Aussie nurse hailed for ‘saving lives’ with sellout clothes brand Proud Poppy for ‘women of every size’ launches new collection

Following the birth of her son, former emergency nurse Tara knew it was a now or never moment for her business idea.

An Aussie emergency nurse whose size-inclusive range has been credited with “saving women’s lives” has launched a new one-of-a-kind collection designed with the renowned First Nations artist Caitlyn Davies.

Fashion lover Tara McKeon launched Proud Poppy after she was unable to find anything feminine and pretty that would fit and flatter her size 26 frame.

Rather than swathe herself in ugly black leggings or a tent of fabric following the birth of her son Brodie, Tara - who was on maternity leave at the time - knew it was a now or never moment for launching her own business.

“I wanted to create a store full of clothes that women of every size could wear,” Tara tells 7Life.

“It was selfish in a way as I wanted to find clothes I could wear but, my maternity leave with my son was ending and I knew I had to give it a crack or go back to working nights. I decided, I can do this.”

Proud Poppy has gone on to become a best-selling business across the country, with women saying it has been a “life saver” for those who want to look good, whatever their shape or size.

The new range - the Dustin Koa Collection - has been created with stylish, conscious women in mind.

The beautiful print on the dresses, blouses and trousers was designed by First Nations artist Caitlyn Davies

The six pieces in the range tell the story of an area that is special to Caitlyn’s father’s upbringing, and the artwork traces the path from Broken Hill to Menindee Lakes, via Wilcannia, White Cliffs and Packsaddle.

The print showcases the beauty of the region, while the purple line on each of the clothing items symbolises the flow of the Darling River.

Prices range from $94.95 to $129.95, while 10 per cent of all proceeds will be donated to the Stars Foundation supporting Indigenous girls and young women to attend and remain engaged at school, complete year 12 and move into work or further study.

Since launching Proud Poppy in August 2019, Tara has gone from success to success.

While she admits it was slow to start, when Tara started stocking sizes upwards of 18, it wasn’t long before word spread and her social media following grew to 133,000 customers.

Proud Poppy started principally as an online offering, but bricks and mortar shops soon followed.

There are now three in total - two in Victoria and one in Queensland.

“Last year we grew 100 per cent year-on-year,” Tara says, adding she was “shocked” by how fast it was happening.

She says she now receives an order every 2.5 minutes.

“Some of our ranges can sell out within two minutes,” she says.

“My husband has quit his job in manufacturing to come on board with the business and we are ploughing everything we earn back into it to grow it even further.

“We’ve worked really hard but I never thought Proud Poppy would get to this scale.”

Those who have bought from Proud Poppy have waxed lyrical about the clothes and how they make all women feel special and stylish.

“Buy one or buy all the dresses,” one reviewer writes.

“That perfect dress you’ll find yourself reaching for all occasions. Great for bigger busted girls.”

Another adds: “This dress is truly beautiful, and it feels great on too. I got a compliment from my seven-year-old: ‘Mum, you look beautiful, like a princess’. Thank you for making me feel nice about myself.”

While a third says: “The perfect show-stopper dress! Makes you feel a million bucks like you just stepped off a fashion runway! Great arm coverage and nice length. Lightweight and comfortable to wear”.

Tara has never returned to being an emergency nurse and says she is proud of the feedback she gets from women around the country.

“What we do is beyond a dress,” Tara says.

“Women comes to us and say this all the time. It blows me away.”

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