Upcoming label Jos+Rachel is making waves in the local fashion scene.
Contributed By Yeo Zhiqi
Who would have thought a business idea would emerge during the heat of wedding preparations when stress is running on an all-time high? Good friends, Joscelin Kwek, 29 and Rachel Ho, 26 certainly did not imagine that their self-titled label, Jos+Rachel would be birthed from their weddings.
Jos+Rachel is a homegrown brand, specializing in dresses that include a wide range stretching from cheongsams, wedding-themed dresses to weekend pieces for casual wear. Both ladies confessed that they have always had an interest in fashion but this interest was taken to new heights when they each got a hand in designing their own bridal gowns for their respective weddings.
The process exposed the two to a whole new world of fashion design and spurred them to pursue the unconventional line of fashion design. It was certainly not a breeze initially as the ex-colleagues were greenhorns to the industry, having no prior experience in fashion design as their backgrounds were in business and marketing.
The two ladies juggled with their day-jobs as PR consultants while they took fashion courses on the sideline. Queried on their motivations to bring their idea into reality, Kwek quipped, “When we had this idea, I knew that it is something I always wanted to try and I won’t feel at ease if I didn’t at least attempt a shot at it. I saw it more like a personal challenge, I wanted to stretch myself.”
Her co-partner, Ho who has a knack for collecting beautiful items, such as diaries and accessories, sees fashion designing as “something I can do for the rest of my life.” For a new label that is slowly breaking into the industry, Jos+Rachel has been featured in publications, including Lian He Zao Bao, NTUC Lifestyle and Her World Online. Other than receiving much hype from the media, their prominent clients also include celebrities, such as Rebecca Lim, Kym Ng and Apple Hong.
Success, however, did not come easy for this homegrown label. Ho speaks about some of the obstacles they faced along the way. “Sometimes people commit but they don’t deliver and it is a challenge to ensure that everything is consistent on the production side,” she shared.
Kwek, a member of City Harvest Church shares that she was plagued by doubts in the initial stages and wondered whether the venture was a right move. Her insecurities were addressed when she shared her business problems with her cell group members, many of whom are entrepreneurs themselves. Through sharing, she picked up advice from their setbacks and experiences which proved valuable in her business journey.
Reflecting on the past five months since the label started on Aug. 21, 2010, she shared, “When I meet with difficulties, I remind myself that things happen for a reason and I pray about it. My husband also reminds me that God can take away what He has blessed me with as well so I believe it boils down to mere obedience.”
The 5-month-old label may be new to the market but has received overwhelming responses for the three collections that has been launched so far. With the first collection having completely sold out and the second collection being three-quarters gone, the lady bosses are looking beyond the shores to expand their business to Australia.
Besides plans for a business expansion, Jos+Rachel also intends to venture into the bridal market, as well as move beyond the run-of-the-mill office wear to design stylish professional work clothes. With their design philosophy being “less being more,” these two fashion designers do not believe in heavy embellishments but go for simple and elegant styles.
With their ready-to-wear dresses priced between S$200 to S$400 and custom-made dresses going up to S$600, the label targets working professionals who are willing to invest in quality and unique, one-of-a-kind designs.
Ho explains, “Our label is not an online boutique and our dresses are 100 percent hand-sewn by seamstresses so our customers also believe that it is worth their investment.”
When asked about how the two ladies decided on each other as business partners, the good friends laughed and shared that they share the same tastes which was an important criteria for an easier collaboration. Kwek adds, “Ultimately what we want to do is dress the working professionals but first we embody this in ourselves in our lifestyles and fashion choice.”
Log on to www.jos-rachel.com, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on Jos+Rachel’s latest collections.