Black White Denim, which launched in 2010, has been described as a "winning combination" by Vogue, featured as one of the "Top 50 best boutiques outside of London" in the Sunday Telegraph and ranked no.4 in Drapers' 100 Inspiring Indies.
We spoke to Owner & Managing Director, Jo Davies ahead of the A&G launch in the boutique…
What was your first ever job?
My first ever job was working in an independent designer ladies wear boutique in Cheltenham called Tizzie Dee. I was 16 and was the saturday girl. Dawn Tizzard, the owner, was my inspiration as she oozed confidence, had her own sense of style, always wore black and dressed for herself, not for anyone else. My first 'proper' job after graduating was as a sales representative for Procter & Gamble. I worked in their industrial cleaning products division. Nothing about it was glamorous but it gave me an amazing start to my career in FMCG sales working for some formidable companies including PepsiCo, Diageo & Molson Coors.
How did you get into fashion?
I have always LOVED shopping! When my son was a year away from starting school my partner asked when I was going back to work and what I was going to do. After much discussion we agreed we had at least another 10 to 15 years hard work in us so would set up a business we would co-own but I would run. David encouraged me to do something that would never fail to engage and excite me. Clothes & shopping were my two passions. We combined them and BWD was born in Sept 2007.
What makes BlackWhiteDenim brilliant?
We make looking effortless easy. If you get the basics right you can't really go wrong. When have you ever seen a combination of black, white and denim look anything other than stylish? We add pops of print and colour to our collections too but we encourage everyone to focus on the essentials first.
What does your typical day look like?
I always wake up excited for the day. Sounds naff I know but I love going to work. The shop is an extension of my home and my family. I start with an early gym session 3 days a week followed by a coffee on my own to think about my plans and goals for the day ahead. I get in to work raring to go and have a quick catch up with the team setting them tasks if the day-to-day stuff is already done. We talk non-stop, look at product and work out how we would style it, agree some Instagram posts, look at what deliveries are due, think about how we might merchandise new pieces, spend lots of time with our customers and reach out to those who we may think would have a want or need for a particular item. In amongst the fun stuff I also clean the staff areas, organise the stock room, take the bins out and do the washing up!
What’s your ideal weekend?
I love Saturdays in the shop. My ideal would then be to drive my family up to The Swan Hotel in Newby Bridge (the Lake District), check in to one of the loft rooms, have a wonderful dinner in the restaurant and a lovely bottle of red wine. In the morning we'd have a huge breakfast (eggs, avocado & sourdough with extra spinach), a very strong cafetiere of black coffee and take a walk for a couple of hours. After lunch I'd have a spa treatment, read the papers in the lounge area in front of the fire, play pool with Gabriel my son and laze about until dinner. We'd set off early Monday morning to get everyone back home for the start of the week.
What’s the one thing you’d now say to your 25 year old self?
Create the life you want to live. Surround yourself with the right people, be kind and don't give up, ever.
If you weren’t running BlackWhiteDenim… what would you be doing?
I think I'd like like to be an influencer! Those girls have such good fun and I especially love Kat, @doesmybumlook40 :) and I adore the fact that the whole influencer network it's such a supportive community of like-minded women who live life to the full (as well as juggling home, husbands, kids..)
What Air & Grace style are you most looking forward to adding to your wardrobe?
It's got to be the leopard print! I'm always a sucker for anything animal :)
What's your favourite EVER pair of shoes?
My favourite ever pair of shoes were my grey pixie boots that I got when I was about 14. They were the first item of footwear I ever bought to style a whole look.. I wore them with skinny jeans from Jean Jeanie and an oversized pale pink sweatshirt with a Pierrot clown on the front :)
Does ‘being comfortable’ mean you have to compromise? Can you be comfortable and stylish at the same time?
Comfort doesn't mean compromise, if anything I think a woman who's dressed for comfort exudes far more confidence, sass and style than someone tottering around in uncomfortable heels & clothes that are awkward to wear.