Lafayette couples filling a niche in boys' clothing.
Lafayette couples filling a niche in boys' clothing. By Amanda Bedgood
Friday, March 1, 2013
A year and a half ago a discussion between two couples went from word to action. And the idea to fill a gaping hole in children's niche clothing became a reality. It took one year for Stephanie and Marcus Mire and Lainey and Rye Tuten's plan to go from concept to the arrival of boxes of clothing bearing their label and emblazoned with Louisiana's most beloved universities - UL and LSU. Less than a year after that first shipment of boys collegiate wear, the label can claim ten teams total with more on the way.
"We just applied for seven more," says Stephanie Mire.
It was perhaps she and friend Lainey who were truly the genesis of the company. Two moms looking for clothes for their kids.
"We couldn't find what we wanted for our boys," Stephanie says simply.
As the two couples began to realize the market simply didn't carry the kind of quality collegiate apparel for kids - think more preppy than sporty- they sought, they took their collective skills and formed a business. There is attorney Rye and Lainey with a background in fashion. Marcus is an accountant and Stephanie is in marketing. The four proved to be a team that got things done quickly. And if response is any indication, did them well.
Within one week of a discussion over burgers (without fries) at Judice Inn about the idea for the business, an LLC was formed and a website domain purchased. They began applying for the necessary licenses to carry both UL and LSU and sourcing samples for the kind of quality they would demand. One year after they began, the products arrived including pieces like their signature gingham shorts and polo shirts.
The clothing for boys has a decidedly southern flair and the schools currently range from Baylor to North Carolina State. As the brand grows, so do the responsibilities. They may do JV Clothiers on the side. But, the brand has grown quickly creating another full job for each of them.
"We are building a brand," Stephanie explains.
It's a different method than that of owning a store, she says noting people are often looking for a storefront for their clothing.
"Building brand recognition is a constant for all of us," she says.
While it begins with snagging the licenses for coveted collegiate logos, it also includes pleasing parents who are looking for the same thing the Mires and Tutens sought.
"The school logo gets the attention. But, we want the brand to fulfill the parents' standard of quality," Stephanie says.
Clearly, they were not alone looking for higher end pieces for their boys. This year, they spotted Christmas cards with boys donning JV wares and see boys on the big screen at sporting events sporting JV. Retailers are responding as well. And the group looks now toward bringing both new schools into the fold as well as new design.
"We are looking at long sleeves, pants and a pullover with a half zip and a shortall for boys in gingham," Stephanie says.
And with a growing little girl in the Mire home and one on the way for the Tutens, there just may be another arm to JV in the future.
"We are considering it," Stephanie says cryptically. "What do moms want? We have a girl and they have a girl on the way "
For now, they are busy enough with four children between the two couples, many, many boxes of boys clothing and a brand new brand.