Paola and Sabine are the moms of the two adorable girls Alex and Jolie. Recently they launched their very own brand named after their little ones: ALEX & JOLIE. The collection is extremely adorable and the fabrics are of such amazing quality. We asked the moms everything about the collection, the process of starting their own brand, their girls, and motherhood.
First of all, congratulations on the launch of ALEX & JOLIE! It is named after your daughters, could you tell us some more about their involvement with the brand?
Sabine: Thank you very much! Yes after several names, we finally decided: let’s keep it simple and name the brand after our daughters Alex & Jolie, after all, they are the brand. And so we did.
Once we had decided to start a brand, we knew we wanted a brand in which the opinions of our daughters would “count”. They would make design choices and added fun items. ALEX & JOLIE had to be a brand, created from the perspective of a 4-year old, through the eyes of our daughters. Each item is touched by a bit of magic from the world of our daughters Alex & Jolie. The magic takes shape in the form of beautiful details such as wings, embroideries, masks, and collars.
Alex and Jolie tested the clothing, so kids are comfortable in it and can play around while wearing the gorgeous items. Could you tell us about this experiment? Were there any surprises that something wasn’t comfortable?
Paola: yes that was quite an experiment. for us, the clothes must be comfortable, timeless pieces that last long and can be worn at any moment, to daycare but also on special occasions. This means it is an múst that all items can be put in the washing machine and not too many handlings are necessary. So the girls and some of their friends have tested all clothes: at the daycare, in the sandbox, in the park, and while eating syrup-covered pancakes. Just to see if all remained in perfect condition after washing, but also if it was comfortable: no ticklings, fitting ok, etc. There were no real big surprises, apart from a change in the shape of the wooden buttons on the cardigans, since the previous ones were difficult to open/close for the kids.
Is there ever any disagreement between Alex and Jolie about the designs? How do you solve this?
Sabine: So far they have had only disagreements in color selection, Alex loves blue and Jolie is more into pink. It is pretty bizarre how united these girls are if there is a ‘discussion’ between them it is solved as: “now I decide and next time you can ok? Shall we ask our mums for ice cream?” They both have a strong character, but they are practical as well.
How did the girls experience the process of starting an own brand and designing? How are they dealing with all the reactions and are they excited to wear the items?
Paola: When Sabine and I started working together, both girls started being very curious about the whole process. The colors, the fabrics, the cartoons… They both love seeing us discussing the collection and giving their opinions. The first time they saw the prototypes they were amazed by the translation from a sketch into real life. They even said that they wanted to add accessories to complete each A&J look.
It is a half Spanish and half Dutch brand, could you tell us about the production? Why do you fabricate the items in Spain?
Sabine: For us, it was clear from the start that the production would be done in Spain. The Heritage of the brand is Spanish. We aim for high-quality seamless knits, a luxury soft feel, and hand-made finishes and items. This can only be done in the traditional factories, of which only a few are left in Europe. The garments and accessories are made with love and care, which is visible in the product. The factory and workshops we work with are like our family and have more than 40 years of production experience with several international luxury brands and smaller designers.
They are 2nd and 3rd generation family companies. The workshops are selected by us for their excellent craftsmanship and their obvious devotion to the beautiful garments and accessories they make. Each item is handmade and the best local raw materials have been selected, made under the best conditions, which is important to us.
What life lessons did you learn from this process?
Sabine: we both have been working in the fashion industry for twenty years, but once you become an entrepreneur it is very important to believe in what you are doing for the full 100%. I started my first company 4 years ago and the nice results have only be achieved by working hard, making mistakes, learning from them and doing better. When Paola joined and we also started this brand, we decided to give 200%, face each challenge head-on, but make sure we enjoy what we do and how we do it.