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Meet House of CB, The Brand Behind Beyonce's Most Affordable Insta-Famous Looks

Beyonce
 James Devaney/GC Images

Beyonce leaves Rihanna's 3rd Annual Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on Sept. 14, 2017 in New York City.

Conna Walker was just 17 years old when she launched House of CB, a now well-known brand worn by megastars Beyonce, Cardi B, Jennifer LopezNicki Minaj and the Kardashian-Jenner clan. The wholesale buyer turned designer, who also owns a second brand, Mistress Rocks, started out on eBay before starting to build her own empire.

But who is the woman behind Queen Bey's frequently-worn brand? Interestingly, she has no formal fashion training, a testament to how far hard work and persistence can take you. Billboard Style caught up with Conna, now 25, to get the scoop on all things House of CB, including how she got into Beyonce's hands.

 

@beyonce looking absolutely beautiful -- in the @houseofcb Orsina skirt last night -- Shop; houseofcb.com

A post shared by House Of CB (@houseofcb) on

When did you start House of CB and why?

I started House of CB when I was 17. My dad had said I need to get a job and a 9-5 wasn't for me!

What's the back-story behind the name of the brand?

When I started I called it Celeb Boutique, as I was buying pieces that were 'celebrity style.' Moving forward I changed to design everything in-house and getting those celebrities to wear the brand designed pieces, so I changed the name to House of CB to reflect that.

How does your second brand, Mistress Rocks, differ from House of CB?

It's a different price point (it's a lot cheaper), and it's also a lot more casual and edgy, but we find the customers definitely cross over both brands.

Where did the idea to launch the brand come from?

As I was already buying and selling ready-made pieces on eBay, I figured it could only take me so far and that it had a ceiling as I wasn't finding what I wanted, so I realized I needed to design things myself to create what I thought was missing and so the launch of the brand was more a natural, organic evolution from how I started.

 

ICYMI the ultimate @beyonce in the @houseofcb Leonida skirt (+ @mistressrocks bodysuit) Shop: houseofcb.com

A post shared by House Of CB (@houseofcb) on

Being so young, was there ever a time where you felt people didn't take you seriously or like your goals were too far out of reach?    

100%. I found it really hard at first to get people to listen to me as everyone was older and felt they knew better, so I definitely went through a few members of staff who couldn't take direction from someone younger but I have found a great team now. 

How did House of CB start getting noticed by celebrities?

It was really natural and organic, we actually started with a few reality TV girls messaging us on Instagram, so then I realized I should be messaging celebrities myself -- and it worked! So we started working with them just from me DM'ing people.

When did you realize that your brand was about to blow up and get really popular?

Once J. Lo (who I absolutely love) wore our skirt on the "AKA" album cover I felt like we were onto something and really pushed to get more placements.

How did your brand form a relationship with Beyoncé?

Again, we've been super lucky to form organic relationships. Last year, Beyoncé wore 2 pieces that had been pulled by her stylist from our PR. This year she's worn about 5 pieces that were all purchased by her stylist at one of our stores, so that was really amazing that out of all the expensive brands that she gets given, she chose to wear ours, and so many times, too. And I was totally fan-girling because I love Beyoncé, like most people!

Why/how do you think House of CB turned into a Beyoncé-favorite?

The feedback we get from the stylists that we work with is that our pieces fit curvy bodies really well, without having to do any tailoring. We find that celebs also seem to love that our pieces are sexy and still fashionable, which is sometimes hard to find. And we've been told even though our price point is lower we still have great quality.

What has been the proudest or most exciting moment of your career thus far?

I think opening our first physical store in London when I was 20 was huge for me, and on top of that just the general growth of the brand. I have no fashion training; no investors, so for me I feel really flattered that so many celebs choose to wear us and that so many people choose to purchase from us.

Where do you pull inspiration from when designing pieces?

We look at what our customers are wearing, we look at trends but we have very much our own style so we usually design within that. But with social media there's so much visual content from people that we even get inspo from there, too. There are some incredibly well-dressed people online!

What are the most important elements to you when designing your pieces?

For us, it has to highlight a feminine shape and still be cool and not dated. The fabric quality and quality of fit is so important to us, too.

 

Incase you missed it, Queen @beyonce in the Fifi dress. Shop: houseofcb.com

A post shared by House Of CB (@houseofcb) on

Now that so many celebrities have worn your pieces and your brand has gained a certain status, what has made you keep your price-point where it is?

When I started I was designing for a 19-year-old me and what I could afford along with the quality I wanted to see, and now [that] I'm 25, I still design for me and girls like me. We started as a commercial brand and will stay that way!

So, what's next for Conna?

Work, work, work! I love my work so really it's just focusing on growing both brands to the level that I'd like them to be. I'm also working on setting up some kind of foundation to help female entrepreneurs which will be a really personal project for me.

What are your long-term goals for House of CB and Mistress Rocks?

For me, I just really want to grow HOCB into a lifestyle brand, not just fashion, so that's what we are working on at the moment. And as for Mistress Rocks - I'd really love to open physical stores for it!


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