The JoJo Story

From our humble beginnings as a kitchen table start-up, our 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; we’re no longer a one-woman band, but we’re 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. Predicting and keeping up with demand is a steep early learning curve.

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 99% of internet users are computer geeks, and 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. Read our blog for more details.

2011

The expansions 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 agents are appointed across the States and Canada, and a distributor appointed in Japan. 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. JoJo House is christened with a company BBQ and the introduction of a team gardening club.

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 Sammy-Jo our long-time employee with Downs Syndrome, 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. The youngest member of the Royal Family is spotted in JoJo too; Princess Charlotte can be seen wearing a JoJo Peter Pan top in her 2nd birthday official portrait.

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

Digital developments

As the company grows, so does the need for technological upgrades. Moving the whole business onto a new software system is a long and complex task but the hard work pays off, offering much-needed improvements. Customer behaviour is changing too, with social media playing an ever more important role in the consumer journey. JoJo focuses on producing more video content and collaborating with influencers to connect with and inspire parents.

2019

Preserving our planet

Looking after the world around us is more crucial now than ever before. JoJo ramps up its efforts by introducing a number of projects in line with its B Corp status, including installing water refill points in new stores, increasing the range of clothing and products made from recycled plastics, working with the Better Cotton Initiative and planting the JoJo Forever Forest to help offset carbon emissions.

Where to next..?

With the new decade come lots of new and exciting ventures for JoJo. Lately, we have been investing so much into our physical stores, but with the continued importance of online sales, we are turning our attention to the web, with our brand new website launching in June 2020.

Watch our JoJo story video