How to build a million dollar fashion brand

At the age of 24, House of CB founder Conna Walker has taken her brand from her bedroom in London to the red carpets of Los Angeles. How has she done it?

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  1. Know your customer

“You have to be constantly aware of your customer, who they are watching and who they are listening to,”

  1. Keep up with the Kardashians

“The Kardashians were huge for me. Once they started wearing House of CB, they put us on the map, and we had other celebrities getting in touch saying, ‘This product is dope.’ It went from there. Social media and celebrity gifting – often “knocking on the door 78 times” to get to the right person – are core elements in the growth strategy. We are selective with the girls we work with; they have to be the type of girls our twentysomething shoppers are interested in.”

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  1. Don't ignore to bricks and mortar

“A lot of brands feel stores are not the best idea in the current climate but in my opinion] they help sales online and online helps lift sales in stores – they go hand in hand. I felt for branding purposes it was important for us to have a physical presence to cement where we are in the market.”

  1. Open up to America

“We’ve a really loyal customer base here but the UK is small and there is only so far you can take it. I felt the next step should be the US because of the sheer size of population, the money over there and the celebrity connection. We needed to physically be there to foster those relationships.”

  1. Create a strong brand image

“I like the brand to be quite organic and not pushed down people’s throats. It keeps the idea that the label is still quite luxury even though the price point isn’t too high [dresses generally retail for between £100 and £150]. You won’t see us all over the Tube. Everything has to be in the brand voice, so shoppers know it is our product regardless of where they see it.”

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  1. Take Instagram seriously

“Instagram is still the strongest [platform] for us – it has more than 1.4 million followers – but we try to have different content on different platforms so it isn’t repetitive. It isn’t enough to post a picture and say, ‘Buy our clothes’ any more. We are trying to build a community and make shoppers feel involved with the brand through behind-the-scenes content of the team, make-up artists and models.”

  1. Be patient with growth

“At first a lot of people wouldn’t take me seriously and it was difficult to get respect. But the whole brand is self-funded, I have no debt, no investors. I’ve grown it in a way I’m comfortable with, and I’ve been able to handle it. We didn’t blow up overnight.”

See the original interview with Drapers here and watch the video below to see the brand's latest lookbook

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Ruth MacGilp, 20, UK. Fashion Communication Student and Fashion Blogger.
Edinburgh Website