Is there any highest stamp of approval for a childrenswear brand than seeing the young Royals dressed in it? Spanish-made but British-based Pepa & Co only started in 2013 but it has grown into a mainstay of Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s wardrobe, their stylish mum no doubt attracted by the traditional and high quality design of the clothes.
Now parents all round the world are desperate to dress their little ones in these timeless pieces by Pepa Gonzalez, who grew up in Spain watching her mum make such exquisite clothes for her own brood, strangers commented that they “looked like princes”.
We caught up with the star designer to find out more…
Why did you set up Pepa & Co?
I moved to London to work in the marketing department for the Spanish Embassy. When that contract finished, I worked as a nanny for about two years. That was when I realised how difficult it was to find lovely traditional and vintage-inspired clothing for babies and children at affordable prices in the UK.
What sparked your passion for children’s clothing?
I love fashion. In Spain we truly care about what we wear. It’s a way of expression and makes us feel good. We also care about the quality of clothing and the provenance of both our children’s and our own clothing.
When I launched Pepa & Co, I started by handpicking my favourite childrenswear brands from Spain and bringing them to the UK via my online boutique. Then having listened to what the clients liked and didn’t like, I built up a huge knowledge bank and decided to launch my own label, designing the clothes myself and always with the clients in mind. This became my most successful collection so it seemed natural to continue designing the clothing myself.
Items from the Celebration collection. Pageboy’s silk knickerbockers, £94; boy’s double-breasted shirt, £89; girl’s occasion smocked dress, £340.
Describe a typical day for you
My day is spent doing a combination of things, from liaising with the manufacturers to discuss the design of the new collections, updating the website, meeting clients in-store at our showroom in Fulham to dispatching orders and organising the photoshoots of the new collections. I am a hands-on and the business is growing very fast. We are planning to hire more people soon. Although it’s hard work, I am enjoying this first stage of the business and I find it really important to have been involved in every area of the company.
Pepa & Co’s white smocked dresses are available from the Celebration Collection with blue, green or pink detailing. Flower crown on left, £52; flower headband on right, £98.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The clients! Almost all of them are so patient and understanding. They appreciate that we are a small independent company and don’t expect return labels or free delivery. They value the quality of the clothing and we love it when our clients send pictures of their children wearing our pieces – and say thank you. If the day has been busy and hard for whatever reason, this makes us emotional but it’s definitely the best bit!
What’s been your proudest moment?
There are a few. After nine months of organising the launch of Pepa & Co, it was when I first saw the website running and the first collection uploaded online. Then a few days later we got our first order from Singapore and I couldn’t believe it – it was like magic!
As an English start-up based in London, we also feel honoured that our brand has been selected by the Royal Family for dressing Prince George and Princess Charlotte on several occasions, wearing some of our favourite outfits and looking so sweet!
What advice would you give to those wanting to launch their own brand?
I would say that the basis of your business is to love and believe in what you are doing. Be passionate about what you are doing and be persistent, as it is not easy. This industry is difficult, there are so many competitors and the only difference that the client will notice would be the passion you bring to your company and brand.