Each week we will be speaking to our favourite brands to find out a little more about the inspiration behind their fabulous clothes. This week we are featuring Mark Jeynes from Rockin’ Baby.
Please tell us a bit about you and the brand….
I’ve personally been in the children’s industry for 25yrs. Originally I was at John Lewis where I worked my way up the ranks from kids shoe fitter to Department Manager of nursery in John Lewis Oxford Street – then on to Senior Buyer of school wear, shoes, and kids. I then did a stint as Head of Buying at Joules and then Head of Sales at JoJo Maman Bébé. I’ve covered all areas of selling, design, production and buying!
I met the owner of Rockin’ Baby at a trade show in NYC and we hit it off instantly. She was only selling baby carriers at the time and I loved her one for one giving ethos. For every sling sold, she donated one to mothers in Haiti which is still in a terrible state after the awful earthquake in 2010. I offered to help her in my spare time which the owner of JoJo Maman Bébé graciously and kindly agreed to.
What inspired you to start your own label and how did you come up with your brand name?
After a year of helping the slings business, I felt we could do more with the brand and given my experience on children’s wear it made sense to add clothing to the offer. Also, nobody in the world is doing one for one on kids so we had a huge point of difference. I loved my time at JoJo but definitely missed the creative and production side of things so it all fell into place very quickly and I moved to Rockin’ Baby full time almost two years ago. I have a superb team and together we create and sell a collection catering for newborn to Age 10, from party and rainwear to pyjamas and swimwear. We are trying to be a one-stop shop for mums who love our giving message and want to help another child.
The name Rockin’ Baby is actually not new – we’ve been called that from day one when we bought the baby carrying business from two women who set up the brand in LA. It’s a great name though and although our designs are most definitely coming out of London we sound very American with the name – I’d say about 60% of our trade is in the USA.
When coming up with a new season how do you start? Do you have an idea of designs/prints?
We have lots of cups of tea and chats and exciting ideas that are thrown around. There are some great inspiration shows like Premiere Vision in Paris that help with global trends and colour palettes but in truth, inspiration comes from everywhere. It might be a work trip or a visit to a museum. I personally sell at a lot of trade shows around the world and see many great themes and ideas coming out but we also have five of our own shops already in Japan and so visits there are hugely inspiring.
There are some perennial favourites eg nautical which we can sell every Spring but it’s important we mix things up and add new exciting themes and prints every season. We have a team of graphic designers who work so hard to create gorgeous exclusive prints and designs for us – nothing is bought off the shelf.
Of course, the boring but important answer is also that we look at or best and worse sellers each season and that helps drive us to certain shapes and styles. So often we try something we LOVE and think is going to be amazing and the customers just don’t love it quite as much as us – but they are the most important person to us – so that’s fine! We take it on the chin and move on!
If you had to pick your favourite piece from your new collection what would it be and why?
I’ve just been in the USA selling Spring 17 for a month at various the shows and market weeks so I’m very much in a season ahead but on AW16 which is shipping right now I would say the one item I really love is our snowsuits. They can be so dull and dreary so we’ve worked really hard to make hem bright and colourful and match back to our design themes. But we’ve also worked super hard on pricing so we are offering poly OR down filed waterproof snowsuits at the most amazing prices.
When you look at other designers who is your favourite?
I have extremes – I adore Bonpoint. Everything from their fabrics to shapes is stunning and for a special occasion to the perfect gift they are ideal but not everyone can afford them and I really believe kidswear needs to be hard wearing, affordable and something you can wash over and over. For that reason, I think I’d say an American brand called Tea Collection has got it right. They are inspired by traveling to different parts of the world every season, they take risks with prints and designs but always keep it sensible with fabrics and price.
If you can say what is inspiring you for your next collection?
We are about to start on Spring 18 believe it or not (!) but still very much in the deciding process is AW17. Unsurprisingly all things snowy, icy and chilly feature with a certain mysterious and infamous creature popping up to make the kids smile. 😉