Jolie Noire Collaborates with Target For Their 8th Annual Black History Month Collection
Jolie Noire was founded in 2019 by sisters Kim and Keyondra Lockett with a mission of empowerment and helping Black women view themselves in a positive light. Keyondra is a soulful, inspirational artist and has shared the stage with Yolanda Adams, Karen Clark-Sheard, Kierra Sheard, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, and more. Kim is an Atlanta-based celebrity fashion stylist. Her work has been featured in multiple publications, television networks, and blogs, including BET, Essence.com, BMI Trailblazers Honors, Hypehair.com, and more.
EDITION spoke to the Lockett sisters about their collaboration with Target for its’ 8th annual Black History Month collection, plus discussed the Jolie Noire vision and success.
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What made you want to start selling a unisex line of clothing?
We are actually an essential wear brand for women. Since we have a strong male following that supports Jolie Noire and many of our designs are androgenous, we wanted to curate a section in the Jolie Noire “closet” that made it easier for men to shop. The narrative of the importance of Blackness isn’t one that is unique to Black women. It's one both men and women alike share.
Kim, with your background as a stylist, and Keyondra, your background as a songwriter, both of you are artists in your own unique way. Was transitioning and starting a clothing line something seamless or uncharted territory?
Keyondra: I would say it was seamless because once you have a fanbase and they love what you do, you can sell them anything. We became who we are, and people grew to love that, which made it easy for them to buy into Jolie Noire.
Kim: It was certainly uncharted territory, in my opinion. Though we had an eyewear business prior to Jolie Noire, we didn’t have nearly as much involvement in the business. For that business, we selected eyewear and hired a guy to build the website. We shipped the items ourselves, but it wasn’t a very successful business, so we didn’t ship much. Also, social media wasn’t what it is today, so there wasn’t anything to really manage with social media either. With Jolie Noire, we built the site, we sourced a printing and fulfillment company, we plan our shoots, assist in directing the shoots, conduct customer service, social media management, marketing, and so much more. We touch every part of our business and have had to learn each step as we’ve grown. Many experiences have been “fish out of water” experiences for sure!
What message do you want people to understand from your clothing line?
Keyondra: Our message is multifaceted. Our primary message is to our Noire Babes. We want people who look like us, no matter what size or shade they are, to be reminded we too are beautiful. We advocate for the Black woman first because we are often overlooked and over mistreated by the very communities we help build. We are valuable, and if no one else honors us, we will. We also want our men, our Noire Bros, to know they are valuable and worthy too. Our message isn’t to exclude or wage war on any groups of people but to normalize wearing and buying products that promote Blackness. Our brand can be worn by anyone who loves beautiful, high-quality items.
Tell me about how you were able to partner with Target for Black History Month. What does that mean to you?
Kim: Partnering with Target is a dream many businesses have, and we are not exempt from the dreamers! When we were contacted by the Senior Buyer of Target via email, we could hardly believe it. After taking the email to our team, our then business coach did a bit of research and confirmed the contact was indeed real. We had our initial meeting with her, and here we are!
This opportunity is special, for us, because it has put us in the eyesight of celebrities, some of the largest influencers, and has expanded our support base tremendously. When trusted brands, like Target, back you, it sends a message to the general public that you are a solid brand. Jolie Noire, pre the Target announcement, was a two-year-old brand that had to prove its trustworthiness to the masses. Jolie Noire post-Target announcement has to maintain the fact that we are a trustworthy brand. Target got our brand’s foot in the door of many consumers, and now we have to nurture the relationship and establish loyalty.
Are there any current favorite pieces from your line that you would like to highlight?
Kim: Our bestseller, to date, is our "Girl With Hat." She’s my favorite too. She’s so bold and loud but sleek and mysterious, all at the same time!
Keyondra: I love the entire collection. But if I had to choose one, it would be our florals!
I love your message. What’s the inspiration behind the name of Jolie Noire? How did the name of the brand come about?
Kim: Thank you! Keyondra and I have always had a passion for women’s advocacy. Keyondra is a gospel singer and created a song encouraging women and girls to love themselves as God created them. As she was building her platform, I was in school earning my master’s degree in counseling, and I learned of several statistics that highlighted Black women as afterthoughts on many scales. When thinking of names for the brand, so many came to mind that were terrible, but we decided to look at our state’s culture to get our name. We’re from Louisiana, so it was only right that we used a phrase that represented that. We’re big on remembering where you came from. We wanted our name to mean something but didn’t want to be so obvious. We wanted a conversation starter. So, Jolie Noire was it. The phrase looked good in logo form, but more importantly, it means so much to us.
Where do the prints and artwork on your pieces come from?
Keyondra: Kim and I think of every detail in our artwork. The hair, nails, skin tone, eye shape, makeup, outfits are all our ideas. We send whatever photos and colors that will help aid in understanding on a mood board to our illustrator and work with her to ensure every detail expresses Blackness accurately.
What does it mean to you to be a part of Black History Month as a Black women-owned brand? Did you picture yourself ever doing this?
Keyondra: It means that we can be an example and show other Black people the possibilities that come from dreaming. It also means that those Black women who fought for opportunities like this didn’t fight in vain. Black history, for us, is way more than a month; we are really Black 365. The fact that our experiences as being both Black and women cannot be taken off when we feel pressured by those who look like us and those who look different is evident daily. It is amazing to have a brand like ours to express that. Having garments to share is a beautiful experience!
Kim: I’ve always wanted to own a clothing brand but never thought it would make a fashion and social impact. I couldn’t have dreamt of it this way.
Do you have any advice for young Black women who want to become entrepreneurs or pursue a career in fashion?
Keyondra: Nike said it best “just do it!” Stay accountable to your reason why you want to pursue entrepreneurship. Be patient and allow time to take its course. Test your ideas with as many people as you can. Always remember a business that takes zero risks gets zero gains. Investing time and money can be a huge risk for many but take those risks and find out if your dream has what it takes to make it. Lastly, don’t be married to an idea. Be open to making changes or additions as needed and you’ll succeed.
Tags: Fashion, web-original, Nicole Choma, Jolie Noire,
Photography by: Courtesy of Jolie Noire