— The — JACQUELINE CONOIR EFFECT
PIONEERS in the FASHION INDUSTRY
JAC by Jacqueline Conoir, a Canadian fashion forward brand that tailors to the career woman, defined as a combination of Italian sexy, French famine flare and North American cool. JAC has become a reference point for fashion trends in Canada and China. An overnight success story with over 30 years of excellence, quality and dedication behind the brand. Designer and Founder, RozeMerie Cuevas has opened 110 stores in five years and is now planning to open 20 more in Canada. Looking back she never thought she would end up in China, let alone build a fashion empire here. “I knew I wanted JAC to be global, but I never imagined this was going to happen”. That is the power of doing business in China, but more than, that is the power of JAC.
JAC by Jacqueline Conoir是专为事业女性量身打造的前卫时尚品牌来自加拿大Ɬ它的定位是将意大利式的性感Ɡ法式的女人味和北美酷酷的风格融为一体Ɬ在中国和加拿大JAC品牌都已成为时尚趋势的风向标Ɬ经过30多年幕后的追求卓越Ɡ精益求精和潜心耕耘JAC一朝走红Ɬ品牌创始人兼设计师RozeMerie Cuevas在五年内开设了110间实体店现在在加拿大有二十间新店准备开业Ɬ回顾过去她从没想到自己会来到中国并在这里创建一个时尚帝国Ɬ ꟃ我一直知道自己想让JAC品牌走向全球但从未想象过这一切会梦想成真ꞭꟄ这就是在中国做生意的魔力但更多的这就是JAC的魔力Ɬ
Did you always know that you would become a fashion designer ?
From the age of 12, I have always sewn my own clothes. My mom passed away when I was five and I didn’t like where my father brought me shopping, so instead I would just cut into the fabrics and make my own. The name, Jacqueline Conoir was originally my mothers’. She’s Parisian ; the inspiration for the french feminine flare in the collection.
What was your first experience in the fashion industry ?
I was 18 years old, my cousin [who had seen my pieces] told me I should do a fashion show. It was happening at the “it” night club in Vancouver. Richards on Richards. I arrived with my clothes in garbage bags, all the other designers arrived with rolling racks and their beautiful pristine garment bags. I had never done a fashion show before, so I spent most of the time in the bathroom, hugging the toilet bowl. That’s when I overheard some ladies talking about my designs. “They were saying “oh did you know the girl who designed the black and white scene was just
18 years old. She’s so talented”.
That’s when I decided I would become a fashion designer. The next day I pulled myself out of my university classes, I looked up fashion schools in Paris, I got into ESMode which was one of the top schools [in design]. I worked three jobs for a year, saved up enough money for tuition and my rent and went off to Paris. I finished a three year program in two years. I came back to Vancouver at age 23 and opened up my first boutique.
The first Jacqueline Conoir store was established in ’86. We designed power suits. We gained traction [that way]. Then we evolved into coats, sweaters, and so on. We had become an icon in the West Coast for over 15 years. Then in 2010, I was sitting in my favourite restaurant, Chamber, in Vancouver. There were two ladies beside me and they were chatting about the Jacqueline Conoir brand and they didn’t know that I was next to them and they were like : yeah, I love that brand it’s so great! I love it, it’s perfect for my mother. And I thought : what! What are you talking about, it’s not just for your mother. The truth was is that I started at 22 and 25 years later, the collection had grown with me.
18岁的时候表亲跟我说我应该尝试参加时装秀Ɬ那次是在加拿大温哥华当时最著名的夜店名字叫ꟃRichards on RichardsꟄꞭ我用垃圾袋装着衣服就去了而其他的设计师都是带着拉杆箱和漂亮的复古服装手袋Ɬ我以前从未参与过时装秀所以那次大多数的时间里都因为紧张跑去洗手间抱着马桶吐Ɬ在洗手间里我无意中听到几位女士讨论我的设计Ɬ她们说ꟃ你知道吗那个设计了那件漂亮的黑白衣服的女孩才18岁Ɬ她真的是非常有天赋ꞭꟄ
“Jac lives freely, leads by example, loves life, projects success, inspires, empowers action and knows what she wants.”
