The Woody Group, the company behind Woody, was formed in 1993 by Ghent-born Michel Van de Velde. The former computer scientist was unable to find high-grade playful nightwear for his daughter. Seeing a gap in the market, he decided to launch his own collection. As a fan of British illustrator Woody Fox, Michel asked him to design the prints. His name was also the inspiration for the “Woody” brand name. The illustrations that Woody Fox made for JellyCoe – crazy animals in glow-in-the-dark prints – were an instant hit. For the design of the nightwear, Michel Van de Velde contacted a young designer from the Antwerp fashion academy alongside experienced patternmakers.
The continued success of Woody 25 years later is primarily due to its legendary quality. The Turkish family firm Bella Tekstill has been Woody’s regular manufacturing partner for more than 20 years. When the brand’s founder decided to take more of a back seat in 2017, he identified Bella Tekstill’s co-owner Mehmet Batur as the ideal person to take over the firm. In 2017 Mehmet Batur acquired all the shares of JellyCoe, whose name was changed to The Woody Group. After the departure of the previous management, a managing director was needed to run the Belgian team in Ghent, where The Woody Group continues to be based. Mehmet Batur found the right person in Steven Van de Velde.