Broadway Books, $14.00), out this month. In it she recounts stories of successful women who stopped politely waiting for something to happen. There is Gina Stern, for instance, a high school dropout who escaped her drug-ridden Bronx neighborhood, got a degree in fashion design and launched d-parture spa, a chain on in-airport spas for airline travelers.
In the book Merlino also walks through the launch of her latest baby, the “Make Mine a Million $ Business” program. The competition, designed to help women build their small businesses into million-dollar revenue0generating machines, awards money, mentors, marketing and technology tools. “Our live enents are like American Idol meets The Apprentice,” says Merlino. Her goal is to have on million women on their way to running their own million-dollar businesses by 2010.
Gayla made a guest appearance again on Houston's CBS Channel 11 during the Great Day Houston morning show.
Gayla Bentley was a GRAND PRIZE WINNER at the 2007 Texas Conference For Women in Austin, Texas October 4, for the Make Mine a Million $ Business award. Governor Perry’s wife, Anita, presented the awards and had rave reviews for the Spring 2008 outfit Gayla was wearing. A large network of like minded female entrepreneurs and business professionals will now work with us to help us reach our goal of $1 million per year in revenues and MUCH MORE! For more information, click here.
Gayla makes a guest appearance on Houston's CBS Channel 11 during the Great Day Houston morning show. She was a sponsor for the station's Ultimate Loser Contest that aired over a 10 week period. Everyone was a winner in Gayla Bentley's clothing!
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Many of you have heard our CEO, Russell Bentley, on Houston’s radio stations over the last few months talking about higher education at Houston Baptist University. He is now featured in a full page “Advertorial” in U.S. News and World Report’s April 9, 2007 issue! To read the full article, please click on this link
Don’t miss the Spring 2007 issue of Oprah At Home which has a fascinating story about Janice Kelly, founder of Connecticut’s Bethel Recovery Center.
Oprah’s design team did a surprise makeover on the facility, and included a makeover for Janice with one of Gayla Bentley’s jackets!
In case you missed the story in Houston Magazine, you can read how Gayla continues to get recognition for her leadership and mentoring activities. We are honored to be included with other Houston “Leaders and Legends” like Barbara Bush, Denton Cooley, George Foreman, and George Mitchell. Gayla truly makes an impact in Houston!
Gayla was recognized as a 2006 Woman On The Move by Texas Executive Women and The Houston Chronicle. The annual award goes to 10 outstanding women who demonstrate leadership and mentoring skills to young women.
Click on the button to see the video of Gayla that was played for nearly 1,000 people in attendance at the awards ceremony November 17, 2006.
In case you missed the November, 2006 issue of Oprah Magazine, here is the photo that features one of our top selling items for the season.
We are looking forward to thrilling Oprah’s readers for many years to come!
See our interview on MSNBC’s hit show
Gayla SCORE’d big!
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During October while Gayla was in Paris, France for Fashion Week, she participated in a trans-Atlantic radio interview with Sally Jesse Raphael.
Gayla and Sally had a lively interview about our business and Gayla won another convert to our fashions!
"Russell Bentley MBA '97
From Fossils to Fashion MBA
Leads to New Career..."
In case you missed our ABC (KTRK 13) Segment, tune in here to see what Gayla Bentley is rolling out for her Spring and Fall 2006 Collections!
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Houston Modern Luxury Magazine Features
Fab Fashion is a big deal for designer Gayla Bentley!
Click the image to read the article -->
Any woman with curves knows that when it comes to clothing
- size does matter.
It can be hard for women who wear larger sizes to find stylish clothing that offers a flattering fit. Gayla Bentley is a local fashion designer who has created a clothing line that allows women of all shapes and sizes to look as though they have just stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine. According to Bentley, it's not about size, it's about style.
Bentley grew up in Rhode Island where she attended a private school that required the students to wear uniforms. When she did shop for clothes, she found it difficult to find clothing that flattered her curvy figure.
"I was shopping for clothes as I prepared to go to college, and I couldn't find anything," said Bentley. "As a college student, I started my own company - Gayla Affairs - where I provided fashion advice for students as well as faculty."
After completing her education, Bentley worked her way up the fashion ladder. Her resume included working for Saks Fifth Avenue as the 5th Avenue Club Director. She also took clients on trips to Paris to explore the latest styles.
"When we were in Paris, I didn't see any clothing that was beautiful and would also fit a woman who was larger than a size eight," said Bentley. "My husband actually encouraged me to create fashionable, larger clothes for women."
Gayla Bentley is a local fashion designer who has created a clothing line that allows women of all shapes and sizes to look as though they have just stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine.
So, Bentley and her husband started their own company. Her husband handles the business end of the operation as the chief executive officer, and she handles the creative side as the company's President.
