Here at Etton Taylor, our mission is to give women who love timeless, elegant fashion access to the clothes that make them feel amazing. Whether that’s an outfit for a special occasion or wardrobe staples, we’re not fast, disposable fashion. Our collections are hand-selected by our founder Jo Whitehouse who pours her heart and soul into the business and cares so much about her customers. And every time you order from us, Jo really does a happy dance - it might sound a little bit cheesy, but it’s 100% true.

So, here’s a little introduction to Jo, a little of her personal history and what makes her the perfect person to lead Etton Taylor. We reckon you’ll fall in love with the brand a little more and understand why Jo is downright obsessed with clothes and making women feel their best!

Tell us about how you first got into fashion?

My love of women’s fashion started at a very early age, because my mother owned a womenswear and children’s clothing shop in their local village. It was named ‘JOANNE’S’ after me, and I became her model from a young age, wearing all the prettiest dresses and lovely shoes. When I was 12 years old, my mother decided to concentrate on ladies' fashion and stop selling children’s clothing. It was perfect timing because I’d just found that I could fit perfectly in an extra-small lady’s size! I spent hours trying on all the latest looks and modelling in fashion shows for my mother.

How did that translate into an appreciation for timeless women’s clothing?

My mother’s shop was the first place I would go after school every single day. I loved watching  the customers trying on the latest dresses and outfits that had come in that day or week. I remember the fashion in the 70s and early 80s as being so very glamorous. The materials, design, cut and stitching were made to flatter and last. Ladies would arrive in fur coats and wool jackets with silk scarves and beautiful blouses and dresses underneath. That experience gave me a lifelong love of luxury, natural fabrics and an understanding of why it’s so important to invest in statement pieces. Ladies back then saved up for timeless garments that they would wear for decades.

What happened when you left school and started out on your own path?

My mother sold the shop when I was 16 and at the same time, I was starting my hairdressing apprenticeship. I did that for a while and then went to work in the family business. I never stopped loving women’s fashion and modelled for local shows and charity events. While I would sometimes model looks that aren’t quite me (punk, for example!) I was still picking up so many tips about fit, styling and trends. Then, as my son grew up and I began looking for a new challenge, I started dreaming about having my own brand.

When did you start the Etton Taylor brand?

In 2015 (nearly 10 years ago – time has flown) I started the work that led to me founding Etton Taylor. I researched manufacturers and designers who could work with me to create the collections I had in mind. I wasn’t interested in fast, disposable fashion at all. What I did want was to create good quality clothing that would stand the test of time and give women the chance to choose timeless, elegant styles. If you invest in quality clothing and statement pieces, it’s imperative that they don’t date and last for many years to come. By 2018 I was confident I could deliver my vision, and I launched Etton Taylor using my maiden name.

Can you tell us how you grew the business to where it is today? What were the biggest challenges?

That first year I focused on local events, like Christmas markets, and started to get a loyal following online. The following year, in 2019, I took the trade stand to country fairs, horse shows and game fairs. It was truly amazing being able to share my dream with women, and there’s nothing like seeing someone glow with confidence in an outfit that makes them feel amazing.  We’ve had our ups and downs in the years since, though the business has grown well.

The pandemic was tough, as my business model had become very focused on events. But with a website, lots of promotion on social media and hard work, we rode out the storm. I’ve since had to rebrand to Etton Taylor, which wasn't pleasant, but again, we came through the other side. 

What’s next for Etton Taylor?

Today, I’m prouder than ever of the clothing and accessories I sell. It ticks the boxes I wanted - timeless, elegant and high quality - and there are garments that truly deliver flair and individuality. We have new collections for every season and there’s never a dull moment.

We’ve just got back from Badminton Horse Trials and will be off to Staffordshire County Show soon and then The Game Fair later in the summer. Plus, most excitingly of all, I’m opening a shop at The Deer Park in Staffordshire! I’ll still sell online and go to events, but the shop will certainly give me what I love - that face to face contact and styling sessions I love so much. Keep an eye out for news of a launch event, coming soon!

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