Pippa O’Connor Ormond tells Esther McCarthy why she’s brought her denim line to Cork with a month-long pop up store.
A great pair of jeans can be a challenge to find, and when you do get your hands on those perfect denims that flatter and fit, they become a much-loved and valued wardrobe staple.
Now top Irish model and style guru Pippa O’Connor Ormond is bringing her denims to Cork with a pop-up store in the city’s Mahon Point Shopping Centre.
Her business came to pass last November, when she launched her own clothing brand after toying with the idea for several years.
While Poco is an online brand, Pippa is looking forward to giving women the opportunity to explore the range at the pop-up.
“We’re primarily an online business and that’s where I see us staying, but with the pop-ups I get to go to different parts of the country, meet people and give them the opportunity to see them up close. That’s really what it’s all about.”
After all, denim jeans are one of those items of clothing that women like to try on, at least the first time they buy.
“Definitely, and I think that was a little risky to begin with, when I said to people I was going to do this mainly online.
"Some people thought I was kind of mad, but I thought that if it was self-explanatory, and the sizes were what they said they were on the jeans, that if they did what they said they did, then it would work. I knew that if they bought one pair it would work, that they’d come back and revisit.”
Pippa has become a highly successful businesswoman thanks to her large online following. The development of her Fashion Factory events - a day featuring advice and contributors in areas such as style and skincare - frequently sell out in venues across Ireland.
The Cork pop-up, which opened yesterday for four weeks, gives her an opportunity to meet customers.
“I kind of think I know who my customer is anyway because I do so many events around the country. But it is great getting to meet them at the pop-up shops. That’s why I loved doing Dundrum, because people were making a real day out of it, they were coming from all over the country. I was meeting 16 year olds to 66 year olds, a really varied demographic of women.
“I did styling sessions (along with fellow fashion guru and friend Michelle McGrath) where I’d go through the range and gave ideas as to how to wear them, what to wear them with, who are they for, what the material was.”
Poco was born when O’Connor Ormond pondered various business options while pregnant with her second child. After looking at different concepts, she decided that the wardrobe classic jeans were the best approach in forming a core brand.
“I thought:‘What do I love? What does my sister, aunties, everyone around me love?’ Jeans are all of our basics, they’re what I wear all year round. It was kind of a no-brainer. Years ago, when I was younger, jeans were so expensive.
I remember begging my dad for money for branded jeans, and they were the kind of ones you’d only wear for a special occasion.
The denim quality wouldn’t have been so soft and moveable. Now I wear them all the time, whatever the occasion. So whether I’m playing with my kids at home, or going on a night out, I have a pair of jeans to suit that.” Ranging in price from €85, the names of the range reflect how we live and are often self-explanatory - for example, The Off Duty, The Saturday night.
The range from size 6-16 and have three leg lengths. “We’ve seven styles at the moment. We have everything from your Off Duty jean, which I would kind of wear rolled up, with runners, a t-shirt or shirt.
“Then we have our Slimmer, they’re probably our most popular. Everybody loves the Slimmer, they’re a nice dark denim, a really soft material. They just really pull you in and give you a nice bum, which everyone wants.
"Most recently we introduced two new high-waisted styles, because everyone loves high-waisted, because crop-tops are in, we all love wearing tops that are a bit shorter, and I don’t personally want to have my stomach on show.
"We have the Tummy Tuck for women who might want to make their stomach look flatter. And we have the All-Star which is more like a jegging style. I love those with high heels and a nice little top, they’re just very flattering.”
While expanding on what has become a successful brand is tempting, Pippa is wary of stretching too far beyond her core range or taking on fashion’s retail giants. “There are so many other shops and retailers who do it all. You have your ASOS, Boohoo and Zara. I don’t want to try and compete.
What I do is core basics and I’d rather keep it to a minimum, keep it to what I think people really need in their wardrobes all year round.”
Still, she hints that she is considering expanding her range at some stage.
“I want to expand on what I’m doing for ladies. More styles, more items like denim jackets, denim shirts, denim shorts for next year, and maybe introduce a few basics to go with them.”
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