Growing up, Jodie Hebb would watch her mother sewing pieces for her to wear on their farm in Western Australia. “I always admired her creativity in making clothes that were functional and fashionable,” she said. But despite a constant enjoyment and appreciation for fashion, Jodie never dreamt of a career in fashion for herself. “Mum dresses to flatter her age yet always look modern and quite unique,” she said. “She taught me a lot about dressmaking and she’s inspired me to believe I could create something myself that people enjoy.“
And so Jodie’s eponymous label, Jham was born. In 2004, she travelled extensively and sourced inspiration to start off her first range. The rest is history! Fashion Exposed Online took a peak behind the burgeoning brand to reveal the story behind the unique name, the journey till now, and what she loves most about her new fashion profession.
When did you first being a career in fashion? How?
I began my fashion career in 2004. I had travelled extensively and was really inspired to begin my own label. My husband and I were both working in the Film Industry for Disney in Melbourne and whilst it was great fun, we always envisaged working for ourselves. We left our jobs, sold the house and moved back to my home city of Perth to start Jham. It was all quite sudden and we often joke that if we knew the rollercoaster ride we were embarking on beforehand, we may have thought twice. As it’s turned out we have managed to combine our passion for Jham into something we’re both very proud of.
You started the Jham label in 2004 with your husband, describe the journey?
We began retailing my clothing designs in a small store in Fremantle. The clothing sales exceeded all of our expectations and it grew from there. Soon retailers approached us about stocking the label and from there we’ve developed a thriving wholesale business. We’ve made many of the classic errors and perhaps some new ones along the way, but we have grown our business every year since we began and that’s been a testament to our commitment to make this work. We have two young girls now and combining work and home life is always a challenge, but ultimately, it is the thing we love most about what we do. Both Andrew and I bring different talents to Jham and we recognise that and use it to our advantage.
Tell us about the story behind the label name – Jham?
I wish it was more interesting! Finding a name was more difficult than we thought it would be. In the end we went with our initials, JH for myself and AM for Andrew.
You have been described as a talent for `timeless clothing with restrained detail’ – tell us how this description refers to the individual pieces in the collection?
Many of our customers can recognise a Jham piece. Whilst it’s modern and quite unique, it’s not trend driven and generally has one simple feature. This may be an unusual neckline, a hint of simple print or a striking cut but I believe that less can be more. Clothing should highlight the wearer, not overwhelm them.
You also specialise in natural fibres – cottons, silks, linens and wool blends – why do you choose these fabrics? Why?
I love everything about these fabrics – they look timeless and classic and in warm climates, they breathe.
What do you love most about your profession?
I love the challenge of creating something that will sell for our customers and be loved by theirs. I also love the freedom that having our own labels affords us. It’s a different working life but it’s in an industry that I love and one that I take great pleasure from. We travel overseas regularly and I’m constantly busy with design, production, range development and all the things I enjoy doing whilst having loads of time to be there for my girls. We’ve created an amazing balance of work and family life and that’s been at the top of our wish list since we started.
You will be exhibiting at the next Fashion Exposed Sydney, what do you hope to gain by exhibiting?
This is our first time back at Fashion Exposed in two years now and we’ll use this opportunity to showcase what is going to be our largest and most exciting summer range yet. I’ve made an effort to bring greater diversity and flexibility into the range and can’t wait to unveil it to our customers. We’ll also be bringing some of the best sellers from our successful Winter 12 collection which will be available for immediate delivery. One of the most important aspects of Fashion Exposed is the opportunity to catch up with our existing customers as well as meeting potential new customers. Whilst we’re stocked in approximately 100 boutiques nationally, there are still many opportunities available for stockists and we hope to fill those.
How would you sum up the Jham brand in three words?
Modern, unique, affordable.