Caldwell Collection was selected for Southern Living 2022 Tastemakers.

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"They also come by their love of fashion honestly. "I had two sisters who wore larger sizes back when stores did not sell plus-size clothes, so my mom and I made everything," says Caldwell. Lea attributes her style savvy to her grandmother too. "My mom's mom was a boutique owner in North Carolina in the 1980s," she says. "I remember hiding underneath wedding gowns… My mom and I have always had this background of creativity in fashion."

The timing of the Caldwell Collection's April 2020 debut wasn't ideal, given that the coronavirus pandemic kept fans at home. Even so, Caldwell and Lea made the most of it, hosting virtual fashion shows to start building a fan base of their own. Now that stadiums are once again filled with people, they're optimistic about growing their line to include more team colors. "Here in the South, game day is an experience," says Lea. "It's not just a football or basketball game. It's an event, and you come dressed to the nines. It's exciting for us to be a part of that."

But for the mother-daughter duo, it's about more than school spirit. "We're really proud that we are a Black-owned, women-owned, family-owned business, which is incredibly rare," says Lea. "We don't take that lightly. We love to talk to other minority business owners, tell them our story, and offer any kind of support or advice whenever we can."