Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Celia Munoz and my company is La Coqueta. I have five children: Flavia (7), Lucas (5), Siena (4), Bosco (3), Hugo (2).
What city do you live in and how long have you lived there?
I live in London and have lived here since 2001.
What do you love most about your city as a mama?
I love the fact that London is such an international city. Our children get to meet other children from all over world and get to learn about the different cultures, religions and different ways of life. London is the perfect city when it comes to do cultural activities with your children… There are so many different museums and sites to visit, that we can enjoy visiting as a family, during the weekends… Our favourite places are the Museum of Childhood and we can’t resist a visit to the Tower of London.
I sometimes wonder that myself! I guess I have become highly organised and plan everything ahead of time, maybe even months in advance, in order to fit it all in. I work while my children are at school and I always ensure I never mix work with family time. Leaving my mobile aside while I play with my children is on extreme importance. I work with such a supportive team that if I don’t answer an email within the hour, the world doesn’t end… I didn’t always think this way, but I think I’m now at a point where I know what my priorities are.
How and when did you start your business?
When I had my first child, I noticed there was a gap in the market for the supply of beautifully crafted children’s clothes sold at a reasonable price point. After doing extensive research in the field, I decided to open a shop in the heart of Hampstead, North London and bring my own designs. In the beginning, it was aimed at London mums but since I launched our website (a couple of months after I opened my shop) I realised that the reach is completely global and this is what our focus is at the moment.
I got into making my own pieces because I had a very clear idea of what I wanted my children to wear and I could not find it that easily where I live. I have always loved the way the Spanish dress their children and I feel La Coqueta is a continuation of my personal life being Spanish and being a mother… La Coqueta is a reflection of my cultural heritage.
Your children’s fashion brand is beautiful where do you get your inspiration from?
My children are my primary source of inspiration. I started La Coqueta because of them, and in a way every time I design a garment, I think of each of my children individually wearing my clothes. I find people relate to my clothes partly because my children wear them and they look like they are made for them, because they really are! I also know my children well and by the end of the day the clothes will be dirty and creased, so my main objective has been to bring to the public great clothes that are easy to wear and wash, while still elegant.
In terms of other sources of inspiration, I love looking at pictures from fifty years ago…Children used to dress so beautifully then and the clothes were not dissimilar to La Coqueta’s. Every season I tend to revisit pictures from Robert Doisneau or my grandmother’s photo album so that I don’t get too distracted with what is going on within fashion for children. I don’t really follow fashion trends when it comes to designing children’s garments and try not to look at other children’s brands too much, in order to ensure I do not not end up doing the same as them.
My customers are a great form of inspiration and through their feedback, I get to tailor collections adapted to what they’re looking for. I have a very international pool of customers so their input is incredibly enriching to me.
I do create trends for my collections, however only up to the imagery and my lookbook. If you look carefully at our collection, the clothes are very classic and timeless and what adds that trendy fashion angle is the styling and the way the collection is photographed.
My collections are also influenced by my personal style. I am fairly classic, but I like colour a lot and I am always open to experiment with new ideas. I have a penchant for bright accessories in particular, shoes. I try to translate that into my styling and imagery… Classic styles revamped through the combination of classic very bright accessories.
Do you deliver to Dubai?
I do! We happen to have many customers in the UAE and in Dubai more specifically. Our service is pretty fast, it only takes a couple of days for people in Dubai to get our clothes from the moment they place their online order.
Have you ever been to Dubai? If so where did you stay, was it child friendly and what was your favourite activity? If you haven’t then would you be interested in visiting and why?
I have travelled extensively with my family to the Middle East (Syria, Iran, Jordan, Egypt…) but we haven’t been to Dubai yet… It’s on our list! I generally find people from UAE extremely friendly and they are always highly complementary about my family. They love children so much and big families in general! I find there is a very big affinity between my Spanish culture and the UAE culture, both being extremely family orientated and sharing similar traditional values. I find the sense of aesthetics is also similar, they appreciate beautifully made clothes and value the “savoir-faire” behind it.
Describe your parenting style in 3 words.
Ufff… That’s a tricky one… How to define it in only three words… If you were to ask my children they would say that I am a very involved parent, loving (expression of emotions is very important in our family) but also strict based on solid foundations.
Describe your favourite family holiday and why?
I have two types of favourite family holidays…One is when we go and visit other countries that are culturally very different (we were recently in Rajasthan). We travel extensively, we stay in wonderful places that allow us to get a great insight of the country we are visiting and get to meet lots of locals.
I would say that our holidays are highly cultural as my husband and I have always been interested in culture and we would like our children to share that passion, or at least for them to see how other children live in other parts of the world. We spend all our free time together as a family, far from everything else, and meet as few tourists as possible. We often wonder around very rural areas. We invest a lot of time and effort in preparing our holidays to ensure that we get as much of a cultural experience as possible, even if it is only for a couple of weeks. We are not interested in what we can get at home, but rather what we do not get to see in London.
My other favourite holiday is when we go to my parent’s home in Granada, where I am from. We get to see all of our friends and family in one go and every day feels like a celebration. I think it is very important to remain close to your roots and the only way to do that is by going back as often as we can. My husband is Dutch and I am Spanish, so in order for our children to speak both of our languages we ensure we all spend time as a family close to our parents.
Do you capture your family moments through a phone or a camera, tell us about it?
I use both. I discovered Instagram through Courtney Adamo at Babyccino kids last year and I thought it was a wonderful way to record special moments in my family life… Instagram just happens to share these moments with my customers and people who are close to La Coqueta. I also have thousands of pictures taken with my camera…they are more for personal use and I take lots of pictures of the children with my husband, which I rarely share with people outside my family or friends.
We love looking at them every so often as a reminder of the happy moments we have shared or visited as a family. I find children forget things quickly so it is a great way to remind them where they went to, and the things they did during those wonderful trips. In essence, I capture family moments daily through my iphone and use my camera for more special occasions or holidays.