December 2020 Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Laura Arick Carmel resident Melissa Callon by day is a practicing registered nurse as well as a champion for positivity, self-acceptance and a healthy body image. Callon’s own personal story with alcohol addiction and recovery is one of the reasons she decided to create her own clothing and accessories brand—Positive Lotus—that she launched in June of this year. A Positive Message for Difficult Times In a world that encourages materialism and constant comparison, Callon’s message is that true happiness begins from within. “My collection of apparel and accessories is a reflection of this message and shows that you do not need outside influences (such as the perfect body, house, clothes, money, drugs or alcohol) to truly feel good about yourself,” Callon shared. “I struggled with addiction in my teenage and early adult years. By the time I was 23, I was ready to admit that I had a problem and went into a recovery program. It was hard for me to admit that I had a problem because I didn’t know many people, at my age, that were getting sober.” After a lot of hard work and self-discovery, Callon found her calling and became a registered nurse. She has been sober for a little over seven years and going strong. “Another reason why I wanted to start this brand was to show women—especially—that you don’t have to wait until later in life to get sober,” Callon expressed. “Addiction affects all ages, races and backgrounds. I got the idea for the line while I was out shopping for a gift for a friend. What I noticed is that there are a lot of products out there that are alcohol-centric. For instance, products that say, ‘Mama needs a drink’ or ‘Rosé all day’ and things like that. I thought to myself that I would like to see stuff out there that reflects my message that you don’t need drugs or alcohol or the perfect hair, clothes and/or home to feel good about yourself.” Callon continued, “That was the inspiration behind Positive Lotus, and I came up with some sayings and mantras that I use in my recovery program, like ‘Grow through what you go through,’ ‘Attitude of gratitude’ and things like that for my clothing line.” When asked why she chose the lotus flower as her insignia, Callon replied, “The lotus flower is kind of an obsession for me because it grows through the mud and dirty water and eventually comes through that darkness to blossom into a beautiful and lovely flower that we see. For me, it's a representation of any dark and difficult times that you may go through. It’s important to me that people know that it's possible to come out on the other side and be a better person because of it.” Living Her Message While building her business, Callon continues to care for patients as a registered nurse, and all this while living though the nation’s worst pandemic since 1917–18. Unfortunately, Callon and her fiancé, Ben—who helps her with the business side of her brand— both contracted COVID-19 and have made full recoveries. Having survived it, Callon is even more determined and driven to grow her brand and make a positive impact on peoples’ lives. “I didn’t realize the mental impact that has with having to isolate and stay home before having it,” Callon shared. “I was blessed that my symptoms were mild, but my fiance got really sick at one point. Luckily, being a nurse, I was able to help monitor, but I started to think about all the other people, especially people dealing with addiction who are trying to sober in these challenging times. I just want them to know that no matter what’s going on in your life, no matter how bad it gets, you CAN get through anything—sober.” Something Positive for All Body Types Positive Lotus currently features a robust collection of apparel and accessories for a variety of sizes and body shapes—including plus sizes—on its website and is looking to build on those collections going into next year. “We’re currently working on new designs for spring,” Callon said. “We started this brand to be all about building self-worth and a positive self-image. We offer small to plus sizes at the same price that we offer all of our other sizes. We want to make sure that we offer comfortable clothes at a reasonable price for all body shapes and sizes.” A Fun and Purpose-Driven Brand Positive Lotus promotes positivity and healthy body image, and it also supports local and national causes that focus on inspiring and empowering others. Callon shared that her company donates 5% of all its sales to the Natural High organization. Natural High is a drug abuse prevention nonprofit that provides classroom and family resources for 6th–12th graders. The mission is to inspire and empower youth to find their Natural High and develop the skills and courage to live life well. “Being a body positive brand is just a part of our mission,” Callon explained. “It is important to us to give back to the community for causes that are meaningful to us.” Positive Lotus was featured by A-Plus’ website, an organization founded by actor and technology investor Ashton Kutcher, for the positive work it is doing. Callon is passionate about helping local organizations and causes. She also believes in the importance of supporting local and works with not only local graphic designers, printing companies and minority-owned businesses but is also looking to get even more involved with local nonprofits and organizations that align with her positive messaging and areas of interest. While working through the challenges this year has brought, Callon said, “We will continue to adjust with the punches and are grateful for all the ‘little wins.’” Be part of the positive and follow Positive Lotus on Facebook at Positive Lotus, Instagram at thepositivelotus and shop online at positivelotus.com.