LOS ANGELES--When Jerry McKinish launched Sugartooth, a junior line in Huntington Beach, Calif., in February, he realized an important difference between selling clothes to men and to women. "I had a men's line called Dang for three years before launching Sugartooth," McKinish said. "It was kind of clubby looking and it had some casual looks, but with guys, they have to know if they're clothes for club kids, skateboarders or surfers. They're really name-oriented. Girls will buy clothes if they're cute." Not really sure whether you're club, surf or skate? It helps to be 24 years old, as McKinish is--or even 23 like Genevieve Saivichit who designs the line. Sugartooth is made up of sexy little basics--the strapless tube dress, the halter top, the babycord hipster pants, short shorts and miniskirts with wholesale prices ranging from about $10 to $25. "We said let's get a line together," McKinish said. "Genevieve had some cool ideas and we just did it." Although Saivichit hasn't had any formal training, McKinish went to fashion school for a year. "In the beginning I met with a pattern maker," he said, "and I didn't know any of the basics--notch, inseam, anything. I went to FIDM [Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles] just to be able to communicate." After discontinuing Dang and starting up Sugartooth, McKinish also launched Cash, a skateboard company, last May. "Right now Cash is only skateboard decks. They're really good quality decks and we might do wheels, but we want the skaters to pick up on the boards. Once they find out Cash is good quality, then we'll do T-shirts and hats and that kind of thing." The young entrepreneurs have already sold Sugartooth to Hot Topic and Wet Seal/Contempo mail order catalog and some small boutiques. McKinish, who is self-financed, said he hopes to do $500,000 in wholesale volume for Sugartooth and $25,000 to $30,000 for the Cash skateboards in the first year. "Each season we have an account we try to get," he said. "We'll try to double Sugartooth's sales each year but our main goal is focusing in on a specific account, then getting it."
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