"My experience as a fashion consultant helped prepare me for this business," said Bentley. "Our clothes can address all aspects of a woman's lifestyle. Attire for every phase of her life - from the desk to dinner - is available through our lines."
Because most women are lacking the fashion staples, Bentley offers a Basics Collection. This is a 27-piece group, all in black, which can be mixed and matched. Everything from tank tops to your basic black dress are included in this group. Her newest collection, called the Gayla Bentley Signature Collection, offers women a luxurious look at affordable prices.
"We are able to offer this less-expensive line because we manufacturer the clothing in Asia," said Bentley. "This allows us to reach out to women in all economic levels."
Bentley gets her design inspiration from everyday life. She finds ideas while traveling, watching television or movies and sitting in church. The color, hemline or other aspect of an article of clothing stays in her mind and she uses that idea to create an entirely new design.
A self-proclaimed fabric snob, Bentley also believes that comfort is important. She says that stretch allows clothing to have a good fit as well as allow for movement. For spring designs, she is using a lot of stretch cotton and stretch linen fabrics.
"There is always one element that dictates a design," said Bentley. "It may be the fabric or the trim. The fit also defines my clothes. I understand the fit of a woman's body."
The flattering fit is the key to all Gayla Bentley designs. Her secret to designing a great-fitting garment is literally under lock and key. She also credits her talented staff for her company's success. Currently, she employs 10 people in her west-Houston operation. In addition to the creative element, fashion design is also surprisingly technical - one of her pattern makers actually holds two engineering degrees.
Bentley considers herself lucky to be so busy and believes that now that the company is in its fifth year - it is poised to take off. For the future, she plans to continue to grow her Signature Collection as well as create a global expansion. She would also like to see a change in the way stores organize their clothing.
"Rather than organizing a store by separating departments by size - petite, women's sizes, etc - why can't everyone's clothes simply be organized by the style - sportswear or careerwear with every size on the rack?" she said. "That way, two friends can enjoy shopping together even if they are completely different shapes and sizes."
In the meantime, anyone can purchase her clothing online by visiting www.neimanmarcus.com or www.gaylabentley.com Interested shoppers can also get more information about Gayla Bentley clothing by e-mailing the company at
Check out the New Red Haute Collar Jacket (available at www.gaylabentley.com and www.neimanmarcus.com), and the Chic Solutions for your everyday life in the Cattle Barron’s Ball issue of Southern Vanity, Dallas’ Affluent Lifestyle Magazine.
Ask Heloise Radio Show:
Tune into Gayla Bentley and Heloise, broadcasting on the radio show, Ask Heloise, on Lifestyle Talk Radio, Sunday June 26th from 12:00 – 1:00 pm Eastern Time (11:00 – 12:00 Central Time).
You don’t want to miss Gayla tell her story, plus get the inside scoop on today’s hottest fashions, and tips on how to dress to flatter your shape and personal style!
Click the link below for local radio stations! http://www.heloise.com/radioshow.html
In case you missed our ABC (KTRK 13) Segment, tune in here to see how Gayla Bentley is using Up to the Minute Technology to create and design “Must Have” fashions for the Modern Woman.
Houston gets the scoop on a Designer Gayla Bentley!
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Travel in Style the Continental Way! For the Month of March the Gayla Bentley Travel Collection is being featured in the Continental Magazine on Continental airlines. Be sure to check us out if you are on a Continental flight. The Gayla Bentley Travel Collection is 25 mix and match black separates designed to make your travel wardrobe take you from daytime duty to evening elegance. Her collection features patns, tops, dresses, and jackets in a flattering stretch fabric.
Houston we have a Finalist:
Gayla Bentley “Torch Lights Nominee”
The American Business Women’s Association Torch Lighter’s Award honors women who “Light the Way” and have made a difference in their field of endeavor and community.
That’s a wrap! The Gayla Bentley Team just finished a photo shoot of their 2005 Collections in Austin, Texas. World renowned and endlessly talented photographer Jimmy Bruch (www.jimmybruch.com) was our Photographer.
Other team members included the fabulous makeup direction of Michelle Dick, and Hair Design by Jim Reynolds of Jim Reynolds Hair Salon. Our incredible stylists included Jim Daily, and Alfred Villamil. The shoot was a huge success – and the photos are spectacular.
Gayla created a new buzz about her designs and fashion expertise after this story ran in the Houston Chronicle . She talks about the seasons must haves, and educates you with a few little tips! Read on to stay up to date on what is happening at the Gayla Bentley Fashion House .
Dropping "Plus Size" from Your Vocabulary
By JOY SEWING
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
Gayla Bentley urges full-figured women everywere to drop "plus size" from their vocabulary.
