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Jan & Jul prepares kids for every forecast—in style.
Raised in a cotton farming region of rural China, Florence Luo put her homegrown passion for sewing and knitting aside when she moved to the U.S. to pursue a career in engineering. But in 1996, when her second daughter was born, Luo’s urge to design struck again. Inspired by her kids love for the outdoors, Luo created what would be the first of many adjustable, patterned sun hats to keep them safe from harmful rays. But it wasn’t until 10 years later, with her family settled in Vancouver, Luo decided to transform her at-home passion project into a full-time business, Twinklebelle Designs.
“I was still teaching engineering at the local university, but I wanted to switch gears to spend more time with the girls,” Luo says. “It was the perfect opportunity to finally grow my hobby into a business.”
Luo’s entrepreneurial endeavour proved successful, selling her signature sun hats through Twinklebelle’s website as well as through specialty boutiques. “I believe in encouraging outdoor play as much as possible,” Luo says of her stylish, secure and sun-safe mission. “It’s so important to have the right gear, and I feel honored to actively contribute apparel and accessories to other outdoorsy families like my own.”
Four years ago, Luo expanded that outdoorsy offering into a new brand, Jan & Jul, consisting of a wide range of weather-resistant outdoor gear including rain jackets, rain pants, fleece-lined winter coats and, beginning next spring, shoes. All Jan & Jul garments are waterproof, wind repellant and soil-repellant as well as PVC- and fluoride-free. “It took me two years to figure out all the waterproofing technologies out there,” Luo says. “It was my goal to create something practical and aesthetically pleasing that matched Twinklebelle’s style—and finally we nailed it!”
Designed to grow with the child, Jan & Jul styles feature adjustable hoods and waistbands as well as elastic on the sleeves and ankles. The summer UV-protective styles also bear in mind longer wear with matching top and bottom sets instead of one-pieces. As for the extension into shoes, Luo says the decision comes on the heels of great feedback to its 3-D knit shoe it tested last season. Available for first-walkers through size 13 in seven different colors, the suggested retail price for each style will be $25. “We want to take the next step and make shoes kids can wear the whole day that are breathable, water-resistant and easily taken on and off,” Luo says “It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I can’t wait to broaden our reach even more!”