I sat down to chat with Soni Cooksey, designer of vintage-influenced clothing brand; Joonbird! Her whimsical designs are full of colour, light, and an injection of 1960’s mod nostalgia. Soni explains her designs, brand, and every aspect of her colourful imprint on the childrenswear market!
What are three words to describe JoonBird?
Cheery. Sweet. Vintage.
What inspires your design process?
My biggest inspiration is vintage textiles. I love the designs of the 60s and 70s. Even with all of our advancements today we actually cannot achieve the colors and designs that you can with certain vintage prints due to the type of garment printing we use today since everything is so mass-produced. Many of the awesome vintage fabrics you see in my shop were rotary printed, a process that uses many detailed screens rolled over the fabric that each print a different color, which is something that is seldom used now. I find that vintage designs lend themselves perfectly to children’s apparel— they are vibrant and cheery.
What is the goal of JoonBird?
My goal is to make you squeal! That may sound like a silly answer but hear me out… when I find a vintage textile that I absolutely love, I literally squeal with delight. I gasp and rush to buy it before I miss the chance. I get soooo excited when I find the perfect fabric and my only hope is that my customers feel a little bit of that joy too when they see my products.
My goal has never been to make $x amount per quarter or anything like that— it is just to be a beloved brand that brings people joy and hopefully a little squeal.
What is your favourite garment you are selling right now?
Definitely our mod dress. I designed this dress as a nod to 1960s mod style and make each piece with hard to find amazing vintage fabrics. These dresses are all one of a kind and made in limited batches. I spend pretty much every free second I have searching the depths of the earth to find the most incredible vintage fabrics to curate this collection and every time I release them I am blown away by the response. This is by far my favorite piece to make and I am so humbled to sell out every time I make a batch.
What pushed you into children’s clothing?
Joonbird was basically the result of me going overboard designing things for my daughter’s nursery, I’ve always loved the kids market since it’s an opportunity to design such fun, cheery stuff— but once I was pregnant with my own daughter it gave me the excuse to go all out. I couldn’t find bedding that I liked for her nursery and began to design my own based on vintage designs and then I slowly ventured out to start designing clothing as well. It became such a fun creative process that I just kept going and going. I actually didn’t really intend for it to become a full-fledged business when I first started. I just kind of went with where it led me.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was little anytime anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I always said I wanted to be a Mom. I was never very career-driven. I only ever wanted to take care of babies. I must say I haven’t changed much since I was a kid. My interests have pretty much stayed the same— I want to craft all day, draw flowers, and take care of babies.
What was your favorite garment growing up?
The one garment that really sticks out to me is actually from my later years. When I was a teenager and really started to discover and collect vintage items I bought a knitted cream-coloured cardigan from the 1950s. I wore this thing almost daily for 15 plus years and it is still a staple in my closet. It has begun to unravel now and has several holes in it, but I can’t seem to give it up. Good vintage is timeless.
Huge thank you to Joonbird and Soni Cooksey, please go check out the newest vintage styles adding to the Joonbird rainbow at joonbird.com!