On Wednesday 22 August at 8am when Jessica Johansen-Bell woke up to her phone buzzing with notifications.
The 21-year-old posted four photos of herself posing on a bed, in black, thigh high boots and Johansen’s ‘Corset Jumper Dress’ in white. The unique design was discernible from the picture, but not evidently tagged.
Luckily, that didn’t stop fans from making the connection.
Speaking to Mamamia, Jessica says she was unexpectedly calm when she found out the news.
About a month ago, the label had made contact with Kylie’s assistant and sent her a gift package of around five pieces of clothing.
Furiously checking the tracking, on the day the package reached Kylie Jessica noticed she wore the brand’s ‘Cha Dress’ while promoting her latest Kylie Cosmetics makeup line.
“That was amazing. The website blew up and everyone went crazy,” the 23-year-old designer and business owners tells Mamamia.
It was at that point Kylie’s stylist reached out to see the rest of the collection.
“She must have gotten in contact with her stylist and told them about us, because she got in contact and said ‘we love the collection. It’s Kylie Jenner’s 21st next week and we want to see a couple of your styles,” she says.
Jessica then sent her six to eight pieces, even though she knew the chances of Kylie picking one of her designs to be the birthday dress were pretty slim.
“I knew Kylie wouldn’t wear it for her 21st, she was going to wear a $10,000 gown or something crazy, but then we got an email saying she kept a couple of the pieces,” she says, adding that she was surprised they even offered to send back the rejected pieces.
“Stylists never do that, whatever we send, we normally loose,” she says.
“She even offered to pay for it and I was like ‘absolutely not’.”
Roughly a week and half later, Jessica had inadvertently scored herself an estimated $4 million dollars of free advertising (a number which CNBC backs), and an endorsement from one of the most influential women in the western world.
And it was the freebie that kept on giving.
Based in Bangalow – a small town just west of New South Wales in Byron Bay – Jessica started Johansen at the age of 19.
After graduating from high school in 2012, she began working for renowned high-end home-ware, fashion and accessory store, Island Luxe, a role which Jessica says taught her everything about “fashion, fabric and fit”.
“I had the most amazing bosses and they were so great to me when I started,” she raves, sharing the small, but humble beginnings of her label.
“I bought in four samples. They weren’t great,” she says.
“I had a few, tiny fabric samples that were like two centimetres big and any other person would have rolled their eyes at me, but my boss was like ‘yep, I’ll take the whole collection in every colour.'”
“She got 115 units and they sold out in a couple of days. That’s how I started to get a name for myself. ”
From its early days Johansen began to attract the attention of influencers and bloggers, with prominent blogger Elle Ferguson expressing interest in her clothes and popular Instagram model Mimi Elashiry sharing a photo of herself wearing the brand.
Now, just three years into her business, she’s hit the jackpot she knows every business owner would kill for, and she’s not letting the opportunity slip by.
Since Kylie’s post, Johansen’s Instagram has received thousands of new followers, with features from international news sites and even requests from the stylists of Kim Kardashian and Ariana Grande.
They’ve also just sent clothes to Beyonce and Jessica is also hoping to see Johansen on the entire Kar-Jenner clan and maybe even Blake Lively.
Despite this, having so much sudden attention directed at your brand can have it’s drawbacks, and since the post it’s been all hands on deck at Johansen HQ.
“I couldn’t drink a coffee today because my anxiety was on another level but it’s all positive,” she says.
“Since everything is locally made and all our steps are locally produced, it can take time and sometimes you get people that are really frustrated by that.”
“But now, we’re going to restock everything. We’ve ordered hundreds and hundreds of metres of fabric and we’ll get everything back up and running, it’s just going to take a couple of days.”
However, come what may, the fashion entrepreneur is ready for the challenges.
“I’m happy to sell hundreds and hundreds of units of clothing,” she says confidently.
“With a business, if you’re making money it’s a positive thing. Bring it on, I say.”
Take a trip into Kylie Jenner’s special handbag closet, including the $10,666 Hermes she’s reserved as Stormi’s first handbag.