An Interview with DHOC Founder, Renee Forbes Williams
We are so excited to have recently opened the doors of our facility in our brand new downtown Orlando location. As we continue to settle into our new home and get to know our neighbors and fellow Orlando fashion peers, we thought it might be a good idea to make our very first blog post a little get-to-know you Q-and-A session with the company’s owner and founder, Dr. Renee Forbes Williams. Renee has been working in the fashion design industry for quite some time, and has a very unique story to share- read on to find learn more about what brought her to The Design House of Colour.
Q: How did Design House of Colour come about? What inspired you to start this business?
A: Growing up with a Mom deeply rooted in fashion design, my involvement in the fashion industry started at an early age. I went off to undergraduate with my sights on becoming a fashion designer. However, being discouraged by my mom, I changed my major to accounting; but never lost sight of my real passion.
After completing my master’s degree in Accounting, I began studying fashion design at Bauder College in South Florida and continued my studies at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York. While studying at FIT, I had the opportunity to work in design for one of the industry’s most influential designers at the time, Flora Kung. Flora Kung has been a successful women’s print- and color- driven niche fashion brands since the 80’s. Flora Kung had it’s own “shops” within multiple Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus stores, as well as other international prestigious giants like Harrod’s in London. The invaluable experience gained from working within this design house and the challenges I faced shopping for my plus-sized daughter inspired me to fulfill my lifelong dream to launch my own clothing line, Jellybean Miami (JB Miami).
Q: What inspires your designs?
A: When I am designing, I am inspired by shape, architecture, and color. Every design for the Jellybean Miami line focused on flattering a plus-size child body. My technical knowledge of a garment’s proper fit and design, combined with my innate creative abilities, result in an effortless and wearable line that reflects age appropriate appeal for young girls. The label had success from the get go. It was embraced by a diverse customer base who would regularly seek out new JB Miami arrivals in stores. Customer demand even sparked me to open an online store warehouse in Daytona Beach. Although sales and brand recognition was increasing, I felt the fatigue of lacking a solid management structure and subsequently stopped producing new lines.
Lately, upon realizing my true passion in fashion and education, I started considering designing again. Since then, I have designed a very limited collection and am being encouraged and advised by one of the top fashion industry consultants to launch a new line. However, I believe I am being called to inspire and support others and understand the importance of community involvement and giving back.
Q: Can you speak a little to the values and mission behind Design House of Colour?
A: As a company, our mission is to provide professional, dependable garment printing, embellishment, and retail services along with the highest quality education through the latest technology. It is our goal to form respectable partnerships and consultation services to emerging designers by promoting and assisting with their growth and education in the fashion industry.
Q: How will the new facility contribute to and improve the downtown Orlando Community?
A: DHOC will provide training and mentoring opportunities not limited to the fashion industry, but also will include personal and professional development. DHOC will encourage and promote entrepreneur opportunities for individuals interested in the fashion industry.