Bubblegum USA wants to inflate its presence in the junior world. The bottoms resource, which specializes in denim, corduroy, satin and twill, is adding a 100-piece tops collection, launching at the Los Angeles junior and contemporary market Oct. 13-16. After an unsuccessful shot last year at launching tops through a licensing partnership, Bubblegum brought the process in-house, according to chief operating officer Ken Spiegel.

He said he expects the second run to fetch at least $8 million to $10 million in its first year. Overall, Bubblegum’s current volume is around $40 million.

“In tops, buyers have a bigger open-to-buy, a bigger pencil,” he said. “Stores are looking for something new and fresh.”

The tops assortment, geared to the 12- to 19-year-old girl, doesn’t focus on niche wares, Spiegel said. It includes prints, fashion pieces and basics.

Under the direction of Kit Sui, a former designer at Guess and XOXO, the line offers activewear in velour fabrications from hoodies to short-sleeve tops, screen-printed shirts with girlie inspirations such as florals, glitter and unicorns, as well as harder-edged screens. Features include ruching, slimmer cuts and one-shoulder and asymmetric necklines. Sui heaps on the details with zippers — functional and not — D-rings, buckle straps and mesh inserts.

To complement the line, Bubblegum will offer matching bottoms such as track pants and shorts to the mix.

Slated for Dec. 30 deliveries, the line will wholesale from $4 for a basic tank top to $9 for novelty two-piece items with embroidery, price points targeted to its existing customer base which includes Federated and Kohl’s. The cut-to-order firm will split production for the tops in Asia, Mexico and the U.S.

Industry observers say the junior market is typically on the lookout for new lines.

“From the beginning, Bubblegum has positioned itself as a creative company, not really chasing the volume-basics business, so this is a natural step,” said Barbara Fields, who owns a junior buying and consulting office in Los Angeles.

Bubblegum’s co-owner and creative director Laura Hong, who founded the company in 1996 with her husband John Inn and brother-in-law Paul Inn, said it doesn’t plan to advertise the line.“Even though I come from the advertising world, I don’t think the junior market likes things thrown at their faces,” she said.

Accessories licensing is the company’s next goal. The line already has licensed out production for shoes and children’s wear.

“We want to dress the Bubblegum girl head-to-toe,” Hong said.

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