Lifestyle

The Tit Club – Interview

“Your breasts are the best!”

This quote is what piqued my interest to delve deeper into this glorious account on Instagram called The Tit Club that magically appeared on my feed one day and gave me an entirely new perspective around appreciating our bodies for the impeccable pieces of art that they are.

Owned and managed by South Australia-based Sarah Burley, the motto of The Tit Club is simple: to celebrate individuals by promoting a strong sense of body positivity through the illustrious range of products on offer (think pots, earrings, key chains, portraits, incense burners, and even denimwear representing tatas, tooshies, and other terrific reproductive parts of our bodies). The Tit Club offers their customers with the opportunity to appreciate one’s beauty, by keeping it real through the depictions of their bodies in its most wholesome and accurate form.

And the best part? YOU (as the customer) get to decide whether you’d like to bare it all or just enough to offer a cheeky glimpse of your favourite assets. After all, consent is a cool concept that’s exponentially better when put into practice!

Having followed Sarah’s journey through The Tit Club for quite some time, my curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to understand what made her start this booti-ful business – have a read of our exchange below:

Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Sarah?
Sarah: Gosh I never know what to say to this question!
I’m 26, I’m a self taught visual artist and I’m also studying a Bachelor of Counselling, so that I can work as a counsellor and art therapist with women – especially those who have repressed trauma, alongside running my businesses. I am obsessed with my fur babes, collecting old books, house plants and the perfect brunch. My mum is my absolute hero and I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter; if I’m completely honest!

Tema: What made you want to start up your own business?
Sarah: It’s strange to say, but I don’t think it was ever something I meant to do, at least at the start. A couple of years ago, I began exhibiting my art, which I loved and still do. But, it wasn’t really connecting me to people the way that I wanted it to. So, whilst I was working out what my next art move was, whilst working full time in the healthcare industry and studying (a completely different degree to now), I did this little water colour painting of my dog Maggie and my cat Tonks and posted it to my art profile. A few people enquired about them and it all just happened from there. I think I only decided I wanted to do it more seriously after I brought out my first set of ready-to-buy art prints. It all just felt right to start moving it in that direction.

Tema: How did you decide on bringing the concept of The Tit Club into a reality?
Sarah: I was absolutely obsessed with all the statement and female empowering art coming out of Europe at the time; especially from the UK. You honestly couldn’t get me to stop talking about artists like Florence Given, Emma Low and Louisa Foley. I was planning on bringing out some body-positive art and jewellery through Maggie and Tonks. But, then I thought maybe I’d put those 8 months of night time pottery classes to work and make it more of a collective and include the sculpture / pot work too. So, I spent one day (really bored at work) last July, brainstorming strange names and coming up with an ethos, knowing my focus would be on boobs. Somehow, @thetitclub was a free handle on Instagram (like, how though?), so that kinda lit the feminist flame under my toosh to make it a reality. The most inclusive non-exclusive club had to be a thing!

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Tema: Why did you start up a business on such a unique concept?
Sarah: I think there were two big motivators for me, especially doing this in Australia. firstly, that we have so many underlying, subliminal and institutionalized issues in the way as a whole we treat our minority groups and women, like our racism and sexism? Sweet lord! It’s ridiculous how ingrained it is. And secondly, and this is probably TMI, but body image is a big deal to me. After having an eating disorder and seeing how it’s represented in almost every industry, I was sick of seeing the same old conversations about violence against women, and slut shaming. I honestly didn’t know what to do for a long time after being sexually assaulted to turn my anger and outrage into something kinder – for me and other people that had gone through it. I’m the third generation in my family to be affected by it, and I know that it’s really common for other people too. I knew I couldn’t do all that much about policies and radical change, but I could create a space where women, people of colour, non-binary people and members of the LGBT+ community can feel safe, and feel seen, not feel so alone in all the shit things that we’ve been through and also have the weird and the wonderful of the human body presented in a way that makes them see they’re worthy of love and every other good feeling.

Tema: Why a focus on tits in particular?
Sarah: Well, firstly, tits are bloody phenomenal, but mostly, I think that tits were an easy place to get the conversations I wanted to have started. They’re a bit taboo (women’s anyway), but not so taboo that I’d be sending Nan into cardiac arrest or pushing an agenda that was too controversial to get heard. I also thought that tits (realistically) are the one thing we all have. Men and women have nips and tits or ‘pecs’. It felt like an equal meeting place to start it all. There was also so much more to it, with the vulva, bums and penis inclusions, but ‘tit’ just has a certain ring to it!

