Chavon Fortson, the designer of Chavon Shree is an Arkansas native and majored in apparel studies and received a bachelor’s degree in Human Environmental Science from the University of Arkansas.
October 18th, 2018
Chavon Fortson, the designer of Chavon Shree is an Arkansas native and majored in apparel studies and received a bachelor’s degree in Human Environmental Science from the University of Arkansas. Her first home economics class in middle school was the light bulb moment for her to realise she wanted to be a fashion designer. Just seeing the finish product of the pillowcases and pyjama pants they were making was so fascinating to her, so the rest was history from there.
Chavon Shree strides to make women feel like they are classy but can still bend the rules a little bit. She wants women to feel good and free about themselves and not to feel conformed by the world we live in now.
Chavon Shree is a modern hippie street wear women’s line. The clothing includes tie-dye prints, bold fabrics and bright colours. The inspiration for the clothing can come from different paths of life such as sunrises/sunsets, different countries, fabrics, jungle/rainforest, celebrities such as Sade, Erykah Badu, Tracee Ellis Ross just to name a few.
Here, she chats to us at House of Coco to tell us more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it? I launched Chavon Shree Fall of 2011. When I launched the brand I was actually working a full-time job as a textile specialist but I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do long term. So after a year and 4 months I left from my full-time job and started to pursue Chavon Shree full-time along with the help of my husband (at the time he was just my boyfriend). I always knew after I graduated college I wanted to eventually start my own brand because in college I was the friend that always fixed my friends clothing or made pieces for friends here and there.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently? Of course running my business hasn’t always been peaches and cream but I honestly don’t think I would do anything differently. I feel like everything I have gone through with my business has been a learning experience within itself. Plus I feel like its help mould me into the woman I am today because I know for sure I am not the same women I was at 23 now at 30.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company? Just the basic challenges of retail. Some months are great and others months can be slow. Retail is a business that you really can’t project how things will go but I still love it. I just take those slow months and tap into other creative things that I like such as interior decorating or creating clothing items for myself.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know? I have slight OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) behaviour. I have to have things the way I like it or it bothers me big time. I dislike for people to change my stuff without me knowing. I also love to binge watch new shows. If I start a new tv series I can typically finish it within a week or weekend.
2019 is almost here, where do you plan on taking the brand? I actually want to move my business from my Etsy store online and move it over to my main website and run everything from there. So I’m going to get new product pictures and just update the website in general because it needs a good cleaning up.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching? My biggest highlight to date has been being recognised internationally by British Vogue. I feel like I’m one of those people that never wins an award for my brand or comes second fiddle to others that do but this was a huge moment for me and I’m still sitting on cloud nine from that.
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without? I’m not really one that has tons of beauty products on me when I leave the house but two things I do need to have in my purse are my Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee Magic Wand Lip Balm and some sort of hand lotion such a Nivea or Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula.
Style means….? Whatever you want it to mean. Just make sure you’re representing your style the best way you know how. Don’t let the world define what your style should be.
Statement shoe or statement bag? Statement shoe. I absolutely love shoes especially sneakers. I’m all about comfort for my feet.
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday? Its so crazy how I design all of these fun clothing items but my choice of clothing everyday would be either my gray or black Nike sweatpants they are my absolute favourite.
Favourite love song? Oh wow this is hard…I’m such a sucker for R&B music but I guess I would say New Edition-Can You Stand The Rain
Most memorable piece of advice given to you? My paw paw once told me “It’s good you have a man that makes money, but remember to have some of your own.”
Guilty pleasure? Doughnuts! I love a good glazed doughnut or maybe more like half a dozen of them.
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be? I’ve traveled to quite a few places and still have many more on my bucket list I would like to see but I would say Morocco because I would want to go fabric shopping.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company? I actually like the simplicity of my company and keeping it small. Maybe in the future I’ll add two or three people to my team but I just like keeping it small for now because I feel like bigger companies tend to lose their sparkle and when things are mass produced. It’s just not that special anymore.
Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.