Last Updated on 5th April 2012
At the forefront of fashion this husband and wife duo are a style force to be reckoned with. They are the faces behind namesake contemporary online boutique Monica & Joe that stocks a range of personally selected womenswear designer collections.
My Fashion Life caught up with the super-busy business and life partners to talk pet hates, favourite shopping cities and wardrobe staples.
What is a typical working day like in the life of Monica & Joe?
We work from home so after walking the boys to school we normally have to answer lots of e-mails: PR requests, customer queries etc, plus constant liaising with our warehouse regarding deliveries and orders. Joe and I divide our roles so I look after all the buying, PR & marketing side of things and Joe looks after the logistics, operational and financial side of things. We often have meetings during the day and when it’s the buying season we have several appointments, alongside having to squeeze in trips to Paris and Copenhagen!
Best and worst thing about being in a husband and wife business partnership?
The best thing is that we see each other everyday and spend lots of time together. We go through all the ups and downs of running our own business and support each other, which is amazing. The down side is that we do talk about work a lot and it’s hard to switch off.
The idea for Monica & Joe was conceived on trip to Paris, which are your top fashion shopping cities, and why?
We love Paris, the cool boutiques, the buildings, the cafes and of course the cuisine. We adore Copenhagen, too. The women are so stylish in a very relaxed and cool way and the boutiques are really inspiring. We love the bars and café culture there, too. We would have to say NYC is another one of our favourites! There are some great shops out there and we love the nightlife too!
Pet hates you both have?
Pushy sales calls – we get quite a few! (Monica): I’m also really fussy about tea and have to have it just right; quite strong, dash of skimmed milk and piping hot!
What key elements do you look for when sourcing labels to feature on the site?
There isn’t a specific list that we look to for this. Often it’s just down to seeing something that really stands out such as a fabulous print or colour. As we are online its important the collections are visually exciting plus very wearable too. We do pay attention to price because we are all about being affordable and we look for labels that are exclusive.
Name one wardrobe staple each both of you can’t live without.
I have so many! I always have a blazer that I will wear whatever the season. My new “cool” blazer from 2ND DAY is my current favourite. I get lots of wear out of my MiH Paris jeans in red and I’m obsessed with shirts from Ba&sh at the moment. Joe cant live without his APC jeans and loafers!
You left pretty high flying jobs in the fashion industry (Joe as Group Merchandise Director for Mulberry and Monica as Head of Buying at Arcadia Group) to set up Monica & Joe, and recently celebrated your 1st birthday as a successful e-commerce business – how did the motivation to take such a leap come about?
Joe and I have been together for such a long time and having our own business has always been a dream of ours. There was a combination of factors behind the motivation to take the leap. We decided that I needed to change my lifestyle to allow more flexibility and time with my children. There is never a perfect time for making big changes and Joe and I didn’t want to have any regrets about not taking the risk
What has been the highlight of the past year for your business?
There have been so many highlights! Discovering some amazing brands, meeting and learning from other experts in the industry, for example I (Monica) have met Sarah Curran from My Wardrobe and she has been a fantastic and inspirational mentor. The first order we ever took the weekend of our launch was an incredible feeling and hearing such wonderful comments from our customers is the best thing ever!
You’re about to be locked in a room with an A-list celebrity for a mannequin, and a whole load of clothes to style them in – which celeb and clothing labels would you choose, and why?
(Monica): I would choose Sienna Miller – although she is pregnant at the moment so maybe post baby! I think she would really suit our boho luxury labels like Mes Demoiselles, Munthe Plus Simonsen and Ba&sh.
(Joe): I’d pick Freida Pinto, she’s cool and cosmopolitan and we both loved her in Slum Dog Millionaire. I can see her in something colourful and bright like a striking dress from our new label Virginie Castaway, or, maybe a printed dress from Olivia Rubin, too. These bold colours and prints would really work on her complexion and they are uber stylish this season.