JP HARPER NYC: How A Childhood Dream Turned Into An International Fashion Company

JP HARPER NYC is quickly becoming a fashion industry icon. With the perfect blend of urban influence and luxury designs, the company has become a favorite among fashion lovers who insist on standing out in a crowd. The company founders, Shanda Harper and Jacqueline Purcell, are no exception. Although their fashion brand is only three years old, their obsession with fashion, setting their own rules, and creating bold and beautiful designs has been a lifelong endeavor. Since launching the brand in 2019, the power pair has turned the fashion brand into a thriving online business as well as opening a New Jersey-based brick-and-mortar store in 2020 that caters to a savvy fashion clientele from around the world. While they are still a young company, they are looking to continue their growth and establish themselves as one of the premier fashion brands around the world.

Purcell and Harper’s shared love for fashion started when they were both still young. “We met as team moms and immediately bonded over our shared love of fashion and all things girly,” Purcell said. Even at a young age, they dreamed of starting a fashion company together. Despite their passion, it was hard to turn their dream into a reality. After several failed attempts to open a clothing company together, they had to press pause on their goal, but they never stopped believing in themselves. Decades later, the two friends would finally start their business and quickly found success. They credit their success to a strong belief in themselves. “We believed in ourselves even when others didn’t. Now everyone believes in us.” This confidence allowed them to make decisions that seemed crazy but allowed them to build their business. Without access to funds, they turned to their life savings and credit cards to fund their dream. Yes, this was a risk, but it paid off. Within a few years of launching their brand, they have built a business that has spread worldwide and transformed their lives in the process. And they are just getting started.

JP HARPER NYC has been a brand in the making for over thirty years. Although their early attempts at starting a clothing brand failed, they patiently prepared for when they would be able to turn their full attention to building the business. “The time wasn’t right for us in the beginning, so we decided to put our dream on hold while taking care of our families.” As their children grew older and moved out, it was time for them to take the first step. Their first start-up was an eyelash brand in 2017 that gave them their first taste of success. “It was incredible. We started selling our lashes online before expanding to a kiosk in the mall.” Despite being surrounded by stores such as Sephora, ELF, and other popular beauty brands, they were able to build a very strong customer base. After several years, they decided it was time to go bigger and launched their clothing brand JP HARPER NYC in August 2019. Again, they found success rather quickly by building on the success of their lash company. “We were able to cross-promote between the two businesses and this allowed us to grow [JP HARPER NYC] rather quickly.” Despite the seemingly quick success, the two women made it a point to emphasize the importance of patience in growing their business. “This wasn’t an overnight success. It took years of dedication and patience for this to become a reality.”

As their brand continues to grow and attract fashion lovers from around the world, JP and Harper have their eyes set on continued growth. “We would like to have a few more storefronts and continue to build our brand.” Their growth, however, looks past just their personal success. They are also looking to provide inspiration and education for other women with aspirations to build a business. “We didn’t know how to build a business, acquire funding or what steps to take in order to scale a business. We didn’t have a place to go for help and inspiration. We want to provide that for other young women looking to chase their dreams.”

Over thirty percent of the pieces in their store are custom designed by JP and Harper making JP HARPER NYC the perfect place to shop if you are a fashion lover looking for bold looks and unique designs. If you are interested in learning more about their custom clothing and the women behind the designs, check out their website at JP HARPER NYC.

Written in partnership with Ace of Spades