Absolutely Mama meets Celia Munoz, mama-of-five and founder of childrenswear brand La Coqueta...
Interview CARLY GLENDINNING
Q What made you decide to set up a kids clothing label?
A I decided to create my own clothing label because I was dissatisfied with what was available in the market at the time. I wanted to find elegant, well finished clothes at an affordable price and the options were limited, not particularly creative nor practical. I used to dress my children when they were babies in Spanish clothes and people were very admiring of it, I guess I developed some great insight.
Q Did your own motherhood journey play a part in the decision to launch the business?
A It did! I felt there were great synergies between the way my children dressed and understanding what mothers like me were looking for when it came to dressing their little ones. I was lucky because people trusted me in what we were offering and that’s how the business grew, it’s been a slow process of word of mouth, which is paying off. I connected with other mothers through our experiences and in a way, the way our children dressed, I found this particularly motivating when it came to launch La Coqueta.
Q Where do you get the inspiration for each collection?
A I feel I have several sources which are very complimentary. Firstly my main source is our faithful customer base, we keep a very open dialogue with them to understand what they need and how this evolves as their children grow up. My own children have been and still are a great source of inspiration. I guess the beauty of having 2 girls and 3 boys of all sizes and ages has allowed me to understand the shapes that suit them best. Lastly, my source of inspiration is my own taste and upbringing, what I would like my children to wear based on what I like, what I grew up with and the current trends in adult fashion, which I follow of course.
Q Your pieces are ‘proudly made in Spain’ and designed in London. What makes Spanish craftsmanship special?
A They are indeed made in Spain. Spanish craftsmanship is very special and has been in ‘hiding’ until a few years ago. When La Coqueta started, very few people were selling Spanish clothes in the Anglo-Saxon markets and I feel we helped with the popularisation of Spanish clothes for children. The attention to detail (a handmade touch), the finishing of the clothes with beautiful trims, colourful palettes on prints, the classic shapes reminiscent of old times and the fit (generally well made Spanish dresses fit like a glove on children’s bodies) make Spanish clothes very popular and special.
Q What’s the most important thing for you when you’re designing a La Coqueta piece?
A It needs to be recognisable, mothers need to relate to it (I like to think they can see themselves when they were little), elegant with a luxurious feel but yet affordable and make a very good hand-me-down so that several siblings or generations can wear them.
Q What have you learned since setting up the brand? And is there anything you would do differently?
A That you are no one without a really good team and letting people do what they are best at. I always try to surround myself with people who are smarter, more innovative and experienced than me, I think this is key.
There are so many things I would do differently, I wouldn’t know where to start! I would have hired better people earlier on for sure although it’s hard to see this when you are starting a business.
Q What do your kids think of La Coqueta? And are your family involved in the business?
A Some of my children cannot wait to grow out of La Coqueta so that they can wear other brands that look in a way more grown up! I guess I have been a bit of a dictator from that perspective, particularly for my daughter Flavia who has been wanting to dress like her classmates for quite a few years now, that means extremely casually. She’s 11 now and funnily enough she now advises me on what I should design for the next season. Remarkably quite a few things have been very successful, it’s good to get a child’s perspective on things as ultimately we do design for children to wear our clothes. My daughter Siena absolutely loves La Coqueta because she is very much into dresses… she asked me if I could do dresses for older girls when she grows out of them. My boys are not too fussed! Their only request is to wear Adidas Gazelles or Stan Smiths with the clothes and they look really cool. Overall I think they have a great sense of style and actually I find there has been enough variety in the range to please all of my children (polo shirts for Lucas, smart cardigans for Bosco, Mao-neck single coloured shirts and braces for Hugo, pretty dresses for Siena and delicate looking shirts for Flavia to match with jeans and trainers!).
My children were involved in the business in the way that they have always been my inspiration and they used to be my models in our shoots a few times a year. Mothers have related for years via our Instagram feed to the way I dressed my children and often sought advice based on pictures they saw. My two older children help now in photoshoots preparing teas and coffees for parents but there is no pressure for them to help me, our team is big enough! My husband has very little to do with fashion and travels quite a lot for his own work so we never talk about La Coqueta… we reserve 2 hours a month to discuss his work or mine so otherwise it would be quite absorbing and monothematic. We have a big family and lots of personal projects which are very time consuming, I am lucky to work with a fabulous team with who I can talk about the business and bounce ideas with endlessly.
Q And finally, the best thing about having a London-centric brand?
A That you are a little part of what is one of the capitals of fashion. The reach is huge and we are able to get to a very global customer by just being in London.
Have a look at La Coqueta’s Collection.
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