An Interview With Judy Kou, Owner of Sunday Brunch Dress Shop

My two favorite things to do are shopping (of course!) and catching up with friends over brunch. So imagine my delight when I discovered the Sunday Brunch Dress Shop, which preaches the virtues of "taking time to slow down and dress up"!

Each season, Judy Kou, the owner of this New York-based personalized service, hand-picks dresses for her clients from a range of hard-to-find local and international designers, like
Lorick and Quail. She also curates a virtual gallery for established and emerging artists, such as illustrator Adrienne Vita and graphic designer Iris Schwarz, to complement the dresses.

Judy was kind enough to answer a few questions about her online boutique - read on!

How did you get started in the fashion industry?
Like many adventures, mine was not a direct one. I moved to New Y
ork for graduate school on a fairly typical path to medical school. Long story short a little birdie told me that a career in medicine was not going to cut it for me. Momentary paralysis on the brink of a life altering decision later and it dawned on me that the only other thing I've been interested in aside from holding a scalpel is fashion, specifically my love of dresses. So that's when I took the leap. I left the world of Science and I've been happily living in a world of pretty dresses since.
Who are your favorite designers?
This is always a hard question for me because I might identify with one designer for a particular season, but find that the next season is less to my taste. So with that in mind, I can probably say that I consistently drool over Blumarine. But I don't think I will ever wear one of their creations in my lifetime. My absolute favorite designers are Heidi Merrick and Lorick, and I feel so lucky to be able to carry their dresses in my shop and help spread the love. Their designs really speak to me as a woman who feels like I never grew up, like I'm playing dress up in my mom's pretty clothes.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities as the owner of Sunday Brunch?
I am glued to the computer chair. I begin the day with a giant cup (pitcher?) of coffee (lots of cream, no sugar, thanks) and answer emails that came in over night. One would be surprised by the amount of online shopping women do in the wee hours of the morn. These emails range from sizing questions to whether the shade of red on the dress would match one's haircolor. I love answering these emails. The rest of the day is spent reading my favorite blogs, discovering new blogs, discovering new talent, managing the website, following up on orders, bills, packaging orders to be sent out, communicating with designers or showrooms...before I know it the day is gone. Days when new goodies arrive are completely dedicated to photographing each style and posting them into the shop with their descriptions. Meetings here and there and of course my boss (my English bulldog, Munch) demands attention every 20 minutes so keeping him happy is a huge part of my daily responsibility. You think I'm joking.
Do you have any criteria when selecting the dresses that end up in the shop?
I buy for the shop very much how I would shop for my own closet. It's not a bad way to go. Other important considerations are: 1) Can this dress be worn years from now despite the fickle trends of fashion? 2) Can this dress be worn from morning 'til night, brunch to cocktails? 3) Can I afford this dress and still pay for rent and groceries? Maybe just rent then?
Who are your clientele? How do you help them find the perfect dress?
I started the shop online first and not as a brick and mortar location to have the freedom of the miraculous World Wide Web. The Internet is an amazing source of information, and of course shopping. I have met so many people from all over the world, all so different. My client is anyone who finds the shop and likes what they see. Every woman is looking for the same thing in a dress: a dress that is going to make her feel good. So that can be recommendations on color, size, style and cut, fit, etc based on her body shape, measurements, personality, and occassion for the dress.

What are your plans for the future?
Sunday Brunch started as a pie in the sky dream and from there morphed from one jumbled idea to another until the opening day. I have learned one very important fact: plans change! I always have new ideas forming in my mind for the next step...wouldn't want to ruin the surprise! But my goal is really to learn as much as I can and really listen to what people want and need and take it one day at a time.
Finally, if you could only have one dress in your closet, what would it be?
Ouch. Tough question. It would be green. It would be long. It would probably look just like the green gown Kiera Knightly wore in Atonement. I have reoccurring dreams about that dress. If I'm only allowed one dress, can I have a lot of hats to wear with my dress?
Thank you Judy! Make sure you check out her website for oodles of pretty frocks.

Photo credits:


  1. This is an awesome interview and it's intense how she got started in the fashion industry. I actually used to know friends of the girl behind Quail and remember when she started from scratch here in Orange County! Great job on the questions!

  2. Ooh, thanks for sharing, i.d.! Great store, dresses & interview! ;)

  3. that was a terrific read! I love the saying "taking time to slow down and dress up" :D
    Thanks for sharing. I'm off to browse her site now!

  4. oooh great interview.. i love her designs!

  5. The simplicity of these dresses are so beautiful. It really makes you focus on the quality of the cut and the shape.