This December we sat down again with Jenerous fashion brand founder Jenny. Last time we spoke to Jenny it was mid-pandemic (2020) and she has very recently just launched her brand. Fast forward 30 we welcome Jenny and her brand back to the cover of Hinton Magazine to see whats been happening and how far the brand as come.
Jenny 30 months on from your last cover with us at Hinton Magazine, In which time so much has happened, but for those who haven't come across your brand Jenerous, could you please tell us a bit about who you are?
Yes of course, Jenerous is an ethical fashion brand that’s working to change lives through fashion. We’re a social enterprise that’s giving back from sales to support communities in India, where our clothing is made. We’re also committed to Fair Trade production and being as sustainable as possible in our fabric choices and production processes.
We partner with Fair Trade factories to create a collection of timeless slow fashion for women and girls. Our clothing and accessories combine artisan block printing with contemporary feminine style and includes a range of matching mini-me girls dresses.
Going right back to the start, why did you decide to launch your own brand?
I decided to launch Jenerous as I wanted to make a positive difference, by using the skills and experience that I’d gained working in the fashion industry for good. I’d previously been to India and been challenged by the extreme poverty that I saw and the need for work, particularly for women.
When my children were young, I took a break from working as a designer for a High Street brand and when they started school, I re-visited India and sourced suppliers to partner with. I began working on a small collection of dresses and launched the brand at the end of 2019.
My desire was to create an ethical brand that prioritised people and the planet. Part of our brand ethos is giving back, hence the brand name and the fact that we are registered as a non-profit CIC (Community Interest Company).
Think back over the last 2 and a half years, how would you say your brand has developed?
The brand launched just before the Covid-19 Pandemic, so we have had to adapt and react to a challenging and changing environment. Since our last interview we’ve continued to expand our product offering and supply base and become more well known within the ethical and sustainable fashion market, even appearing in a John Lewis pop-up.
We have widened our product offering by launching accessories and developing a multi-product offering (as opposed to a collection of dresses that we launched with). As we’ve grown our supply base and the amount of clothing that we are making, it’s meant that we’ve created more empowering and fair work and impacted more lives positively as a result.
We’ve also gained certification to support our ethics and have become Good Market approved, a member of Social Enterprise UK and BAFTS Fair Trade Network UK and become a WFTO First Buyer. This all helps to support our Fair Trade and sustainability claims. We’ve joined various directories and platforms such as ebay for change, that are championing social businesses and ethical and sustainable fashion.
We’ve been able to realise our dream of supporting communities in India. Throughout the Covid pandemic we supported our partner factory in Bangalore by selling our scarves and face masks and donating all proceeds. There were no government support schemes for Indian businesses that faced lock downs and reduced orders. We were able to financially support our factory helping them to pay employees’ salaries which supported the workers and their extended families. Out of a very difficult time it was great to be able to live out our vision and make a positive difference through our sales.
We’ve more recently partnered with the charity The Leprosy Mission to support their vocational training programme for young people affected by leprosy in India. So with the help of our customers we are positively impacting young peoples’ lives by giving them the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
If you put yourself back in your shoes right at the start and I asked you to articulate how you would imagine your brand looking heading into 2023 what would you have said?
When we launched, I never would have anticipated dealing with a global pandemic, Brexit and an economic crisis in our first few years, but we feel that we are well positioned to grow our business and vision going forward.
Let's talk about 2023, what does it look like for Jenerous?
We’re really excited about our new 2023 product that we’ve been working on. We’ve developed lots of new styles, building on our best sellers and offering more choice in terms of styling. We hope to continue to grow our brand awareness, and sales in 2023 which will in turn increase our positive impact.
Your upcoming collections, where did you find your inspiration for them.
I’m always listening to our customers (and potential customers) and developing products that I think they will like. We also keep an eye on trends so that our clothing is relevant and choose the trends that have longevity, rather than fast fashion that changes all the time.
How would you describe this upcoming collection?
A timeless collection of ethical clothing made from sustainable and natural fabrics. Our pieces are unique, versatile and made to last, combining artisan hand block printing with contemporary feminine style.
How would you compare these 2023 garments compared to those you've releases prior?
We still love artisan block printing and it is a significant part of the collection, but we are incorporating more plain fabrics in our future collection based on our customer feedback. We’re also making more versatile everyday pieces that can be dressed up for a special occasion, rather than a collection of primarily occasionwear.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a fashion brand?
Research and planning are vital but so is the ability to adapt and change as the need arises.
Is there anything you would change that you've done with your brand so far, if you had the opportunity to?
I think if I had known that we would launch just before a global pandemic, I would have chosen to make more relevant products such as comfy loungewear!
What can you tell us about what the future holds for Jenerous?
I would love to be able to predict what the future holds! All I can say is that I will continue to pursue our brand mission of changing lives through fashion, knowing that our work really does make a difference.
Jenny, Thank you for your time.
Thanks for the opportunity to share with your readers about our brand and purpose.
You can shop Jenerous over at https://www.jenerous.org