Tema: So, what’s Maggie and Tonks – does it encompass The Tit Club into the mix or are they two separate businesses?
Sarah: Maggie and Tonks is kind of like the home of the Tit Club, I guess. I started M&T soon after the portraits started taking off and developed it to include a print and greeting card range as well. Part way through, I realised that I wanted to start saying a bit more with my art than I was and I worked on my first body-positive illustrations, which include the ‘Your Breasts are Best’ Print and the clay bits and bobs. Separating them a little was an easy and simply business savvy choice. A lot of my clientele are the same, but some are drastically different and if you’re only here to see the cute pups and family portraits, getting a pair of ta-ta’s or a galaxy filled vagina in your morning scroll through the ‘gram would be a bit of a shock. I also chose to create some distance between the two via social media so that I wasn’t censoring the Tit Club or myself at all to keep M&T customers happy. They’re the two sides of me really. So it’s great that I get to do both – the whimsical and the completely radical.

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Collaboration with Nicole is Nicole Ceramics

Tema: Do you primarily work through your online store or do you have a physical shopfront?
Sarah: I mostly work / sell through my website and from my home studio. I’m just about to start working in a studio out of home for a few months, which I’m really excited about, cause well… I can talk to actual humans. But, I also have some stockists! Parts of my range can be found at ReLove on Ebenezer place in the city and at the Karma and Crow (the best cafe ever) gift shop.

Tema: What do you hope for your customers to experience when getting a breastiful beauty from your business?
Sarah: A little giggle, a bit of education or eye-opening moment to the world and sisters around them, and a whole lot of love for themselves and the magic that is womankind.

Tema: By offering customized versions of pots to your customers, what are you hoping to achieve through the statement piece?
Sarah: I think the best thing I’ve ever had said back to me after a customer received one of my custom editions was “I never believed my husband when he complimented my body, especially when it came to my breasts. I couldn’t see what he was seeing. But, I have now, and I really am beautiful”. I literally just want women (or anyone that orders a pot) to be able to see themselves for the radical, beautiful work of magic that they are. The way the mirror, society, and the media have tricked us out of being able to see when we look at ourselves.

Tema: What has been your favourite custom pot that you’ve made to date?
Sarah: I think the custom bathing piece I did. It was so unique and such a surprise to the recipient. It also challenged me a lot. It was a Camilla piece, and we all know how insanely detailed they are. It also encouraged a few people who didn’t want to get a pot the nude, but still wanted something special to come see what it was all about too!

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Custom Camilla bathing suit piece

Tema: What has been one of / some of the most popular requests of custom pots that you have made to date?
Sarah: The made-to-order monstera nipple cover pots probably, I’m yet to meet a person that doesn’t like boobs and plants. So, it makes sense that they’ve been working so well together.

Tema: What other products do you offer through your business?
Sarah: So. I do the vulva, bum and penis pots too, as well as all of those in incense burners. I do custom nude portraits for people that want something uniquely them but not in a pot. There’s also the jewellery and print / card range. I’ve literally always got something new in the works though – there are so many things about our bodies that we ought to celebrate!

Tema: What do you think helps your business stand out and prove to be an attractive point of discussion and engagement?
Sarah: Personally, it’s that it’s a business built on everyone being seen, loving yourself and your fellow humans, and advocating hard as hell for the things you believe in. It’s environmentally and socially conscious and it’s moving with society. The Tit Club is changing as people are and I keep the focus on making sure it’s not just selling cute things, but also raising awareness and educating kindly.

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Boob Up Your Wardrobe workshop

Tema: Do you make regular appearances at markets? If so, which ones are your go-to’s?
Sarah: My go-to markets are Creative Lifestyle Markets, which is where I take my whole tit club range and Gilles at the Grounds, where I take parts of the Tit Club there, along with the whole Maggie and Tonks range and the vintage/preloved clothing biz that I now have with my partner.

Tema: Have you got plans to expand the range of products that are offered by your business?
Sarah: I feel like I have 10 new crazy ideas a week and most of them seem to be sticking! It’s all about the timing (or just having enough of it). I’ll be further developing my jewellery range over the coming months to include a wider variety, as well as boobie key chains, which have just become available. I’ve just released my collab boobie keeper cups with Nicole is Nicole Ceramics. She’s an incredible maker and this project was a dream. I’ve also got tote bags and tshirts on the way, which I’m working with Ashleigh from Lil Leigh Designs to screen print. The range will continue to evolve over time. A big aim will be the further inclusion of collaborations, which I’ll be focusing on working with women makers to create. And the workshops! My first Boob Up Your Wardrobe workshop is next month and I have a big variety of workshops being announced for the rest of the year.

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Boobie key chains

Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like your customers to know about you and your business?
Sarah: The Tit Club isn’t designed just for women, but for everyone. Men have tits and feelings and self esteem issues too and as I keep developing it, there will be more representation and inclusivity of them too. Because feminism isn’t about hating men, it’s about working to make us all equal. But ultimately, I hope people see it and me, I guess, as just doing some good, spreading some love, and educating through experience and research. This project is for everyone that has ever felt different, judged, hated themselves or survived.

Official website
https://maggieandtonks.com/

The Tit Club
https://maggieandtonks.com/collections/thetitclub

Social media
Maggie & Tonks: Facebook // Instagram
The Tit Club: Facebook // Instagram

Interview conducted by Fatema Sitabkhan
Images supplied by Sarah Burley

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