We’re all about women doing big things here at House of Coco and we love hearing about local success stories, especially right in the heart of our hometown of Yorkshire. So, when we heard about two young mums from Bradford who have created a luxury unisex children’s wear brand in their own home that is already filling children’s wardrobes of A-list celebrities such as P Diddy, Kylie Jenner, and Snoop Dog to name but a few, we couldn’t wait to put the spotlight on them.
In 2018 Natasha Formoy and Chantelle Etienne both 32 and childhood friends worked from Natasha’s home alongside their full- time jobs to create the children’s clothing brand, House of Juniors – aimed at children aged 5-16
Natasha and Chantelle met at school and soon discovered they both had a passion for fashion and business. Remaining friends, they spent time building the brand whilst working as full-time social care workers and bringing up their children. The entrepreneurial duo joined forces with now head designer, Kamila Ogrodnik, 26, who, alongside Natasha, focused on developing the brand’s design and has since become a partner in the ever-expanding business.
Natasha said, ‘When we first started the brand, we had to convert the downstairs of my house into a workspace because we didn’t have the funds for a warehouse or office. At one point, every room in the house was overflowing with clothes.’
Before developing House of Juniors, Natasha spent years researching the children’s fashion market worldwide, visiting trade shows in Europe, and gaining insight into how rival brands have become so successful in the marketplace. It was at these trade shows Natasha built invaluable relationships with suppliers from the manufacturer of fabrics to garment producers.
In 2018 House of Juniors were chosen to showcase their products at Mini Mode, the official children’s runway at London Fashion Week, where they walked amongst brands such as Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld. On the back of the success of their catwalk, they were awarded a campaign with Harper’s Bazaar, and this became a turning point for the creative duo.
Chantelle said, ‘We were selected to walk in the show alongside brand such as Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld. To be chosen was a huge honour and a massive achievement for our brand. What made it more special for us instead of using professional London based professional models, we brought kids down from Yorkshire, which, along with the amazing clothes gave us a real point of difference.”
The turning point for the children’s designers was when the daughters of American rapper, P Diddy aka Diddy posted an image of his twin daughters, Jessie, D’lila wearing the brands signature fur coats on his Instagram. From that moment, the brand skyrocketed, with a spike in sales and thousands of new followers on the House of Juniors Instagram.
The fashion entrepreneurs then reached out to other Hollywood A list stars such as Chris Brown, Snoop Dog and Kimora who also posted photos and videos of their children wearing pieces of their
fashion line. More recently their iconic girls pink fur coat was seen in Stormi’s wardrobe on a recent post on Kylie’s Instagram.
Natasha said, ‘The demand for clothes has been insane since Diddy posted his daughter wearing one of our fur coats. The power of social media has been such an important part of creating awareness for our brand. It was surreal to see the clothes designed by two mums from Yorkshire being worn by the children of Hollywood celebrities. It was these posts that helped take the business to another level. The most surreal moment had to be when Kimora Simmons messaged us on Instagram, inviting us to work with her in LA!
Chantelle added, ‘We have seen our pink coat in Stormi’s wardrobe on Kylie’s Instagram and we are hoping it will make an appearance in this season of keeping up with the Kardashians!’
Since these celebrity endorsements, demand for sales has been worldwide, mainly in America, Europe, the Middle East and parts of Russia.
As with any business, Coronavirus has had a significant knock-on effect on the Brand’s development and growth as the supply chain quickly ground to a halt. Before Coronavirus hit the UK, House of Juniors had already produced two collections available worldwide. The pandemic gave them the time to work on their third collection, which will be available to purchase soon.
Natasha commented, “It was a huge struggle when the pandemic hit as we didn’t have access to our suppliers based overseas. However, we have used the time wisely to develop the range and now there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
What is next for the House of Juniors? After a rise in sales and exposure, they have recently partnered with sports brand PUMA to produce a creative commissioned design collaboration that will reach stores soon across the UK, France, Germany, Ireland and America. This collaboration aims to involve children in the actual design process and really embeds the idea of being unique. The success of this has pushed House of Juniors to create an adult collection just for the Puma collaboration, so don’t worry, your children won’t be the only ones looking stylish!
Now the pandemic is easing, House of Juniors are itching to get themselves to the USA to explore retail opportunities that they were offered before and during Coronavirus but have not been able to explore fully due to the travel restrictions. Chantelle says their long-term goals and dreams for the brand are to gain worldwide exposure and success, along with having representation in large luxury retail stores such as Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. They are also aiming to have a huge on-line presence. Their ultimate goal to be compared to the brand OFF WHITE, but for children.
With these long-term ambitions from the owners of House of Juniors, you will be sure to hear about them. Keep your eye out for big things to come!