Celia Muñoz: Running La Coqueta at Home with 5 Kids During COVID-19
The good thing is that children keep growing out of their clothes even during the pandemic of COVID-19, so for La Coqueta, it is business as usual on their online stores while their two boutiques are temporarily closed.
The traditional Spanish-inspired childrenswear brand was founded in 2013, by Celia Muñoz, mother of five, wife, business owner, and talented designer.
One of the fashion brand’s statement pieces is the revisited vintage hand-sewing technique that gathers fabric so that it stretches in a beautiful pattern called “smocking”.
Chic and contemporary La Coqueta styles boys and girls aged 0 months to 10 years old from head to toes in a timeless way that reminds me of how my mother used to dress my brother and me when we were little.
Celia, a woman of many hats gracefully accepted to take a few minutes of her time to answer my questions between homeschooling duties and work in her home in Hampstead, North London.
To anyone who is looking for an inspiring self-made entrepreneur, or to simply know about the person behind the tasteful designs that La Coqueta offers, this read is for you.
An Interview with Celia Munoz, Founder & Creative Director of La Coqueta
Morgane Roos-Carreira: How are you doing during this unusual time?
Celia Muñoz: We are doing well—the best we can, taking into account the circumstances and making the most of it. Learning new things and trying to enjoy the time we have at home with my children and husband.
Morgane: Is COVID-19 impacting your business?
Celia: It was a very scary prospect at the beginning. I was terrified at the thought of closing our shops, closing our head office, our factories in Spain closing down.
But in a way, it has allowed us to be much more creative with what we do. I think fear made us incredibly proactive and we felt we reacted very quickly in a couple of days taking into account the circumstances. Thankfully we were lucky enough to start our online business nearly simultaneously with the opening of our first shop and looking back this has been a total blessing. We are grateful to have an amazing team behind our online operations who are supporting us during the whole COVID-19 crisis. And we are also lucky that there is still such a big appetite globally for children’s fashion. We keep our fingers crossed in the hope that it will continue!
Morgane: How did the idea to create a Spanish-style clothing line for children come to you?
Celia: The idea came about when I had my first daughter, Flavia, which opened up for me a whole new world family-wise, but also inspired me to start my own children’s clothing fashion brand. People around me often commented on the way I used to style my children and that initial encouragement was a starting point to La Coqueta. I did thorough research before opening our first shop and identified a huge gap in the market that needed to be filled. It has proven to work so far.
Morgane: Please could you describe La Coqueta in a few words?
Celia: Craftsmanship, well made, traditional with a modern twist, affordable luxury, and attention to detail when it comes to our customer, product, and presentation.
Morgane: Did you have any background in fashion design?
Celia: No, I didn’t but I did have experience working for different businesses in a sales position which I found essential when starting your own business.
Morgane: How different is La Coqueta compared to other brands in the UK?
Celia: La Coqueta is unique because it has managed to project an image that goes beyond our shop rails and our website.
We had, from the very beginning, a very multifaceted approach so that our customers see different messages that reflect a very particular lifestyle and aesthetic. Our clothing and designs are very unique (when they first come out—competition is fierce afterward to replicate things) and we have been very good at projecting the same image across all touchpoints.
Morgane: What and who are your biggest inspirations?
Celia: Our customers, who undoubtedly dictate what comes every season, not only aesthetically but also technically (our garments are constantly improved and reviewed). And my children, who have been the best models when it came to featuring our brand. Sadly they are growing out of our range but we have a good pipeline with our customers and team, all having beautiful babies and sharing similar values and lifestyles.
Morgane: What motivated you in creating your own business and what keeps you going?
Celia: What motivated me was my love for fashion but more importantly the intense will to start my own business.
What keeps me going is the thrill of selling a product that our team and I have worked so hard in creating… if you are a salesperson, there’s nothing better than selling something your customer loves.
Morgane: How do you juggle motherhood and work? How has your routine changed during this quarantine?
Celia: We normally follow a very strict routine as a family. Everything is planned and scheduled and it works very well for us, particularly as we have five children so close in age. It is important for us to ensure that we always have two meals a day together. Breakfast and dinner are so important for us and my favourite part of my routine is the time spent with each of my children individually before they go to bed.
During quarantine time, things have changed! We have become a lot more relaxed with our routine and things we felt very strong about for our children not to do, have become a lot more allowed during these times. It’s ok! The good thing about routine is that it doesn’t take long to get it back. Once children are at school it will be easier for them and for us as parents. I have found working and supporting my children with homeschooling a real challenge. But no time to complain about it when you have people so severely ill in hospitals.
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Morgane: What three pieces of advice would you give to someone who wants to make it in the fashion world?
Celia: I don’t like giving advice because my own trajectory hasn’t really been “by the book”. However, I think having a big passion for fashion, being determined—never give up even if people suggest you do, and surrounding yourself with people who do what you can’t do have been three things that have helped me greatly.
Morgane: What’s your favourite way to unwind?
A long dinner prepared by my husband in our garden with our family. A very precious time is when we have all finished, the children run around and play and we have a glass of red wine whilst talking about our projects. This to me is my absolute heaven… there are no other people I would rather be with!
Morgane: What’s next? What are your projects for the future?
Celia: Keep doing what we do and improve it. We would like to reach more markets globally.
Shop La Coqueta at www.lacoquetakids.com!
By Morgane Roos-Carreira