Multi-million deal for mum’s babywear firm

Tuesday 26th April 2022 4:00 pm
Former Monmouth School for Girls’ pupil Laura Tenison, founder of the Jojo Maman Bebe boutique baby wear firm
Former Monmouth School for Girls’ pupil Laura Tenison, founder of the Jojo Maman Bebe boutique baby wear firm (Drapers Online )

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The Jojo Maman Bebe boutique baby-wear firm founded by a local entrepreneur in her kitchen 30 years ago has been sold in a multi-million pound deal.

Former Monmouth School for Girls’ pupil Laura Tenison, who lives beside Abergavenny’s Skirrid mountain, will leave the firm after the acquisition by clothes giant Next and investment firms.

Customers include the likes of the Duchess of Cambridge who sported a white Jojo maternity coat and is thought to have bought items for her daughter Princess Charlotte.

With its HQ now in Newport, it currently has 87 stores across the UK while its online business employs some 950 people.

Mum-of-two Ms Tenison said of the deal: “Growing JoJo from a kitchen table start-up to being the UK’s leading specialist boutique mother and baby brand has been my priority for the past 30 years.

“I’m exceptionally proud of our achievements, and excited by the opportunities this new partnership will offer to the brand’s future.”

The MBE told staff it was important to Next and the other firms “that we retain the brand identity, values and talent, while permitting JoJo to benefit from the economies of scale of their bigger umbrella.

“Next and DK [Davidson Kempner] believe, as we do, that our stores hold a great value to the overall business.”

Next say they will invest more than £16m in the business, which currently enjoys annual revenue of more than £60m a year.

The entrepreneur launched Jojo Maman Bebe in her London flat-share after a crash in France left her laid up in hospital, and she was inspired by a young mum with two small children who kept herself entertained by ordering from mail order catalogues.

“I couldn’t help noticing how well-dressed the children in France were,” she said in a recent interview.

“You’d see them out walking along the beach with their grandparents whatever the weather, with their great waterproof overalls and fishermen’s jackets on, picking things out of the sand.”

The business took off, with her first “warehouse” a disused carpenter’s warehouse from her father’s business in Pontypool.

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