If you wish for girly prints, high quality fabrics and stitching but most of all a dash of Neon here and there for your kids wardrobe, then JUNIPERBERRY KIDS is the dress brand for you! Visit her website: www.juniperberrykids.com
Katie Christie, mama to two gorgeous girls and living in SW18 has made the above dream come true! I met Katie over a cup of tea last month. She is cool, really cool! She’s super relaxed and very confident with herself! And she’s just wonderful! We could have chatted for ever. She’s warm and kind and quite scandì in her looks and ways. She is Scandì, I find out during our chat and this is a big influence in her brand, as well as her two girls, of course!
Here she tells me a little more about Juniperberry Kids…
How was Juniperberry launched? So I started JuniperBerry Kids while I was on maternity leave with Juniper, my youngest daughter. I have always made clothing and especially like designing and making clothes for children as you can be experimental. I was taught to sew by my mother when I was young and it was a great way to spend time together and have sewing projects in holidays etc.
When I was on maternity leave I decided that I wanted to start a children’s fashion brand focusing on comfortable, timeless clothing that could be worn by a range of age groups. I started working on some designs and then did a couple of sales locally and received really positive feedback. I also started looking into how I could develop the brand to be designed and made solely in the UK. This involved sourcing a manufacturer and reliable fabric suppliers. Not having come from the fashion industry this was an incredibly rewarding learning curve. I visited the Meet the Manufacturer trade fair which takes place in London every May and managed to source the perfect manufacturer. I then started ordering fabric and going into production.
Juniper is your daughters name…does your other daughter want a “sister” line in her name? 😉 I decided on the name as the brand was born quite soon after I had my youngest daughter and the name JuniperBerry also fitted with the brand ethos coming from my Danish/British heritage. Juniper plants grow in both Denmark and Scotland. I wanted the brand to have a nature backdrop reflecting the relaxed and comfortable nature of the designs. I added Berry to the name as in nature berries symbolise growth and health.
My eldest daughter has really embraced the brand and loves what I’m doing. She helps me with the fabric and colour choices. I would like to start naming my designs at some stage so will look at naming some of the products after her. There may well be plans for a sister line in the future too….maybe designed by her!
You’re very clued up in the manufacturing side as you actually used to make the dresses yourself in the early days. Who are you working with now and how easy has it been to, in a sense, hand over your designs to someone else to make? In the early days of the brand I spent a lot of time with a good friend who was also setting up a children’s clothing brand. She is a fashion designer and had worked for some big labels so she was a fount of knowledge for me. She gave me so much support and encouragement and it’s thanks to her that I got off on the right path.
My manufacturer is based in Rochdale. They specialise in childrenswear and most of their work is producing school uniform so they have the attention to detail that I need. I am very confident in how they work with my designs as they have an in house pattern cutter who can help to modify the patterns and make suggestions about how the garment design can be improved before it goes into production.
What is the plan for the next 6 months to a year? In the next 6 months – 1 year my plan is to grow the product line of the brand to include a few pieces for boys. I want to keep the collection small so that I can focus on delivering really quality products and also test the market and see how these products are received. I am exhibiting at the Best of Britannia Show in London 12-13 October which is a trade show celebrating british design and manufacture so I’m really excited about the exposure that this will give the brand. I will also be popping up at Christmas fairs and markets in and around London. I currently sell through my own website as well as on a number of other online shopping platforms. I would like to investigate selling as wholesale to physical shops, starting with the UK. My focus at the moment really is to grow the brand awareness and build up a loyal customer base.
You’re increasing your age to 8 years now. Why is this? Will the designs be the same or slightly amended? I decided to offer garments for an older age group mainly because I kept getting asked if I did sizes for school age children. As the brand is still so new, I’m still in the experimenting stage of trying different age combinations to see what works best. So far my larger sizes from 4 upwards have been the most popular especially online. The designs are currently the same for all age groups but this may change as the product range expands.
Who or what is your inspiration for prints, colours and style? My inspiration for prints, colour and style largely comes from my love of scandinavian childrens clothing design. Also I am personally a big fan of bright colours all year round and especially the odd little neon detail….
Apart from your own, what’s your favourite children’s wear brand? Mmmm favourite childrenswear brand- that’s a tricky oen to answer! I love Okker Gokker (Danish brand) and also love Monty and Co who have a fantastic brand story and gorgeous products.