Joyfolie, started by founder Jessica Hernandez, is a women’s and girls’ fashion brand offering feminine, bohemian styles. Hernandez describes the start of Joyfolie as an “accidental” business as she didn’t initially set out to start a company of her own. In fact, she didn’t have a fashion education or knowledge of sourcing at first. “I was teaching college writing as a professor when I handmade some baby booties for my daughter on a road trip. It was just a hobby! But, right away, I had wholesale inquiries and magazine interest — It was very exciting,” explained Hernandez.
From a young age, Hernandez always felt a creative spark, though not specifically to fashion. “When I was seven years old I went on a cruise with my grandparents. There was a competition for who could create the best flapper dress — I won! I was a literature major in college and my master’s is in theology,” said Hernandez. “Suffice it to say, discovering my calling was a rambling road.”
303 Magazine: What influenced you to start a brand of your own? When was Joyfolie established?
Jessica Hernandez: I wouldn’t say I set out to start a brand, at least that wasn’t my intent in the beginning. I handmade some items for my daughter and someone told me to sell them on Etsy, so I did. From there, I received so much response it was exciting and overwhelming. Initially, I hired a few people to help me sew items from my house. That was an absolute disaster! There were stacks of fabrics, piles of boxes, sewing equipment — all with toddlers running about underfoot. I do not miss that time! But, eventually, I figured out how to find factories overseas, how to find a warehouse to do our shipping and how to build a website.
It took a lot of patience and dedication. For months, every Tuesday I would go to Starbucks and review my long list of all the things I had yet to learn! But, I was dedicated and kept going. Real success takes time, but big dreams are always worth it. Joyfolie was founded in 2011, but in the beginning, all we offered were five styles of girl’s shoes. The brand has gone through a complete evolution since then!
303: Who is your target audience? What can customers expect when shopping?
JH: Joyfolie offers feminine, bohemian fashion. We are known most for our maxi dresses for women and girls. However, we offer tops, jackets, loungewear, denim, accessories and even blue light glasses! We offer the entire range of girls sizes, from 2-14. For women, Joyfolie is relevant to all shapes, sizes and ages.
303: What is the inspiration behind the name, Joyfolie?
JH: Joyfolie is pronounced like the common word, “joyfully” but is a play on words. Folie is the French word for frenzy, and derived from the joyful, exuberant way in which we love our children.
303: What is the most rewarding part of working with a small core group?
JH: I love the size of my team! We are small but mighty — haha. We have to pull off a “big brand” presence with a very small group of women. Together, we are tight-knit, tenacious and collaborative. I have been able to travel the world with them, for inspiration, for photoshoots. Paris, Morocco, London, Portugal — we have been to many amazing places together. Because we have a small team, we are able to know everyone in the company and collaborate across departments. I know it won’t always be this way, but there is something really special about the size of my team right now.
303: Can you tell us a little about the expansion of the brand?
JH: Since the inception of Joyfolie, we have had the opportunity to work with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian’s daughter, Northwest, as well as Chrissy Teigen, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba are some of the celebrities who have worn our product. Because that has been an organic part of Joyfolie, I developed a new luxury line called Joyfolie Gold Label. These are luxury pieces for special occasions and red carpet events priced $600 and up. What is particularly special about Joyfolie Gold Label is 50% of the proceeds of each garment will go to initiatives for worldwide equality for women.
I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunities I have to run my own business. I would like to be instrumental in changing the world so women across the globe have the same opportunities. This line was due to launch right as coronavirus shook the world. Moreover, even though the garments and the line is ready, I am waiting for the right time to launch Joyfolie Gold Label. I am wildly excited about the opportunity to not only design beautiful, elaborate gowns, but to also have them represent a noble cause.
303: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brand of their own?
JH: Start small and be patient. The perception of overnight success is a myth. Success is more about hard work and determination than getting lucky with the right product or idea. Also, make sure you love what you do! Running a company means regularly encountering challenges and setbacks — it’s not for the faint of heart! But, if you love what you do it’s always worth it.
303: What do you think of the Denver fashion scene? How do you see it growing in the next 5-10 years?
JH: Denver is an amazing city with incredible talent and energy! I feel so grateful to be here! While Colorado has a longstanding reputation for the outdoor industry, it’s encouraging to see the city evolve with the expansion of Denver Fashion Week. Furthermore, with more and more emerging designers and talented artists relocating here. I am excited for the future!
All photography by Kim Carrier