Harrisburg fashion designer Amma Johnson, who opened a downtown showroom at the end of 2015, is taking the next big step to expand her brand: partnering with an e-commerce leader.

 

Her Amma Jo fashion brand makes its national debut today on Zulily, an online retailer catering to mothers and children. That could be a "game changer" for growth, Johnson said.

 

The Zulily site will host an Amma Jo flash event through Thursday.

 

"The trade shows and all are great, but there is this entire world of wholesale through the e-commerce world with leaders like Zulily where designers like me can leverage these partnerships and get in front of customers," Johnson said. "They're looking for what's hot and new. I'm looking to get in front of the right customer."

 

Johnson started her collection with one handbag and $100 in 2014. Today her brand is sold in more than 50 boutiques and gift shops around the U.S.

 

Amma Jo features a line of designer handbags, clothing and fashion accessories that burst with bright colors and funky animal prints. Johnson started the company with the idea of being a completely online business, but she struggled to stand out and needed a store to build from.

 

"It’s the best thing I could have done," she told the Business Journal last year. "Here we're around people all the time."

 

Johnson said she expects the flash event to be the first of many e-commerce opportunities for her brand. She pitched her business last year at a conference to members of the Zulily executive team.

 

"This could be the beginning of multiple events with Zulily who will get my brand in front of millions of customers," she said. "Their market is moms so as a value designer brand, it's like the best of both worlds."

 

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