A chance meeting in her hometown of St. Albert, Alta. has led to a business venture for Vernon’s Derri-Ann Cooper.
While shopping on her last visit to the city, located just northwest of Edmonton, Cooper bought on a pair of Monjeloco Jeans. She liked them so much, she asked store owner/designer Nora Furber if she would be interested in having a distributor in the North Okanagan.
And so the partnership began.
“I’m doing it out of my home in the North Okanagan and I’m just seeing how it goes,” said Cooper, a teacher. “This is just the start, so who knows what the future will bring.”
Originally from Colombia, Furber has lived in Canada for more than 30 years. She turns to her Latina upbringing to create her jeans line – available in an array of styles, washes, textures and colours – which is produced by single mothers in her native country.
“They are premium women’s jeans and are designed to lift the butt and enhance a women’s natural curves,” said Cooper, noting each pair is hand treated.
Monjelocos retail anywhere from $110-135.
Furber recently promoted Monjeloco Jeans on the popular CBC show, The Dragons’ Den, but was denied a contract.
“In hindsight for her, it was a good thing because her one store in St. Albert is doing very well,” said Cooper.
As part of her pitch to the Dragons, Furber had models do a before and after comparison using traditional North American-style jeans and her own.
“It was amazing the difference,” said Cooper. “My friends that watched went: ‘Oh my God’ and that’s what the response has been.”
“It’s the way they’re put together. They’re a different design than North American jeans.”
While talking to Furber during her initial visit, Cooper discovered the two had a connection from the past.
“Furber’s late husband used to baby-sit my oldest brother when he was little,” she smiled.