"No one ever wants to admit their size, so we don't discuss size. It isn't about size. It's about style," says the fashion designer who prefers to use the term "curvy" to refer to women sizes 12 and up.
"Women over size 12 haven't had a chance to have fun. They've been ignored and really don't have beautiful clothes to choose from. We're about fabulous clothes, not just clothes that are fine," she says.
In a snappy cream-colored jacket with a rounded hemline, black slacks and Chanel black-and-white tennis shoes, the curvy Bentley understands the plight of curvy women who have little luck finding stylish clothes.
As a chubby teenager in Rhode Island , Bentley frequented the "chubbette" section of a local clothing store. She was frustrated by the store's limited selection and the staff's lack of knowledge about how to create the right look.
"They didn't know how to dress me, so I decided I was going to learn how to put things together myself."
Bentley began designing her own clothes, then she taught herself to dance.
"Because I was fuller-figured, no one wanted to dance with me so I learned how to jitterbug and started teaching it. I became the most-sought-after dance partner," Bentley says, laughing.
"I could dress and dance."
At a friend's urging, she moved to Houston after college and began a career as a fashion consultant at Sakowitz. She later worked at Saks Fifth Avenue until a car accident interrupted her career.
"I broke my neck, but that time off was the beginning of the best part of my life. I realized I wanted to help other women like me," she says.
Bentley began organizing tours to Paris to teach women about French fashion and style. She took them to the city's boutiques and discount stores, but her fuller-figured clients would rarely buy clothes.
"They would come back with fabulous accessories but no clothes. I thought that if we couldn't find fashionable clothes in Paris for these women, I'd create them myself."
So four years ago, Bentley began designing clothes, creating jackets with longer hems, sleeves that weren't too large and skirts that tapered. She accented them with hats, scarves and colorful accessories.
Bentley's line is now available at Nordstrom for $50 to $500, and she continues to provide ready-to-wear designs for clients at her southwest Houston studio and at trunk shows across the country.
"Women want to have stylish pieces and not just something to cover them. I tell them they are beautiful. It's all about getting them to like themselves and not worrying about the size."
More curves than ever
According to market research firm NPD Group, more than 60 percent of women are a size 12 or larger, and women's plus-size sales generated $17.9 billion in U.S. sales in 2003. "Big and tall" men's styles took in $4.8 billion.
Ironically, the majority of women's clothes are designed for sizes 4-8.
"I'm a size 14 and would love to be a size 12, but if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I'm OK," says Tiffani Dabney, a style expert at Lane Bryant in the Rice Village . "We want to be fashionable. We're divas, too."
Dabney says bras are the best investment women, especially curvy ones, can make.
"A lot of larger women don't know the difference a bra can make with their clothes. A good bra lifts the breast off the chest and gives them a more curvaceous silhouette. Otherwise it looks like everything is running together from the breast to the chest."
Lane Bryant, one of the traditional stores geared toward fuller figures, is now joined by a host of others including Avenue, Catherine's and August Max. Retail chains like Old Navy and Eddie Bauer, and major designers such as Dana Buchman also are providing stylish options.
But there are still not enough choices, says Geri Brin, editor of Figure magazine and co-author of Figure It Out: The Real Woman's Guide to Great Style.
"There are many more options than there used to be, but it's still hard to find clothes that look good when you're bigger," Brin says. "I think many designers believe that their clothes look better on skinny women, and that's pathetic."
Brin says some fashion brands provide bigger sizes, but sacrifice fit or style. And others often design small and big sizes the same.
"There are certain styles that don't translate. Big women should never, ever wear pleated pants," Brin says.
"I sympathize with women who are happy with their figure but can't find styles that look good. Things are changing slowly, but it's still not enough."
At Bentley's studio, a mirror is situated strategically in the fitting room, not the dressing room.
"Woman are very hard on themselves. I don't let them go to the mirror unless they look good," Bentley says.
"Many women have never seen themselves in a garment that looks great on them. I try to educate women on what makes them look great, and I make clothes that they want to wear."
Gayla Bentley offers plus size chic designer styles for woman plus size, 12-28. All Gayla Bentley designer plus size clothing is modern with fitted designs available in missy and plus size petite. Petite plus size 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X. Plus size woman clothes for all occasions, plus size women’s career, plus size clothes for daytime and plus size evening wear. Plus size jackets, plus size pants, plus size tops and plus size blouses, plus size skirts and plus size dresses. European plus size styles, Paris plus size styles. Modern clothes for the plus size woman, best fit in plus size style clothes. The Bentley Basics 25 piece Wardrobe is made up of plus size clothing that creates an essential foundation for plus size women’s wardrobe. Available in 3 colors.