第一间Jacqueline Conoir时装店开设于1986年Ɬ当时我们设计了女力西装套装Ɬ䩛通过这种方式䩜我们赢得了喜爱Ɬ随后我们又设计了大衣Ɡ毛衣等等Ɬ在超过15年的时间里我们都是西海岸的时尚偶像Ɬ2010年的某一天我正坐在自己最喜欢的餐厅里是位于温哥华的Chamber餐厅Ɬ我旁边的两位女士在聊天中谈到Jacqueline Conoir品牌Ɬ她们不知道我就坐在旁边Ɬ她们说嗯我很喜欢那个品牌很棒ꞿ非常适合我的母亲Ɬ我当时想你在说什么呢ꞿ我们的衣服可不只是适合妈妈辈的Ɬ但事实是我22岁开创这个品牌但是过了25年这个品牌也开始随着我在变老了Ɬ
In 2011 I decided to re brand to JAC by Jacqueline Conoir. I gave her back her personality and that became Italian sexy, North American cool and french feminine flare. I sought out a partner, the partner that happened to come across my office was Bruce Lee. Within four years we opened 110 stores. From North to South, East to West. We have stores in Tibet, in Mongolia, and in Shenyang. We just won designer of the year in Hangzhou. Our sales are in the top 20% of AAA department stores and now the plan is to go back to Canada full throttle with 20 new stores.
Did you have a pivotal moment in your career that you experienced in order to grow to where your brand is today ?
I think in the lifespan of a career, you go through many ups and downs. All those challenges become building blocks to the power behind you. If you don’t give up, it doesn’t happen overnight, [but] you realize that you’re stronger than you actually thought you were. When the decision came for me to go to China, I was ready. I was strong enough to take on the most enormous challenge of my life. It wasn’t just the language barrier, but also the cultural differences, and a totally different business culture.
What ways have you noticed differences in business culture ?
[In Canada] we are much slower; we analyze a lot, we want to be sure before we get in, we are very cautious and very careful. It takes us a long time to do a lot of things we want to do. When you’re in China, you’re full on, all the time. I’ve had meetings in the back of my car, driving to the airport on the way to another city to do the opening of a boutique.If you adapt and latch on to this speed, you will gain success. Rather than being super cautious, they just try things, they don’t think about it too long. We also have a numbers game here, there’s a lot of people. So whatever you try, there’s a big audience for it. I do notice more and more, focus is being placed on being more creative [here]. I think the future will see a lot more original designs coming out of China.
What keeps you motived to keep going and growing after having accomplished so much already. Do you ever take a second sometimes to think “wow I built this” ?
My entire career I’ve always woken up every day and I’ve done what I loved to do. I’ve been very lucky that my husband has been supporting what I love to do my whole life. So I’m very grateful to him. I think when you do what you love, the rewards just kind of happen. They flow towards you. 2011年我决定重新定位 JAC by Jacqueline Conoir 品牌Ɬ我重新给予了它个性那就是将意大利式的性感Ɡ北美酷酷的风格和法式女性魅力相结合Ɬ我知道自己想将这个品牌做大也知道我一个人是无法完成的Ɬ我要寻找一名合伙人而当时出现在我办公室的成为我合伙人的就是Bruce Lee.我们在四年的时间里开了110家店Ɬ在中国我们的店从北到南从东到西遍布全国Ɬ我们在西藏Ɡ内蒙和沈阳都开了店Ɬ每家店都取得了很好的效果我们的品牌也得了数不清的奖项最近在杭州也赢得了ꟃ年度设计师Ꞔ奖项Ɬ我们的销售在AAA级商场里居前20%Ɬ现在我们计划回加拿大开20家新店马力全开Ɬ
Jane and Bruce Lee, were introduced to us so we created a relationship. Initially they were just going to manufacture for us. After creating a relationship, we became partners.
Why did you choose JAC ?
Bruce : Seven years ago, we were thinking about the future. We wanted to be more international. We wanted to have partner from outside of China. [We were thinking about] finding a good designer, or a brand and we found a designer and a brand together. It’s not difficult to manufacture clothing, but it’s not easy to create a brand with a soul. We wanted the culture, the soul of the brand. A brand with a story, and an international background, not just a registered name overseas.
Jane : [At the time] when we started JAC, all the Chinese brands were very colourful, very feminine. This was totally different, very cool and edgy but very different. I couldn’t understand and accept that kind of style at that time. When RozeMerie brought JAC collection to Hangzhou, and our customers had the chance to look at what an international designer brand is, they felt “wow so strange yet special”.
RozeMerie : We kept the DNA of the brand. What we’ve done is keep the black, white, beige but added a pop colour in every season, and of course we offer the Chinese red.
Jane : (laughs) Chinese people love red. Before I used to never wear black, when we first partnered up I started to wear black.
Have you seen a shift in Chinese fashion towards more international styles over the year ?
Jane: Yes, all the time. JAC is definitely a pioneer in fashion for its time. We’re so lucky to have chosen JAC at the right time, with the right person. It was a perfect match.
How do you deal with this fast pace model ?
Jane : Technology has changed the lifestyle of Chinese people. The last 10 years. The survival principle in China, not only in business but in everything. If you stop, you will fail. Our next step is global, in the China market, JAC sells #1 in local department stores. JAC created a lot of magic.
RozeMerie : Now we are ready for the Canadian market with 20 stores in the plan.
For more information visit jacbyjc.com jacbyjc.cn