The JoJo Story …
The JoJo ethos has always been the same: to offer gorgeous, quirky yet practical designs and excellent customer service while putting people and the planet before profit. So much yet so little has changed since 1993; it’s no longer a one-woman band, but JoJo Maman Bébé is still creating beautiful collections while being kind to the world around us.
1992 in the beginning
Following her studies, running her small clothing business and travelling around Asia, Laura sets up a business based in Brittany, France. Here, she falls in love with the outdoor lifestyle, chic fashion and the practical way children are dressed to enjoy being active whatever the weather. On her way to sell her French company, Laura has a near fatal head-on collision, leading to an extended stay in hospital. Her ward neighbour complains about the lack of good catalogue fashion for her children. Laura has a light bulb moment, and the idea for JoJo is conceived; Breton influenced, quirky British fashion via mail order.
1993 jojo is born
JoJo Maman Bébé launches from a tiny shared office in London with the stock stored in a disused carpenter’s workshop at her parents’ place in Pontypool, South Wales. The first catalogue is 24 pages and offers 30 styles of maternity & baby wear.
1995 the first team members arrive
The first team members are recruited (who are mostly still with the company today). Some lucky PR and an eclectic maternity collection get the brand noticed by the press and customers flow in.
1997 learning from experience
After 3 years of working around the clock, Laura’s first son is born. Finally having a child of her own, she starts to really understand the needs of the mother, and innovative nursery products are added to the range. Helping the collection keep up with modern technology, JoJo launches its first website early on, when most people don’t know what the WWW is.
1999 keeping up with demand
After years of trading out of various sheds and garages, JoJo finally buys a 20,000 sq ft warehouse in Newport, Wales to help cope with growing demand. Within 4 years the company doubles the space with a large extension. JoJo head office works closely with the community and builds good local loyalty.
2000 putting people and the environment first
Productivity is high; employees understand the brand values and work in an environment which puts people and the planet above bottom line profit. A profit share system is introduced and after years of development, the JoJo recycled Polarfleece is perfected and put into production.
2002 the first jojo store opens
JoJo opens its first store in Battersea, London after giving in to customer pressure. Old fashioned customer service and highly trained staff prove to be a hit, and several more stores open soon after. Within 10 years JoJo becomes the leading boutique mother and baby brand in the UK.
2003 hard work gets recognised
Laura Tenison receives an MBE for services to business in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.
2006 doing good while doing well
Wanting to support a charity where the funds really make a difference, JoJo decides to work directly with communities in rural Mozambique to reduce infant mortality. Working with a small local charity, JoJo takes on the accounts and helps with fundraising and managing the teams. Nema, together with JoJo, has since built 5 schools which provide education to 1,500 children, introduced 2 motorbike ambulances to the village and brought access to clean water to 20,000 people via 42 water points.
2011 the expansion continues in newport…
The international department launches at a start-up level with trade fairs in New York offering the quirky British designs with a French nautical style to the Americans. The collections are a hit and JoJo is now sold in 70 countries across the world. To keep up with demand, JoJo needs more space and relocates down the road to a new 90,000 sq ft warehouse and new purpose built offices, staying local to retain the loyal Welsh workforce.
2012 …and in london
After 10 years of working from a small property in London, the JoJo Design, Buying and Marketing studio moves to its gorgeous new home in a converted convent school.
2013 jojo celebrates 20 years
JoJo celebrates its 20th birthday. The mission today is exactly the same as it was in 1993: to design gorgeous collections and innovative products for mums-to-be, parents and their babies, whilst offering exemplary customer service, being loyal to our suppliers, sensible about the environment and respecting our teams. To mark the occasion, JoJo recruits Eloise, a vintage Citroen HY Van who now travels all over the country, spreading the JoJo word.
2014 a place for everybody
JoJo is voted Best Employer in the Disability Awards by long-time Downs Syndrome employee Sammy-Jo, recognising the company’s on-going effort to work with those with learning disabilities by offering full contract employment or work placements.
2015 fit for a princess
JoJo comes to the attention of the world’s press when worn by the British Royal Family. The Duchess of Cambridge looked amazing in the already aptly named “Cream Princess Coat” whilst visiting the set of Downton Abbey.
2016 from a mother to another
JoJo begins its latest charity initiative, From a Mother to Another (FAMTA) which aims to provide Syrian refugees living in Lebanon with good quality, donated clothes, as well as families in need based in the UK, all while helping to reduce the amount of clothing sent to landfill each year.
2018 a transatlantic journey
After 25 years of trading, the brand is still going from strength to strength, with web sales doubling annually. And thanks to the recently opened warehouse in New Jersey, the JoJo word is beginning to spread across the USA.
where to next..?
JoJo now employs over 700 people in the UK, has 70 stores across the UK and Ireland, is about to open its first US stores this year, and has trade partners in 40 countries across the globe…including Bump & me in Malta 🙂 JoJo Maman Bébé’s aim is to continue expanding at a steady pace without losing sight of the founding ideals: putting people and the planet above profit and offering great service and gorgeous designs.